Sticky Basil Chicken — Skip takeout and make this AMAZING chicken that tastes like it’s from an Thai restaurant at home in 15 minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and plenty of fresh basil!!
Easy Spicy Basil Chicken Recipe
This recipe is a spinoff of my Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken. I love that chicken so much and decided to make a basil-infused version.
The chicken is ridiculously tender and loaded with authentic Asian flavors that keep you going back for one more juicy bite.
The sauce is just sweet enough, but is balanced with the tang of the vinegar, the saltiness from the soy sauce, and you can make it as spicy (or not) as you like with the chili garlic sauce.
This homemade non-fried version of sticky chicken that’s made in one skillet and ready in 15 minutes will knock your socks off. It tastes like it’s from a restaurant and you don’t even need to leave your house.
It’s hassle-free and perfect for busy weeknights. You probably have almost everything on hand to make it and if you don’t, not to worry because all the ingredients are easily found at your local grocery store.
How Is This Recipe Different Than Thai Basil Chicken?
Primarily, I used regular basil and not Thai basil, but if you can find Thai basil and want to use it, go for it.
Basil trivia coming up from what I have learned on the internet:
There are two types of Thai basil: regular Thai basil and Holy Basil.
Holy basil is more typically used in the restaurant version of this dish but is also harder to find that Thai Basil, which is already hard to find. So count me out, I have no patience driving around looking for ingredients.
Also in restaurant versions of Thai basil chicken, the sauce isn’t as thick or sticky, and the chicken doesn’t tend to have any breading on it (no flour or cornstarch) so that’s another difference.
But truth be told, I love chicken that has exactly this texture and prefer this to any restaurant version of traditional spicy Thai basil chicken.
What’s in the Sticky Basil Chicken?
To make the chicken and the sticky basil sauce, you’ll need:
- Soy sauce
- White sugar
- Brown sugar
- Chili garlic sauce
- All-purpose flour
- Chicken breasts
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil
What Kind Of Basil To Use?
I really wanted to make “Thai Basil Chicken,” which is a fairly popular Thai restaurant recipe.
However, it’s tricky to find Thai basil unless you live near a Thai or Asian market, and even if you do, it’s likely not convenient to go there solely to track down Thai basil.
I never want anyone to go on a goose chase that I wouldn’t go on myself. So because of that, we have Sticky Basil Chicken rather than Thai Basil Chicken.
I used fresh basil from Trader Joe’s but if you have basil from your garden, that would be lovely.
How to Make Sticky Basil Chicken
To a large skillet, add boneless skinless chicken breast pieces that have been dredged in egg, flour, and corn starch.
Cook until the chicken is done, about 8 minutes, and then add the sauce.
Finish with a big handful of torn fresh basil leaves and garnish with sesame seeds if you like and dig in!
Is Basil Chicken Spicy?
I added 3 heaping tablespoons chili garlic sauce to the sauce mixture and the chicken and sauce had a nice kick.
If you’re sensitive to spicy foods, dial that quantity back. Start with 1 tablespoon and work up from there. Or if you don’t want any spiciness, it’s easy to omit.
But in my opinion for most homemade versions of Asian-inspired recipes or to recreate an Asian restaurant dish, there needs to be at least some spiciness.
Tips for Making Sticky Basil Chicken
Be sure to cut the chicken breasts into same-sized pieces so they cook in the skillet at an even rate.
You can dial up the heat in this dish by adding extra chili garlic sauce, or even a few squirts of sriracha.
Leftovers will last up to five days in the fridge. I recommend gently reheating them in a skillet rather than the microwave so that the chicken doesn’t dry out.
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Sticky Basil Chicken
Skip takeout and make this AMAZING chicken that tastes like it's from an Asian restaurant at home in 15 minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and plenty of fresh basil!!
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup honey
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or regular or rice vinegar)
- 3 to 4 tablespoons lite or lower-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, packed (light or dark)
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 to 4 tablespoons chili garlic sauce, to taste (I used 3 heaping tablespoons and there was a nice kick; reduce to 1 tablespoon or less if you're very sensitive to spicy foods)
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup corn starch, for dredging
- 1.75 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more if necessary
- 1 big handful fresh basil leaves, torn into large pieces, or as desired; plus more for garnishing optionally
- sesame seeds, optional for garnishing
- To a medium bowl, add all the ingredients, and whisk to combine; set aside.
- Add the egg to a small bowl, the flour to a separate shallow bowl, and the corn starch to another shallow bowl.
- Add the chicken to the egg bowl (I add it all at once and smoosh it around with my fingers), pick it up and transfer it to the flour bowl and coat it with flour (doesn't have to be 100% completely and perfectly coated), pick it up and transfer it to the corn starch bowl and coat it with corn starch.
- To a large skillet, add the oil, the chicken, and cook over medium to medium-high heat for about 8 minutes, or until the chicken is seared, lightly browned or golden on the outside, and cooked through; slip intermittently to ensure even cooking.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the sauce to the skillet, and stir to combine. Stir the sauce nearly continuously for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened up and likely it will have reduced and absorbed into or clung to the chicken and there won't be much excess.
- Turn the heat off, add the handful of torn basil, and stir to incorporate and until wilted.
- Optionally, garnish with additional basil and/or sesame seeds and serve immediately.
Storage: Chicken will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 4 months.
Adapted from Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 711Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 215mgSodium: 806mgCarbohydrates: 51gFiber: 2gSugar: 24gProtein: 67g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate and is computer generated. Because it's unlikely that you'll need all the flour or corn starch used in coating the chicken, nor will you likely consume every drop of sauce, I believe the stats are a bit artificially high because they take it all into account. This is my opinion only.
