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Thai Basil Fried Rice

5 from 3 votes

posted: 08/12/20

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This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

Thai Basil Fried Rice is an easy dinner that is so much better than takeout! You will love this delicious spin on fried rice.

overhead view of a bowl full of Thai Basil Fried Rice topped with two slices of jalapeños and fresh Thai Basil

My favorite Thai restaurant has an amazing dish on their menu, Thai Basil Fried Rice. It is a simple dish with pieces of chicken, jalapeños, and Thai Basil. Basil and jalapeños together didn’t make sense to me until I ordered this amazing dish.

This recipe, made with Thai Basil, is a great way to impress someone at home. It tastes just as good as take out, but is made at home.

Ingredients for Thai Fried Rice

There aren’t a lot of ingredients for this recipe, and they are things I tend to keep in my refrigerator and pantry.

  • Old Rice (see more about this below)
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Onion
  • Thai Basil (see more about this below)
  • Jalapeños
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Fish Sauce
  • Sugar
  • Chicken

Both Oyster Sauce and Fish Sauce are easy to find in the international aisle of your grocery store.

overhead view of a skillet of Thai Basil Fried Rice topped with slices of fresh jalapeños and Thai Basil leaves

How To Make Fried Rice

The basics of fried rice are:

  1. Sauté vegetables and meat in a frying pan.
  2. Stir in old rice.
  3. Stir in sauce.

Isn’t that great? I love recipes that are so simple. It makes it easy to create tons of variations and different flavors, like Chicken Fried Rice and Shrimp Fried Rice.

Why We Use Old Rice for Fried Rice

Using old rice is absolutely key to making a good fried rice recipe. It needs to be at least 4 hours old, but I would highly suggest making the rice the day before.

Fresh rice is super soft. Can’t you almost taste it just thinking about it? As rice cools, and sits, it dries out. It turns into distinct, harder grains. This is perfect for the consistency we are looking for when we making fried rice.

side view of a bowl of Thai Basil Fried Rice topped with two fresh jalapeños, another bowl in the background

Thai Basil vs. Sweet Basil

This recipe uses Thai Basil. It has a smaller, thinner leaf than Sweet Basil. It also has a different taste than Sweet Basil. Some describe the taste as almost licorice like. I would disagree with this (I can’t stand licorice, and I love Thai Basil). But does have a distinct taste that is perfect for fried rice.

It might be difficult to find a bunch of Thai Basil next to the Sweet Basil by the herbs in the grocery store. What you can often find is a Thai Basil plant. It usually will cost about the same amount as a bunch of cut basil and you can find it in the produce department. This is what we did when making this recipe.

That being said, you can make this recipe with Sweet Basil. It will create a different taste, but I think that you will still really enjoy it.


Though this recipe has two jalapeños in it, it doesn’t have a very spicy flavor to it. If you shy away from spicy food, I think you will still enjoy this recipe.

If you would like this to have more kick to it, I suggest adding in another jalapeño.

side view of a frying pan full of Thai Basil fried rice recipe garnished with Thai Basil and sliced jalapeños

Other Great Dinners

If you are looking for other interesting flavors to wow your family with, here are a few suggestions:

My Black Bean Tacos are SO easy, and legitimately one of my favorites. The flavors are incredible.

Every time I think about this White Pizza, I drool. It is another interesting mix of ingredients inspired by take out, and so good.

Finally make the best on enchiladas with these Buffalo Chicken Enchiladas. They are drool worthy.

If you make these great dinners or my Thai Basil Fried Rice recipe, be sure to leave me a comment and let me know what you think. I love hearing your feedback.

side view of a frying pan full of Thai Basil fried rice recipe garnished with Thai Basil and sliced jalapeños
5 from 3 votes

Thai Basil Fried Rice

Serves: 4 servings
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Thai Basil Fried Rice is an easy dinner that is so much better than takeout! You will love this delicious spin on fried rice.


  • 4 cups of day old rice at least 4 hours old, overnight is better (read why we use old rice here)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion sliced
  • 1 cup Thai Basil leaves Sweet Basil can be substituted, though it will be a differnt taste
  • 2 jalapeños sliced width wise into coin shapes
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 pound chicken diced


  • Whisk together the oyster sauce, fish sauce, and sugar in a small bowl and set aisde.
  • Preheat your skillet and oil over medium high heat.
  • Add the onions, jalapeños, and garlic and cook until softened and frangrant, about a minute.
  • Stir in the chicken and the sauce and continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink.
  • Stir in the basil and then the rice, stirring well so that the basil wilts and the rice is completely coated and warmed.
Serving: 1.5cups Calories: 487kcal (24%) Carbohydrates: 53g (18%) Protein: 28g (56%) Fat: 17g (26%) Saturated Fat: 2g (13%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g Monounsaturated Fat: 3g Cholesterol: 53mg (18%) Sodium: 1088mg (47%) Potassium: 101mg (3%) Fiber: 1g (4%) Sugar: 5g (6%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Thai
side view of a frying pan full of Thai Basil fried rice recipe garnished with Thai Basil and sliced jalapeños

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Thai Basil Fried Rice

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


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  1. Erin says

    5 stars
    This recipe is so good, making it for the millionth time tonight. I use jarred jalapeño slices when I’m out of fresh. Most times I add a yellow or orange bell pepper. Thanks for sharing this delist spin on Thai basil fried rice!

    • Lisa Longley says

      Oh Erin, you make me so happy. Absolutely no one looks at this recipe ever and I adore it. I’m so glad someone else is making it too!

  2. Milton says

    5 stars
    No one looks at this recipe? I make this recipe all the time. I sub Thai chilies for the jalapenos because I like spicy. I also sometime put red bell pepper in as well for just a little something extra. I’ve been know to scramble some eggs in there as well. It’s so versatile and a staple in my Thai arsenal.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so glad Milton

  3. lynn says

    Where can I find Thai basil?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I found a plant of it in the produce department of my grocery store.

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners