Thai Basil Shrimp Stir Fry

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Thai Basil Shrimp Stir Fry that's ready in just 10 minutes with the most delicious spicy basil stir fry sauce and fresh zucchini.


This 10 minute Thai Basil Shrimp recipe seriously couldn't be easier to make and it tastes so good. It's savory and slightly spicy and the flavor of the basil makes it stand out from a traditional shrimp stir fry dish. Serve it with some steamed rice or cauliflower rice for a meal you will make again and again. 

Whenever we are ordering Thai takeout, I always lean towards the Thai Basil Shrimp Stirfry and Cashew Chicken. I love the addition of a fresh herb like basil to a classic stir fry to really kick things up a notch.

It takes what would normally be a delicious, but standard, stir fry and truly makes it something special. 

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And you won't believe just how easy it is to make this dish at home. It takes less than 15 minutes, including all the prep work, with just 8-10 minutes of cook time.

This time I made it with zucchini and shrimp, since I love that combination, but you can swap in any veggie you like.  It also makes a really delicious shrimp and rice bowl.

Trust me, this will be a stir-fry dish you make all the time. It's fast, it's healthy, and it's better than takeout. 

Shrimp stir fry with thai basil and zucchini in a skillet with a spicy stir fry sauce.

Side Dish Ideas for Thai Basil Shrimp

The classic side dish would be simple white or brown steamed rice. The rice soaks up the sauce and the tempers the heat from the chili paste. You could also swap in another grain like quinoa or couscous. For a low carb option, choose cauliflower rice or spaghetti squash.

If you are wanting something a little more creative, here are some more ideas:

  • Go for a full takeout style meal and make these Fresh Spring Rolls, which can be made with tofu, shrimp, or just vegetables.
  • Green papaya salads are a popular Thai starter but since green papayas can be hard to find, I often make this version with mango
  • When I am getting tired of cauliflower rice, I like to make this Cabbage Fried Rice instead. 
  • This is also delicious served wrapped up in butter lettuce leaves with some shredded carrots, bean sprouts, and sliced cucumbers. 
  • For noodle lovers, consider serving this with a Thai rice noodle. 

Recipe Ideas and Tips

Follow these tips to make sure that the dish comes out perfect every time. 

  • If you don't have a large enough skillet to cook the shrimp in a single layer with the veggies in the pan, then just cook the vegetables first. Remove them from the pan and add the shrimp in a single layer. Then add back the vegetables with the stir fry sauce.
  • If you prefer a dish without spice, just leave out the Asian garlic chili paste. It will still have tons of flavor, just won't be spicy.
  • For a sweet and spicy flavor, add one tablespoon of honey to the stir-fry sauce.
  • If you aren't a big fan of shrimp, you can make this with thinly sliced chicken or pork instead. Just make sure to choose something that cooks quickly. 
  • This recipe will work with different types of vegetables but works best with quick-cooking vegetables. Think of options like green beans, asparagus, sugar snap peas, or bok choy. You can also make this without veggies. 
  • Use leftovers to make these tasty Thai Bowls with quinoa and vegetables. 

Can I use frozen shrimp?

Frozen shrimp is a great way to save money when buying shrimp since it is usually less expensive than the shrimp at the seafood counter.  However, you always want to defrost it before cooking since frozen shrimp tends to cook unevenly. The outside cooks too quickly and the inside remains raw. 

That means you always want to defrost the shrimp before cooking. Ideally, let the shrimp defrost naturally in the fridge overnight. If you don't have time for that, place the shrimp in a bowl of cold water in the sink. Let a trickle of water continue to drip into the bowl and leave the shrimp for about 10 minutes or until it is fully defrosted. Drain and pat dry.

When buying shrimp, look for raw shrimp that are peeled and deveined to save time. Medium, large, or extra large shrimp will work. Normally I but the 20-26 count. This refers to the number of shrimp you will find in one pound. 

Can regular basil be used?

Absolutely! Thai basil can be tricky to find so regular basil will work just fine. Thai basil tends to have a stronger, almost spicier flavor and purplish-green leaves.  Both work great and I make this dish with regular basil all the time. 

Thai shrimp stir fry with fresh basil, zucchini, and brown rice with chili sauce on the side.

Does this work with other vegetables?

This easy Thai Basil Shrimp dish will work with all different vegetables. Generally, you want to choose something that cooks relatively quickly like asparagus, green beans, broccoli, snap peas, or snow peas.

You can also use a mix of vegetables. Just cook them until tender crisp and adjust the cooking time based on the veggies you choose. 

More Thai Inspired Recipes

The Recipe
Thia baisl shrimp stir fry with zucchini, cooked shrimp, and brown rice in a bowl.

Thai Basil Shrimp Stir Fry

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  • 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch (leave out for Whole30/Paleo)
  • 2 cups zucchini, chopped
  • 4 scallions
  • 2 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)
  • 1/4 cup Thai basil (or regular)
  • 2 tsp coconut oil

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In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, chili sauce, garlic, and ginger. Toss the shrimp with cornstarch and set aside.


Heat the coconut oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the zucchini and cook for 3-4 minutes until just tender crisp.


Push the zucchini to one side of the pan. Add the shrimp in a single layer. Cook for 2-3 minutes until pink and beginning to brown. Flip over and cook for 2 more minutes.


Add the stir fry sauce, green onions, and basil. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Serve immediately.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 153
Calories from Fat 30
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 183mg
Sodium 516mg
Total Carbohydrate 7g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 2g
Protein 25g

* 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
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On Thai Basil Shrimp Stir Fry
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July 17, 2022 - 18:22
Add a Rating:
Made this tonight - it was absolutely delicious! Great flavour and something different from the normal garlic/ginger/soy sauce combo - probably due to the sambal oelek and basil which provided a great kick. Will certainly be making this again.
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November 17, 2020 - 14:42
Add a Rating:
Just made this. Delicious!
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Michelle Murphy
August 4, 2020 - 19:59
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I made this tonight and this is one of THE best dishes to date! I love this and will DEFINITELY be making it again and again! Tasted SOOO good!!!
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