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Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry

If you see Thai basil (also called holy basil) at your market, give it a try. It has pointed leaves and tastes of mint, cinnamon, and licorice.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
  • Yield: Serves 4
Chicken and Basil Stir-Fry

Source: Everyday Food Fresh Flavor Fast, 2010


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices (longer pieces cut crosswise in half again)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 6 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 small onion, halved and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges
  • 2 bell peppers (red, yellow, green, or a mix, ribs and seeds removed), cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, larger leaves torn in half
  • Cooked white rice, for serving (optional)


  1. Pat chicken pieces dry with paper towels. In a medium bowl, toss chicken with cornstarch until coated; season generously with salt and pepper.

  2. In a large wok or nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high. Cook half the chicken, turning once, until browned, but not completely cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes total. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with another 2 teaspoons oil and remaining chicken. Transfer chicken to plate. Set aside. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel.

  3. To skillet, add remaining 2 teaspoons oil, onion, and bell peppers; cook over medium-high heat, tossing often, until beginning to brown, 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  4. Add 1/4 cup water, vinegar, soy sauce, and chicken to pan; cook, tossing, until chicken is cooked through, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in basil leaves. Serve immediately, over white rice, if desired.

Reviews (26)

  • Rebecca Leigh Howell 10 Jun, 2015

    This was absolutely fantastic! Even without the addition of red pepper flakes or hot sauce, it was still delicious. I can definitely see how it would be great with the addition as well.

  • machapman64 13 Mar, 2014

    I had ingredients on hand I wanted to use, so I improvised quite a bit. I had only one red pepper, but I had broccoli, so I added about a cup and a half to the mix. I doubled the sauce and added about a tbsp of Sambal Oelek, a tsp of fish sauce, and 1/2 tsp of sesame oil. I was using leftover chicken breast, so I added the cornstarch to the sauce as well and added the chicken at the end to warm. Two tbsp of minced ginger went in with the garlic, and handful of cilantro with the basil. Loved it!

  • Rachael0722 26 Apr, 2013

    We did this in cooking class and the kids loved it. We doubled the sauce and it was gone, like in a matter of minutes. Nothing like 8th grade boys.

  • audreynolte2000 10 Apr, 2013

    Oh my goodness! I just want to say that Sarah Carey in my total inspiration. I am just 13 years old and have a passion for cooking and baking. Watching Sarah's videos gives me a realistic take on cooking and baking. All of the recipes are great especially considering that all of the recipes are easy, fun, and delicious even to a 13 year old girl. Thanks Sarah!

  • shonnahill 22 Mar, 2013

    I made this tonight. Living in Cambodia, I had a good idea what Chicken Basil is supposed to taste like, so added a good wallop of sambal oelek (hot sauce). I also used a wok and did all the chicken at once. It was delicious. My man is very happy. Served with brown rice.

  • teachermum 4 Nov, 2011

    Very good! I'm always looking for ways to use my abundance of basil and it tastes great in this recipe.

  • TorontoSarah 16 Oct, 2011

    Great Recipe, I prepared using a wok and served over whole wheat couscous for a healthier alternative to white rice. Once when preparing I was without fresh basil and put in a bit of dried when adding the liquid and it actually worked out fairly well ( not as good as the fresh but worked in a pinch!)

  • Crafty1000 9 Oct, 2011

    This recipe this great.I grow my own basil,so I used it instead of the thai basil.I turned out SUPERB.My family loved it. The chicken was moist and tender.I got the rice from a local chinese resturant.This is a hit in my family.THANKS

  • ilovekentucky 1 Sep, 2011

    This recipe is absolutely delicious, full of flavor (love that Thai basil) & easy , especially if the peppers, onion & garlic are prepped in advance. The only change that I made was preparing it in a wok.

    Definitely a keeper!

  • abbeydabbydoo 24 Aug, 2011

    Am 18 and teaching myself to cook. This was an awesome recipe to try out with my family and my younger siblings loved it :)

  • sillysara 15 Aug, 2011

    this dish had no flavor. i wont make it again.

  • charchar37 12 Feb, 2011

    this recipe is amazing. i made it exactly to recipe except i used regular basil instead of thai basil. i'm not sure how people think that it is flavorless... it was beyond delicious (and me and my family like spicey flavorful food). i did take them at their word when it said to salt and pepper the chicken generously...maybe that made the difference. in any case.. a wonderful recipe and would definitely recommend. YUM.

  • cooking4life 29 Oct, 2010

    I made this last night but altered a few things. From the comments below, it seems most of of you thought it was I added red pepper flavored rice vinegar instead of just regular. I also personally don't love mint in my dinners, so I only added a tiny bit of Thai Basil leaves. Tasted great!

  • JenBallot 27 Sep, 2010

    I made the Chicken Holy Basil from the latest Martha Stewart magazine (Oct. 2010), and it was quick, easy, and delicious -- a BIG hit with everyone in the family. I think I'll stick with that recipe. This one seems more complicated and doesn't seem to get the raves like the other one.

  • elventryst 29 Jul, 2010

    I have to agree with the first two comments-- this recipe isn't that good. It's not that bad, but not very flavorful. I don't think we'll be making this one again.

  • elventryst 29 Jul, 2010

    I have to agree with the first two comments-- this recipe isn't that good. It's not that bad, but not very flavorful. I don't think we'll be making this one again.

  • lynlor 23 Jul, 2010

    NOT good. :( The flavor wasn't at all balanced and tasted mostly of rice vinegar. The chicken also had a slimy texture (similar to that in our local Asian restaurants) even after browning, which I now know is due to the cornstarch dredge. It thickened up beautifully, and looked picture perfect (I even took a picture it was so gorgeous!) but the flavor definitely needed rounding out. Sorry. :(

  • sillysara 22 Jul, 2010

    i found this recipe to be very bland and too watery. i wouldn't make it again.

  • enelson82 25 Feb, 2009

    Thai Basil Chicken is one of my favorite dishes and though this recipe didn't match that of my local take-out place, it was very good. It was quick to make, healthy, and delicious. It was even better the next day as leftovers!

  • Ligu 17 Jan, 2009

    This recipe is awesome, but I think you really need the Thai basil for the best flavor. I've tried it with both kinds and there's no comparison. Thai basil is tricky to find but you can usually find it at Whole Foods when it's in season.

  • jeanob14 22 Aug, 2008

    Quick and easy. Used regular basil and still tasted great.

  • Pili 22 Jul, 2008

    Easy, faxt, tasty! Everyone was asking for more!

  • lilfigueroa 13 Jul, 2008

    This was a hit with my fiancee... I substitued the rice vinegar with reg vinegar and used Kosher salt... I also some pasta leftover from another meal which I used as my carb. I heated the pasta in the same pan that the chicken was cooking in (toward the end when the chicken was mostly cooked). Definetly recommend it.

  • scurvyann 16 Jun, 2008

    fantastic meal! i've made this a few times - i use less garlic, and add fresh ginger. the last time i made it, i doubled the water, vinegar and soy sauce to make more sauce for the rice. it is also wonderful served over brown rice. highly recommended!

  • toplessmartha 3 Jan, 2008

    great recipe. quick and easy and a real family pleaser. i add fresh jalapeno rings to give it a little extra kick.

  • tabatharomero 30 Dec, 2007

    Great Recipe! It was simple and delicious!

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