Thai Basil Ground Turkey

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Thai takeout lovers need to make this easy Thai Basil Ground Turkey dish made with just a few simple ingredients. Ready in fifteen minutes, this dish is perfect for busy nights.

253 CAL 6g CARBS 13g FAT 30g PROTEIN

Next time you want to order Asian takeout, save yourself some money and make this Spicy Thai Basil Ground Turkey bowl instead! This ground turkey recipe will rival your favorite Thai takeout but is made at home with healthier ingredients and ready in less time than it takes to order take-out. Plus, it's low carb, Whole30 friendly, Paleo, and gluten-free!

The other night, we were both really craving take-out after a particularly stressful workday (I know you can all relate) and decided to make the healthier choice by making some kind of takeout food at home. Just our version of it.

I was really craving some Thai food so I was planning on making these Thai Basil Beef Bowls but quickly realized I was all out of ground beef! Luckily, I had some ground turkey in the freezer and whipped up this quick turkey version instead.

And, let me tell you, it turned out amazing!

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The sauce is savory and spicy and, with the addition of the Thai basil, it had just the right amount of freshness to the dish.

Everything is finished with some fresh lime juice and dinner was served. There's nothing better than a simple and flavorful Thai dish that you can make in less than 20 minutes!

Thai Ground Turkey in a bowl with Thai basil, lean ground turkey, and white rice with a fork on the side.

Key Ingredients For Thai Basil Ground Turkey

Besides lean ground turkey, these are the other key ingredients you need to make this Thai recipe at home:

  • Fresh garlic and ginger: Mixing together minced garlic and ginger is very common in many Asian-inspired dishes. These two ingredients are essential to getting the right flavor profile.
  • Low sodium soy sauce: Soy sauce is very important in this dish as it gives it the salty, umami element it needs to trick your tastebuds into thinking you are eating take out.
  • Asian garlic chili paste: This ingredient helps give this Thai basil ground turkey that kick of spiciness it is known to have. you can always add less or completely omit it if you are not a fan of spicy food or want to make it a bit more kid-friendly.
  • Thai basil: This type of basil is known to have a spicier, more licorice type of flavor than a piece of regular sweet basil.

Note: For a full list of ingredients and detailed instructions on how to make this Thai basil ground turkey bowl, take a look at the printable recipe card at the bottom of this post!

What To Serve With This Asian Inspired Ground Turkey Bowl

When I make this Thai turkey dish, I normally serve it over some of this cauliflower coconut rice, which is absolutely delicious. If cauliflower rice isn't your or your family's favorite thing to eat, try serving this ground turkey bowl with some plain brown rice or quinoa.

If you are looking for more of an appetizer-sized meal, you could also reach for some lettuce cups and make yourself some quick and easy lettuce wraps.

Recipe Tips And Ideas For Thai Ground Turkey

Follow these tips to make sure that this stew comes out perfect every single time.

  • If you are trying to make this ground turkey dish gluten-free, swap out the low sodium soy sauce for tamari sauce or coconut aminos.
  • Use powdered garlic and/or ginger if you are unable to use fresh ingredients. Just know you might not get the same intense flavors you would if you were using fresh ginger and garlic cloves.
  • To make this dish a bit sweeter, add 1-3 tsp. sugar along with the garlic chili paste. It helps balance the dish out!
  • If you still need a bit more spice, add a drizzle of sriracha over the top of your Thai basil turkey bowl.
  • Add a squeeze of fresh lime juice over the top of the bowl before serving to give them a citrusy pop of flavor.

Ground turkey with Thai spices in a bowl with rice being picked up with a fork.

Frequently Asked Questions About This Thai Ground Turkey Recipe

Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers…

What if I don't have ground turkey?

If you don't have ground turkey on hand or prefer to use another type of meat, you can easily swap it out for some ground pork or ground beef instead.

I've personally made this exact same recipe using ground beef before and it turned out wonderful.

Is Thai basil the same as regular sweet basil?

Not exactly. While they are both types of basil leaves, they have a different flavor profile.

Thai basil is grown in southeast Asia and has a stronger flavor than sweet basil down. It's spicier with more of an anise or licorice flavor. Sweet basil is on the softer side and works better in sauces like a homemade marinara sauce.

More Takeout Dishes

The Recipe
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Thai Basil Ground Turkey

253 CAL 6g CARBS 13g FAT 30g PROTEIN
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  • 1.33 lb. 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tbsp. low sodium soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • 2 tsp. Asian garlic chili paste (like sambal oelek)
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil (loosely chopped)
  • 1 lime, juice only

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Add the turkey and onion to a hot nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Brown and break up the larger chunks as you go until no longer pink.

Ground turkey and onion in a skillet.

Add in the garlic and ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.

Cooked ground turkey in a skillet with garlic and ginger.

Add the soy sauce, chili paste, and basil. (For a sweeter option, add 1-3 tsp. sugar as well) Cook for 30 seconds and remove from heat. Taste and season as needed with additional soy or chili sauce. Squeeze lime juice over top.

