This Thai basil fried rice will definitely become one of your favorite ways to make fried rice! It's flavorful, slightly spicy, and incredibly aromatic, thanks to the Thai basil in this dish. It's a great dish to switch up your classic Chinese-style fried rice, and it's actually super easy to make!
If you haven’t cooked with Thai basil before, I recommend picking some up at your local Asian grocery store and trying this Thai basil fried rice recipe! It has a very unique and aromatic flavor that perfectly complements the other ingredients in this dish.
My family actually loved this recipe so much that I had to make a second batch on the same day and another one the next day. It’s seriously delicious and great for switching up your fried rice game!
Thai Basil Fried Rice Ingredients
To make this Thai basil fried rice, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Shrimp: You can use either fresh or frozen shrimp for this recipe. Just make sure that they are already peeled and deveined if you don’t want to do it yourself.
- Leftover rice: I recommend using cooked leftover jasmine rice for this recipe. It has the perfect size and using cold leftover rice is great for making fried rice that doesn’t become soggy and clumpy. But other types of white rice can be used as well.
- Eggs: Eggs are another must in fried rice! I used regular medium-sized eggs.
- Thai basil: Thai basil is often hard to find in regular grocery stores, but it is often sold in Asian grocery stores that sell fresh produce. When you are searching for Thai basil, make sure to look for basil that is labeled as Thai Basil or Sweet Basil. Holy Basil is another type of Thai basil, but it has a very different flavor that is much stronger. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend using it for this dish.
- Sauce: For the stir-fry sauce, you’ll need oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and honey. As the three sauces have different flavors, I’d highly recommend using all of them. They are a total winning combination to make the most delicious fried rice!
- Cornstarch: You’ll need cornstarch for marinating the shrimp, so be sure to have some on hand.
- Aromatics: Yellow onion, garlic, and chili pepper is needed to make this dish super flavorful and delicious. So be sure to not skip any of these ingredients.
- Chili flakes: Chili flakes are great for adding an extra kick of spice and another layer of flavor to this dish. You can use any type of chili flake, I used regular red pepper flakes.
- White pepper: If you don’t have any white pepper on hand, feel free to use black pepper instead. White pepper is great for certain stir-fry dishes as it doesn’t taste as strong as black pepper. Just pick the one you like to use.
- Lime juice or sesame oil (optional): These two ingredients are purely optional, but if you have them on hand feel free to use them! Sesame oil is great for adding some extra flavor and lime juice adds a refreshing hint of tanginess to this dish.
How to make Thai basil fried rice
Marinate the shrimp. First, place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and add some light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, vegetable oil, and cornstarch. Toss until combined.
Whisk together the stir-fry sauce. Add the light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, and white pepper to a small bowl. Whisk until combined.
Cook the shrimp. Next, preheat some vegetable oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Sear the shrimp from both sides until cooked through. Then remove the shrimp from the pan.
Sauté the aromatics. Add more oil to the pan and sauté the garlic, onion, and chili pepper over medium heat until fragrant. Then add the chili flakes and sauté for 30 seconds.
Scramble the eggs. Push the aromatics to the side and add the beaten eggs. Let them set and then start to scramble the eggs.
Add the rice, sauce, and shrimp. Now, add in the rice and sauce. Toss until the rice is evenly covered in sauce. Then stir in the shrimp, toss, and let everything warm up.
Stir in the Thai basil. Lastly, stir in the Thai basil and toss until combined.
Finish and serve. Finish off with a squeeze of lime juice or a drizzle of sesame oil (optional). Serve the Thai basil fried rice immediately and enjoy!
Tips & Notes
Here are a few quick notes that I recommend reading through before making this Thai basil fried rice.
- Make sure to not overcook the shrimp. Shrimp cook very quickly, so they don't need much time in the pan. Moreover, they develop an unpleasant texture when overcooked. It's best to follow the package instructions and cook them until they are opaque on both sides.
