Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry

It’s safe to say that most of us are constantly on the lookout for quick and tasty meals that we can have on the dinner table in a half-hour or less. Thirty minutes seems to be the magic number to ease the stress of a busy weeknight, but a healthy and delicious dinner can be even faster. How does fifteen minutes sound? Pretty good, right? Realistically, you can get this stir-fry onto a plate in ten, but we’ll pad in five extra minutes to account for slow choppers.

Yup, ten minutes. But fast doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing flavor. This Thai Basil Chicken Stir Fry is layered with flavor – sweet, spicy, and fully satisfying. It’s based on a Thai classic, Pad Kra Prao Kai, and it can be made with pretty much any protein that strikes your fancy – ground beef, pork, turkey, or even lamb – whatever you happen to have on hand. It’s traditionally made with Thai basil (the kind with the purple stems), but you can substitute regular basil if you can’t find the former in your local produce section.

The key to getting this stir fry (or any stir fry, really) done quickly is to work with HIGH heat. Don’t be shy about cranking your stove dial to its highest setting, but make sure that you keep your ingredients moving. That’s why it’s called stir fry after all, you need to keep stirring. If you let the ingredients sit at such a high heat, they’ll burn. (It also helps to make sure your onion is sliced very thin. Smaller pieces mean a quicker cooking time.) We can promise this chicken stir fry is one you need any special cooking chops for; it’s simple to throw together and oh-so reliably good.

Thai Chicken Stir Fry

15 minutes to prepare serves 4


  • 2-3 tablespoons neutral-tasting oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1-2 Thai chilies, de-seeded and thinly sliced
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/3 cup water or broth
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 10-15 Thai basil leaves, torn or lightly chopped
  • 1 lime, sliced into wedges, for serving


  1. Heat the oil in a wok or large pan over high heat. Add chilies, onion, and garlic, and stir-fry until onions are soft and beginning to brown, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add chicken and continue to stir-fry until chicken is mostly cooked through, 2 minutes more.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together water or broth, soy sauce, fish sauce, and sugar, and pour into pan. Stir-fry until liquid reduces, about 2-3 minutes. Add basil and stir-fry until wilted.
  4. Serve hot over rice with lime wedges, and enjoy!

Adapted from Pickled Plum.