That Spicy Chick

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice

This Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice is super easy to stir-fry on any given weeknight, exploding with garlicky chili and peppery basil flavors, and great for meal prep! It’s ready to go in less than 30 minutes, and is vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free adaptable.

Top view of chicken fried rice on a plate with cucumber slices, fork and spoon, and small dish with chopped chilies in fish sauce.

So we have a Spicy Thai Basil Chicken, Thai Holy Basil Chicken, and Thai Basil Chicken Spaghetti on the blog so far. (Can you tell I’m a wee bit obsessed with Thai holy and sweet basil?) 😉

It’s now time for a Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice! This quick and easy, yet humble fried rice will blow your mind, and tantalize your tastebuds with all of its EPIC spicy and garlicky notes!

Front view close up of chicken fried rice and cucumber slices on plate.

Why This Recipe Works

  • It’s quick and easy to stir-fry on any given weeknight. We are talking under 30 minutes and you’ve got a smashing fried rice ready.
  • The spicy Bird’s Eye chilies and garlic get smashed into a paste to help release their oils. This makes the fried rice wonderfully spicy and garlicky!
  • Marinating and browning the chicken before adding everything else to the wok ensures that it’s flavorful and not bland.
  • We’ve got an umami packed fried rice sauce thanks to oyster sauce, a light soy sauce, and a sweet dark soy sauce.
  • Thai holy basil adds a beautiful peppery note to the fried rice.
  • It’s great for meal prep.
  • It’s flexible with the protein you choose. Chicken, shrimp, crispy pan-fried tofu, thinly sliced pork or beef would all taste great.

Ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice on wooden board.
Labeled sauce ingredients for Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice, and fried rice sauce in a measuring cup with spoon.

A couple of notes on some of the ingredients first.

  • Chicken: I use boneless and skinless chicken thighs. But you could also use boneless and skinless chicken breasts or fillets instead.
  • Red and Green Chilies: Bird’s eye chilies are preferred, but Holland or any other small hot chilies will work too. Use as many or as few as you like depending on your heat level preference.
  • Large Red Chili: This one is just for color and is quite mild. Don’t forget to reserve a few slices for garnish.
  • Oil: I use canola oil, but any other oil with a high smoke point is fine.
  • Rice: Use cooked long-grain rice such as Jasmine or Basmati rice. Day old rice works best.
  • Thai Holy Basil Leaves: This basil has a unique peppery flavor and is the star ingredient in this fried rice. It’s got furry stems, and the leaves have ridges on the sides. Look for it at your local Asian or Thai grocery store if you’re based in the U.S. In Asia, it should be available at the Thai stall in your local wet market. If you can’t locate it, substitute with Thai sweet basil or regular Italian basil. Italian basil is closer in flavor to holy basil than Thai sweet basil. But either basil substitute will taste great.
  • Water: Since the sauce is sticky and a bit thick due to the oyster sauce and sweet dark soy sauce, I add a splash of water to it to make it more fluid. This helps it to spread quickly and coat everything. Contrary to what one might think, it does not make the fried rice mushy. You could use a splash of chicken broth instead if you prefer.

Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.

How to make Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice

Here’s a quick overview of how to make this easy fried rice.

Prep:

  1. Marinate the chicken: Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces, then combine with the light soy sauce, fish sauce, and ground white pepper in a bowl.
  2. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Roughly chop the garlic and red and green Bird’s eye chilies. Then smash them into a coarse paste using a mortar and pestle. Slice the yellow onion, and thinly slice the large red chili at an angle. (Set aside a few pieces of the large red chili for garnish.) Pick the holy basil leaves off the stems, then wash and pat-dry them with paper towels.
  3. Make the sauce: Whisk together the oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sweet dark soy sauce, sugar, and water in a measuring cup (or small bowl) and set aside.
Chicken in bowl with marinade and spoon, and smashed garlic and chilies in mortar and pestle.

(Note: If you don’t own a mortar and pestle, you can finely mince the garlic and bird’s eye chilies. Alternatively, you could also use a mini blender to pulse the garlic and chilies into a coarse paste.)

