Pad Kra Pao (Thai Basil Beef)

5 from 3 votes
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Full of spicy and aromatic flavors, this authentic pad kra pao (otherwise known as Thai Basil Beef) is a delicious stir fry dish – quick to make, but worth taking the time to enjoy!

Pad kra pao served over rice in a black bowl

Commonly served as a fast food dish, pad kra pao is a popular Thai dish and a great, inventive new way to use ground meat in your kitchen. I make my version with ground beef, though some also use ground pork or chicken—it’s easily customized not just to your taste but to your spice levels too! Bring a taste of Thai cuisine to your kitchen with this easy beef and Thai basil stir fry recipe.


pad kra pao ingredients
  • Ground Beef: I like to use something with a slightly higher fat content. As the fat melts, the liquid can help make a thick sauce for the Thai basil beef. You can also use ground pork.
  • Chilies: I like to use Thai chilies or serrano peppers to bring the heat, but you can adjust based on how much spice you like!
  • Thai Basil: It has a stronger, slightly sweeter flavor than traditional basil. You can usually find it at an Asian grocery store, if not in your everyday grocery store. In a pinch, holy basil leaves will also work, but you may need to adjust the amount (it has a more peppery flavor).
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Fish Sauce
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Soy Sauce: I use tamari or dark soy sauce, but you can use whatever you have available.
  • Brown Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil

How to make pad kra pao

Cook The Aromatics: Dice the onion, garlic, and chilies. Then place a wok or a large saucepan on the hob. Add the vegetable oil and allow it to heat over medium-high heat. Add the onion and the diced chilies and cook for 1-2 minutes. Next, add the garlic and cook until aromatic.

Cook The Beef: Turn up the heat to high, then add the ground beef. Use a spatula to break it up into smaller pieces and mix it with the chilies, onion, and garlic. Cook until the meat has browned.

steps for making pad kra pao

Add The Sauces: Add the brown sugar, soy sauce, oyster sauce, and fish sauce, mixing to ensure they’re completely incorporated in the pan. Fry for 1-2 minutes until most of the liquid evaporates, then remove from the heat. Add the Thai basil and stir until it wilts (like spinach) and is thoroughly combined.

Traditionally, pad kra pao is served generously over a bed of jasmine rice and topped with a fried egg. You can also serve it with your favorite rice and enjoy.

pad kra pao with spoon in skillet

If you try this pad kra pao recipe, let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Pad Kra Pao (Thai Basil Beef)

5 from 3 votes
By: Samira
Full of spicy and aromatic flavors, this authentic pad kra pao (otherwise known as Thai Basil Beef) is a delicious stir-fry dish—quick to make but worth taking the time to enjoy!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 lb ground beef or ground pork
  • 2 chilies thai chillies, serrano peppers
  • 1 1/2 cups Thai basil
  • 1 cup onion diced
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 Tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp oyster sauce
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce dark
  • 1/2 Tbsp brown sugar


  • Heat a wok or frying pan to medium-high heat. Add vegetable oil, then cook the onions and chilies until the onions start to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes more.
  • Turn the temperature up to high, then add the ground beef and use a spatula to break it into smaller chunks. Mix it with the aromatics and cook until browned.
  • Add the remaining ingredients (except the Thai basil) and stir to combine with the beef. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the basil until wilted. Serve over rice and enjoy!


Sourcing: Thai chilis and Thai basil can usually be found in Asian grocery stores. You can substitute them with your favorite chili pepper and Holy Basil leaves.
To store: Keep any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Course: Main
Cuisine: Asian, Thai
Shelf life: 4 Days


Calories: 264kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.4g, Cholesterol: 70mg, Sodium: 1176mg, Potassium: 608mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g, Vitamin A: 698IU, Vitamin C: 38mg, Calcium: 54mg, Iron: 4mg

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

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