Thai Rice Recipes From Side Dish to Main Course

Best Thai Rice Recipes

Easy yellow rice

The Spruce 

You might be surprised by all the satisfying meals you can make with just a few pantry staples and leftover fridge ingredients. Thai fried rice is an ideal complement for leftovers because it's so versatile. The following recipes call for ingredients which you might not associate with traditional Thai food, like white wine and currants. Many of these recipes are one-dish dinners, although they can be served alongside the main vegetable or meat course for a more elaborate meal—and we've included desserts, too.

  • 01 of 17

    Thai Vegetarian Pineapple Fried Rice

    Thai Vegetarian Pineapple Fried Rice

    The Spruce

    This fried rice recipe is a signature dish of Thailand, traditionally served in a pineapple boat. But even served straight out of the wok, this is a fan favorite that consistently brings in compliments. Currants are an unexpected ingredient that brings sweetness and textural contrast, and cashews and peas provide crunch.

  • 02 of 17

    How to Make Perfect Jasmine Rice

    Bowl of jasmine rice with chopsticks
    Anthony-Masterson / Getty Images

    It might seem elementary to include a recipe on how to make plain white jasmine rice, but mastering the ability to cook rice is the foundation of Thai cuisine. Be sure to follow all of the steps for making rice because if it's undercooked, overcooked, or of inferior quality, it can affect the entire meal. On a weeknight or lazy Sunday morning, a bowl of rice with soy sauce, Sriracha, and a fried egg—and slivers of green onion if you're feeling fancy—is a sublime meal.

  • 03 of 17

    Thai Fried Rice With Shrimp

    Thai shrimp fried rice
    Whitewish / Getty Images

    When you think of takeout Thai fried rice, you probably think of khao phad kung, or shrimp fried rice. It features eggs, peas, onions, and fresh or frozen shrimp, all quickly stir-fried for maximum freshness. This is a great way to use leftover rice—and leftover roasted chicken can also be added. Add chile peppers if you like it spicy. Delicious.

  • 04 of 17

    Easy Coconut Rice

    Coconut rice

    The Spruce

    Coconut rice is cooked with canned coconut milk for a more fragrant result. The dish can be used for sweet or savory purposes, although this recipe calls for just a touch of salt to bring out the flavor in the rice. Serve it just as you would regular rice. Without being overly strong in coconut flavor, the coconut milk adds a richness and aromatic quality that nicely complements spicy curries.

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  • 05 of 17

    Classic Thai Chicken Fried Rice

    Thai chicken fried rice

    The Spruce

    This simple recipe is another takeout classic—one that uses chicken instead of shrimp. Lime juice and a pinch of sugar brighten up the fried rice, and the addition of mushrooms give it body and an earthy flavor. Leftover rice that is several days old is ideal for this recipe because it keeps its structure when you fry it. However, freshly made rice works too—follow the tips included to make sure your stir-fry turns out light and fluffy.

  • 06 of 17

    Easy Thai Yellow Rice With Vegetables

    Easy yellow rice

    The Spruce 

    This Thai yellow rice recipe is a colorful and delicious accompaniment for a main dish. It can also be eaten on its own, topped with a fried egg, or paired with stir-fried greens on the side. For a more substantial meal, simply pair with a creamy, coconut milk-infused Thai green curry.

  • 07 of 17

    Easy Saffron Rice

    Easy saffron rice

    The Spruce

    This easy recipe for saffron rice hails from the south of Thailand, where it is often eaten with roast chicken. Because saffron is so expensive, turmeric is used for added color and flavor. This saffron rice makes dinner extra special, and it's nearly as easy to make as regular rice. You don't need a rice cooker to make this recipe either—it's boiled in a pot on the stove, but it tastes every bit like steamed rice.

  • 08 of 17

    Thai Chicken Fried Rice With Basil and Lime Leaf

    Thai Chicken Fried Rice With Basil and Lime Leaf

    Getty Images / Cyrielle Beaubois

    Basil is the defining star in this dish, and this takeout staple is incredibly easy to make at home. This chicken fried rice recipe features lime leaf for extra aromatics. Both the lime leaf and basil brighten what might otherwise be a heavy meal.

