Thai basil chicken is spicy, sweet, and savory and oh so easy! The quick and tasty one dish meal perfect for weeknights.
Nothing beats a wok when you’re trying to get dinner on the table in a hurry and this Thai basil chicken can be cooked in minutes. It’s packed with flavor and has just the right balance of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy.
Here’s the thing, of course it’s easy to order take out when you’re pressed for time. But with this recipe for Thai basil chicken you can pull together a dinner that will rival any of your favorite take-out dishes.
Sure, you might not be in the mood to cook, but a piping hot bowl of deliciousness in a little over twenty minutes sure beats an hour long wait full of groans and whining. Right?!
This is where one of my most prized cooking possessions comes into play.
My trusty, well-seasoned wok. It’s been with me most of my adult life and only improves with time.
It didn’t cost very much, a good wok will only set you back $25-$30 and as long as you take care of it, it will last forever. A carbon-steel wok is my go-to; it’s lightweight, heats up quickly and over time it will develop a completely non-stick surface.
This means clean up doesn’t require scouring the pan or a long soak. Just give it a quick wash and be sure to lightly coat the surface with a little canola or vegetable oil to prevent rust.
So if your house is anything like mine on a busy weeknight and you’re about to order take out for the hungry masses, put down the phone and pull out your wok! You’ll have empty bowls and full bellies in no time.
Let’s make Thai Basil Chicken
- Heat the oil in the wok over high heat and add the chopped onion.
- Add the garlic and cook for one minute.
- Toss the chicken in cornstarch and add to the wok.
- Once the chicken is almost cooked through, add the chopped chile, chile paste, sherry, fish sauce, and brown sugar.
- Whisk in the chicken stock and cook until the sauce is slightly thickened.
- Stir in the basil and serve.
Tips for success
- The bite-size chunks of chicken are lightly coated in corn starch which creates a velvety sauce. The corn starch also helps to thicken the sauce.
- This recipe calls for holy basil which has a sharper, more powerful flavor than regular Thai or Italian basil, but it’s often hard to come by. No worries if you can’t find it; Thai or Italian basil are excellent substitutes.
- Have all of your ingredients prepped before you start as this recipe comes together quickly.
- Use high heat when cooking with the wok. Just be sure to stir frequently.
More Easy Weeknight Dishes
- Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry
- Chicken Breasts with Creamy Spinach Sauce
- Chicken with Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce
- Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Chicken and Mushrooms
Thai basil chicken is spicy, sweet, and savory and oh so easy! The quick and tasty one dish meal perfect for weeknights!
- 1 Tbsp canola oil
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken (cut into a 1/2 inch dice)
- 1/3 cup cornstarch
- 1 Thai chile or serrano pepper, minced
- 1 tsp green chile paste
- 1/3 cup sherry
- 3 Tbsp Asian fish sauce
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 1 1/2 cups Holy basil (Thai basil or Italian basil can be substituted)
- *Jasmine rice for serving
Heat the oil in a wok over high heat.
Add the onion and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute.
Toss the chicken with cornstarch to coat and add to wok. Cook for about 5 minutes until almost cooked through, stirring frequently.
Add chile, chile paste, sherry, fish sauce, brown sugar, and soy sauce. Stir and cook until slightly reduced, about 2 minutes.
Add chicken stock and cook an additional 3 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly.
Stir in the basil. Serve immedidately over jasmine rice if desired.
Update Notes: This post was originally published in January 2016 but was republished with tips and step by step photos in September 2019.