Thai Basil Chicken (Pad Krapow Gai)

4.91 from 10 votes
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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


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

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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)

4.91 from 10 votes
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}
Author: Maggie Zhu
Course: Main
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: home style
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4 servings


  • 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


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)


  • 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.


  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.


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
Did You Make This Recipe?Don’t forget the last step! Leave a comment below, and tag me @OmnivoresCookbook and #OmnivoresCookbook on Instagram!

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.

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Reader Questions and Reviews

  1. Neve says:

    5 stars
    So easy to make and very tasty! Everyone gobbled it up quickly.

  2. Louise says:

    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.

    • afracooking says:

      Just a suggestion: I buy chicken thigh and stick it in the foodprocessor (or even chop it by hand if just cooking for me)

  3. Tom says:

    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,


    • Maggie says:

      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 🙂

  4. Kate says:

    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!

  5. Mike says:

    Need to double or triple the sauce amount. What is shown in recipe is not adequate for 1lb of protein.

  6. Dave says:

    5 stars
    Made a vegetarian version of this. Used zucchini and green beans instead of chicken, vegetarian oyster sauce, and a little bit of lime juice instead of fish sauce. Came out great!

  7. Rachel says:

    At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was living in a small town with limited Asian food options and not a single Thai restaurant. I am so grateful I stumbled on your website because I was able to make all the meals I was craving at home. This, and all your recipes, are simply perfect. Thank you!!

  8. Jane Chan says:

    5 stars
    so incredibly delicious. I added peas as well and it was perfect

  9. Todd says:

    Just discovered your site, and I must say the recipe looks fantastic. I just want to mention that it’s imperative that people use Thai basil, not Italian basil. If you don’t, you’ll never get that authentic Thai flavor, as Italian basil has a completely different flavor profile.

  10. Eva says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! I used a full lb of green beans with the recipe. I also reduced the soy sauce by 1 tsp (trying to watch our sodium) and added 1 tsp of sesame oil instead. So yummy, better than the local restaurant.

  11. Stephen says:

    4 stars
    Holy basil is essential. No other works any near as well. Krapow literally means holy basil. In Thailand they would use close to that amount of chili and garlic per person. But they are used to it. This is traditionally a very spicy dish. I would double these and the sauce amount, use holy basil and it would be perfect.

  12. afra says:

    5 stars
    Fantastic! I have had it in my “to cook” list for a while. I will be honest: I thought of it of a “quick emergency dinner” But wow it really is lovely! I doubled the amount of sauce and had it with cauliflower/pea rice. I also doubled the beans and therefore fried onion and bean first, removed and only then did aromatics and chicken. I was a bit afraid of overcooking so I did the onion and beans first and then removed them. Such a lovely recipe – this will certainly reappear (and then I did not even add egg ;->)

  13. Lynne says:

    5 stars
    Great recipe. I doubled the sauce. I also served with Roti bread for my husband, he loves bread.

  14. Megha A says:

    I followed your recipe but my chicken didn’t come out the color yours did. I used black soy sauce. How do you get such a dark color? Marination?

    • Maggie Zhu says:

      By black soy sauce I’m assuming you mean dark soy sauce? The dark soy sauce is the ingredient that gives the chicken the brown color. Regular soy sauce won’t do.
      If you used dark soy sauce and the color is still light, you can simply add a bit more, like 1 teaspoon or so. Sometimes the they varies a bit depending on the brand.

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