Join us for an adventure in flavor!

    Chicken Larb (Thai Larb Gai)

    Get ready for a cracking new flavor with this Authentic Thai Larb Gai Recipe! In Laos and Thailand, Larb is more than just a dish, it’s a social experience.

    Meet Larb Gai, a Thai chicken salad that’s packed with flavor.

    Chicken Larb is a unique meat salad popular in Thailand and Laos. It can be served on its own, or in lettuce wraps.

    Imagine ground chicken mixed with fresh herbs like mint and cilantro. Here I add a bit of fish sauce and lime juice for that tangy, umami flavor, and throw in some Thai chili flakes to give it a slight kick.

    The special touch? I sprinkle in toasted rice powder that brings a unique, nutty crunch and an unforgettable texture to the dish. I serve this Larb Gai with vibrant garnishes like fresh cucumber slices, julienned carrots, and crisp lettuce leaves. This isn’t your typical chicken salad; it’s something truly special.

    Larb gai in lettuce wraps.

    Who doesn’t like those bright, bold Thai flavors? My Thai Chicken Salad is the perfect example of this flavor combo.

    My love for Thai food is pretty obvious here on GypsyPlate. I have great authentic Thai recipes like Pad Krapow Gai, Thai Green Curry and Thai Cashew Chicken.

    Today I discovered how refreshing and light can be so delicious with this Thai Chicken Salad.

    A bowl of this chicken salad garnished with carrots, lettuce and cucumbers.

    What is Larb?

    Larb, or Laab, is a meat salad that originated in Laos, where it’s considered a national dish, and is also popular in the Isan region of northeastern Thailand.

    I found out that the term “Larb” is derived from the Lao word “Laap,” which means “to chop” or “to mince” in English. In Thai Cuisine, Larb refers to a type of meat salad that is minced and flavored with various seasonings.

    Although the dish comes in many variations, the core of any Larb consists of minced meat combined with aromatic herbs, lime juice, fish sauce, and toasted rice powder. The toasted rice not only gives the dish a unique, nutty aroma but also adds a great crunch.

    Historically, Larb was a way to make use of leftover meat and was often prepared with game or local fish. Over time, Larb has evolved to include multiple variations, some even includes offal or exotic meats.

    Thai larb in a serving dish.

    Some Popular Variations

    1. Larb Gai: This version uses minced chicken and is one of the most popular types of Larb. It’s often the go-to for those new to this dish.
    2. Larb Moo: Made with minced pork, this Larb is just as commonly found everywhere.
    3. Larb Nuea: This one has minced beef along with additional elements like lemongrass for an aromatic kick.
    4. Larb Pla: A seafood twist on the classic, using minced fish, often found in coastal regions.
    5. Larb Woonsen: A lighter option featuring glass noodles along with minced meat.
    6. Laab Diip: It is made from raw beef and is layered with Lao flavors like roasted sticky rice and lots of fresh herbs.

    Ingredient Needed

    Ingredients for this recipe arranged on a white background.
    • White Glutinous Rice – I use sticky glutinous rice for this recipe. It will give you a more authentic texture, but jasmine rice is a good substitute if you can’t find it.
    • Fish Sauce – A must in Thai cuisine for umami flavor.
    • Lime Juice – Gives acidity and brightness.
    • Sugar – Balances out the salt and acidity. Palm sugar can be used for a more authentic Thai flavor, although regular granulated sugar works fine, and that’s what we used.
    • Thai Chili Flakes – Adds heat to the dish. Adjust the amount based on your heat tolerance. You can also use fresh Thai chilies if preferred.
    • Garlic – Freshly minced garlic is best.
    • Ground Chicken – I use dark chicken meat, as ground breast would be too lean for this dish. Ground pork is a common substitute.
    • Cilantro and Mint – Add freshness in the end.
    • Scallions and Red Onion – Shallots can be used in place of red onions.
    • Garnishes (Cucumber, Carrot, Lettuce) – Radishes or other crisp veggies could also work well.

    Larb Gai Recipe

    1. Make Toasted Rice Powder: I dry toast white glutinous rice or jasmine rice in a sauté pan over medium-high heat, stirring constantly until it turns a golden brown color, which takes about 10-12 minutes. Then, I grind it into a coarse powder using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder and set it aside. This toasted rice powder adds a great texture to my dish.

    Toasted rice in a mortar.

    2. Make Larb Dressing: I mix all the dressing ingredients together in a bowl and whisk them until they’re well combined.

    Dressing for this recipe in a white bowl.

    3. Cook Ground Chicken: I heat oil in a wok or skillet over high heat. Then, I add the ground chicken and stir-fry it until it starts to caramelize and get crispy, which usually takes about 6-7 minutes. I make sure to remove any excess liquid to keep the texture just right.

    Cooked ground chicken topped with sliced onion and herbs.

    4. Finish Larb: I transfer the cooked chicken to a serving bowl, then I add in the dressing, chopped cilantro, mint, diced scallions, and sliced red onion. I sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the toasted rice powder over the mixture and mix everything well. I taste it and adjust the seasoning with more fish sauce, lime juice, salt, or sugar as needed to get the perfect balance of flavors.

    Thai larb, ready to serve.

    5. Garnish and Serve: I like to serve the Larb with fresh cucumber slices, julienned carrots, lime wedges, and crisp lettuce leaves.

    This Thai meat salad garnished with carrot, cucumber and lettuce.

