Basil Fried Rice is such a flavorful Thai-inspired fried rice recipe! It starts with a chili and garlic paste that we’ll stir fry with shallots, add shrimp, a few sauces, and a handful of fresh basil leaves! It’s the perfect one-pot recipe!

basil fried rice in cast iron pan

Basil fried rice is the best way to use up leftover rice!

We love making this one-pot dinner so much that I’ll make a potful of Jasmine rice the night before with Thai fried rice written all over it. Tender seasoned rice that crisps and pops in the pan when fried in butter. The shrimp add sweetness to the rice dish, the sauce adds a salty umami flavor, and the fresh basil gives off a licorice taste that works beautifully with all the other ingredients.

I’ve shared the secret to making perfect rice time and time again and it’s making the rice ahead of time, letting it cool down, and then frying it up in a pan with all the sauces. It produces the most delicious fried rice you’ll ever have – and not a mushy grain in sight! If you haven’t tried my hibachi fried rice or my 15-minute fried rice recipe, you need to add those to the list too!

close up of thai basil rice with shrimp and basil showing

Ingredients for Thai Basil fried Rice:

  • Jasmine Rice: You’ll want to use day-old jasmine rice or other white rice for this recipe. Fried rice is the best hack if you’ve got a ton of leftover rice after ordering Thai take-out! Turn it into another meal! Preparing the rice a day ahead of time and cooling it in the refrigerator overnight allows it to dry out. It also helps to hold its shape a lot better when we fry it in the pan. I usually make a batch of jasmine rice in my pressure cooker the night before and pop it into the refrigerator. Instructions for that are below!
  • Garlic: cloves of garlic and smashed with Thai chilies and a pinch of salt in a mortar and pestle to create a chili garlic paste. This paste is then sautéed in the butter and creates the most amazing aroma!
  • Thai Chili: are sometimes called birds-eye chilies and very traditional to Thai cooking. These peppers are quite hot! So if you’re someone who doesn’t enjoy spicy food, use less of them in this dish. 
  • Sauces: Most of these are now available in your regular old grocery store! You’ll need oyster sauce, black soy sauce, and fish sauce. Fish sauce adds that signature deep, rich umami flavor that you find in Thai recipes. You can replace the oystersauce with vegetarian oyster sauce if you’re cooking for those with allergies and those that don’t consume oysters. Black soy sauce is sometimes labeled as dark soy sauce. This ingredient isn’t always available in all grocery stores, but you can replace it with 1 tablespoon of low sodium soy sauce if you can’t find this one!
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds a depth of flavor to this. Traditionally, palm sugar is used but I know that can be a difficult ingredient to find unless you have an Asian grocery store in your area! Brown sugar works well here if you don’t happen to have palm sugar on hand.
  • White Pepper: White pepper gives the sauce a delicious aroma! 
  • Eggs: A couple of beaten eggs are essential to any good fried rice recipe! I use them in my 15-minute fried rice recipe as well as my hibachi fried rice recipe.
  • High Heat Oil + Butter: You’ll want to use high heat oil to scramble the eggs. My personal favorite is avocado oil but sunflower or even vegetable oil will work. Butter is another ingredient that I use in all of my fried rice recipes. It gives the rice a deliciously rich flavor! Start by cooking the eggs in the oil and then the rest of the ingredients will cook in butter to give this the ultimate flavor!
  • Shallots: are essential to Thai cuisine. Most often shallots are used instead of onions. However, if you must, you can replace the shallots with a small red onion in this recipe.
  • Shrimp: is the source of protein! I saute the shrimp right in with the garlic and chili mixture. Feel free to swap the shrimp for chopped chicken instead. My favorite local Thai restaurant also makes a version with mushrooms, yellow and red bell pepper, tomatoes, and other vegetables and it’s delicious! You could also make this with firm to extra firm tofu!
  • Basil: What’s basil fried rice without a little (read: a lot) of basil?You want to use sweet Thai basil for this recipe. If you can’t find Thai basil, you can use Italian basil for this recipe.
pulvarized thai chili and garlic paste
how to pan fry fried rice step by step pictures

How to make the best Thai basil fried rice at home:

