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This Thai Basil Beef recipe is a classic Thai street food that you can easily make at home. Make this super flavorful and easy 20 minute dinner tonight!

Thai basil beef with fresh basil, red bell peppers and onions over white rice.

Making Thai Food at home

If you ask me what I want to order for dinner, it’s probably going to be Thai food. I started learning how to make my favorite Thai dishes at home, with a few adaptations so that the recipes use ingredients I almost always have on hand.

This Thai Basil Beef recipe is a quick and easy ground beef dinner, with all the flavors you love in Thai food.

Ingredients for Thai basil beef - a bowl with the sauce, ground beef, minced garlic, red bell peppers and onions, surrounded by basil.

Ingredients in Thai Basil Beef

  • Thai Basil – the namesake of the dish! Thai Holy basil is traditionally used, but can be hard to find sometimes. If you can’t find Holy basil, use Thai basil or Sweet basil.
  • Ground Beef – Ground beef makes this dish easy and affordable.
  • Canola Oil – Don’t skip on this. It really helps your ground beef brown nicely and helps bloom the flavors of the aromatics. Use any high smoke point oil, I use canola oil.
  • Onion – I generally use sweet onions or yellow onions. Slice thinly against the grain into half moons.
  • Red Bell Pepper – Thinly sliced
  • Minced Garlic – you can never go wrong with garlic.
  • Soy Sauce – I use LOW SODIUM soy sauce as the other sauce ingredients are on the salty side.
  • Oyster Sauce – sweet and salty, this gives a great umami flavor.
  • Fish Sauce – don’t be afraid of fish sauce. It won’t make the dish taste like fish, but it gives a classic Thai flavor that can’t be replicated.
  • Brown Sugar – This recipe normally calls for sweet soy sauce, but again, it can be hard to find, so instead I used brown sugar to give this dish a sweetness to compliment the spicy and salty flavors.
  • Chili Garlic Sauce – You can add more or less depending on how spicy you like things.

Tips for making Thai Basil Beef

  • This recipe is really fast and simple. I recommend getting all of your ingredients together and prepared first because everything cooks quickly.
  • Whisk together the ingredients for the sauce and set it aside.
  • Use the largest sauté pan or skillet you have. Heat the pan to medium high heat, add the oil. You want the oil to be hot before adding the beef.
  • Add the beef and use a spatula to break it up into an even layer, then press it down with the back of the spatula. Let it sit undisturbed for 45-60 seconds, until it starts to brown, then flip the beef and repeat.
  • The beef doesn’t need to be fully cooked yet. Add the garlic, onions and bell pepper and stir fry for about a minute.
  • Add the sauce and cook, stirring until everything is coated, then add the basil.
  • Cook, stirring regularly, until the beef is fully cooked and the vegetables are tender.

Thai basil beef in a large stainless steel skillet, garnished with fresh basil.

Helpful equipment

  • A large skillet or sauté pan (affiliate link).

Serve Thai Basil Beef over rice – my coconut rice would be so good here!

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Thai Basil Beef

Prep 10 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Servings 4 Servings


For the Sauce

For the stir fry

  • 2 TBSP canola oil
  • 1 lbs ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1.5 cups thai basil leaves Use Holy basil if you can.


  • In a small bowl, whisk together ingredients for sauce, set aside.
  • Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat, until oil is hot.
  • Add ground beef to pan, use a spatula to distribute it into an even layer, then press it down onto the pan with the back of the spatula.
  • Allow to cook undisturbed on one side for 45-60 seconds. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  • Add garlic, onion, bell pepper, stir fry one minute.
  • Pour in the sauce and cook, stirring until everything is coated.
  • Add basil and stir fry until beef is cooked and vegetables are tender, 2-5 minutes.



Adapted from Jet Tila


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 420kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 1816mg | Potassium: 543mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 1408IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 3mg

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

Additional Info

Did you like this recipe?Please comment, rate and share! And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram @foxandbriar AND #foxandbriar so I can see what you made!
Hello! I’m Meghan.

I am so glad that you are here! I am the recipe developer, photographer, and writer here at my blog Fox and Briar. I am a passionate, self-taught home cook and believe that most things are better homemade and that good food doesn’t need to be complicated.

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  1. I really like the flavors in your recipe
    How can a use a substitute for meat?
    Could i use chicken or tofu?
    Thank You

    1. Hi! I think any ground meat or plant-based ground meat substitute would work great here! So ground chicken or turkey. I haven’t tried tofu, but I think it would be OK.

  2. 5 stars
    I’m so excited to make this! Reading your post gave Me all the smells & cravings for a great Thai dish!