- Adjust the seasonings to your taste. The sauce tastes really great as is, but you can definitely change it if you want. If you prefer a lighter flavor, use less dark soy sauce. And if you prefer a milder dish, use less red pepper flakes or chili pepper.
- Don’t cook the fried rice for too long after adding the Thai basil. You only want to stir the Thai basil in until it’s incorporated. If it’s cooked for too long, it loses flavor and can burn.
- Vegetables: Depending on how you serve the fried rice, you may want to add some vegetables. Pick anything you like and sauté the vegetables before adding the eggs.
- Protein: You could also pick another type of protein such as chicken breast to switch things up. The marinade works with any type of protein!
- Sauce: Another option to modify this dish is adjusting the flavor of the sauce. You can use less dark soy sauce for a lighter flavor, add some fish sauce, or use sesame oil.
Frequently Asked Questions
This Thai basil fried rice boasts a deep, umami-rich flavor that is slightly spicy and refreshingly herbaceous thanks to the Thai basil. It has a truly unique taste that everyone who's tried it so far has loved!
You can find Thai basil in Asian grocery stores that sell fresh produce. It’s often labeled as Thai Basil or Sweet Basil. Just make sure you don’t accidentally use Holy Basil as it has a different flavor.
Italian basil has a different taste so you will end up with a dish that doesn’t taste as intended. I sometimes use Italian basil for fried rice and it tastes good, although I prefer Thai basil. If you really can’t find Thai basil, you may give the Italian basil version a try. But definitely try to find Thai basil first, it’s absolutely worth it!
You can store leftovers in an airtight container in your refrigerator for 3-4 days. Make sure to reheat everything properly using a microwave or stove. If the fried rice feels a bit dry, add a splash of light soy sauce or water.
More quick and delicious stir-fry recipes
I absolutely love to make delicious stir-fries at home. If you feel the same way, you may want to give one of the following recipes a try. They are all favorites that never disappoint!
Thai Basil Fried Rice
Shrimp Marinade Ingredients
- 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined
- ½ tablespoon light soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil or avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
Stir Fry Sauce Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce
- ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon honey
- pinch of white pepper
Fried Rice Ingredients
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or avocado oil half for the shrimp, half for the aromatics
- 1 yellow onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 chili pepper finely diced
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes more to taste
- 4 eggs beaten
- 4 cups cooked leftover jasmine rice or another type of white rice
- 1 cup Thai basil lightly packed, chopped
- lime juice or sesame oil (optional) to taste
- First, place the shrimp in a mixing bowl and add all shrimp marinade ingredients. Toss until the shrimp are evenly covered and set aside.1 pound shrimp, ½ tablespoon light soy sauce, 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce, ½ tablespoon vegetable oil or avocado oil, 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Next, whisk together all stir-fry sauce ingredients and set the sauce aside.2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons light soy sauce, ½ tablespoon dark soy sauce, 1 tablespoon honey, pinch of white pepper
- Now, preheat half of the vegetable oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the shrimp and sear them until cooked through. Then remove the shrimp from the pan and set them aside.2 tablespoons vegetable oil or avocado oil
- Next, add the remaining vegetable oil to the pan. Sauté the onion, garlic, and chili pepper over medium heat until fragrant. Then add the red pepper flakes and sauté for 30 seconds.1 yellow onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1 chili pepper, 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Push the sautéed aromatics to the side. Add the beaten eggs and scramble them.4 eggs
- Add the cooked rice and stir-fry sauce to the pan and toss until the rice is covered in sauce. Add the shrimp back to the pan and toss until everything is reheated.4 cups cooked leftover jasmine rice
- Stir in the chopped Thai basil and quickly toss. Finish off with a squeeze of lime juice or a drizzle of sesame oil (optional), toss one last time, and enjoy!1 cup Thai basil, lime juice or sesame oil (optional)
- 1 cup or 300g of cooked rice should be about ⅓ cup or 90g of uncooked rice. If you want to use freshly cooked rice, I recommend cooking it in advance and storing it in the refrigerator.