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    Thai Basil Fried Rice

    I recently tried this amazing Thai Basil Fried Rice recipe, it’s a game-changer! It takes your regular fried rice to a whole new level with its spicy and savory flavors.

    Now, I’ll be honest, this recipe does need a trip to the Asian market for Thai basil and those famous Thai bird eye chilis. But let me tell you, it’s totally worth it when you take that first bite.

    I made this for dinner last night and it was restaurant-quality stuff right in my kitchen. Plus, you can adjust the spice level and toss in whatever protein you like. It’s the perfect quick and easy meal for busy weeknights. Give it a try, and you’ll see why it’s become a favorite in my kitchen!

    This Thai Basil Fried Rice is infused with amazing spicy and umami flavors, and it whips up in under 20 minutes!

    Apart from regular sauces and ingredients that go in the wok for stir fry, you need two little unusual ingredients that you might not have in your kitchen on any regular day. Thai basil and Thai bird eye chilis. Make a quick call to your nearest Asian store to see if they carry them so you can make this Thai specialty.

    Whenever I have a lot of Thai basil in the fridge, my first go to dish is my very popular Thai Basil Chicken, known as Pad Krapow Gai. I just have to make it, it’s that addictive.

    I decided to create a fried rice with the same basic flavor profile, from plenty of Thai basil and red chilis.

    This Thai Basil Fried Rice is infused with amazing spicy and umami flavors, and it whips up in under 20 minutes!

    I like spicy stuff, but you can add as much Thai chilis as you can handle. Just make sure to use plenty of Thai basil for that beautiful combination of the sweet and earthy basil along with the heat. Yumm…

    What is Thai Basil?

    fresh basil and thai red chilis on a wooden board

    Thai basil, also known as Holy Thai Basil or “krapow” in Thai, is a type of basil that comes from Southeast Asia. Some folks think it started in India, but others say it’s from Thailand.

    It has a cool anise or black licorice taste and looks pretty with its purple stem, flowers, and dark green leaves. People use it a lot in Southeast Asian cooking, like in Thai, Cambodian, and Vietnamese dishes.

    Holy basil is a special kind of basil with a peppery flavor that’s kind of like cinnamon, cloves, and menthol all mixed together. It adds a nice freshness to dishes from Asia, especially when paired with spicy chilis, garlic, and meat.

    If you can’t find Thai basil, regular basil works too. I always say, don’t let missing ingredients stop you from trying new foods. It might not be exactly like what you’d get in Bangkok, but it’s still tasty!

    This Thai Basil Fried Rice is infused with amazing spicy and umami flavors, and it whips up in under 20 minutes!

    Ingredients Needed

    • Thai Basil – hence the name… 🙂 This is the most important ingredient, as it will make this fried rice more distinctive. Try to hunt it down, I find its in the refrigerated section of most of Asian grocery stores. In a pinch, you can use regular basil.
    • Thai Red Bird Eye Chilis – they are Thailand’s native hot chilis. For any authentic Thai basil dish, you need to use them generously, but you can use as much as you want as per your spice tolerance.
    • Garlic – plenty of garlic here.
    • Sauces – soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce.
    • Sugar or honey – to balance the umami and spice level.
    • Protein – today I am using shrimp and eggs.
    • Cooked rice – preferably day old cooked rice.
    • Oil – any neutral oil such as canola or vegetable.

    Why to Use Day Old Rice When Making Fried Rice

    Freshly cooked rice has a lot of moisture. When you use fresh rice in fried rice, it clumps together and turns out soggy.

    Day old rice is dried out. The grains stay separate and form that signature fried rice texture. Use leftover rice stored up to 5 days in the refrigerator.

    Well, what you do when you don’t have day old rice? Here is a shortcut..

    Freeze the rice!! Spread the rice on a tray and freeze it for 10-15 minutes, or leave it in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes, until the grains become cool to the touch. Easy!!

    Thai Basil Fried Rice Recipe

    First, I make a rough paste of my chilis and garlic. Now, here’s the secret sauce: I highly suggest using a mortar and pestle. Grinding them this way really brings out all the juicy flavors and oils, giving the stir fry that extra kick of flavor and spice. Trust me, it makes a big difference!

    crushed garlic and thai red chilis in a stone mortar

    I mix together oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl, then set it aside.

    Next, I heat up a large skillet or wok over high heat until it’s really hot. Then, I add some oil, garlic, and Thai chili paste, and let them cook for about a minute.

    After that, I add in the shrimp and cook them for about 2 minutes on each side until they’re nice and pink, then mix everything together in the wok.

    cooking the shrimp.

