Basil vs. Thai Basil: What’s the Difference?

Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil

Wants to know that what is the Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil? If you enjoy herbs and spices, chances are you’ve already purchased and used the wonderful basil in your culinary endeavors. But did you know that basil is a member of the Lamiaceae mint family? Not only that, but This culinary herb comes in a variety of types as well as hybrids. Basil and Thai basil are two of them.

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The most common type of basil found in markets and stores is basil. Sweet basil, Genovese basil, Italian basil, or sweet Italian basil are all names for it. Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil These names all refer to the same plant, common basil. Thai basil, on the other hand, is typically found in international aisles or Asian marketplaces.

Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil
Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil

You might be thinking that they have the same flavor and appearance. However, they are not the same.

So, what is the distinction between basil and Thai basil? The biggest distinction between basil and Thai basil is its flavor. Basil is the traditional sweet, peppery basil that smells like anise or cloves. Thai basil is also sweet and has an anise or licorice aroma, but it is also somewhat peppery. Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil Thai basil has a stronger flavor than conventional basil.

What Are the Other Distinctions Between Basil and Thai Basil?

Other distinctions exist between basil and Thai basil.

  • First and foremost, they differ in appearance. Basil leaves are spherical, delicate, lustrous, and smooth, with green stems. These are prone to drooping. Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil Thai basil leaves are thicker and narrower. They also have purple hairy stems with jagged edges. Thai basil can be identified by its stiff leaves and, of course, its color.
  • Second, they react differently at high temperatures. Thai basil can be used early in the cooking process, but sweet basil, which is softer, should always be added last because it wilts readily and becomes overcooked. When this occurs, the leaves lose their oils as well as their flavoring.
  • As a result, sweet basil or Italian basil does not tolerate heat well. However, Thai basil can continue to release flavor and even retain it when heated.
  • Finally, whereas basil is an annual herb, Thai basil is a perennial herb. Italian basil is only available for a limited time. Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil The plants thrive for four to five months out of the year. Thai basil, on the other hand, can last for two years or more. It could go dormant during the winter and then wake up when the weather warms up.

Can Thai Basil be substituted for basil in recipes?

Yes, you may substitute basil for Thai basil and vice versa. Both have that sweet taste, and if that’s what you’re looking for, a direct substitute will suffice. Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil However, because Thai basil is strong and smells like licorice, the flavor may differ significantly.

Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil

  • If you use regular basil instead of Thai basil, you’ll miss the spicy flavor and licorice aroma. Instead, you’ll receive a sweeter taste with a clove fragrance.
  • You can also use holy basil or tulsi as substitutes. Some people consider it sacred and use it for religious purposes. Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil Thais, on the other hand, adore cooking with holy basil. It’s spicier, pepperier, and less sweet.
  • You can also use fino verde basil, but it has a gingery flavor in addition to being sweet. Another alternative is lemon basil. It imparts citrus tones that complement sauces, dips, and salads. Lemon basil is also delicious in tea, soup, and meat rubs.
  • If you want the licorice flavor and perfume of Thai basil, try star anise instead. It tastes like licorice. Good quality ones are extremely pungent and may flavor a large amount with only one petal. Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil Remember to start with modest amounts of ground star anise when substituting.

When Is Basil Appropriate?

Regular basil should be used in Italian meals like as pizza and pasta. It is a necessary element in the preparation of great marinara sauces. Basil also adds flavor to beef burgers and robust vegetable stews.

If you want to use it as a dip or a sandwich condiment, you can prepare basil mayo dressing. Or how about incorporating basil into your fresh leafy salads? Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil Simply toss in diced tomatoes, drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Pesto is also made primarily using basil. Make your own pesto to use in homemade pasta, sandwiches, and salads.

When Is Thai Basil Appropriate?

Thai basil should be used in Southeast Asian, Chinese, or Thai dishes. It aids in the preparation of delicious noodles and noodle soups, poultry dishes, vegetable stir fries, and even curries. Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil Thai basil is an important component of savory Vietnamese spring rolls.

  • You can use the leaves in salads and meat dishes just like sweet Italian basil. Add them when your vegetable soup or meat stew is simmering.
  • Thai basil is more potent when it is raw. To infuse flavor, soak these leaves in vinegar, olive oil, or other types of oil. Toss in some garlic or tomato. Your basil-infused oil can be used in noodle soups like Pho.
  • Thai basil, like lemon basil, makes an excellent tea. Difference Between Basil and Thai Basil Some people soak Thai basil seeds in water, and when the water thickens or becomes jellylike, they use it to produce cold drinks or delicious jelly.
  • Remember that whether you use regular basil or Thai basil, basil leaves are finest when used fresh. That is when they have the best flavor and scent. Yes, they can be dried, but even dried leaves have a limited shelf life. They quickly lose their flavor, and their taste changes.
  • By storing your basil leaves in airtight bags, you can keep them fresh for longer. Then put them in the fridge or freezer.


  • Thai basil is sweet and spicy, whereas basil is sweet and peppery.
  • Thai basil smells and tastes like licorice, but regular basil smells and tastes like cloves.
  • The leaves of basil are delicate, smooth, spherical, and green.
  • The leaves of Thai basil are strong, hairy, jagged, and purple.
  • Italian basil is a flowering plant that grows all year. Thai basil is a plant that grows year after year.
  • Pesto is made from basil leaves.

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