Thai Beef with Basil

Turn a pound of ground beef into a delicious Thai Feast. Check out the recipe for Thai Beef with Basil on !

New recipe alert! Thai Beef with Basil!

My husband loves ground beef and I never choose to make it because there’s something about breaking up bits of meat that bugs me. I don’t know what it is, but I find it kind of annoying. It feels like it takes forever to break it all up…or maybe I just get particular on how uniform the pieces need to be?  I might go as far to say that I dread it (dramatic!).

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

So, I’ve been slowly working ground beef into the rotation. Casey appreciates it and Cooper will eat it (only if I say it’s steak).

I made this Thai Beef with Basil dish from Bon Appetit for dinner on Saturday and it went over really well. Of course,  I had to pick out the basil and separate the carrots on Cooper’s dish, but he gobbled it up like a champ. Casey said it was a winner.

I think it will probably be a part of our weeknight dinner rotation. It’s pretty easy to whip up and I didn’t even hate breaking up the beef.  The point is to have a nice char on the meat, so it’s kind of a set it and forget it situation. You can break it up really well towards the end.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

We have leftovers and I’m gonna reheat them for dinner tonight and top them with a crispy fried egg and a drizzle of sriracha. The big question I have is….. Why didn’t I do that on the first go-round??

And we’re off!

I forgot to put the jalapeño in the frame. Please forgive.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

Slice the garlic!

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

Slice the jalapeño. Take out some seeds if you want to go easy on the heat.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

Jalapeño and garlic go into a pan with a little oil.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

We cook it for 30 seconds…until fragrant.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

The part I dread…but really…

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

That gives us time to make our little carrot slaw:

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

Ground beef gets cooked. Parts are nice and brown and crispy. The jalapeño softens and a few of the garlic slices get nice and crispy.

Now we add in the chicken stock.  This moistens up the beef and imparts flavor.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

Hello BASIL. I wish I had Thai Basil but not this time.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

It wilts/softens and adds a nice fragrance to the beef.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

We combine soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice and sugar to make our soy dressing.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

Spoon out some rice.

I made rice with my rice cooker  and I used a combination of coconut milk and some chicken stock instead of water.

It turned out great!

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

We spoon some of the Thai Basil Beef over the coconut rice.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

We pile on the carrot slaw and drizzle some of the soy sauce on top.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

You could add a fried egg on top…or maybe some sriracha.

Thai Beef with Basil || shutterbean

The warm rice and meat are cut with the cool carrots. I had two helpings… because I’m hooked.

Also- I’ve made a few Thai-inspired dishes in the past.

Check out this Chopped Salad with Tofu or this Thai Beef Salad with Herbs!


Thai Beef with Basil

serves 4

recipe from Bon Appetit Magazine

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced (take out the seeds if you want less heat)
  • 1 lb. organic ground beef
  • kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 3 cups fresh basil, decided
  • 2 medium carrots, julienned & coarsely grated
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (both white & green parts)
  • 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • steamed coconut rice & lime wedges for serving

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a lark skillet over high heat. Add garlic and jalapeño and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add beef, season with salt and pepper and cook, breaking up with a spoon and pressing down firmly to help brown, until cooked through and nicely crisped in spots, 8-10 minutes. Add broth and 2 cups basil leaves and cook, stirring until basil has wilted, about 2 minutes.

Toss carrots, scallions, 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 cup basil leaves, and 1 tablespoon oil in a small bowl.

Mix soy sauce, fish sauce, sugar, and remaining 3 tablespoons lime juice in a small bowl until sugar dissolves.

Top rice with beef and slaw and drizzle with soy dressing. Serve with lime wedges.

  • Jessica H.

    I’m always looking for something new to do with ground beef. I love Thai flavors so I’m definitely saving this!


    Loving this! I love basil in Thai food so much!

  • Laura ~ RYG

    When I first married my husband I told him he only has 3 jobs 1) always keep the cars filled with gas 2) take out the garbage 3) Ground the beef because like you were alluding too, it’s icky and has a weird smell while cooking!!!! But seriously this Thai beef with basil looks marvelous. Basil is the best herb ever!!

  • christina

    hey tracy! what’s the best way to slice garlic so uniformly/beautifully?? this looks great!

