Thai Basil Chicken, or Pad Krapow Gai, is a quick and easy chicken dinner that’s just as aromatic as it is flavorful. This popular Thai street food is easy to make at home in just under 30 minutes! If you love rich, fresh flavors and intoxicating aromas that draw everyone to the kitchen, this is the Thai recipe for you.
Thai Basil Chicken
Most likely, you already know and love Thai Basil Chicken. This familiar dish isn’t just a popular street food in Thailand, where it originated. It’s also a very popular dish in the Thai restaurants, in the States. Commonly, it’s listed on the menu as Pad Krapow, Pad Krapow Gai, or Gai Pad Krapow. Gai meaning “chicken,” Pad means “fried” or “stir fried,” and Krapow translates to “holy basil.”
If you’ve enjoyed this popular dish in Thai restaurants, you’re going to love this simple, authentic homemade version. It’s easy to make and has all of the flavor you crave when ordering from good Thai places! If you happen to cook a lot of Thai recipes at home, you’ll probably have all of these ingredients already stocked and ready to go in your kitchen – just make sure you have some fresh holy basil.
While I typically enjoy making Thai Basil Chicken as an easy weeknight dinner for the family, it also doubles nicely as a date night dinner. If you’re looking to impress a dinner guest, I always recommend making something a little different than your usual go-to recipes.
This chicken dinner may be insanely easy to make, but your guest(s) will never know that! The deliciously fresh flavor and intoxicating aroma of this authentic Thai recipe will give it the slightly sophisticated appearance you need when wanting to really impress.
How to Make Thai Basil Chicken
Ingredients You’ll Need:
- Chicken – You can use either finely diced chicken thigh meat or ground chicken. Personally, I prefer diced chicken thighs for a much better flavor. For easier and faster prep, feel free to use ground chicken.
- Peanut Oil – In a pinch, you can use either vegetable or canola oil instead.
- Garlic – For the absolute best flavor, use fresh garlic cloves.
- Thai Chili Peppers – If you can’t find fresh Thai chili peppers at your local Asian market, you can use dried ones instead.
- Shallots – These delicate and slightly sweet onions lend just enough onion flavor to the mixture without overpowering the other ingredients.
- Bell Pepper – pick any color pepper you like.
- Thai Basil – Thai or holy basil is what you’ll need! Do NOT use Italian basil in this recipe. While holy basil is preferred above Thai basil, it can be hard to find – so Thai basil will get the job done if it’s what’s more readily available.
- Scallions – cut off the white bottom with roots and use the rest of the stalk.
For the sauce:
- Oyster Sauce – use regular oyster sauce or gluten free one if needed.
- Fish Sauce
- Soy Sauce – use low sodium soy sauce, but a mix of both light and dark soy sauces will also work. If you need to, use gluten free soy or tamari.
- Brown Sugar
Make sure to have everything measured and chopped accordingly ahead of time, as this is a quick moving recipe.
Cook the rice prior to making the chicken so your meal will be ready to eat as soon as the chicken is done.
Cook the chicken.
Preheat a seasoned and oiled wok.
Stir fry the chicken, stirring from time to time. When the chicken is almost done, make a little well in the center of the wok and add garlic and chili peppers. Sauté until fragrant, then stir everything together.
Add the shallots and bell peppers, continuing to cook until softened.
Whisk the ingredients for the sauce together, then pour it over the mixture in the wok. Mix everything together and simmer for a few minutes.
Stir in the bail and scallions. Cook until the basil has wilted, then take off of the heat and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I serve Thai basil chicken?
This chicken stir fry is usually served with simple jasmine rice or you can make coconut rice. You can also fry an egg to serve on top of the dish. Some restaurants serve this dish with fried rice, and you can definitely do the same – just skip the chicken in the rice!
Can I add other vegetables?
Absolutely! You can add more vegetables like snow peas, mushrooms, baby corn, green beans, zucchini, and/or broccolini.
How to make it gluten free:
The only two ingredients you need to worry about here are oyster sauce and soy sauce. Make sure to use gluten free versions of both or substitute soy sauce for tamari.
Check the label on the fish sauce but it should already be gluten free.
Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)
Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)
- 1.25-1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs or ground chicken if need fast and easy
- 2 tbsp peanut oil or vegetable, or canola
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 2-4 Thai chili peppers to taste
- 2 shallots
- 1 bell pepper
- 1 cup Thai basil or holy basil if available
- 3 scallions stalks
- 3 tbsp oyster sauce
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp low sodium soy sauce or a mid of dark and light soy sauce
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 2-3 cups cooked Jasmine rice
- Prepare all of the ingredients ahead of time!Start cooking the rice. Dice the chicken thighs meat very finely. Mince garlic, seed chili peppers, if you prefer, and slice them thin. Slice shallots and bell pepper. Chop scallions, and mix all of the ingredients for the sauce in a measuring cup.
Cooking the chicken:
- Make sure the wok is nicely seasoned all over the sides and bottom and preheat it over medium heat. Add oil and spread it around.
- Add and stir in chicken and cook until chicken is mostly done. Make sure to stir from time to time.
- Make a little well in the center and add garlic and chili peppers and sauté until its fragrant and stir it all together.
- Add shallots and bell peppers and cook until vegetables have softened.
- Whisk the sauce again and pour it into the wok, stirring as you pour. Stir and simmer for a couple of minutes.
- Stir in basil and scallions and cook just until basil is wilted. Take off heat and serve!