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Thai basil beef is simple and delicious! It’s made with a homemade Thai sauce that has a bold and brilliant flavor and can be thrown together in less than 30 minutes. It is SO GOOD!

I love to make International cuisine at home that tastes even better than take-out! In fact, try this like this easy homemade Pad Thai, Beef and Rice Bowl, and these amazing Chicken Skewers!

Top view of Thai basil beef in a bowl.

Thai Basil Beef

I love to eat out. But even more than that, I love it when I can make restaurant food at my OWN house. My favorite thing to order at a Thai restaurant is Thai Basil Beef (Restaurants usually call it Pad Gra Prow). I love it so much that I wanted to have it at home whenever I wanted! So, I came up with the recipe, and boy, it is delicious! Making international food at home used to intimidate me but once I tried it, I realized that it wasn’t hard at all! It’s simple and you will be so glad that you did!

I have always loved the flavors of Thai food! They are fresh and bold and different! You can make them as spicy or as mild as you want. Which is a huge benefit of making this at home… You have all the control to do that and to make it exactly how you and your family want! In fact, once you cook this dish, then you are going to want to try all sorts of that dishes like Thai Peanut Sesame Noodles and Easiest Pad Thai. Look over the ingredients beforehand, there may be some that you need to grab at the store. You’re going to love this recipe so much, you’ll soon be a pro!

What Do You Need to Make Thai Basil Beef?

Some of these ingredients you will have on hand but a few of them you might need to grab at the store before you start cooking. Look over this list before turning on that stove! See the recipe card below for a list of exact ingredient measurements.

  • Vegetable oil: The oil is used to cook your vegetables in!
  • Shallots: I like to make sure my shallots are thinly sliced and similar in size.
  • Garlic cloves: Slice up your garlic cloves, If you don’t have cloves on hand, you can use the minced garlic from your fridge. 1/2 tsp equals about 1 garlic clove.
  • Ginger: Mince up your ginger. THis brings in a fantastic taste.
  • Red bell pepper: Cut up your pepper into thinly sliced pieces.
  • Ground beef: I have also used ground chicken, pork or turkey if I had those at home already instead.
  • Brown sugar: Sweetens up the flavor without adding in too much sugar.
  • Fish sauce, soy sauce and oyster sauce: These sauces will bring in that overall Thai flavoring that will make this dish taste authentic.
  • Garlic chili paste:  This is for heat. Use more or less of this depending on how spicy you want this dish to be!
  • Beef Broth: I like to use low sodium beef broth in this recipe!
  • Water: Used to mix the cornstarch,
  • Cornstarch: The cornstarch is used as a thickening agent.
  • Thai Basil leaves: Thai basil is traditionally what is used but sweet basil may be substituted if you can’t find it!
  • Jasmine rice: This long grained rice tastes amazing and is fantstic underneath all of these tasty ingredients.

Let’s Make Some Thai Food!

Thai basil beef is actually not hard to make at all! It takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish and it is amazingly delicious!

  1. Cook vegetables in oil: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and then add the shallots, garlic, ginger and bell peppers and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
  2. Add ground beef and cook: Push the veggies off to the side and then turn the heat to high and add the ground beef. Break it up into small bits with a spoon.
  3. Mix sauces and cook: In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch beef broth and water and add to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes.
  4. Garnish: Add the basil, and stir until wilted.
  5. Serve: Serve over hot cooked rice.
4 images showing the steps to making Thai basil beef.

Thai Basil vs Sweet Basil

This question comes up a lot for this Thai basil beef recipe so I thought that it deserved its own place! There can be a learning curve to cooking international foods and deciding if things are the same or different is one of them! Thai basil and regular basil (also called sweet basil) are different. Thai basil has a spicy licorice flavor and is not as common to find in the states as sweet basil. A good place to find Thai basil is at your local Asian or International foods market.

Ingredients cooking in a pan.

Substitution Ideas

If you are wondering what to do if you have SOME of these ingredients or maybe different meats, veggies, etc, then you’re in the right place! Here is a list of things that you can switch out for something else if that’s easier for you! Make this your own, it will be delicious!

  • Instead of ground beef: You could use ground chicken or ground pork, or even tofu. Flank steak would also taste delicious in this recipe. Slice it thinly, against the grain.
  • Instead of oyster sauce: You could use more soy sauce instead!
  • Vegetables: Any other color of bell pepper will work for this recipe! I have also used other vegetables such as shredded carrot, thinly sliced zucchini, mushrooms and bean sprouts!
  • Asian chili paste: You could use sriracha hot sauce instead! Or leave these ingredients out if you don’t want any heat at all.
  • Rice: If you don’t have any Jasmine rice just use any rice that you have on hand! Or, skip the rice and serve this in some lettuce wraps!
A close up of Thai basil beef on rice, in a bowl.

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Thai Basil Beef

4.67 from 6 votes
By: Alyssa Rivers
Thai basil beef is simple and delicious! It's made with a homemade Thai sauce that has a bold and brilliant flavor and can be thrown together in less than 30 minutes. It is SOO GOOD!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people



  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil. Add the shallots, garlic, ginger, and bell peppers and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
  • Push the veggies off to the side. Turn the heat to high and add the ground beef, breaking it up into small bits with a spoon.
  • In a small bowl stir together the brown sugar, fish sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, cornstarch beef broth, and water and add to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the basil, and stir-fry until wilted.
  • Serve over hot cooked rice.


*Thai basil is traditionally used, but sweet basil may be substituted if you can’t find it.
Updated on October 4, 2021
Originally Posted on August 26, 2019


Calories: 268kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 27gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 70mgSodium: 1764mgPotassium: 616mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 466IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 32mgIron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Asian American, Chinese
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

About Alyssa Rivers

Alyssa Rivers is the author of 'The Tried and True Cookbook', a professional food photographer and experienced recipe-developer. Having a passion for cooking, her tried and true recipes have been featured on Good Morning America, Today Food, Buzzfeed and more.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    The 2 T of fish sauce was too much, very salty; next time I’ll make it with only 1T. I am not a fan of ground meat used this way so I diced chicken thighs into 1/2″ cubes – very good. I would increase the red pepper quantity. Otherwise a good recipe! Thank you!

  2. 5 stars
    Another bunch of recipes today for me to save for a what’s for dinner day. LOL. I am sure it ill be good hence the 5 stars

  3. 5 stars
    I made this for dinner today and it was delicious. I used sliced steak instead of ground beef bc it’s what I had on hand. So good. I’m going to try your Korean beef recipe next! Thank you :).

    1. Sambal Oelek Chili Paste
      Sambal is a spicy, chili-based sauce or relish that is popular in many countries across Southeast Asia, especially Indonesia and Malaysia. The sauce consists of ground or pureed chilies and may include small amounts of other ingredients such as citrus juice, shallots, fruit, salt, sugar, or other spices. Making this spicy chili paste is a way to preserve chilies and is often used when fresh chilies are not available.