    Alpana’s Tips

    • Toasting the rice: When toasting the rice, I keep a close eye on it because it can easily burn. I aim for a golden brown color and keep stirring constantly. This usually takes about 10-12 minutes, but it’s essential for authentic larb. Sometimes, I toast the rice in advance, grind it into a powder, and store it in a small container or zip-top bag for later use.
    • Don’t use leaner ground chicken: I avoid using leaner ground chicken, like ground breast, because it tends to dry out and isn’t as moist and juicy when cooked. When I cook the ground chicken, I go for a slightly crispy texture by using high heat. Before adding the sauce, I always drain off any liquid that comes out during cooking to keep my Chicken Larb from becoming soggy and bland.
    • Adjusting heat: For the spice level, I customize it by adjusting the amount of Thai chili flakes. If I want an extra kick, I use fresh Thai chilies.
    • Taste as you go: Larb is all about balance, so I taste as I go. I continually adjust the seasoning, especially before adding the dressing to the cooked chicken, to make sure everything is just right.
    Lettuce wraps full of larb gai.

    How to Eat Chicken Larb

    1. Lettuce Wraps: I like to fill lettuce leaves with Larb and then fold it like lettuce wraps to eat.
    2. Over Rice: Serve it on jasmine or sticky rice.
    3. As a Salad: Pair with fresh greens.
    4. With Rice Noodles: Place Larb over cooked rice noodles.
    5. In a Sandwich/Wrap: Use it as a filling in bread or tortillas.
    6. On its Own: Eat Larb straight from the bowl.
    Close up of meat filled lettuce wraps.

    Larb, the unofficial “national dish” of Laos!! It holds a special place in the hearts and tables of the Laotian and Thai people, often found in social gatherings and ceremonies.

    Whether you’re serving it up as a salad or in a lettuce cup, give my light, healthy yet flavorful chicken salad a try. You are going to love this one.

    Chicken Larb, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Thai larb in lettuce wraps atop the Gypsy Plate.

    More Great Asian Recipes
    Chicken Caldereta
    Japanese Beef Curry
    Ground Beef Bulgogi
    General Tso Sauce
    Bo Luc Lac
    Bun Cha

    Featured image for chicken larb recipe.

    Chicken Larb (Thai Larb Gai)

    Yield: 4 servings
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 25 minutes

    Chicken Larb is a unique meat salad popular in Thailand and Laos. It can be served on its own, or in lettuce wraps.


    • 2-3 Tbsp uncooked white glutinous rice or jasmine rice

    Larb Dressing

    • 3 Tbsp fish sauce
    • 3 Tbsp lime juice
    • 1 Tbsp sugar
    • 2 tsp Thai chili flakes (see note 1)
    • 1 garlic clove, minced

    Chicken Larb

    • 1½Tbsp oil
    • 1 pound ground chicken (you can sub it with ground pork)
    • 1 small bunch cilantro, chopped (cupful packed)
    • 1 small bunch mint, chopped (cupful packed)
    • 2-3 scallions, diced
    • ¼ small red onion or 1 shallot, sliced


    • cucumber, sliced
    • carrot, julienned
    • lime wedges
    • butter lettuce (or any other lettuce of your choice)


    1. Make toasted rice powder: Dry toast glutinous white rice or jasmine rice in a sauté pan over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until a golden brown color develops (about 10-12 minutes). Grind to a coarse powder in a mortar & pestle or spice grinder. Set aside.
    2. Make Larb Dressing: Mix in all the dressing ingredients in a bowl and whisk till well combined.
    3. Cook Ground Chicken: Heat oil in wok or skillet over high heat. Add the ground chicken. Stir-fry until the chicken started to get caramelized and crispy (about 6-7 minutes). Remove any excess liquid.
    4. Finish Larb: Remove the cooked chicken from heat and transfer it to a serving bowl. Add in dressing, chopped cilantro, mint, diced scallions and red onion, and mix well. Sprinkle 2 Tbsp toasted rice powder all over and mix well. Taste and adjust to your liking with more fish sauce and lime juice, salt or sugar as needed.
    5. Garnish: Serve larb with garnishes like cucumber slices, julienned carrot, and lettuce.


    1. Adjust the spiciness of the larb to your taste by adding more or less chili flakes.
    2. Keep an eye while dry roasting the rice, as it can easily get burned. You need golden brown color. Keep on stirring all the time while toasting. This might take 10-12 minutes, but it’s crucial for authentic larb.
    3. This salad can be eaten warm, cold, or at room temperature.
    4. Leftovers: You can store the chicken larb in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Simply warm it up in the microwave, or you can enjoy it chilled or at room temperature.

      To freeze the chicken larb, cool to room temperature and store in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Try to press as much air out as possible, this helps prevent freezer burn. You can freeze it for up to 3 months. When ready to eat again, simply thaw and warm it up in the microwave, if desired.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 4 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 324Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 10gCholesterol 121mgSodium 1150mgCarbohydrates 21gFiber 1gSugar 5gProtein 29g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you make this recipe?

    Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

    Get griddling! Try these Blackstone Recipes!

    Never miss a recipe!

    Join the GypsyPlate mailing list and get easy dinner recipes right in your mailbox. From homestyle comfort food to exotic dishes from around the world.

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      Search by Cuisine

      Travel a word of flavors with GypsyPlate. Sort our recpes by regions:

      GypsyPlate logo.
      Skip to Recipe