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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. 
View Recipe Comments
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. 5 stars
    We loved the his recipe. It also gave us leftovers for lunch, which is a total bonus. Will definitely be making this part of the dinner rotation. Plus I almost broke my arm patting myself on the back for having all of the ingredients! Didn’t have to buy anything. Well stocked fridge and pantry ?

    1. Hi Patti,
      Fantastic! I truly appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I am so glad it was tasty for you! xT

  2. 5 stars
    So delicious! It’s packed full of flavor. We loved having both the warm beef mixture and the crunch of the carrot salad. We will definitely make again!

    1. Hi David,
      Thanks so much for trying this recipe and sharing your feedback, sorry to hear you found this to be salty. xT

  3. 5 stars
    We loved this! Great flavors, easy prep and cook times, plus, accolades from all …. of which all go to you! Thanks Tieghan!

  4. 5 stars
    We made this to use up garden produce and subbed ground bison for the beef. It received rave reviews from our guests. Will be making just the veggie salad to eat this weekend

    1. Hi Leslee,
      Happy Friday! I am so excited to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for trying it out! ?xx

  5. 5 stars
    One word : delicious. It’s one of those recipes my husband couldn’t stop complimenting on. Is definitely being added to the recipe rotation.
    Thanks teigan!

    1. Hey Iris,
      Happy Wednesday! Thanks so much for making this dish, I love to hear that it was tasty! xTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    My kids just went nuts over this one! My 6 year old asked for seconds and he rarely asks for seconds! Such a perfect dinner it’s going on our weekly menu!

    1. Hey Michele,
      Happy Monday! Thanks a lot for trying this recipe out, I am so excited to hear that it was a hit! xx

  7. 5 stars
    Wow ? So easy to make and absolutely delicious. The homemade sweet chili sauce is soooo good, love it more than the usual bottle we have on hand. Thank you ?? .

    1. Hey Dana,
      Happy Monday! Thanks a lot for trying this recipe out, I am so excited to hear that it was a hit! xx

    1. Hi Kate,
      Happy Sunday!! I appreciate you giving this recipe a try and sharing your review, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! xT

  8. 5 stars
    Ugh Tieghan, you knocked it out of the park again!!! This was an amazing dinner – saucy, salty, crunchy. Even my picky husband liked it. I can’t always get all the ingredients I need for your recipes here in Kenya, but for this one I had EVERYTHING and it was perfect. I’ll be making it again soon.

    As always, thanks for being so generous and sharing with us. x

    1. Hey Mara,
      Happy Sunday!! Wow Kenya?! That’s pretty awesome! I appreciate you giving this recipe a try and sharing your review, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! xT

  9. Hi Tieghan! This dish was PHENOMENAL! It had everyone’s taste buds dancing in their mouth. The blend of the flavors is splendid, and everyone can’t wait to make it again. Honestly, I was sad I didn’t make a double batch. I used low-sodium soy sauce and the salt level was great. One note of feedback: the instructions for the rice weren’t super clear. I wasn’t sure about the size of the coconut milk and there was no measurement on the water. I ended up googling a rice recipe to make sure I was getting the proportions right. I used one 14.5 oz can of coconut milk and 10 oz of water to get a 2:1 liquid to rice ratio. Turned out decent. #HalfBakedHarvestForLife Keep on rockin’ it, girl!

    1. Hi Nichole,
      Amazing!! I am so excited to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for making it! Sorry for any confusion, you just want to use a standard size can of coconut milk and 1/3 cup of water. Have a great weekend☀️

  10. 5 stars
    Listen. I literally only make your recipes. We legit make the Thai Peanut Chicken once a month — it’s our fav. But this. THIS!!! If you’re scrolling through thinking this looked good but nothing special like I did (I mean this respectfully hahaha you just have so many recipes I want to try!) — don’t be a dummy like me! This is fantastic! MAKE IT NOW! I like sauce and I like my food SEASONED — which is why HBH is always my go to. You absolutely nail it every time, Tieghan.

    1. Hey Ashley,
      Happy Friday!? LOL thanks so much for your kind message and making so many recipes:) I love to hear that it was a winner! xx

  11. 2 stars
    I have to say it seemed really salty with the soy sauce, maybe tamari is less salty? It really overpowered the rice, and just seemed overwhelming. I think I’d try it again with less. Also we swapped out bell peppers for cabbage, which was good. I will try again and tweak it for our tastes!

    1. Hey Linda,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try and sharing your feedback, sorry to hear it was so salty. You could also use coconut aminos for less salt next time. I hope this helps! xx