Thai larb with pork is a refreshing meat salad that’s both easy to make and packed with unique flavors and a wonderful mouth feel. This authentic larb recipe comes together in 30 minutes and is one of the most popular dishes on my blog!

Loaded with fresh herbs and served at room temperature, this tangy and subtly spicy salad is perfect for warmer months and pairs well with so many Asian sides and mains. As an alternative, try my beef larb recipe, too!

Photo shows Thai Larb Recipe (Larb Moo) dish served with fresh vegetables on the side in a bright yellow bowl.

What is laab

Larb, or laab, is a colorful salad made with minced meat, fresh herbs, and spices. This Laos national dish is very popular in the Isan region in Northern Thailand. You can make larb with all sorts of meats like pork, chicken, duck, lamb, or beef. And if you’re not into meat, mushrooms or tofu work great too!

What’s cool about laap is that you can make raw laab or cooked, but for safety, we usually cook it. This easy larb recipe tastes tangy, salty, spicy, and fresh flavors all in one. Imagine eating something that has a bit of citrus, a sprinkle of salt, a handful of fresh herbs, and a kick of spice.

Both Thai and Laotian Larb are usually eaten at room temperature. It comes with sticky rice and lots of fresh herbs and veggies.

Pork larb Ingredients

This authentic recipe for larb Thai salad is gluten-free and loaded with fresh herbs and tantalizing spices. Homemade toasted rice powder (khao kua) gives this easy pork larb recipe the distinct crunch and mouthfeel laab salad pork is known for.

Photo shows ingredients, herbs, and seasonings used to make an authentic Thai larb with ground pork.

For the larb moo salad (Thai pork larb salad):

  • Glutinous rice: Used for toasted rice powder, which gives this dish its distinct texture. You can skip this ingredient or make a grain-free alternative (details below) if you can’t have rice.
  • Ground pork: Pork mince has a lighter and sweeter flavor than beef. The texture is softer than beef larb. Both versions are great but laab moo (pork) is the most popular version of larb.
  • Lime juice: Fresh lime (or lemon, in a pinch) adds brightness and acidity to the dish.
  • Ground white pepper: White pepper is most commonly used in Asian cooking, but you can also use black pepper.
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Avocado oil: Or substitute with the neutral-flavored oil of your choice.

For the Larb Seasoning:

  • Chopped shallots: Shallots give this larb recipe great flavor and texture. Red onion is a good substitute if you don’t have shallot.
  • Fish sauce: Essential for authentic Thai flavor and added umami. See substitutions for alternatives if you can’t have fish sauce.
  • Thai Bird’s Eye chili powder: Use Thai chili for authentic Thai spice or try dry red chili or red pepper flakes for less heat.
  • Fresh cilantro, fresh mint leaves, and scallions: There’s not really a larb sauce or dressing, but adding fresh herb in larb adds incredible flavor and freshness to the dish.

To serve:

  • Sticky rice: Larb salad is traditionally served with Thai sticky rice, which is used to scoop up the Thai ground pork.
  • Lettuce, raw cabbage, raw petite green beans, cucumber (optional): Fresh veggies balance the richness and intense flavors of this Thai pork salad.

Substitutions and variations

  • Use ground beef or lamb: Using beef or lamb will make for a richer flavor and chewier texture due to the fat content. Larb gai (chicken) is another popular option for larb Thai food.
  • Plant-based: For vegan larb or vegetarian larb, try firm tofu or mushroom. You can also add walnuts for extra protein and texture in your veggie larb.
  • Thai crushed dry chili flakes (Prik Pon): This is an authentic Thai ingredient used for added heat. You can use dried chili flakes as an alternative for milder flavor.
  • No fish sauce: Try Yondu vegetable umami seasoning or vegan fish sauce if you can’t have or don’t like regular fish sauce.
  • Grain-free: For a low-carb, grain-free option, you can grind toasted hemp seed and cashew as a substitute for the toasted rice powder.
  • Topping: Crumbled pork rinds are a fun way to add extra flavor and crunch to this larb salad recipe.

Tip: Thai food is all about following your tastebuds. While a dish’s principle flavor and integrity remain the same, use the recipe as a guide then taste and adjust to your liking.

How to make Thai laab moo

Just like the beef version, this ground pork salad is fast and easy to put together. You can skip the first step if you’re using store-bought or are omitting the toasted rice powder (though it adds a wonderful texture, so I recommend using it!)

Person demos toasting sticky rice to make rice powder and season the raw ground beef.
  1. Toasted rice powder: Dry roast the rice grains in a pan until they’re golden. Let cool before coarsely grinding in a coffee or spice grinder, food processor, or mortar and pestle.
  2. Prepare herbs and pork: Chop the shallots, coriander, mint leaves, and scallions and keep them separate. In a large bowl, season the ground pork with lime juice, pepper, and salt.
Person demos how to make authentic laotian beef larb salad with seasoning spices.
  1. Cook: Cook the pork in a large pan over medium-high heat until it’s cooked through but still moist. Once cooked and with some moisture still in the pan, turn off the heat.
  2. Season: While the skillet is still hot, stir in the shallots. Season the meat with fish sauce, lime juice, chili powder, and fresh herbs. Toss to combine and adjust the seasoning as needed.
  3. Serve: Transfer to a large serving plate and let cool before sprinkling in the toasted sticky rice, Serve at room temperature with sticky rice and vegetables on the side.

Toasted rice powder (kao kua)

Photo shows a bowl of toasted Thai rice powder, made from glutinous rice.

What Is Toasted Rice Powder?

It’s a must-have ingredient for any authentic Thai larb recipe. Toasted rice powder adds a distinct crunch, soaks up the juicy flavors, and helps thicken the dish slightly, making every bite perfect.

Making It the Traditional Way:

Grab some white glutinous rice for that classic larb flavor. Toast the rice in a pan until golden brown, then give it a coarse grind. This adds a crunchy texture and also introduces a smoky note to the larb.

A Low-Carb, Grain-Free Alternative:

Prefer to keep things low-carb? Use cashew nuts and hemp seeds. While they’re quite different from sticky rice, they bring their own charm.

Hemp seeds offer a sweet, nutty aroma after toasting and are excellent at absorbing liquid in the larb. Combine them with toasted cashews, and you get a grain-free toasted rice powder alternative that surprisingly works wonders in the dish.

How to make ahead, store, and reheat

This easy Thai ground pork salad is delightful when it’s fresh, but the leftovers are just as good! The recipe comes together fast, but you could make the toasted rice powder and prep the herbs ahead of time for a shorter preparation.

  • Make-ahead: Toasted rice powder can be made ahead. But make sure to keep it away from moisture and heat. Might need to lightly toast it again to bring back the smoky aroma. Only sprinkle over the laab right before serving to avoid sogginess.
  • Storage and reheat: Store in an airtight container in the fridge. Consume in 2-3 days. Laab tastes great at room temperature or slightly warm in a microwave or on a stovetop.

How to eat laab

While you can enjoy this dish on its own, in Thailand larb is commonly served as part of a family-style meal alongside many other dishes. Either way, I suggest serving larb moo with sticky rice and a variety of raw vegetables to wrap the larb in, creating a fun and interactive eating experience.

Helpful tips

  • Quality of Pork Matters: Use a higher quality ground pork that has a bit of fat to it. This adds extra flavor and juiciness to the dish.
  • Toasted Rice Powder: For that authentic touch, don’t skip the toasted rice powder (kao kua). It adds crunch and a smoky flavor.
  • Fish Sauce Alternatives: If fish sauce is off the table, vegan fish sauce or Yondu vegetable umami sauce are excellent substitutes. Coconut aminos can also work but will slightly alter the taste. Avoid soy sauce as its strong flavor can overpower the dish.
  • Use the recipe as a guide: The beauty of larb lies in its balance of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. Taste as you go and adjust the lime juice, fish sauce (or its alternatives), and chili to get that perfect harmony.
  • Ways to serve: Larb is traditionally served at room temperature with sticky rice and fresh vegetables. This allows the flavors to meld together beautifully.
  • Keep It Moist: When cooking the meat, aim for a slight juiciness. Evaporating all the liquid can leave your larb dry.


Is larb served hot or cold?

Larb is traditionally served at room temperature, allowing the flavors to blend perfectly. However, it can also be enjoyed slightly warm, depending on personal preference.

Can you make laab vegan or vegetarian?

Yes, for a vegan or vegetarian larb, use mushrooms or tofu as substitutes for meat and vegan fish sauce or other plant-based sauces to mimic the umami flavor of traditional fish sauce.

Can I make pork larb without fish sauce?

Yes, you can substitute traditional fish sauce with vegan fish sauce or coconut aminos. Soy sauce will taste too astringent. These alternatives may slightly alter the authentic taste.

How important is the toasted rice powder in the Thai dish larb?

Toasted rice powder is crucial for authentic Larb Thai style, adding a unique nutty flavor and crunchy texture that defines the dish. However, it won’t affect the flavor of the dish if you don’t use it.

More Thai recipes you might like

If you enjoy this Thai pork larb salad recipe, be on the lookout for more larb recipes and try your hand at some more popular Thai food dishes on the blog. Here are some Thai takeout favorites!

  • Tofu larb is a great vegetarian alternative to this dish, packed with flavor and texture! (coming soon).
  • Thai basil eggplant is a saucy vegetarian stir-fry the whole family will enjoy. (coming soon!)
  • Thai curry meatballs stuffed with herbs in a creamy dairy-free sauce are baked to perfection!
  • Thai cashew chicken with crispy sweet onions, nutty cashews, and a sweet and salty glaze.
  • Chiang mai noodles (Khao soi) with a savory rich broth, juicy chicken, and chewy noodles.
A side close shot shows laab moo (Thai pork larb) served with fresh vegetables in a yellow bowl with a spoon on the side.
Photo shows Thai Larb Recipe (Larb Moo) dish served with fresh vegetables on the side in a bright yellow bowl.
5 from 41 votes

Thai pork larb recipe (Laab moo)

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Author: ChihYu Smith
Delicious Thai larb with pork (Larb moo) is an easy and healthy Thai meat salad. Ready in 30 minutes with refreshing greens and healthy lean proteins.
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Thai toasted rice powder:

Pork larb:

  • 1 lb. ground pork
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • tsp ground white pepper, or black pepper
  • ½ tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1.5 tbsp avocado oil


  • 2.5 oz. chopped shallots, about 1-2 large shallots
  • 1.5 tbsp fish sauce
  • Half to one whole lime juice, plus more for serving
  • 1-2 tsp Thai bird’s eye chili powder, or dry chili flakes
  • ½ cup chopped cilantro
  • 20 sprigs mint leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 bulb green scallions, chopped

Serving suggestions:

  • Sticky rice, see notes
  • Lettuce, raw cabbage, raw petite green beans, cucumber


  • Toasted rice powder: In a medium size cast iron or stainless steel pan, add the rice grains and dry roast them over medium heat until the grains turn into golden brown color, about 15 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally for even toasting. Let the toasted grains cool to room temperature. Transfer the cooled grains into a spice or coffee grinder and pulse a few times until coarsely ground.
  • Prepare herbs: Prepare shallots, cilantro, mint leaves, and scallions. Set each ingredient aside separately over a large plate and ready to use. In a large bowl, season the ground beef with lime juice, pepper, and salt.
  • Cook: Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add the pork and cook for 8-10 minutes until cooked through, breaking it into fine bits as it cooks. As the meat releases moisture, avoid evaporating all of it to keep the meat moist, ensuring a bit of liquid remains in the pan. Once cooked and with some moisture still in the pan, turn off the heat
  • Season: While the skillet is still hot, add shallots, stir and use the remaining warmth to bring out the fragrance. Season the meat with fish sauce, lime juice, and chili powder, and lastly add cilantro, mint leaves, and scallions. Toss and taste to adjust the dish to your personal preference (more lime, fish sauce, or chili powder).
  • Serve: Transfer the pork larb to a large serving plate. Let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to allow the flavor to develop then sprinkle in the toasted sticky rice, 1-2 tbsp a time until your desired level. Serve with sticky rice and vegetable greens on the side. Serve at room temperature.


  • Grain-free toasted sticky rice alternative: Use 2 tbsp hemp seeds + 2 tbsp cashew or slivered almonds.  Dry roast them over medium-low heat in a pan for 2-3 minutes. Take care not to burn. Then, coarsely grind them into chunky bits. Keep them in an airtight container and avoid moisture.
  • If you can’t have fish sauce (anchovy + sea salt), , try vegan fish sauce or Yondu vegetable umami sauce. Coconut aminos are another alternative, though they’ll slightly change the flavor profile. Soy sauce is not recommended due to its stronger taste
  • If you use ground chicken or turkey, best use 50% breast + 50% thigh meat.
  • If you use ground beef, see my Beef larb recipe.
  • 2 ways to quickly make sticky rice: Microwave sticky rice, Rice cooker sticky rice.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 367kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 10g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 14g, Cholesterol: 82mg, Sodium: 897mg, Potassium: 459mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 514IU, Vitamin C: 6mg, Calcium: 42mg, Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course, Salad
Cuisine: Thai
Keyword: Larb Moo, pork larb, Thai larb
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?Tag @iheartumami.ny on Instagram and hashtag it #iheartumami.

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