For the Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice:

  1. Cook chicken: Heat the canola oil in the wok over high heat. Add the chicken and cook until no longer opaque and the pieces start to brown.
  2. Cook onion, garlic chili paste, and large red chili: Stir-fry the onion first for a few seconds, then add the garlic chili paste and large red chili slices. Toss to combine until fragrant.
  3. Add rice and sauce: Break up the clumps of rice as you stir-fry, until the rice is evenly coated in the sauce.
  4. Add holy basil: Toss briefly until wilted, then switch off the heat.
  5. To Serve: Place two pieces of the reserved large red chili slices in a bowl. Spoon the fried rice into the bowl and press down with the spoon until even. Then tip onto a plate. Repeat for the remaining servings. Serve with cucumber slices, and fish sauce with chopped chilies on the side if desired.
Collage of process steps to make Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice.

Alternatively, you can just plate the fried rice and garnish with the chili slices if you prefer not to be fancy. I like fancy because it’s pretty, but you do you. 😉

Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.

Close up top view of fried rice, cucumber slices, fish sauce with chopped chilies, and spoon and fork on a plate.

Cook’s Tips

  • Have everything ready before you switch on the gas. As with all stir-fries, it’s best to have everything prepped because everything gets cooked very quickly.
  • Open a window or turn on the exhaust fan. Frying chilies and garlic in oil at high heat can be quite pungent and smoky business.
Front view of chicken fried rice and cucumber slices on plate.

FAQs

Will adding water to the sauce make the fried rice mushy?

No, it won’t because of the high cooking temperature, and we’re only using a small amount. The water makes the sauce more fluid, which helps it to spread and coat every grain of rice evenly and quickly.

Can I make this vegan/vegetarian?

Use a vegetarian mushroom flavored oyster sauce, and make the fried rice with crispy pan-fried tofu cubes instead of chicken. Omit the chicken marinade ingredients and season the tofu with salt and pepper instead. Pan-fry them in a bit of oil for about 10-12 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate, then follow steps 2-5 to make the fried rice. Add the crispy tofu cubes back into the wok after adding and stir-frying the rice and sauce (step 4). Feel free to add additional veggies like thinly sliced bell peppers or carrots if desired.

Can I make this gluten-free?

Use a gluten-free oyster sauce, gluten-free light soy sauce, and a gluten-free sweet dark soy sauce such as this gluten-free kecap manis. Also, make sure that the fish sauce you’re using is GF certified.

Can I use a different non-vegetarian protein?

Pork fillet (or loin or tenderloin) or beef sirloin or flank steak cut into bite-sized pieces would work great. You could also use shrimp. You’ll need 250 grams of whichever protein you choose.

How long will leftovers keep?

Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator.

Front and top view of fried rice and cucumber slices on pink plate. Text overlay "Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice".

More Fried Rice Recipes

More Easy Weeknight Stir-frys

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Print
Top view of chicken fried rice on a plate with cucumber slices, fork and spoon, and small dish with chopped chilies in fish sauce.

Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice

This Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice is super easy to stir-fry on any given weeknight, exploding with garlicky chili and peppery basil flavors, and great for meal prep!  Ready in under 30 minutes!

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 12
  • Total Time: 27 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Lunch
  • Method: Stir-fry
  • Cuisine: Thai
Scale

Ingredients

For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 250 grams (0.55 lbs) Chicken Thighs, boneless, skinless – cleaned and pat-dried, excess fat trimmed, and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 TSP Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 TSP Fish Sauce
  • ¼ TSP ground White Pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 3 TBLS Oyster Sauce
  • 1 TBLS Light Soy Sauce
  • ½ TBLS Sweet Dark Soy Sauce
  • 1 TSP White Sugar
  • 1 TBLS Water (or chicken broth)

For the Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice:

  • 67 Garlic cloves – roughly chopped
  • 610 Red Chilies (Bird’s eye preferred, but Holland or any other small chilies will work too.), to taste – cut into halves or thirds depending on length
  • 410 Green Chilies (Bird’s eye preferred, but Holland or any other small chilies will work too.), to taste – cut into halves or thirds depending on length
  • ¾ Yellow Onion – sliced into ¼-inch thick pieces
  • 1 Large Red Chili – deseeded if desired and thinly sliced at an angle (reserve a few pieces for garnish)
  • 1.5 cups Thai Holy Basil Leaves (substitute with Italian basil or Thai sweet basil if unavailable) – washed and dried
  • 2 TBLS Canola Oil (or any other cooking oil with a high smoke point)
  • 3 cups cooked Thai rice (or use any other long-grain rice, day old rice works best)
  • To Serve: Cucumber slices, fish sauce with chopped chilies if desired.