Cooked ground Thai turkey with fresh basil on top in a skillet.


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Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 6 oz.
Amount Per Serving
Calories 253
Calories from Fat 116
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 13g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 112mg
Sodium 478mg
Total Carbohydrate 6g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 2g
Protein 30g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
† We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.
On Thai Basil Ground Turkey
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September 20, 2022 - 09:39
Add a Rating:
Didnt have the chili paste so I substituted 1 T fish oil. Also added a cup or 2 of coconut milk and omitted the lime juice. (Wasn't sure if it might curdle the coconut milk?) Also added diced carrots, zuccini and squash b/c I was low on my veggie intake.......DeLISH!
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July 2, 2022 - 18:58
This is a winning recipe that will be added to my rotation as an easy, delicious, quick meal during the week! I put it over rice and used sweet basil from my plant on the back porch. The flavor was impressive and SO good. Tasted like a restaurant meal!
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May 17, 2022 - 17:56
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This is one of my absolute favorite meals. We use coconut aminos to sub for the soy sauce.
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Paul Simon
February 9, 2020 - 10:24
This looks good. Haven't tried it. Perplexed on the 1/2 cup of Thai basil. Is that whole leaves? Chopped up? I'm growing Thai Basil in my Aero Garden not sure I have a 1/2 cup and I was going to up the recipe to 6 servings. Please explain how you measure a 1/2 cup of the basil. Thanks!
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September 17, 2019 - 11:51
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Ive made this a few times and always is to dry. It needs more of a sauce to it. Last night I did add a water/cornstarch with the soy and the chili sauce. Turned okay
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August 6, 2019 - 20:28
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This was so easy to make and taste DELICIOUS!
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May 22, 2019 - 15:33
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Absolutely delicious. I added chopped water chestnuts for crunch, and served it over cilantro cauliflower rice.
Would be equally delicious as a lettuce wraps with a sweet chili sauce.
A perfect WW meal!
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May 23, 2019 - 06:58
So glad to hear you enjoyed it and I love the idea of adding water chestnuts - yum!
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March 11, 2019 - 16:48
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I made this recipe with tofu for those who want to omit the meat and it was wonderful. I added some broccoli, cabbage, onions, and sliced carrots plus wonderful Thai basil and some slices of lemon grass. I used some mushroom soy sauce that I got at my Asian grocery store along with the thai basil and some fresh lemon grass. I served it with brown rice and it was a real winner. It was as food as I have at my fav. Thai restaurant.
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May 23, 2019 - 06:58
That sounds amazing!! Love all the veggies and the idea of using tofu.
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Tamara Willis
January 29, 2019 - 08:42
Can I use regular basil?
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January 29, 2019 - 09:29
Regular basil will work just fine :)
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December 11, 2018 - 17:21
Hi! Do you chop up the basil or use the leaves whole?
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December 11, 2018 - 17:52
Chopped! I will update the ingredient list to include that. Thanks!
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October 29, 2018 - 07:43
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Is Thai Basil a spice? or do you make it on your own? I cant find anything when I google it.
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November 27, 2018 - 09:39
It is an herb that you would use fresh. Unlikely that your regular grocery store has it. We've found it at an Asian food market before, but we grow it in our garden now since it's so hard to find. :-/ It definitely does taste different than the "normal" basil you would find at the store. I love Thai food, so it was worth it for us to grow it.
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August 28, 2018 - 17:10
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This was a HUGE hit with my husband. He said he would have paid money in a restaurant for it. Thanks for a super easy and very tasty recipe!
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May 23, 2019 - 06:59
Those are my favorite responses to meals! So happy to hear you enjoyed it.
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August 7, 2018 - 17:47
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I was looking for inspiration for my ground turkey meat and came across this recipe. I talked my husband into trying it. He has recently been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and has chosen to go onto a low carb diet. He continues to voice concern about getting bored with the meals I usually make and refuses to try cauliflower sides that imitate rice. I made this tonight and he raved about it. It is excellent and so easy. Thank you so much. He even liked the cauliflower. That, for a person who hates cauliflower, is high praise indeed.
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May 23, 2019 - 07:00
Love this!! Always fun to get our family members to try things they usually wouldn't :)
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Jody Goldman
March 11, 2017 - 07:01
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Another delicious recipe. I brought it for lunch during the week.
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Nelly Steele
January 29, 2017 - 13:34
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Delicious! eveyrone loved it and easy to prepare
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Saundra Contreras
January 16, 2017 - 20:22
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Made this for dinner with ground turkey breast. Didn't have scallions so I just used red onion. I also added half a head of grated cabbage and skipped the asparagus. Served it with green beans on the side. It was so good!!
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May 23, 2019 - 07:00
Love the idea of adding cabbage! Such good crunch.
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Colleen Gooding
January 11, 2017 - 15:02
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Wonderful flavour and easy. I couldn't find thai basil so I used regular basil
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