Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

The fastest way to get great tasting Thai food is to make it in your own kitchen with this aromatic, flavorful and healthy Thai basil chicken recipe. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Thai basil chicken over rice

I love the wonderful aromatics that always hit you front and center when you walk into a Thai restaurant. They tingle all the senses with spicy, sweet, fragrant, and exotic notes all at once. And when you eat Thai food, you have the textural sensations to go along with the flavors. It’s really such a beautiful style of cuisine.

Thai basil chicken over rice with sunny eggs

Thai cooking seems to really intimidate people which is why I’m sharing my easy Thai basil chicken recipe. This recreation of an authentic Thai dish is so easy and simple, you can get this ready in less than 20 minutes. Once you start eating it, it will probably disappear from your plate in 5 seconds. It’s got all the zest of Thai cuisine, simplified to be made any night of the week. 

Thai basil chicken with green beans

Ingredients

Fresh herbs are the key

To get the best taste out of the aromatics, I chop the garlic and bird’s eye chili pepper together:

  1. Crush the garlic using the side of your knife so it’s super easy to peel.
  2. Place the garlic and coarsely chopped chili pepper onto a cutting board.
  3. Chop the ingredients.
  4. I like my aromatics super fine so they fully release their fragrance.
Mince garlic and chili pepper

My Thai basil chicken recipe calls for ground chicken, but feel free to use any other ground meat if you’d prefer. 

To contrast with that meaty texture, the onions and green beans are lightly cooked so that they’re crunchy. The basil is what gives it that robust and memorable flavor. Once you’re done cooking, it’s wonderful to top onto steamed rice along with a fried egg.

Ingredients for making Thai basil chicken

Cooking process

  1. Saute the aromatics
  2. Brown the ground chicken
  3. Add the sauce and mix
  4. Gently cook the veggies to preserve their crunchy texture
  5. Stir in the basil
  6. Give it a final stir to wilt the basil and you’re done!
Thai basil chicken cooking step-by-step
Pad krapow gai with green beans and sunny egg

The smells that will soon come from your kitchen as you make Thai basil chicken will have you salivating. If any is left over, you’ll have a wonderful lunch ahead of you too. With light and vibrant flavors coming together, I love it for spring and summer especially since basil tends to be extra fresh during this time, and more affordable too. This dish takes no time to cook, which is a bonus on a hot summer day.

Pad krapow gai over rice

If you’re craving Thai food but are hesitant to eat out and don’t want to wait for takeout to arrive, try Thai basil chicken tonight!

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To make the dish gluten-free, use tamari to replace soy sauce. Use a gluten-free oyster sauce, Chee Hou Sauce, or homemade oyster sauce

The fastest way to get great tasting Thai food is to make it in your own kitchen with this aromatic, flavorful and healthy Thai basil chicken recipe. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}

Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

The fastest way to get great tasting Thai food is to make it in your own kitchen with this aromatic, flavorful and healthy Thai basil chicken recipe. {Gluten-Free Adaptable}
5 from 4 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: home style
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 279kcal
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (450 g) ground chicken (other ground meat works, too)
  • 4 to 6 Thai bird’s eye chilis , chopped (depending on spice level desired) (Footnote 1)
  • 6 cloves garlic , smashed

Sauce:

Stir Fry:

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion , large diced
  • 1/2 cup (4 oz/115 g) green beans , cut into 1” (2.5 cm) pieces
  • 1 bunch basil , stems removed (Footnote 3)
  • Fried eggs (Optional)
  • Lime wedges (Optional) (Footnote 4)

Instructions

  • Mince the chilis and garlic together until a rough paste forms (see the blog post above for step-by-step pictures). You can also blend both together in a small food processor or use a mortar & pestle.
  • Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  • Add the oil and garlic-chili paste to a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat. Cook until the aromatics are fragrant and the garlic is just barely starting to brown.
  • Add the ground chicken. Move the aromatics onto the chicken using your spatula to prevent the aromatics from burning. Spread out the chicken and let it cook without disturbing for 1 minute, to let the bottom brown. Break apart the chicken, let cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is almost cooked through and the chicken juices have cooked off, 2 minutes or so. I prefer to keep some larger chunks of chicken without breaking them into a million pieces.
  • Pour in the sauce and stir to mix well.
  • Add the onion and green beans. Cook for another minute or two, until the sauce is distributed and slightly reduced.
  • Turn off the heat and add the basil leaves. Toss until the leaves are wilted.
  • Serve hot over rice with a crispy fried egg and a squeeze of lime juice.

Notes

  1. Using 4 chili peppers will yield a low- to medium-spicy dish. For the authentic Thai experience, you should use 6 chili peppers. For extra spiciness, you can slice extra chili peppers to garnish the cooked dish later. Note, the chili peppers will become milder during the stir fry, but will taste very spicy eaten raw.
  2. Add the fish sauce for an extra kick and the authentic Thai experience. For a milder (and low sodium) version, or if you don’t like the pungent smell, skip the fish sauce. If you decide to use fish sauce, I highly recommend you squeeze a generous amount of lime juice at the end to balance the taste.
  3. Holy basil is the best, Thai basil works great, and regular basil works just as well.
  4. Lime juice is a must if you use fish sauce in the dish.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 279kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.8g | Protein: 27.8g | Fat: 9.7g | Saturated Fat: 2.1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 410mg | Potassium: 906mg | Fiber: 3.7g | Sugar: 11.3g | Calcium: 68mg | Iron: 4mg

If you give this recipe a try, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it (once you’ve tried it), and take a picture and tag it @omnivorescookbook on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

More easy Thai recipes

Lilja Walter is a part of the Omnivore’s Cookbook team and worked closely with Maggie to develop and test this recipe.

Disclosure

Omnivore's Cookbook is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.
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Meet Maggie

Hi I'm Maggie Zhu! Welcome to my site about modern Chinese cooking - including street food, family recipes, and restaurant dishes. I take a less labor-intensive approach while maintaining the taste and look of the dish. I am originally from Beijing, and now cook from my New York kitchen.

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Recipe Rating




5 thoughts on “Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

  1. Louise

    5 stars
    I really love this dish – so quick and easy, but so tasty! I love thai food, but my husband doesn’t particularly like it. After trying a bit of this from my plate though, he went on to scarf all the leftovers! It’s now one of our regulars, and I get my thai fix 🙂
    Only real change is I use pork mince, as chicken mince seems to be elusive round these parts.

    Reply
  2. Tom

    5 stars
    Loved this! Easy, fast, and delicious! Used minced Serrano peppers as I couldn’t easily come by the dried Thai peppers. Need to hit up Amazon for some dark soy sauce as the chicken was tan instead of brown. I don’t have a carbon steel wok (what might you recommend?) so I used a deep Lodge cart iron skillet. I would double the sauce next time so it will better flavor the rice I served beneath the chicken.

    Loved the egg on top –the contrasting texture and color adds lots of visual appeal!

    My boys (13 and 15y/o) and wife loved it!

    Thanks Maggie,

    Tom

    Reply
    1. Maggie Post author

      Glad to hear you like the recipe! I think cast iron pan is fantastic. It’s heavier than carbon steel so I don’t use it as often. But if you don’t mind the weight, it’s a perfect alternative of carbon steel 🙂

      Reply
  3. Kate

    5 stars
    Another fantastic recipe! I couldn’t find bird’s eye chilis so subbed in serranos, so it was a milder dish, but still very delicious. Also just used regular basil because, again, that’s all I could find in the grocery store. Really tasty. Thanks!

    Reply