More Asian Chicken Recipes:
Better-Than-Takeout Sticky Chicken – Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this AMAZING sticky chicken at home in 15 minutes!! So EASY with the perfect balance of sweet and spicy with plenty of sticky sauce!!
Healthier Orange Chicken – Stop calling for takeout or going to the mall food court and make this HEALTHIER orange chicken at home in less than 10 minutes!! EASY, authentic, and so INCREDIBLE that you’ll never miss the fat and calories!!
Better-Than-Takeout Cashew Chicken – Juicy chicken, crisp-tender vegetables, and crunchy cashews coated with the best garlicky soy sauce!! Skip takeout and make your own restaurant-quality meal that’s easy, ready in 20 minutes, and healthier!!
Baked Teriyaki Chicken and Rice — Chicken, rice, pineapple, and red peppers cook together in one pan for an EASY weeknight dinner that tastes like you’re in Hawaii! The homemade teriyaki sauce adds so much INCREDIBLE flavor!
15-Minute Orange Chili Chicken and Broccoli – The orange chili sauce is spicy, tangy, and sweet all in one!! The PERFECT sauce to jazz up chicken and broccoli! A FAST and EASY dinner with great Asian FLAVOR!!
Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken — This sweet and sour chicken recipe takes just 15 minutes to make and tastes way better than takeout. Perfect for a weeknight dinner!
15-Minute Skillet Sesame Chicken with Broccoli – Healthier sesame chicken that isn’t breaded or fried! You won’t miss the fat or calories in this fast and easy version that’s loaded with Asian-inspired flavors! You can happily skip takeout now!
Sheet Pan Ginger Orange Chicken and Vegetables – Fast, EASY, HEALTHY, and loaded with great orange ginger flavor!! A DELISH one-pan meal with zero cleanup that’s perfect for busy weeknights!!
Slow Cooker Orange Chicken – The easiest orange chicken ever because your slow cooker does all the work!! Super juicy, tender, and coated with a sweet-yet-tangy orange glaze that’s irresistible!!
This recipe is absolutely DELICIOUS!!! You are right… It tastes like the chicken dishes I order at a restaurant – with one exception – IT’S BETTER!Thank you for sharing this!!!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you also agree that it’s better than what you can get at a restaurant!
Made this tonight as I had lots of basil!! Excellent. Used 2 T garlic sauce. Perfect! Used half amount of chicken for 2 servings but full amount of sauce. Added veggies lightly pre sautéed when simmering the sauce. Plan to also try with shrimp
I am glad this was excellent for you and helped you use up some of your basil! I am sure it would be great with shrimp as well.
Absolutely delicious!!! I prepared as written and served over rice. I think when I make this again I will increase the sauce recipe so that there is more of that wonderful sauce!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it was absolutely delicious! One of my personal faves and I love sauce too!
Would it work if I use dried Basil in the sauce instead of adding fresh Basil in the end ?
Yes you could but it’s not comparable to using fresh in terms of the flavor intensity.
This was so delicious! I happened to have Thai basil because it’s growing in my Aerogarden, it is really hard to find in my area otherwise. The entire family loved it. Thank you for sharing the recipe!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it made great use of your homegrown basil!
Made this as written, but with only 1 tbsp of garlic chili sauce (we’re a family of wimps -lol) and we all loved it. Very easy! Very tasty!! Thank you
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it was very tasty! And it’s better to know you are ‘wimps’ going in and only used 1 tbsp rather than trying to be heroes and use more but regret the heat level later – I wish more people would season/spice things to their palates and not to mine or what I write or anyone else’s. Great job!
Absolutely loved this recipe! I made it exactly as directed and it was out of this world! I used 3 heaping tablespoons of the chili garlic sauce as you suggested and it really gave it a nice kick! Loved the sweet and spicy in this dish so much. It was delicious!! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes!!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this was out of this world, made as written! I agree about the 3 heaping tbsp of chili garlic sauce – perfect kick with the sweet/spicy!
This was delicious! I made it last night for my family 😊. Perfect balance of sweet and spicy. I will make again. I did add seeded jalapeno and green onion, just because I like extra spicy. And I had Thai basil and sweet basil in my garden.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it was delicious and you’ll make this again! How amazing you had both kinds of basil in your garden, too!
This was fabulous!! Thank you for the recipe. I was wondering if the leftover oil would impact the sauce so, I did skim some off. In the end, it was fine. I had to do the chicken in two batches so I added a bit more oil. I added some kale from the garden for the veggie factor. I served it with brown rice and it was super. I also made strips of chicken. It seems cubed chicken can get rubbery.
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad it was fabulous! Honestly I really don’t think the extra oil would effect the sauce and no need to skim it, but since you were doing it in batches, who knows. At any rates, glad it was great and the kale from your garden sounds like a lovely addition!
This looks fantastic and I love anything with basil! I remember finding a small package of Thai basil once at my local Kroger (last summer) but haven’t seen any since. I did try it but honestly couldn’t tell any significant difference from regular basil.
I agree, there’s not much difference, at least to my palate. It’s kind of like the difference between lemons and Meyer lemons. Sometimes I can tell a bit of a difference with Meyer lemons, but otherwise no and not worth the search or the increase in price.
Ironically I made this in the winter, when Basil was not at all seasonal, and I have been holding onto it since then knowing that now a lot of people have basil on their hands. We really loved this chicken.
OMG Averie!! The timing on this is stellar – I’m making this for dinner but with tofu. I have a ✨basil plant✨ that I’ve been neglecting because I’m still fawning over my coriander! 😂I also want to make some of your raspberry bread. So much for keeping them frozen til Winter 😬💜
I’m glad you’re going to give this a try with tofu. Let me know how it turns out! And yes tis the season for basil indeed.