Thai Basil Beef Stir Fry

Thinly sliced beef, bell peppers, and Thai basil combine into this fast, flavorful Thai Basil Beef.  Make your own Thai takeout in under 15 minutes!

side view of white bowl with thai beef and peppers piled over the top

Ah, October in the mid-Atlantic.  Are you picturing doorsteps decorated with pumpkins, leaves changing color, and crisp, cool fall air?  Think again, friends.  We’re more than halfway through October, and it was 86 outside yesterday.

Yes, yes, I know – there are plenty of places where this is the norm.  But we’re supposed to have fall!  Give me crunchy leaves and cool temperatures!  That’s coming next week?  Okay, fine.

In the meantime, I guess I’ll enjoy the longevity of my herb garden – like with this Thai basil beef.  My herbs are still going strong, and if yours are, too — let’s keep on using them.  (If yours aren’t, well, that’s why grocery stores exist, right?!)

Before the authenticity police show up, let me go ahead and say that I am quite sure this is by no means authentic.  I’m a white Jewish girl from Pennsylvania.

I’m pretty authentic when it comes to the Jewish tradition of ordering Americanized Chinese food on Christmas Eve, but southeast Asian cuisine?  I occasionally order in from a neighborhood Thai restaurant and I like to read Asian-inspired food blogs.  No authenticity in this arena.

overhead photo of beef, red yellow and green peppers, and thai basil on an orange placemat

How to Make Thai Basil Beef

Now that we cleared the air, let’s talk a little about my take on Thai Basil Beef.  I wanted to make this more of a one pot (wok?) meal, so I added more peppers than typically included in an attempt to up the vegetable content.

(Hey, I have a toddler.  I have to teach him that vegetables are a delicious and important part of every meal, right?!)

Add an easy sauce – soy sauce, oyster sauce, a little sugar, some Thai chili paste.  Serve over steamed rice for a fast, delicious dinner – even better than your local Thai restaurant.

bowl of thai basil beef stir fry with fresh thai basil in the background

Tips for a Perfect Stir Fry

New to stir frying or looking to perfect your stir fry game?  Here’s a few tips to help make this quick and easy meal one of your weeknight staples:

  1. Use a wok – or the largest stainless steel pan you have available.  The key to fast cooking is a large surface area, so the bigger the better!
  2. Get your oil hot.  We want everything to be hot — get your burner turned up as hot as possible.  You need to use an oil which can handle this heat, so avoid olive oil or other low smoke point oils.  (And whatever you do – no butter!)
  3. Don’t crowd the pan.  If you can’t fit all the beef in one layer, do it in two batches.  We need each piece of to make surface contact with the wok so it will cook thoroughly and quickly.
  4. Dry your vegetables.  If you just rinsed your veggies, dry off any extra moisture with a paper towel.  If you put them in damp, the vegetables will steam, rather than stir fry.  We want crisp vegetables, not soggy!
  5. Cut everything to a similar size – this will help it all cook evenly.  Big pieces take longer to cook than small (common sense).  Because we’re cooking for such a short period of time, we want everything the same size.
  6. Cook your meat first — and only until it’s about 80% done.  We’ll add it back into the pan with the vegetables at the end, and toss it again over high heat.  This prevents the meat from overcooking.
  7. Keep it moving!  The key to successful stir fry is that constant tumbling motion.  Let things sit for too long and they burn.

close up photo of browned Thail basil beef with brightly colored bell peppers

Thai Basil Beef is basically the ultimate weeknight meal.  It’s comforting, delicious, and fast.  Like, really fast.  As in, 15 minutes start to finish fast.  In the amount of time it takes to preheat your oven for frozen pizza, you can have a steaming hot bowl of Thai Basil Beef.   And if that’s not a win for dinner, I don’t know what is.

More Asian Inspired Recipes:

All Quick Dinner Recipes

Thai Basil Beef: thinly sliced beef, bell peppers, and Thai basil combine in this fast, flavorful stir fry. Make your own Thai takeout in under 15 minutes! #bunsenburnerbakery #thaifood #glutenfree #stirfry #beefstirfry

Thai Basil Beef Stir Fry

Yield: Serves 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

Thinly sliced beef, bell peppers, and Thai basil combine into this fast, flavorful Thai Basil Beef.


  • 1 pound flank steak, sliced thinly against the grain
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil, divided
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 bell peppers, varying colors, sliced thinly
  • 1-2 tablespoons Thai chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon light soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup Thai basil leaves, packed
  • 2 cups steamed rice, for serving


  1. Toss the sliced beef with the cornstarch and 1 teaspoon oil. Set aside.
  2. Heat the wok over high heat. Add the remaining oil. Sear the beef until just browned, then remove from the wok.
  3. Add the garlic, onion, and peppers to the wok, stir-frying until crisp-tender. Add the beef back to the wok. Stir in the chili paste, oyster sauce, soy sauces, fish sauce, and brown sugar. Continue to stir fry for an additional minute until sauce is combined and beef is heated through, then remove from the heat and fold in the basil until wilted. Serve over rice.


If preparing for someone with gluten sensitivities, ensure that the oyster sauce, soy sauces, and fish sauce are gluten free.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 361Total Fat: 9gCholesterol: 68mgSodium: 669mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 3gSugar: 4gProtein: 28g

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Thai Basil Beef: thinly sliced beef, bell peppers, and Thai basil combine in this fast, flavorful stir fry. Make your own Thai takeout in under 15 minutes! #bunsenburnerbakery #thaifood #glutenfree #stirfry #beefstirfry