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White shallow bowl filled with cooked white rice and topped with prepared thai basil chicken.
4.8 from 15 votes

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe (Pad Kra Pao Gai)

Thai Basil Chicken Recipe made with delicious bits of ground chicken, shallots, and fresh basil stir-fried in a light and flavorful sauce filled with lots of heat and just the right amount of sweetness. Less than 400 calories per serving and ready in just 25 minutes, enjoy this Easy Thai Basil Chicken with a side of cooked rice and a glass of Thai Iced Tea.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time25 mins
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 383kcal


  • 3 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Oyster sauce
  • 1.5 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dark soy sauce (see notes)
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 large shallots peeled and sliced
  • 3 Thai bird chilies thinly sliced (see notes)
  • 6 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1.5 pounds ground chicken
  • ½ cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup holy or Thai basil leaves (see notes)


  • Whisk together the sugar, Oyster sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Set aside.
  • Cook the chilies, shallots, and garlic - Heat a large wok or skillet over high heat. Once hot, add the oil, shallots, chilies, and garlic. Mix well to combine and fry over high heat for 2-3 minutes. Stir often to prevent burning.
  • Add the chicken - Add the ground chicken and fry for 2-3 minutes, breaking up into smaller bits and pieces while mixing with the shallots, chilies, and garlic.
  • Add the soy sauce mixture - Pour the mixture of sugar, oyster sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce(s) over the chicken and cook, stirring continuously, for 1-2 minutes. With the wok still over high heat, add the chicken broth (or water) and de-glaze any brown bits stuck to the bottom of your wok or skillet.
  • Stir in the basil - Add the basil and continue to cook until wilted. Serve with white or brown rice.


  • Dark soy sauce is thicker and less salty when compared to regular soy sauce. While used for some flavor, dark soy sauce is used primarily to achieve that classic dark, caramel color we all love in Asian dishes. It is not required to make a great tasting Thai basil chicken.
  • Authentic Thai basil chicken recipes will be made with Thai bird chilies. Small, skinny chilies that are quite hot (somewhere between jalapeños and habeneros). Here in the states they can be quite difficult to find. If that's the case, substitute with red jalapeñ0s - hotter than green jalapeños and similar in appearance.
  • Holy basil is authentic to Thai basil chicken. Holy basil is unique in that it is spicy, and, like Szechuan pepper, creates a numbing effect on the tongue. Thai basil, on the other hand, is sweeter, with strong notes of licorice and anise. If you can't find holy basil, Thai basil is a good substitute, just know that the overall flavor will be different (this recipe features Thai basil).
  • You may use ground chicken, ground turkey, or finely chopped chicken thighs or chicken breasts.


Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 1270mg | Potassium: 1032mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 2mg
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