Chicken larb, or Thai Larb Gai, is a light and refreshing dinner perfect for any night of the week! If you’re a fan of Thai food, you’ve probably come across larb on a menu. Larb, usually made with ground pork, is a fresh and light salad-esque Thai dish. Ground pork is cooked down with lots of shallots and garlic and tossed in a tangy dressing made with Thai chilies, fish sauce, and lime juice.
On warm nights, I often turn to chicken larb as a quick and easy dinner option. You can serve chicken larb warm, or lightly chilled making it a refreshing and light meal. I love serving chicken larb in bowl form with steamed rice, cucumbers, lettuce cups, and loads of fresh herbs.
Chicken larb bowls are an easy and economic dinner recipe that you’ll turn to again and again!
Chicken Larb: A Light and Refreshing Dinner
When it’s the middle of summer and it’s too hot to think, the constant refrain is “what are we making for dinner?” Chicken larb bowls are my go-to easy, but satisfying dinner! The flavorful and saucy chicken takes a few minutes to prep and pairs perfectly with rice, veggies, and fresh herbs.
If you know me, you know how much I love Thai food and this chicken larb is a great option for make-at-home Thai. Chicken larb is a refreshing meat salad with a tangy dressing and it’s perfect for lunch, dinner, and meal prep! It’s low carb, low-calorie, and full of lean protein.
What is ‘Larb’?
Larb is a type of meat salad popular in Laos and Northern Thailand. Known as the “unofficial National dish of Laos” this traditional dish is also a very popular street food.
This refreshing and flavorful salad can be made with different types of minced or ground meat. I don’t claim for this recipe to be authentic, but the flavor and spirit of the dish is meant to highlight Thai and Laos cuisine.
Why You’ll Love Chicken Larb Bowls
Easy – This recipe only requires a handful of ingredients and about 10 minutes to prep, what could be easier than that? Once you have the chicken cooked, it’s as easy as adding the sauce and dishing everything up!
Healthy – We try and live by the 80/20 rule at home. 80% whole and healthy foods and 20% indulgence. Chicken larb is super flavorful and filling while also being healthy! Lean (but so juicy!) ground chicken is full of protein which keeps us full longer. This is a balanced and delicious dinner that you’ll turn to over and over again!
Makes great leftovers – We’re big leftovers people! I always make a large batch of whatever we’re having for dinner so I can spread it out through the week. Chicken larb is perfect for meal prep and can be eaten warm or cold!
How to Make Chicken Larb Bowls
Chicken larb bowls come together in about 20 minutes! You don’t need any fancy equipment, just a quality skillet.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Ground Chicken. Opt for a dark meat ground chicken here because you need some fat to keep the chicken from drying out. You can also substitute ground pork, turkey, or beef. To make this dish plant based, try sautéing finely diced mushrooms and eggplant.
- Aromatics. Green onion, shallot, ginger, garlic, and Thai chilies are the backbone in terms of flavor.
- Fish sauce. Fish sauce is a common ingredient in Thai, Laotian, and Vietnamese cooking. It adds a ton of savory umami flavor and I urge you to give it a try if you haven’t already!
- Soy sauce. Adding a bit of soy sauce to the chicken larb boosts the savory flavors.
- Lime juice. Lime juice adds brightness and acidity which makes chicken larb super fresh.
- Brown sugar. Brown sugar adds a little sweetness and balance to a very savory dish.
- Fresh herbs. Fresh mint, cilantro, and Thai basil really take this dish to the next level.
- Veggies. I love serving chicken larb alongside lettuce cups and sliced cucumber.
- Toasted peanuts. Toasted peanuts add a little bit of crunch to chicken larb.
- Make the sauce. Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce and set aside. You can also make the sauce a couple of days in advance and keep it in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Saute the chicken. Heat a bit of olive oil in a heavy skillet over medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the ground chicken and cook, stirring often, until browned and cooked through.
- Add the aromatics. Add the shallot, green onion, minced garlic, ginger, and Thai chilies to the skillet and cook for 2 minutes.
- Finish with the sauce. Add the sauce to the skillet and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Serve. Divide the chicken larb into bowls with steamed jasmine rice, sliced cucumbers, lettuce cups, fresh herbs and top with peanuts and lime wedges.
Storing, Freezing, and Reheating Chicken Larb Bowls
We’re often so busy during the week, that I love a good dinner recipe that I can turn into lunches and leftovers for the week!
You can store the chicken larb in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. All you have to do is just pop the chicken in the microwave to warm it through or you can enjoy it chilled. I like serving the rice warm, so I often keep the rice and chicken larb separate.
To freeze the chicken larb, cool the chicken to room temperature and store in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Try to press as much air out as possible–this helps prevent freezer burn. Make sure to label the chicken and you can freeze it for up to 3 months.
Defrost the chicken in the fridge until it’s completely thawed and then you can microwave it until it’s warmed through.
More Light and Fresh Recipes to Try
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Chicken Larb Bowls
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon water
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 lb ground dark meat chicken
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 2-3 Thai chilies, minced
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 cups steamed jasmine rice
- 1 butter leaf lettuce head, separated into leaves
- 3 baby cucumbers, sliced
- 1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
- 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the ground chicken and cook, stirring often, until the chicken is browned and cooked through.
- Add the sliced shallot, green onion, minced garlic, ginger, and Thai chilies to the skillet and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the sauce and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Season to taste with salt and pepper as needed.
- Divide the chicken larb into bowls and serve alongside steamed jasmine rice, lettuce cups, sliced cucumber, fresh herbs, and chopped peanuts. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing.