Chicken With Basil


Do you like to cook when you have time, or let it be a total waste of time? Could you be wrong about your favorite dish? It seems hard to believe, but it’s true. In this article we are going to talk about Chicken With Basil – why is it better than what you think and how can you make your own.

Lemon Basil Chicken

Several weeks ago, Ben and I mapped out a series of mini home renovation projects with the goal of having them completed by this weekend. Current completion count: zero. At least our dinners have been running on schedule, courtesy of easy, one-pan recipes like this Lemon Basil Chicken.

One Pan of Lemon Basil Chicken with Spinach and a side dish of fluffy brown rice

My sister—who is in the midst of some home projects that make ours look as invasive as reorganizing a coat closet—warned me that real life is

I wasn’t entirely sure what she meant…until I was driving to an IKEA in a different state to pick up several missing parts of the shelving units that the store forgot to ship.

Add the shelf snafu to our first round of curtains being too short (the right length is now back ordered until July), the guy installing our blinds leaving halfway through the job for another appointment (he still hasn’t been back), and the fact that the only concrete step we’ve taken towards repainting our kitchen cabinets is to narrow down the color options from 17 shades of “white” to 7, and you have a situation that is a far cry from the 48-hour flips as seen on HGTV.

An easy and delicious skillet meal with chicken, lemon, and basil

Easy Skillet Meals – Lemon Basil Chicken

We have made some progress. Over the weekend, we built and installed the aforementioned IKEA shelves, which I gleefully loaded with stacks of plates, serving bowls, glassware, my entire cookbook collection, and heavy cast-iron skillets. It took the better part of an afternoon, but in the end, every dish and spoon had its perfect place. My cast iron skillets were going to be used in short order to make easy, one skillet meals like lemon basil chicken, skillet chicken and tomatoes and sausage white bean gnocchi.

Then, two hours later, we realized the shelves needed to move three inches to the right. We had to pull every single item from the shelves, and a good number of them are still scattered around my office. I feel like this probably doesn’t happen on HGTV.

cast iron skillet with healthy lemon chicken with basil and spinach

Because we’ve been dedicating the majority of our free time toward the house, I’ve been appreciating quick and easy dinners like this Lemon Basil Chicken even more so than usual. Chunks of juicy chicken stir-fried with garlic, fresh lemon, and basil, this recipe requires hardly 5 minutes of prep and can be on your plate in 20.

Easy chicken recipe with lemon and basil in a cast iron skillet

How to Make One-Pan Lemon Basil Chicken

To make Lemon Basil Chicken a complete meal, I added several handfuls of fresh spinach. You can feel free to bulk it up further with any other sautéed veggies you enjoy or have on hand. We served our Lemon Basil Chicken over brown rice for dinner, and the next day, I tossed the leftovers with my salad for lunch. This would also be great served alongside Oven Roasted Potatoes (make the baked potatoes in oven while cooking the Lemon Basil Chicken on the stove top).

When getting a healthy meal on the table feels like a project of its own, keep this simple Lemon Basil Chicken in mind. While it might not be reality TV-worthy, in the reality of NEED DINNER NOW, it’s a star!

Lemon Basil Chicken

4.84 from 72 votes

One Pan Lemon Basil Chicken with Spinach—Ready in 20 minutes! Fresh, flavorful, and healthy. Serve with rice for an easy weeknight meal.

PREP:15 mins

COOK:15 mins

TOTAL:30 mins

SERVINGS: 4 servings (about 4 cups total)

Ingredients  1x2x3x

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large yellow onion finely chopped, about 1 cup
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 5 cups loosely packed baby spinach about 5 ounces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • Kosher salt and pepper to taste
  • Prepared brown rice for serving


  • In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium. Once hot, add the onion and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 additional seconds.
  • Add the chicken, increase the heat to medium high, and let cook for 3 minutes, browning all sides. Stir in the soy sauce and black pepper. Let cook until the chicken is completely cooked through, about 3 minutes longer.
  • Stir in the spinach a few handfuls at a time, letting the heat of the pan wilt it as you go. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and basil. Cook and stir just until the basil is wilted, about 1 additional minute. Taste and season with additional salt or pepper as desired.  Serve warm with rice as desired.


  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Thai Basil Chicken

Thai Basil Chicken is arguably the gold standard of Thai Chicken stir fries! An incredibly fast and easy Thai recipe that truly tastes just as good as you’ll get at your favourite restaurant, served over jasmine rice. BONUS: No hunting down unusual ingredients!

Close up of Thai Basil Chicken in a wok, fresh off the stove ready to be served

Thai Basil Chicken

Wowser. I LOVE Thai Basil Chicken. Just looking at these photos and writing up this post has me peeved that I’ll shortly be reheating leftovers instead of firing up the wok. (That’s a nice insight into the immaturity that is me.)

This is a recipe I got from the mother of a friend way back when I was in uni. Obviously, a Thai friend!

And it’s one of the few recipes that I haven’t tinkered with at all. I usually can’t help it – even recipes from well respected chefs. But this one – it’s perfect as it is. It is truly just like what you get at (good) Thai restaurants and on the streets of Thailand!

Thai Basil Chicken served over Jasmin rice in a blue bowl, ready to be eaten

What you need for Thai Basil Chicken

Here’s what you need for Thai Basil Chicken. The really nice thing about this Thai recipe is that you can get everything you need from the grocery store – at least, you can here in Australia!

What goes in spicy chilli Thai Basil Chicken

Best substitute for Thai Basil

The best substitute for Thai Basil is normal basil. While it lacks the slight aniseed flavour that’s distinctly associated with this Thai dish, it is still very much worth making!

Thai Basil

Thai Basil is a key ingredient in this recipe, being the namesake and all. 

Thai Basil tastes like normal basil with a hint of aniseed flavour. Nowadays it’s fairly widely available in Australia in large grocery stores and green grocers (Coles, Woolies, Harris Farms).

In actual fact, the authentic version of Thai Basil Chicken is Thai Holy Basil which is different to Thai Basil. It’s actually quite hard to find even in Thai stores, so much so that most Thai restaurants just use ordinary Thai Basil and it’s the flavour that most people have become accustomed to.

Here’s a photo showing the difference between holy basil and Thai Basil.

In the video and photos, I’ve used Thai Holy Basil. (Sydney-siders, I found it in the dark depths of a Thai grocery store in the city, I had to ask for it and the store owner got it from the back!)

Difference between Thai Basil and Thai Holy Basil - Thai Basil tastes like normal basil with a slight aniseed flavour. Holy basil has jagged edges and it does not have an aniseed flavour, it tastes more like Italian basil.

Thai Basil Chicken is often overly saucy when you get it from mid-standard restaurants outside of Thailand.

This recipe sticks more to the traditional way of cooking it with enough sauce to coat the stir fry and to soak the rice a bit (enough!). But not so much sauce that when you dish it up, it’s sitting in a pool of sauce which frankly is too salty and unnecessary because the flavours of this dish are so strong, you don’t need all that sauce.

Close up of Thai Basil Chicken served over Jasmin rice in a blue bowl, ready to be eaten

Serve this over Jasmine rice or any other rice of choice. If you want to add a fresh side, try this Asian Slaw – it’s a great all rounder that goes with all Asian foods. Or for a simpler option, just add a side of plain chunks of tomato and cucumber which is a common side that’s added to plates in Thailand.

As with all stir fries, this Thai recipe moves super fast once you start cooking – about 5 minutes. So if you can get the chopping done in 10 minutes, you’ll have dinner on the table in 15 minutes.