    • Tracy

      I got a really small mandolin from a Japanese dollar store a few years back that I use for slicing garlic. I think the original purpose was for slicing cucumbers so you can use them over your eyes (ha!). But I love it–I use it A LOT!

  • Elyse

    Fab looking recipe. I grind my own meat and when it’s that fresh you don’t get the same “nasty” smell!

  • Abby

    I love this! Love that you paired it with coconut rice… yum! 🙂

  • Sara

    This sounds so awesome! I was thinking I might like mushroom broth better than chicken, but do you think that would be too heavy?

    • Tracy

      Sounds like a good idea! If you have some, you should use it!

      • Sara

        This might have been my original comment … I finally made this and it was really good. However, it was AMAZING the next day when I warmed up the coconut rice fried rice-style (with two scrambled eggs.) The eggs made all the difference.
        I’m also thinking of trying the same recipe with ground chicken and replacing the soy lime dressing with peanut sauce. :):)

  • Kendra Bergen

    This looks so delish!!
    You need to get yourself the Pampered Chef Mix N Chop tool! It is the BEST for ground meat cooking. (And no, I don’t sell Pampered Chef, just love this tool!)

    • Ashley

      I second that! I absolutely hate breaking up ground beef and always use this to make it easier.

      • Tracy

        Interesting! I need to watch a video of it being used…off to search youtube!

        • Kendra

          I made this recipe for dinner last night – using my handy dandy ground meat tool, obv – and it was soooo good. I’m doing Whole 30 so made it over greens. Leftovers for lunch were amazing too! Thanks!!

          • Tracy

            awesome. I love how the basil wilts. It reminds me of spinach.

    • Heidi Graff

      I looked at this recipe when you first posted it, but just read your comment about breaking up the ground beef. I was about to recommend the Pampered Chef “twist and chop”, but thought I should read through the comments to see if anyone else had suggested it. My sister (who has more kitchen gadgets than me and who loves and recommended your blog) was at my house for the holidays and I made a similar dish with ground pork. I always rely on my “twist and chop” for ground meat and she was quite envious of that fabulous tool! It is life altering!!! 🙂

  • Laura Hager

    Yum! That looks so good! Can’t wait to try making it!

  • Jamie

    Oh yeah, definitely going on my dinner rotation but with ground Elk since I have a freezer full. I also hate chopping up ground meat with a passion but I find if I take a minute to crumble it in the pan by hand before I start cooking, it’s easier.

  • HP

    Definitely gonna try this one. A little tip to break up the ground beef – use your potato masher.

  • shelly

    Mmm this looks good, I love thai flavors! Fun fact I just read this weekend: the pith of a pepper is the true source of heat, the seeds are hot because they come into contact with the pith and are coated in capsaicin

  • Jessica @ Golden Brown and Delicious

    This looks so good! I almost never make anything with ground beef, but this looks like a killer way to switch it up. Pinned!

  • Carrie

    This looks so good! I don’t eat beef so I’m wondering if the flavors would work with ground chicken or turkey. Or even minced tofu? What do you think? Thanks!

    • Tracy

      I think chicken or turkey would be great. I also think pork would work well if you’re able to eat that!

  • Rene @thedomesticlady

    Love this! My dad gives me tons of venison (ground or steak) and I always have a hard time coming up with lots of (good) ground meat recipes. This is perfect!!

  • Stephanie

    How the heck did you slice that garlic so thinly and perfectly? Major knife skills?!

  • Mary Frances

    This looks fantastic!!! I love your photos they are always so stunning!

  • Linnea

    I saw this on your blog yesterday and immediately put it on our meal planning list for the week. We made it last night and it was AMAZING! Such a winner. I had to tell my boyfriend to hold back so there was enough for my lunch today! Yippee! Thanks for the great recipes as always. And for keeping it real.

  • Abby

    You make sliced garlic look good!

  • Rosie

    I made this last night with veggie mince, my husband is vegetarian. It was delicious – thank you!

  • Nicole

    I’ve made something similar from Lucinda Scala Quinn but it didn’t have that beautiful carrot slaw which sounds amazing and now I need it in my life. I must try your version!

  • shelly

    made this for dinner tonight, served it over lettuce instead of rice (wah!) cause we’re low carb for medical reasons and threw in cilantro cause i had some. definitely a keeper! i just wish i could figure out where to get fresh herbs on the cheap, those little packets at the grocery store add up fast!

