Flavor-packed Thai basil fried rice with a combination of sweet and earthy basil and spicy chili paste. It takes about 10 minutes to cook in a wok and is a perfect meal for the entire family to enjoy. I used all vegan ingredients, including tofu as the main protein. If you aren't vegetarian or vegan you can add your favorite meat to it.
This dish is named after the large Thai basil leaves that give it a unique aroma and flavor. Not only is this rice dish bursting with flavor, but it's a delight to look at, too. The green Thai basil leaves complement the red bell pepper slices. It's like a party on your plate. I often make this fried rice when I am having a really busy day and don't have time to cook an extravagant meal.
There are lots of recipes for this fried rice that call for it to be fried in a wok on the stove with different types of protein or meat. My version of the EASY Thai basil fried rice recipe is vegetarian and uses baked tofu.
The fresh Thai basil leaves are what sets this recipe apart from other fried rice recipes. It is native to Southeast Asia - many people believe it originated in India, but others consider it native to Thailand.
There are actually three different types of basil used in Thai cooking.
- Holy Thai Basil - In Thailand, people call this basil kra phao. It has a spicy or peppery flavor and is similar to cloves.
- Horapa or Horapha - This type of basil has strong anise and licorice notes.
- Maeglak or Manglak - This basil is also called lemon basil and has a lemon scent and flavor.
One thing I noticed is that Thai basil is able to withstand longer cooking times than the Mediterranean variety. It also gives the rice a lot more flavor.
- Jasmine rice - cooked jasmine rice you can also use brown rice or basmati rice
- Tofu - extra firm tofu baked or stir-fried
- Fresh produce - garlic, yellow onion, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper
- Thai basil leaves - available in Asian grocery stores like H-mart
- Sauces - soy sauce, oyster sauce (hoisin sauce vegan option), and chili garlic sauce
How to Make Thai Basil Fried Rice
- Make Instant Pot Jasmine Rice and allow it to cool down.
- Heat oil over medium heat. Then, add the garlic and red chilis and saute them until they are fragrant, or about 30 seconds. (photo 1).
- Saute peppers, onions, and salt for about 4-5 minutes, or until they are slightly tender (photo 2).
- Add half the basil leaves, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chili garlic paste. Stir this well and fry them together (photos 3-4).
- Add baked tofu to the wok and stir it all together (photo 5).
- Turn up the heat to high and fold in cooked rice (photo 6).
- Allow the rice to cook for 4-5 minutes or until the rice is golden brown on the bottom. Add the rest of the Thai basil leaves (photos 7-8).
Thai Basil Fried rice makes for a hearty meal on its own. Add some scrambled or fried egg on top for extra protein. You can also pair it with Chicken Massaman Curry, Panang Chicken Curry, or Vegetable Massaman Curry.
How to Store Thai Fried Rice
This Thai fried rice makes for a great meal prep recipe. Bake, air fry, or stir fry the tofu and prep the vegetables over teh weekend to make a quick weeknight meal. Any leftovers can also be refrigerated for 2 to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.
If you aren't vegetarian, here are some meats that you can use in fried rice instead of tofu.
- Chicken - Shred some boneless, skinless, chicken breasts and mix them in with the rice
- Beef - For this recipe, some tender steak strips will taste the best
- Shrimp - Stir in a few pieces of small shrimp
- Pork - Shred a pork loin and mix it into the rice
- Use pre-cooked cold rice for the stir fry.
- Save time and pre-slice the vegetables before you cook.
- As you make the stir fry, saute the garlic and red chili just until you start to smell it.
- The best kind of rice to use is Jasmine rice. It has a pleasant aroma and the most flavor.
More Easy Thai Recipes
My family loves eating at Thai restaurants so much that I often make Thai curries at home. From the Thai red curry, Instant Pot Thai Massaman curry, Thai Green Curry, and Thai Panang Curry to the Instant Pot coconut curry noodle soup, we adore the delicious Thai flavors.
Spicy Thai food always leaves you craving something sweet. Here are some of my go-to desserts:
I like to use day-old Jasmine rice for this recipe.
Yes, you can easily cut this recipe in half or even double it. Since you are making this in a wok on the stove, make as much as you need.
The best way to reheat leftover fried rice is by frying it again in a wok with more oil. This will make it taste nice and crispy again.
Spicy Thai Basil Fried Rice
- 4 to 6 cups cooked jasmine rice you can also use brown rice
- 14 oz extra firm tofu baked or stir-fried
- 1 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon thai red chili sliced optional
- 1 large yellow onion sliced
- 1 medium red bell pepper sliced into 1 inch strips
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 medium yellow bell pepper sliced into 1 inch strips
- 1 cup packed Thai basil leaves chop if the leaves are big
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce low sodium
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce or oyster sauce if you are not vegan
- 1 tablespoon chili garlic sauce
- Heat oil in a large skillet or wok over medium heat. Add garlic and red chili and saute for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
- Add onion, peppers, salt and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the veggies are slightly tender. Next, add half of the Thai basil leaves and stir well. Stir in soy sauce, hoisin sauce, and chili garlic sauce.
- Add the baked tofu and mix everything together. Turn the heat to high and fold in the cooked rice until all the veggies are mixed in.
- Allow the rice to cook for 4 to 5 minutes or just until the bottom rice starts to brown and crisp up. Garnish with remaining basil leaves and enjoy hot!