Instructions

Prep:

  1. Marinate the chicken: Clean and trim off any excess fat from the chicken thighs. Then cut into bite-sized pieces and add to a medium sized mixing bowl. Add the light soy sauce, fish sauce, and ground white pepper. Mix with a spoon until combined well, then set aside.
  2. Prepare the fresh ingredients: Roughly chop the garlic and red and green Bird’s eye chilies. Then smash them into a coarse paste using a mortar and pestle. Slice the yellow onion, and thinly slice the large red chili at an angle. Set aside a few pieces for garnish. Pick the holy basil leaves off the stems, then wash and dry them with some paper towels. Set everything aside.
  3. Make the sauce: Combine the oyster sauce, light soy sauce, sweet dark soy sauce, sugar, and water in a measuring cup or small bowl. Mix until evenly combined and set aside.

For the Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice:

  1. Cook chicken: Heat the canola oil in a large wok over high heat. Once hot, add the chicken and cook for 1-2 minutes, until no longer pink and the pieces start to brown.
  2. Cook onion, garlic chili paste, and large red chili: Add the onion and cook for 30 seconds. Then add the smashed garlic chili paste and large red chili slices. Stir-fry for 30 seconds to combine. (Note: Open a window or turn on the exhaust fan if needed. It can become quite smoky and pungent.)
  3. Add rice and sauce: Add the rice and pour the sauce on top. Stir-fry for a minute, breaking up the clumps of rice as you go, until the rice is evenly coated in the sauce.
  4. Toss through holy basil: Add the holy basil leaves and toss for 30 seconds until wilted, then switch off the heat.
  5. To Serve: Place two pieces of the reserved large red chili slices in a bowl. Spoon the fried rice into the bowl and press down with the spoon until even. Then tip onto a plate. Repeat for the remaining servings. Serve with cucumber slices, and fish sauce with chopped chilies on the side if desired. (Note: Alternatively, you can just plate the fried rice and garnish with the chili slices if you’re not particular about presentation.)

Notes

Ingredient Note’s, Cook’s Tips, and FAQs

  1. Garlic chili paste: If you don’t own a mortar and pestle, you can finely mince the garlic and bird’s eye chilies. Alternatively, you could also use a mini blender to pulse the garlic and chilies into a coarse paste. Use as many or as few chilies as you like depending on your heat level preference.
  2. Chicken: Instead of thighs, you could use boneless and skinless chicken breasts or fillets too.
  3. Will adding water to the sauce make the fried rice mushy? No, it won’t because of the high cooking temperature, and we’re only using a small amount. The water makes the sauce more fluid, which helps it to spread and coat every grain of rice evenly and quickly.
  4. Can I make this vegan/vegetarian? Use a vegetarian mushroom flavored oyster sauce, and make the fried rice with crispy pan-fried tofu cubes instead of chicken. Omit the chicken marinade ingredients and season the tofu with salt and pepper instead. Pan-fry them in a bit of oil for about 10-12 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate, then follow steps 2-5 to make the fried rice. Add the crispy tofu cubes back into the wok after adding and stir-frying the rice and sauce (step 4). Feel free to add additional veggies like thinly sliced bell peppers or carrots if desired.
  5. Can I make this gluten-free? Use a gluten-free oyster sauce, gluten-free light soy sauce, and a gluten-free sweet dark soy sauce such as this gluten-free kecap manis. Also, make sure that the fish sauce you’re using is GF certified.
  6. Can I use a different non-vegetarian protein? Pork fillet (or loin or tenderloin) or beef sirloin or flank steak cut into bite-sized pieces would work great. You could also use shrimp. You’ll need 250 grams of whichever protein you choose.
  7. How long will leftovers keep? Leftovers will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 plate
  • Calories: 411
  • Sugar: 13.4g
  • Sodium: 764.7mg
  • Fat: 10.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.4g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 8.6g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 59.8g
  • Fiber: 4.3g
  • Protein: 21.1g
  • Cholesterol: 58.8mg

The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

This post may contain affiliate links. We are a part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

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