    I push everything to one side of the wok and crack in 2 eggs. After letting them cook a bit, I scramble them up. Once the eggs are cooked, I toss everything together.

    Then, I add the cooked rice and pour in the sauce mixture. I toss everything together until the rice is coated evenly with the sauce, which takes about 2 to 3 minutes.

    adding rice and sauces.

    Finally, I stir in Thai basil and turn off the heat.

    adding in the basil.

    I keep tossing until the basil is well combined with the fried rice.

    Adjusting Spice Levels

    Thai cuisine is often known for it’s spiciness. I have made some Green Curries that will make you breathe fire, but this recipe is relatively mild.

    That being said, I always say one should make it as spicy as they enjoy. Like all my recipes, the ingredients listed are just a guide. You don’t like too much spice? Start with 2-3 chilis and work your way up.

    This Thai Basil Fried Rice is infused with amazing spicy and umami flavors, and it whips up in under 20 minutes!


    Try different proteins instead of shrimp…

    • Chicken – You can use boneless breast or thighs to stir fry. Leftover rotisserie chicken can also go great in this recipe.
    • Beef – For this recipe, some tender steak strips will be ideal.
    • Pork – Both pork loin or ground pork would work in this recipe.
    • Tofu – great for a vegetarian option.

    I also like to add veggies like green peas, bell peppers, green beans, corn, snow peas, mushrooms or broccoli.

    This Thai Basil Fried Rice is infused with amazing spicy and umami flavors, and it whips up in under 20 minutes!

    There you go, add a little oomph and jazz up your fried rice with simple Thai basil and fiery red chilis. If you are spice lover, go heavy handed with the red chilis and you have found your new favorite.

    Some magic happens when garlic and red chilis work together with peppery Thai basil. Find it out yourself when you wok up this fried rice. Have fun. I know your are going to love this one. Easy dinner for tonight… Thai Basil Fried Rice on the table in 20 minutes!

    Be sure to check our other cracking Asian Recipes on GypsyPlate, and come back again for all the new flavors coming to you.

    Thai Basil Fried Rice, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    Bowl of Thai basil fried rice atop the Gypsy Plate.

    Try these other great Asian recipes!
    Pork Adobo
    Gado Gado
    Nasi Goreng
    Japanese Beef Curry
    Chicken Caldereta
    Miso Ramen
    Bun Cha

    featured image for thai basil fried rice post.

    Thai Basil Fried Rice

    Yield: 4 servings
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 10 minutes
    Total Time: 15 minutes

    My Thai Basil Fried Rice is infused with amazing spicy and umami flavors, and it whips up in under 20 minutes!


    • 2 Tbsp oil
    • 7-8 garlic cloves
    • 4-7 Thai bird chilis (see note 1)
    • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
    • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
    • 3 Tbsp oyster sauce
    • 2 tsp sugar or honey
    • 1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
    • 2 eggs
    • 2.5 cups cooked rice
    • 1.5 cup Thai basil


      1. Pound garlic and Thai chilis together to a rough paste in a mortar and pestle.
      2. Mix oyster sauce, fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
      3. Heat a large skillet or wok over high heat. Add oil and garlic chili paste. Cook for a minute. Add in shrimp and cook for 2 minute each side, then mix everything in the wok.
      4. Push everything to the side of the wok. Crack in eggs. Let the eggs cook a bit, then scramble. When eggs are cooked toss everything together.
      5. Add cooked rice and pour in sauce mixture. Toss everything together until rice is coated evenly with the sauce, about 2 to 3 minutes.
      6. Stir in Thai basil and turn off the heat. Keep tossing until basil is well combined with the fried rice.
      7. Serve immediately.


    1. If you don't handle spicy well, start with 1-2 chilis.
    2. Leftovers: You can refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Then just re-heat on the stove over medium heat, or microwave. I do not recommend freezing, as the quality degrades a bit.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 4 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 409Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 332mgSodium 2274mgCarbohydrates 40gFiber 1gSugar 7gProtein 33g

    Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.

    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.

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      1 thought on “Thai Basil Fried Rice”

      • This dish was excellent! I was unable to find any Thai chilis at the supermarket and unfortunately didn’t have any hot chilis on hand by the time I got around to making this. I used chili powder with the garlic instead. Also substituted the Thai basil (also not at my supermarket) with regular Italian basil+mint. But what an excellent combo for the fish/oyster sauce mix. I will definitely be saving this recipe and hopefully I can find the Thai chilis and Thai basil for my next attempt. I’m sure those two elevate the dish even further. Thank you for providing such a great recipe.

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