Thai Basil Fried Rice is one of the best fried rice recipes out there! The flavor in this incredible fried rice recipe comes from the fresh Thai basil, Thai chili pepper, vegetables, and the mouthwatering sauce. Fish sauce, oyster sauce, honey, and chili paste create a deeply flavorful sauce that’s equal parts savory, little sweet, and a little spicy!
Thai Basil Fried Rice
I can’t lie… This is my family’s absolute favorite fried rice. There are SO many delicious fried rice recipes out there but Thai Basil Fried Rice is in a league of its own. It has so much amazing flavor with a hint of heat that takes it to a whole new level of delicious.
Featured in this recipe are bold, unique ingredients that make this fried rice different from any other you’ve tried. You’ll love the Thai chili peppers and fresh Thai basil! So much extra flavor to enjoy.
The sauce for this fried rice recipe is so delicious and goes very well with Thai basil. Fish sauce, oyster sauce, honey, Thai roasted red chili paste, and just a pinch of white pepper and salt mix together to create a deliciously complex sauce. It’s sweet, savory, and just a little spicy – it really is all encompassing when it comes to varying flavors!
How to Make Thai Basil Fried Rice
Ingredients You’ll Need:
For the fried rice:
- Leftover Cold Rice – If you have any leftover cooked white rice, this is the BEST way to use it! You can use long grain, medium grain, jasmine, or basmati.
- Chicken Thighs – Make sure they’re boneless and skinless.
- Peanut Oil – This oil is pretty neutral, and you can use another neutral oil if you wish.
- Onion – A yellow onion has a natural sweetness to it that’s perfect for this dish.
- Bell Pepper
- Garlic – For the best flavor and aromatic quality, use fresh garlic only.
- Thai Chili Peppers – Use more or less of these peppers depending on how spicy you want your fried rice to be. Remember that Thai chili peppers do pack quite a punch.
- Thai Basil – This is NOT the same thing as Italian basil, so use Thai basil or holy basil. It has a distinctive anise flavor that’s very important to this dish.
- Protein – You can use chicken as your protein of choice or swap it for shrimp, pork, or tofu. If you wish to leave it meatless, you can certainly do so and serve this fried rice as a side dish.
For the sauce:
- Fish Sauce – Fish sauce helps to deepen the salty caramelized flavor of the sauce.
- Oyster Sauce – use regular or gluten free version if you need to.
- Thai Roasted Red Chili Paste – this chili paste is slightly spicy and it also has a note of sweetness that compliments the other ingredients perfectly.
- Seasonings – White pepper and just a light sprinkle of salt help enhance the other ingredients.
Prepare the ingredients.
This is a fast moving recipe, so you’ll need to make sure everything is ready to go! Dice the chicken into small pieces, dice the onion and pepper, mince the garlic, seed and mince the Thai chili pepper. Crack the eggs in a bowl and add salt. In another bowl, whisk together the ingredients for the sauce.
Cook the chicken and veggies.
In a large wok that’s preheated with oil, sauté the chicken with a little salt until it’s just about done. Move it to the sides of the pan, then add the onions and bell peppers to the center. Sauté until softened, then mix in with the chicken.
Move everything to the sides again, then add the garlic and Thai chili pepper to the center of the pan. Sauté for a few minutes, then mix everything together.
Finish it off with the eggs, rice, basil, and sauce.
Move everything to the sides on last time and cook the eggs in the center of the pan. Once the eggs are almost fully cooked, mix them with the other ingredients.
Add the cold rice to the pan. Pour the sauce over the rice and mix everything together. Stir in the basil and let it cook for just a few moments until wilted.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I make this fried rice vegetarian?
To make this dish vegetarian, you can use tofu as your protein of choice and leave out the eggs. You will also need to substitute the oyster sauce for a vegetarian oyster sauce and substitute fish sauce with soy sauce (omit extra salt). The flavor of the sauce will be quite different, but that is the way to make this dish vegetarian.
To use other protein:
You can definitely use other protein if you don’t want to use chicken. You can use chicken, shrimp, beef, or tofu and prep it the same way and suggested in the recipe. Cook it first per recipe as well, just note that shrimp will take you less time to cook so once shrimp is cooked, take it out and set aside. If using tofu, cut it into about 1/2 inch pieces and sear them on all sides for a few minutes.
Can I make this recipe gluten free?
To make this fried rice gluten free, you will need to use gluten free oyster sauce. The rest of the ingredients should already be gluten free, but make sure to read the packaging to confirm.
Do I have to use Thai basil?
Make sure to use Thai basil, as it taste quite different from Italian basil. Thai basil is stronger and has a prominent anise flavor. Both Thai basil and holy basil do have that anise flavor that you need, so feel free to use holy basil if you can’t find Thai. If you’re absolutely out of luck finding either of those herbs, use regular basil.
Why is it best to use leftover/day-old fried rice?
The reason why it’s always recommended to use leftover, or cold, or day-old rice to make fried rice is to avoid it being mushy. Freshly made rice still has a lot of moisture in it and when you introduce heat and more moisture right away, it over-absorbs it all and turns soft and mushy.
What if I forgot to cook rice the day before?
I’ve done that so many times! I know I want to make fried rice, but I don’t have any leftover and forget to make it ahead of time… The main reason to use cold rice from the day before it because it has dried out some of the moisture, so the grain is more separate.
Technically, you can use rice cooked the same day, you will just need to cool it down enough.
What I do is cook the rice first and as soon as it is done, I take it out of the pot and spread it in a thin layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Pop it into the refrigerator while you gather or prepare the rest of the ingredients. Really, it only needs about 20 minutes to cool down when it’s spread in a thin layer.
Want more fried rice recipes to try?
Khao Pad – Thai Fried Rice
Thai Basil Fried Rice
Thai Basil Fried Rice (Khao Pad Bai Kraprow)
- 4 cups day-old/ cold cooked jasmine or another long grain rice
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 1/2 yellow onion
- 1 small bell pepper
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1-2 Thai chili peppers depends how spicy you want it
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup fresh Thai basil
- 3 tbsp fish sauce
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 tsp Thai roasted red chili paste
- 1/8-1/4 tsp white pepper
- pinch salt to taste
- Prepare your ingredients first because this is a fast recipe. So dice chicken into small pieces, dice onion and pepper, mince garlic, seed and mince Thai chili pepper. Crack eggs into a separate bowl and add a sprinkle of salt. Separately, whisk together ingredients for the sauce.
- Preheat a large wok or a large non-stick cooking pan with tall sides over medium-high heat. Add oil and sauté chicken with a little bit of salt until almost done.
- Move chicken to the side and add diced onion and bell pepper. Sauté until softened and start mixing it in with the chicken.
- Move everything to the side and add in minced garlic and Thai chili pepper (add a little oil in needed). Sauté until garlic is fragrant and mix it in with chicken and veggies.
- Move everything aside once again, ad a little bit of oil if needed, and add the eggs. Let the eggs start to cook and you stir them slowly. Once eggs are mostly done, mix it in with veggies and chicken.
- Add in cold rice and break it up in the pan. Give the sauce another whisk and start pouring it over the rice as you mix it. Mix the rice well, until sauce, veggies, and chicken are evenly spread out.
- Stir in basil and let it cook just a few more seconds until basil is wilted. Take off heat and serve right away!