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  • 09 of 17

    Savory Sticky Rice With Mushrooms, Green Onion, and Chile

    Savory Sticky Rice With Mushrooms, Green Onion, and Chile

    Tom Cockrem / Getty Images

    The defining characteristic of this fried rice recipe is not the succulent bacon or the aromatic green onions, but the steamed sticky rice that adds a satisfying bite. If you've never prepared sticky rice, note that you'll need a bamboo steamer. A metal colander can also work in a pinch, however.

  • 10 of 17

    Saffron Coconut Rice

    Saffron Coconut Rice
    Harini Prakash / Getty Images

    If you like coconut rice, try this delicious Thai saffron coconut rice recipe. Either coconut or saffron is sometimes added to rice in Thailand, and instead of choosing one or the other, this recipe combines both. The result is a rice dish that could complement a Thai curry just as well as an Indian vegetable dish. Fish sauce adds background umami, while lemon juice brightens up the rice. Whatever you serve with this dish, this is one instance when the rice might be the main attraction.

  • 11 of 17

    Thai Mushroom Fried Rice

    Mushroom fried rice

    Philippe Desnerck / Getty Images

    Celery, peppers, and mushrooms add body and flavor to this vegetable-forward dish, which is a meal on its own. Sherry adds a depth of flavor that is key to making this mushroom fried rice recipe shine—don't be tempted to skip it. As with many fried rice recipes, using leftover rice that's a couple of days old is ideal.

  • 12 of 17

    Thai Yellow Fried Rice With Shrimp

    Thai yellow fried rice

    Pinghung Chen / Getty Images

    This yellow fried rice recipe has a secret ingredient that you might not associate with Thai cooking: white wine. It really deepens the flavor of the dish and complements the seafood. The recipe also has all the classic fried rice ingredients, like spring onion and peas.

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  • 13 of 17

    Brown Coconut Rice

    Brown Coconut Rice

    The Spruce / Andrea Livingston

    In Thailand, brown rice is an integral part of dessert dishes. As it is, however, this recipe is not sweet or overly strong in coconut flavor. It just brings a butteriness from the coconut milk that is the perfect complement to spicy or tart curries.

  • 14 of 17

    Stovetop Sticky Rice

    Stovetop Sticky Rice

    The Spruce / Leah Maroney

    Thai sticky rice is also known as "glutinous rice." It's also sometimes called "sweet rice," which can be misleading because it doesn't actually taste sweet. Similar to Japanese rice, Thai sticky rice is excellent served with rich or sauce curries. The bite of the rice offers contrast to a silken curry, and it's great for soaking up sauce.

  • 15 of 17

    Rice Cooker Sticky Rice

    Slow cooker sticky rice in a wooden bowl

    The Spruce 

    Sticky rice is normally steamed, and because of this, few people in the West can be bothered making it. But did you know you can also make sticky rice in your rice cooker with delicious results? Using a rice cooker cuts down on all the steps involved, and it's so quick and easy that you'll find yourself enjoying it more often.

  • 16 of 17

    Thai Mango Sticky Rice Dessert

    Mango sticky rice

    The Spruce

    Thai sticky rice with mango, khao niaow ma muang, is an absolute must try—and it's virtually foolproof. This Thai dessert starts with Thai sweet rice (also called sticky rice or glutinous rice), which is surrounded by a bath of coconut milk and then topped with slices of fresh or frozen mango. If you like mangoes, you're going to love this very simple and tropical dessert.

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  • 17 of 17

    Thai Shredded Coconut Rice

    Thai Shredded Coconut Rice

    Laurence Mouton / Getty Images

    For perfect rice every time, just follow the steps of this easy coconut rice recipe. This version contains shredded coconut for added flavor and texture. Easy and so delicious, this coconut rice makes a terrific side dish to nearly any meal.