Top 15 Classic Thai Food Dishes

Overhead shot of various Thai dishes

X Li S Ra Khaw Khm / EyeEm / Getty Images


If you're ready to try your hand at cooking homemade Thai food, these recipes will get you started. Explore Thai soups, appetizers, main course dishes and a dessert.

  • 01 of 15

    Thai Chicken Satay

    Thai Satay

    The Spruce / Ahlam Raffii

    If you've never had the real stuff, then you'll fall in love with this special Thai chicken satay recipe. Strips of chicken or beef are marinated in a special Thai paste, then skewered and grilled or broiled. It is then served with homemade peanut sauce for a memorable taste.

  • 02 of 15

    Thai Fillet of Fish Baked in Banana Leaf

    Thai Baked Fish in Banana Leaf Recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    You can use nearly any type of fish fillets for this recipe, including salmon, snapper, cod, or tilapia. You'll slather them in a fragrant coconut sauce and bake them in banana leaves, tin foil, or parchment paper. Serve it with coconut rice, plain rice, or potatoes.

  • 03 of 15

    Thai Mini Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

    Thai Mini Shrimp Lettuce Wraps

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Each mini wrap provides a burst of Thai flavors that hit different parts of the palate all at once. It's based on the traditional Thai appetizer miang kum. It will be the hit of the party or you can make a platter to enjoy as a meal.

  • 04 of 15

    Thai Grilled Whole Fish With Coriander-Chili Sauce

    Thai Grilled Whole Fish With Coriander-Chili Sauce

    The Spruce / Maxwell Cozzi

    This traditional Thai fish recipe can be made outdoors on the barbecue or you can pan-fry the fish indoors. Any whole white-fleshed fish can be used, and you'll love it teamed with the sauce.

    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15

    Steamed Thai Sticky Rice

    Steamed thai sticky rice

    The Spruce Eats / Bahareh Niati

    Steamed sticky rice is a foundational Thai recipe. While the process requires time and attention, the reward is perfectly steamed, chewy, glossy sticky rice. There's no substitute for the real thing.

  • 06 of 15

    Tom Yum Soup With Coconut Milk (Tom Khaa)

    Tom Yum Soup with Coconut Milk

    The Spruce Eats / Maxwell Cozzi

    This delicious soup might even be good for what ails you. It's a version of Tom Yum Goong, which is basically Tom Yum soup but with a little coconut milk added for thickness and flavor.

  • 07 of 15

    Larb Gai Thai Chicken Salad

    Larb Gai

    The Spruce

    Larb Gai is a classic, traditional Thai dish that is made with pork in Thailand, but this recipe uses chicken. Fresh mint is a key ingredient. Enjoy it hot over cold greens or on rice.

  • 08 of 15

    Thai Waterfall Beef Salad

    nam tok salad

    Takeaway / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0 

    It's called waterfall beef because of the splashing sound of juices on the hot grill. The beef is sliced thinly and served with a mixture of salad greens and fresh papaya along with a special Thai dressing.

    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Green Papaya Salad (Som Tam)

    Place in bowl

    The Spruce

    This is the most popular salad in Thailand, perhaps because it's low in calories but packed with flavor and crunch. Cooked shrimp, crab meat, or cashews can be added, or enjoy it with a bowl of sticky rice.

  • 10 of 15

    Thai Weeping Tiger Beef

    Best-Ever Thai 'Weeping Tiger' Beef

    The Spruce / Christine Ma

    The tiger is crying either from the chilies or because a hunter killed his cow. For this dish, you'll marinate the beef and quickly broil it to medium-rare before slicing and serving it with a side sauce. Enjoy it with rice or in a salad.

  • 11 of 15

    Thai Green Curry

    Thai green curry recipe

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

    Chunks of tender chicken are simmered in a homemade green curry sauce along with your choice of vegetables in this gourmet-style recipe. This dish is very aromatic and beautiful to serve to guests.

  • 12 of 15

    Thai Panang Curry

    A bow of Thai panang chicen curry served with rice

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

    Panang curry features warm, rich flavors from Malaysia, Burma, and even India. It's a beautiful red curry usually made with chicken. While there are a lot of ingredients, you'll be processing them together and they will give it the complex flavor.

    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    Bangkok-style Drunken Noodles

    Easy Bangkok-style "Drunken Noodles" Recipe

    The Spruce / Stephanie Goldfinger

    This spicy noodle dish helps hungry late-night revelers in Bangkok find their way home. You can tone down the chilies if you prefer a milder version. It can be made vegetarian as in this recipe or with shrimp or chicken, according to your taste.

  • 14 of 15

    Thai Mango Sticky Rice Dessert (Khao Niaow Ma Muang)

    Thai Mango Sticky Rice Dessert (Khao Niaow Ma Muang)

    The Spruce / Preethi Venkatram

    This dish is the most famous of all Thai desserts. You'll need sticky rice, also known as sweet rice. Place some fresh mango slices over the sticky rice and smother with the easy coconut sauce for a heavenly dessert.

  • 15 of 15

    Black Sticky Rice Pudding

    Thai Black Sticky Rice Pudding

    The Spruce / Cara Cormack

    Black sticky rice (or black glutinous rice) is a naturally sweet, dark rice that's more of a dark purple than black. It has both fiber and loads of antioxidants—which only makes this baked rice pudding extra enjoyable to eat.