Hey! That’s faster than ordering home delivery! – Nagi xx

Thai Chilli Basil Chicken

 Prep: 10 mins

 Cook: 5 mins

 Total: 15 mins

 Stir Fry


4.95 from 112 votes


Recipe video above. Right off the streets of Thailand, made in your own home! Spicy, garlicky and savoury with a hint of sweet. Gold standard Thai chicken stir fry, quick to make and no hunting down unusual ingredients.


  • ▢225g / 7oz chicken thigh fillets , skinless boneless, cut into bite size pieces
  • ▢1 green onion , cut into 4cm / 2″ lengths.
  • ▢1 cup Thai basil leaves , loosely packed (Holy Basil if you can find it) (Note 1)
  • ▢2 garlic cloves , large, finely chopped (Note 2)
  • ▢1 birds eye or Thai chilli , deseeded and finely chopped
  • ▢1 1/2 tbsp oil (peanut, vegetable or canola)


  • ▢2 tsp oyster sauce
  • ▢1 tsp light soy sauce (Note 3)
  • ▢1 tsp dark soy sauce (or all purpose) (Note 3)
  • ▢1 tsp sugar
  • ▢2 tbsp water


  • ▢Steamed jasmine rice


  • Put Sauce ingredients in a small bowl and mix to combine.
  • Heat oil in wok or pan over high heat.
  • Add garlic and chilli and cook for 10 seconds. Don’t inhale – the chilli will make you cough!
  • Add the white part of the green onions and chicken and fry until cooked, around 2 minutes.
  • Add Sauce and cook for 1 minute until the water reduces to make a thick glossy sauce.
  • Toss through green part of green onions and basil leaves. Stir until just wilted, then serve immediately with steamed jasmine rice.

Recipe Notes:

1. Holy Basil is the type of Thai basil used in the authentic recipe. It has a more aniseedy / peppery flavour than normal sweet basil used in Italian cooking, and is available at some Thai groceries.

Thai Basil is the more common type of basil that is sold at supermarkets here in Australia (Coles, Woolies, Harris Farms) and used in Thai restaurants.  Because my closest Asian store is a trek away, I usually make this with Thai Basil.

If you can’t find Thai or Holy Basil, this is still totally worth making using normal basil. The sauce has a strong flavour and dominates, the basil is the fragrant accent flavour.

2. Garlic – Finely chopping the garlic rather than minced it (or using jarred garlic) stops it from burning quickly and spitting when it hits the hot wok.

3. Soy sauces – can sub light soy sauce or both the light and dark soy with ordinary all purpose soy (like Kikkoman). Or can use just light soy sauce. Flavour not quite as intense as it should be and colour will be paler, but still super tasty.

Do not use JUST dark soy sauce, flavour will be too intense.

4. Serving size – This recipe makes one giant serving or 2 reasonable sized servings. Complete the meal with a simple side of juicy slices of cucumber and tomato with no dressing – this is very Thai! Refreshing accompaniment to spicy Thai food.

5. Nutrition per serving excluding rice.

garlic tomato basil chicken

garlic tomato basil chicken is quick to whip up without compromising on flavour!

Tomato and basil are a match made in heaven as it is. However, mix them together with some garlic and pan seared chicken breasts, and you have the best buttery, blistered tomatoes and garlic flavours in this Garlic Tomato Basil Chicken recipe!

With basil being on sale all week this week at our local grocery store, this chicken recipe was meant to be. And it’s so freaking simple, I have no pointers, no words of advice, nada. It really is as simple as it reads, but just as delicious as it looks!

I chose to keep the flavour of the chicken breasts simple by seasoning them with salt, pepper and garlic powder. You can, of course, add any extra seasoning you wish. Once the chicken is placed back into the pan with the buttery, blistered tomatoes and garlic flavours, you may find that THAT is where all the flavour is!

Oh! I DO have ONE pointer! Serve with a balsamic glaze for an even DELICIOUS finger lickin’ chicken!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

TheSuperHealthyFood © Copyright 2022. All rights reserved.