Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Fried Rice

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

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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!



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.



  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.)



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.


Keywords: thai basil fried rice, thai basil chicken fried rice, thai fried rice, thai chicken fried rice