    • Mary

      I find that my local Asian and Indian markets are the best place to get spices and fresh herbs. Good luck!

  • Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

    oh MAN. Making this stat, thank you! Love the chicken stock + coconut milk in the rice idea too x

  • Flora Margaret

    Made this for dinner last night. Yum! No leftovers at our house.
    I love the crispy crunch of the carrots combined with rest, and so much basil! Not overpowering at all, but just perfect. The slaw brings a lightness and freshness to the beef.
    I made 4-6 cups of rice, but will double that and the slaw next time because I am less of a meat eater and more of a veggie eater, and because I want leftovers!

    • Tracy

      awesome!!! I was a fan of the slaw too- husband and son were the meat lovers 🙂

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  • Kelsey

    This was delicious!!! I started following you on Instagram because I love the lunches you pack for your little guy but this recipe was the first of yours I’ve tried! It’s delicious! I loved all of it but I’ve never made rice with coconut milk before and now I’ll never make it another way! Yummy!

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  • Britt

    Love this recipe! I have been eating this for a couple days. After the initial delicious feeding, I ffried the meat and rice together then added the toppings as well as avocado, a fried egg and sriracha. Yum! This will find a place in my recipe box permanently.

  • bonnie

    Made this for dinner tonight. It was perfect! Loved it all, especially the rice made with coconut milk/chicken broth. Thank you Tracy for another brilliant meal! And beautifully photographed, too. Brilliant!

  • Liz

    I made this for dinner tonight, my husband and I loved it! He mentioned that I was having a meta moment because I was listening to your podcast while making your recipe.
    We moved to Zurich from the Bay Area in December and I’m missing Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s so bad. I couldn’t find jalapeños at the grocery store here (can’t find canned chipotle peppers either when making enchiladas. SIGH.) and meat is so expensive here! But I think this recipe will still be part of our weekly repertoire as well 🙂 Can’t wait to try more recipes!

    • Tracy

      Oh gosh! I can’t imagine what I would do without WF & TJs! I am so glad that you can get a little taste of home while you’re away. xo

  • Amanda

    This looks and sounds delish! Is it spicy with the jalapeños?

  • Mandi

    Tried this last night and LOVED IT! A great new way to have an easy ground beef recipe.

  • Ashley

    Made this for dinner last night and it was so delicious. We have quite a few packs of ground beef in the freezer, so this is definitely going in to the rotation to use those up!

  • India

    Just made this and my husband was so impressed! I hadn’t done a Thai inspired meal like this ever. I loved cooking it. Thank you!!

  • erica

    just made a vegan version using ground seitan, and subbing some pineapple juice for the fish sauce. Added red cabbage and red bell peppers (because i had to use them up) , and topped with peanuts! YUM!

  • havilah

    This was awesome, Tracy! My kiddos loved it too, so A+. Thanks for such a great weeknight meal. I always appreciate what you bring to real life dining. So good.

  • LORI

    Totally awesome, man. That coconut rice is slammin’!

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  • Jo

    Made for dinner tonight (it’s my due date today and needed something a little spicy!) – totally delicious – thank you!!!

  • Alex

    Loved this recipe – highly recommend topping it with some Trader Joe’s Thai Lime and Chili Cashews!

  • Jenny

    Having this tonight and its great! Fresh, tasty and crunchy perfection! Thanks for what may become a weekly favorite rotation!

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    Allergic to fish–thoughts on the fish sauce? Omit? Substitute w/ something?

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  • TONI

    This is so delicious and easy for a weeknight dinner. I know that the “3 cups fresh basil, decided” is a typo but it really makes me giggle. I love basil that’s made up its’ mind.

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  • Sharon Lindsay

    Recipe is fantastic! Super easy, only regret is not doubling it to stash as a freezer easy meal. Didn’t do the carrot slaw, but added the carrot dressing to the beef and it was spot on. Served with white rice and raw spinach. ❤️

  • Amanda

    I always come back to this recipe anytime I pull out some ground beef from the freezer and need an idea for supper. It’s so easy and so full of flavor!

  • Faith

    Just made this recipe. SO.YUMMY!!! Love The mix of Meat and crunchy veggies

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