  1. Make the garlic chili paste. Start by adding the garlic, red chilies, and a small pinch of salt in a mortar and crush it down with a pestle. Make sure the garlic and chilies are finely minced – almost like a crunchy sauce!
  2. Make the sauce. Add the oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, and white paper to a bowl and stir it together until the sugar mostly dissolves. Keep this to the side for now.
  3. Scramble the eggs. Lightly beat the eggs in a bowl. Heat a large skillet, wide Dutch oven, or a wok over medium-high heat. When the wok is hot, add the oil and scramble the eggs in the wok. Then remove the scrambled eggs to a bowl and set this aside for later. You don’t want the eggs to overcook so for my fried rice recipe, I like to get this step done ahead of time.
  4. Sauté the aromatics. Add the butter to the skillet and sauté the shallots for a few minutes before adding in the chili garlic paste. Allow the paste to heat through and then add the protein or veggies that you are using. You don’t want the protein to be cooked all the way through here. Let it cook just under halfway and then add the cooked rice to the pan. Spread the rice out, into an even layer and allow it to sizzle in the pan. This will give the rice that signature fried rice smoky taste. Once the rice is sizzling, toss it and then spread it out and let it heat through ahead. Alternating gives the rice time to heat through and it’ll start popping towards the end.
  5. Finish it up and serve. Drizzle the prepared sauce into the rice and allow it to sizzle and soak into the rice. Then add the scrambled eggs and the basil. Stir to combine and let the basil wilt down just a tad bit. Then serve this immediately.
wooden spoon holding fried rice, basil, and shrimp

FAQs about Thai Basil Fried Rice:

  1. How do you make jasmine rice for this recipe? I use a 1:1 ratio of rice to water. Start by rinsing the rice under cold running water. Scrub the rice using your fingertips and swish them clockwise in the rice rubbing it against the sieve. Take your time here; you want the water to run clear. Then add the rice and 1 cup water along with a small pinch of salt to the instant pot. Cook on high for 3 minutes, with a natural pressure release for 8 minutes. Turn the knob to vent the remaining pressure. Allow the rice to cool slightly before refrigerating.
  2. What if I don’t have day-old rice? Cook the rice according to the directions above, then transfer the rice to a large sheet pan, spread it out. Place the sheet pan in the refrigerator uncovered for 1-2 hours. If you’re short on time, you can pop the sheet pan into the freezer for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. I can’t find thai chilies, what else can I use? Thai chilies are also sometimes labeled birds-eye chilies. If you can’t find fresh chilies in store, you can replace them with a dried chili de arbol or 1/4-1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.

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wooden spoon in dutch oven with fried rice
Yield: serves 6

Thai Basil Fried Rice

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes

Basil Fried Rice is such a flavorful Thai-inspired fried rice recipe! It starts with a chili and garlic paste that we’ll stir fry with shallots, add shrimp, a few sauces, and a handful of fresh basil leaves! It’s the perfect one-pot recipe!

Thai Basil Fried Rice

Ingredients

  • 3 cups cooked and cooled jasmine rice (see notes)
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 1-6 Thai red chilies (I use 2-3)
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • 2 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black soy sauce (or dark soy sauce)
  • 2-3 teaspoons fish sauce ( I use 3)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ⅛ teaspoon white pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • ⅓ cup thinly sliced shallots
  • 12 ounces shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 ½ cups Thai basil leaves

Instructions

    1. CHILI: Add the garlic, red chilies, and a small pinch of salt to a mortar and break it down with a pestle. You want the garlic and chilies to be completely minced; set aside.
    2. SAUCE: Add oyster sauce, soy sauce, fish sauce, brown sugar, and white pepper to a bowl, stir to combine; set aside for now.
    3. EGGS: Heat a large dutch oven or wok over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil to the pan. Add the eggs and scramble them in the pan quickly, breaking up any large pieces. Remove to a bowl and set aside for later.
    4. SAUTE: Add the butter to the pan and allow it to melt. Then add the shallots and cook for 3 minutes or until softened, then add the chili paste from step 1. Cook for 30 seconds before adding the shrimp. Cook the shrimp for 30 seconds. Then add the cooked rice to the skillet. Stir everything to combine. Flatten the rice out into a thin layer and allow the rice to sizzle for 30 seconds untouched. Toss, then let sit again for 30 seconds. Alternating gives the rice time to heat through. You’ll notice the rice starts to sizzle and pop in the pan.
    5. FINISH: Drizzle the prepared sauce over the rice, stir, and allow it to sizzle and soak into the rice. When the sauce is absorbed, add the eggs and basil. Stir to combine and allow the basil to wilt a bit. Turn off the heat and serve!

Notes

  • To make three cups of cooked rice, you’ll want to start with 1 cup of dry jasmine rice.
  • Recipe heavily adapted from my hibachi fried rice.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 291Total Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 19g

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