Delicious Thai fried rice with basil and chicken is so quick and easy to make at home! It's every bit as good as your favorite Thai restaurant, in less time than it takes to get carry out.
The first time I ever tried basil fried rice I experienced what I can only describe as a trance from the very first bite.
Basil! In fried rice! The sweet, savory sauce, the silky chicken, the perfectly crunchy bits of salty peanuts all rounded out with a hearty spritz of lime. It was like all of my favorite ingredients had come together in the most satisfying form. A delight I didn't know was possible!
Here, we're making it at home and it is so easy.
This sweet and savory brown sauce is a staple of Thai foods and contains only 4 ingredients: brown sugar, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and black pepper.
It is so good with the fresh basil here and cooks into the rice as it fries up, so each grain is coated and packed with flavor. PERFECTION.
Rice that's dried out a bit is best for making fried rice. If you have leftover white rice, this is a great thing to do with it!
If you're making fresh rice, you'll need to cook about 1 scant cup to get the 2 1/2 cups of cooked rice called for here.
Time permitting, spread out the cooked rice on a sheet pan and put it in the fridge or freezer to cool while prepping the rest of the ingredients. You can use freshly cooked rice here, but your fried rice might be a bit mushy if you do!
- Fish and oyster sauces - You can't make Thai food without them! As a person who strongly dislikes seafood, a hurdle to overcome when making Thai food at home was allowing these grocery items into my home and then (even scarier) using them. But if you've been eating Thai food, you've no doubt been eating these all along!
- Chicken - I use boneless skinless chicken breasts here, but you can easily use chicken thighs, or even shrimp instead! Whatever you use, aim for about a pound.
- Serrano chili - Thai chilis are most definitely the more authentic option, but I'm calling for a serrano because they are so much easier to find! And having had it both ways, I find there's little noticeable difference in the final product. If you can find Thai chilis, you'll want to use 2-5, depending on how spicy you like your fried rice.
- Basil - Use fresh basil here. It's added at the last minute to heat through and wilt slightly before serving. Thai or Italian basil will both work. I go with whatever is easier to find!
How to Make Basil Fried Rice
I love fried rice for being so quick and easy to make, and Thai basil fried rice is no exception!
This recipe comes together fast once it starts cooking, so you must have everything ready before starting! Combine the sauce ingredients; chop the peppers, garlic, onion, and basil; slice the chicken; crack the eggs.
Heat a skillet or wok over HIGH heat. Add the chicken, garlic, serrano, and onion and stir fry 2-3 minutes. Push to the perimeter and add the eggs. Scramble quickly then stir everything together and add the rice and the sauce. Stir 2-3 minutes to heat through, then remove from the heat and stir in the basil.
Serve this hot topped with chopped peanuts, green onion, and lime wedges.
A few things that make this easy:
- Chopping the garlic and serrano in a food processor or small blender. You can do this by hand, but you want to almost purée them, so getting some help in electronic applicance form will be much quicker.
- Wipe out your food processor and add peanuts to chop them up. The easiest way to get chopped peanuts for topping!
- Have everything out and prepped before you start cooking. This comes together in about 6 minutes from the time you start putting ingredients in the pan, so you'll want to have everything ready.
Thai fried rice stores and reheats really well! It will keep in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
To reheat, you can microwave or re-fry it in a wok or skillet until heated through.
They're in major grocery stores in the Asian foods section. Aldi and smaller grocers typically don't carry them, so they may require a special trip. One bottle will last a long time, though!
This is a pretty flexible recipe, and you can swap out several ingredients for equally delicious results.
- Shrimp instead of chicken
- Italian basil instead of Thai basil
- Thai peppers instead of serrano peppers
Coming from someone who also doesn't like fish - YES! They are key components in the flavor here. And if you've been enjoying Thai foods for years, you've already been eating (a lot!) of oyster and fish sauce.
Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice
For the sauce
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the fried rice
- 3 large garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 serrano chili, seeded (see note)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 2 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced thin
- 2 eggs
- 2 1/2 cups leftover long grain white rice (from about 1 scant cup of dry rice)
- 1 cup roughly chopped basil leaves (Thai or Italian)
- For serving: chopped peanuts, sliced scallions, lime wedges
- Combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl.Pulse the garlic cloves and serrano pepper together in a food processor until finely minced.Melt butter in a wok over high heat. Add minced garlic and serrano, onion, and chicken. Stir fry 2-3 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink, then push to perimeter.Crack eggs into center of wok and scramble. Once eggs are mostly cooked, but still have a bit of sheen, toss contents of the wok together.Add the rice and sauce. Cook - stirring constantly - until heated through, 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the basil. Serve immediately with desired toppings.