In this article, we will compare the Thai basil to the Genovese basil with all their qualities and flavors to understand which one is the better one to use in your meals. So, let the battle begin thai basil vs basil!

Choosing between Thai basil and regular basil can be confusing. Even though they are both different types of basil, you cannot substitute one for the other. Each has a distinct flavor and aroma and is used in different ways.

Basil comes in a wide variety of cultivars. However, the basil we most commonly use in our households is Genovese or Italian Basil. In comparison, Thai basil is also known as sweet basil.

After looking at the details of both types, in terms of flavor, aroma, shelf-life, and other factors, our top pick is the Genovese Basil.

We picked Genovese basil because it has recently garnered a lot of popularity for both culinary and medical purposes. A significant downside of Thai basil is that it loses its flavor if stored for a long time.

Thai Basil vs Basil

Thai Basil vs Basil

Genovese Basil

Genovese basil is the most frequently used type of basil in western cooking.

It is named after Genoa, where it is mainly grown. However, it is also known as Italian basil.

You can find it in departmental stores and supermarkets in Europe, especially Italy, but it’s hard to recognize precisely.

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How It Looks

It has a compact green stem with round leaves and a shinier look with a delicate texture. As soon as they’re touched, they emit a delightful fragrance that permeates the air.


Genovese basil has a distinctive sweetness with a tinge of anise. This herb has a strong flavor but a sweet, clove-like aftertaste. Its large green leaves, flowers, and stems are sweet with a peppery kick. 

Culinary Uses

Whether fresh or dried, Basil is a crucial ingredient in many Asian, Greek, and Italian recipes. It is also considered a staple in Mediterranean cuisine. You can use it with tomato sauce, green sauce, pesto, vinegar, or sprinkle the powdered leaves on salads, pizzas, or slices of bread.

Medicinal Uses

Genovese basil has a wide range of medical applications. This herb has been known to help with liver and digestive problems. It has been linked with detoxification of the body, and the paste of Genovese basil is known to heal wounds and treat skin conditions. 

Not only that, but it is also effective for individuals suffering from depression and migraines due to its natural anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant properties.

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Growing Genovese Basil

Genovese basil is the preferred sweet basil cultivar due to its large sweet leaves and long-lasting life. You should choose rich, fertile soil with proper water and sunlight to nurture it. Similarly, fertilizers can stunt the growth of certain herbs, so it is best not to use them with Genovese basil.

It would be best to select an area with a moderate climate and nutrient-rich soil. You can sow its seeds, and they will start to germinate in approximately a week.

Thai Basil

This type of basil is native to Southeast Asia. It is one of the essential ingredients in savory Thai cuisine.

It is used throughout the South-Eastern countries to enhance the flavor and taste of dishes. You can find this herb in Asian departmental stores and supermarkets.

How It Looks

Thai basil has a thick, sturdy, and compact purple-colored stem. Its leaves are bright green, giving them a shiny appearance. You can recognize Thai basil by its narrower, tapered, and serrated-edged leaves and its scent, similar to licorice. There is also a bit of a spicy touch to the sweet basil.


Thai basil has an undeniable savory flavor and aroma. Its flavor is different from Genovese basil as it has some hints of spiciness like licorice and anise. Thai basil has a robust flavor, perfect for a crispier, spicier kick to recipes and dinners. 

Culinary Use

When it comes to Asian cuisine, the recipe must include Thai basil. Moreover, Thai basil is used explicitly in Thai, Vietnamese, Lao, and Cambodian recipes. People frequently use them to freshen the taste of dishes, like drunken noodles, Thai chicken, pork, and seafood recipes. You can also use Thai basil to marinate meat, add flavor to rice and curries, in cocktails, in Thai and Taiwanese cuisine, as well as for garnishing.

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One of the most peculiar characteristics of Thai basil is that it doesn’t rot with heat. You should add it at the beginning of the recipe with all the other ingredients because it slowly releases its taste and aroma. Moreover, you can also drink the seeds. With this versatile herb, the culinary options are limitless.

Medicinal Use

Thai basil is believed to have excellent antioxidant, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-cancer, and anti-viral properties. Many people apply its paste on their forehead and under their eyes to lighten the skin. In the past, many ayurvedic vades used it to treat fever, dry cough, and cold. You can also add it to your smoothies and shakes.

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Growing Thai Basil

Thai basil is a soft herb grown annually. It is a tropical plant, so you need fertile and well-drained soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.4 and 6-8 hours of sunlight daily. Moreover, you can grow it through sprinkling seeds as well as vegetative propagation techniques like cutting. 

Learn more on growing Thai Basil here: How To Start Growing Thai Basil – 3 Easy Steps & Tips

Similarities between Thai and Genovese Basil

  • Similar growing methods.
  • Both require a warm environment and nutrient-rich soil.
  • They belong to the same family (Lamiaceae).

Differences between Thai and Genovese Basil

Thai Basil

  • Used in Southeast Asian countries
  • Taste of licorice, anise, cinnamon
  • The stem is purple and smooth
  • There is no aroma in the leaves
  • More firm and sturdy
  • Narrow leaves
  • Withstands high temperatures while cooking

Genovese Basil

  • Used in the Mediterranean and Europe
  • Taste of peppermint, clover, lemon
  • Green and hairy stem
  • Aroma in leaves
  • Less firm and delicate
  • Large broader leaves
  • Heat during cooking decreases their potency


Basil has a unique aroma and flavor that enhances the taste of food. Thai basil has its uses and perks, and so does Genovese basil. Here we have provided you with the ultimate comparison between Thai basil and basil. You should now be able to use them as per your preferences.

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