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These colorful Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls are full of Thai flavors and made so simply. The beef (or use chicken) is cooked in a sweet Thai basil chili sauce until caramelized around the edges, then added to bowls of lemongrass rice. A fresh, bright, carrot and pepper salad is spooned overtop. The bowl is then finished with flavorful Thai basil, sesame seeds, and peanuts for a balance of spicy, sweet, and savory flavor. Altogether, these bowls are so delicious, plus quick to make.

Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls |

I’m back at it with another summer bowl recipe, and this one is extra special. This is a recipe I made back in 2014, but I’ve continued to make it on repeat. At this point, it’s such a Gerard family staple, we all love it!

Anytime my brothers are home visiting I end up making this at least once. They love that it’s kind of like take-out, but healthier. And I always make it just spicy enough for their tastes, but with a kick of sweetness too.

Honestly, I mostly love this recipe because it’s so darn easy! If I have all the vegetables prepped, it takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

I make this year-round, but it’s on weekly rotation throughout the summer since we grow so much sweet Thai basil and peppers!

Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls |

Make the rice

The first thing I make is the rice since it actually takes the longest to cook. For this dish, I love to use lemongrass. Lemongrass is such a star ingredient that’s so underused. When cooked, it has a subtle citrusy, lemony flavor with a little mintiness in there too.

It’s a very light refreshing flavor and I love cooking it into the rice. The lemongrass really complements the basil.

I cook the rice in coconut milk for a creamy, coconut flavor along with lemongrass paste and Thai jasmine rice. Simply let the rice steam while you prepare the beef.

Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls |

Make the salad and beef

To add color and extra flavor, I made a quick salad with carrots, peppers, and lots of fresh green onions. I kept the dressing simple with a bit of fish sauce, lime, and honey. Then I tossed it all together and let the dressing soak into the veggies, almost like pickling them.

For the beef, I used ground beef, garlic, and ginger cooked together with lots of sweet Thai chili sauce and Thai basil. You can easily use whatever you enjoy here, chicken, pork or even tofu would be great.

If you’re having trouble finding Thai basil, traditional Italian basil works in a pinch!

Since most store-bought sweet Thai chili sauce is full of sugar, I like to make my own chili sauce. I use a mix of honey, chili paste, a touch of ketchup, and then some garlic, ginger, and lime!! It’s really easy to mix up if you’re looking for a healthier sauce option.

Then just put everything together. Load the bowls with rice, beef, lots of salad, roasted peanuts, toasted sesame seeds, and plenty of garden-fresh Thai basil.

These bowls come together so quickly and have so much flavor, which you know we love! And I really appreciate all the color – best kind of recipe!

Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls |

Looking for other quick weeknight dinners? Here are some favorites:

Chili Crisp Chicken Mango Cucumber Rice Bowl

30 Minute Caramelized Shallot Beef Ramen Noodles

Healthier Homemade One Pot Hamburger Helper

Coconut Popcorn Chicken with Sweet Thai Chili Lime Sauce

30 Minute Sticky Thai Meatballs with Sesame Noodles

Better Than Takeout Sweet Thai Basil Chicken

Spicy Chipotle Honey Salmon Bowls

Lastly, if you make these Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

20 Minute Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 494 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.





  • 1. To make the salad. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Toss well and set aside.
    2. To make the beef. In a large skillet, cook the beef with black pepper over medium heat, breaking up the meat as it cooks until browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook another minute. Add the tamari, sweet Thai chili sauce, and 1 cup of fresh basil. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook until the sauce coats the beef, 3-5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining basil.
    3. Divide the rice and beef between bowls. Add the salad to the bowl. Top with peanuts, sesame seeds, and fresh basil. Enjoy!

Lemongrass Rice

  • 1. Add 1 can coconut milk and 1/3 water to a medium-sized pot. Bring to a low boil. Add in 1 1/2 cups jasmine rice and 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste. Stir to combine. Place the lid on the pot and turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. Allow the rice to cook ten minutes on low and then turn the heat off completely. Let the rice sit on the stove, covered, for another 15-20 minutes (don't take any peeks inside!).
    2. After 15-20 minutes remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork. Note that rice can cook differently for everyone, this is just what works for me.


Homemade Sweet Thai Chili Sauce: Mix 1/3 cup honey, 2 tablespoons ketchup, 1-2 tablespoons chili sauce, 2 teaspoons lime zest, 2 tablespoons lime juice, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 2 teaspoons tamari or soy sauce, 1 tablespoon grated ginger, and 1 clove grated garlic in a glass jar. Shake or stir well. Use as directed. 
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Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls |

(had to leave one of these original photos, for memories!!)

20 Minute Thai Basil Beef and Lemongrass Rice Bowls | @hbharvest

See, even my picky littlest brother, Red, was all over this one. Now that is rare.

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  1. This dish hits all the right marks, spicy, delicious, and beautiful when plated. Like others it took me a bit longer to prep than the recipe states, I guess some have better knife skills! Loved all the components and they worked well together. A filling yet light meal. Excited to have leftovers for lunch today!

    1. Hey Julie,
      Wonderful!! Thanks a bunch for trying this recipe out, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xTieghan

  2. 5 stars
    Made this last night — thank you for the tasty recipe! It took quite some time to prepare but was worth it and our guests loved the results! I made regular rice and the coconut milk/lemongrass rice (used a rice cooker and had to add much more water than recipe called for). Set up a “build your own bowl” station and had lots of toppings like cilantro, peanuts, roasted sesame seeds, tomatoes and the slaw salad. Additions I made: lots of hot Thai peppers to the ground beef while cooking; hot Thai peppers, ginger and cilantro to the slaw. Only down side is I didn’t make enough — everyone raved about it and went back for seconds! Great idea and recipe Tieghan, thank you!!

    1. Hey Lynn,
      Thanks so much for sharing your review and giving this recipe a try! I am so glad it was enjoyed! Have a great Wednesday! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    Amazing, but all your recipes are. We use brown rice in our home and it worked perfectly. I picked up some top sirloin and chopped it up, it cooked up lovely in the sauce. My seven year old said it was the best. Thankyou.

    1. Hey MaryAnna,
      Thanks so much for your kind message and making this recipe, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed!! Hope you’re having a great week! xx

  4. 5 stars
    I will concur that it took more than 25 minutes because of the separate components, and also concur that it was well worth it! I would need to double it next time because it was sooo good! The flavor combinations were so perfect, actually, genius!

    1. Hey Terrian,
      Amazing!! Love to hear that you enjoyed this recipe, thanks for making it and sharing your review:) xx

  5. 5 stars
    This was so good. I made it for myself tonite. I’m telling my husband he won’t like it (big lie) so I get all the leftovers–it won’t work. :o)

    1. Hey Pam,
      Happy Wednesday!! LOL thanks a bunch for making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was tasty!?

  6. 4 stars
    I made this last night and it was good thou i had one big challenge. I read the title and blog and a few days later made my grocery list based on the ingredients. Since there wasn’t a section on the rice in the ingredient list I totally missed those. My grocery had some lite coconut milk so i tried that w the rice but like others it was hard. I think i needed more water or to use a bigger pan to spread out the heat more. The nearest Lemongrass to me is over 100 miles away so I’ll try it again after I get that. My prep could have been faster if I’d bought pre-shredded carrots, but those aren’t sold at my store. So they looked more like shredded cheese since i used my grater to make them. Looking forward to trying again. Thanks for the mix of flavors!

    1. Hey Fern,
      Happy Wednesday!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was tasty! Try ordering the lemongrass online next time:)?

      1. I haven’t tried buying groceries online bc I’ve never been good at planning but will look into that. I had the leftovers for lunch today and the whole thing was even better. Such great flavors.

  7. Why is there lemongrass in the name of the dish but no lemongrass in the ingredients list? I love lemongrass but realized this when I was making my grocery list!

    1. Hi Candace,
      The lemongrass is part of the rice which is optional:) I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you have any other questions! xx

    1. 5 stars
      Just made this with tofu! Yes, you read that right, tofu. I followed everything else in the recipe except adding a little oil to the pan and adding the garlic and ginger a bit earlier, after cooking tofu 3 minutes. So good. We will make this again.

      1. Hey Gillian,
        Happy Wednesday!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was tasty! Glad to hear the tofu worked well for you! ?

    2. Hey Alex,
      That is purposeful, the lemongrass rice is totally optional:) Let me know if you have any other questions! xx

  8. 5 stars
    This is such a delicious dish! I like having salads for lunch so I meal prepped it to go over kale and cabbage for lunch at work for the week. I love the combination of umami and bright flavors. Really fantastic.

    Disclaimer though – I had to go to multiple stores to get the ingredients which was time consuming, and all 3 didn’t have lemongrass paste. So I ended up having to make that from scratch, and between that and the rice and homemade Thai chili sauce, it took me about an hour and a half – NOT twenty minutes lol.

    Still worth it though 🙂

    1. Hey Sophie,
      Happy Wednesday!! Thanks a bunch for making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that it was tasty! Sorry this took you longer than expected!?

  9. This was very good. I like how fresh and wholesome it feels. I forgot to buy rice at the store — don’t forget to get the rice ingredients. I have never made rice with coconut milk before. Excellent flavors and textures. Definitely will be repeated.

  10. 5 stars
    This was amazing!! Loved every single bite!! I didn’t have fish sauce for the dressing (just added some salt in its place), and it was still flavorful and delicious!!

    1. Hey Kimberly,
      Happy Tuesday! I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe, thanks for trying it out! xxTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    This was so delicious! Definitely will be making this again. I added cucumber to my salad and red onion because I didn’t have green onions.

    1. Hi Nancy!
      I am so glad to hear that this recipe was w inner, thanks so much for making it:) Happy Tuesday! xx

  12. 5 stars
    Very good! The best part was the sweet chili sauce. We add sweet chili sauce to everything but the store bought versions are expensive with terrible ingredients. I’m excited to start making our chili sauce instead of buying!

    1. Hey Janelle,
      Wonderful! I am so excited to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for trying it out! xx

    1. Hey Gurleen,
      Wonderful! I am so excited to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for trying it out! xx