Peanut Sauce Chicken

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Coconut milk and curry-marinated chicken is grilled on skewers and dipped in a simple and sweet peanut sauce. Peanut Sauce Chicken uses pantry staples, yet is flavorful and easy to make.

Skewers of Peanut Sauce Chicken, served on a plate with a bowl of peanut sauce.

Use those pantry staples 

Peanut Sauce Chicken relies on pantry staples and few other ingredients while delivering a flavor-packed meal. The only “fresh” ingredient you’ll need is chicken, but you can even use frozen (and thawed) chicken.

I’m using the sauce from these Peanut Chicken Lettuce Wraps since it uses pantry staples, and is a favorite in my family. In fact, it’s the first peanut sauce I’ve ever been able to get my kids to eat! While it’s more of a peanut dressing, not an authentic peanut sauce, it pairs so well with the simple chicken marinade. 

Overhead views of sauce ingredients being added to a blender and mixed together

Peanut sauce

Although this sauce is sweet by design, you can always tweak it to your preference and make it less sweet (by adding less honey). Alternatively, you can add more spice (increase cayenne pepper, add red pepper flakes, or add in some chili sauce). 

One of the best things about this sauce is how easy it is to make. It’s as simple as putting the ingredients in a blender and letting it rip. The sauce can be made in advance and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days before using.

Shots of the sauce ingredients, the sauce being stirred, then mixed with chicken cubes an finally served with the cooked chicken skewers.

Chicken tips

  • Generously oil your grill grates. I do this by rolling up a few paper towels, drenching them in oil (canola or vegetable), and using tongs to rub the drenched paper towels along the grill grates. Doing This contributes to a beautiful sear, and ensures the chicken doesn’t stick to the grates. 
  • The marinade relies on creaminess and fat from the coconut milk so even though it’s only 1/4 cup, don’t skip it! Use leftover coconut milk to make coconut rice (more on this below).
  • Don’t overcook: Since the chicken is cut into small pieces, it cooks a lot faster than a full chicken breast or thigh. Depending on the actual size of your chicken pieces and actual heat of the grill, cooking times can vary significantly. Peanut Sauce Chicken skewers should be cooked through in 4 to 8 minutes (flipped once halfway in between).
  • I recommend a meat thermometer to test the chicken’s temperature. Make sure it reads 160 degrees F (carry over heat will take it to the safe 165 degrees F.)

View of grilled Peanut Sauce Chicken alongside a bowl of sauce.

Peanut Sauce Chicken toppings

We like adding some extra texture, flavor, and overall pizzazz by adding a few toppings. The toppings are optional, but if you have them on hand, I’d recommend them!

  • Chopped peanuts or cashews: I like roasted and salted nuts. They add the perfect finishing touch and replace the need for adding a pinch of salt.
  • Fresh cilantro: Chop right before serving or add a few stems right on top.
  • Fresh lime: I usually serve Peanut Sauce Chicken skewers with a few lime wedges on the side so everyone can add a squeeze of fresh lime right before eating. I intentionally didn’t add lime juice to the sauce because I planned for it here.

Rice

Beyond the toppings, you’ll likely want to whip up a grain as the base. I’m partial to coconut basmati rice with Peanut Sauce Chicken, especially since there is leftover coconut milk from the marinade.

To make basmati coconut rice using the leftover coconut milk from the marinade:

  • Combine 1 cup basmati rice*, 1 and 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste).
  • Stir and place over high heat.
  • Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the rice.
  • Allow to simmer for 13-18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
  • Remove from heat, keep covered, and let stand for 10-15 minutes.
  • Fluff the rice and divide onto plates.

Here’s how I cook basmati rice (plain) — it never gets mushy and it tastes delicious. 

  • Measure the rice and rinse it in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear.
  • Place the rice in a bowl and cover it with water to soak for about 5-10 minutes.
  • While the rice is soaking, fill a large pot with water and set to boil.
  • Once the water is at a rolling boil, drain the rice and add it to the pot.
  • Cook without reducing the heat, for 5 minutes and then drain and fluff with a fork.

It might seem like a few extra steps, but I promise it is quick and the rice is perfect every time. I also prefer this method because it always feels like it goes quicker than cooking rice according to the package instructions.

*Note that these cooking directions do not work for other rice varieties (long grain, short grain, jasmine, etc.)

Photo of a Peanut Sauce Chicken skewer being dipped into peanut sauce.

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Peanut Sauce Chicken

5 from 3 votes
Coconut milk and curry-marinated chicken grilled on skewers and dipped in a simple and sweet peanut sauce. Peanut Sauce Chicken uses pantry staples, yet is flavorful, and easy to make.
Print Recipe

Peanut Sauce Chicken

5 from 3 votes
Coconut milk and curry-marinated chicken grilled on skewers and dipped in a simple and sweet peanut sauce. Peanut Sauce Chicken uses pantry staples, yet is flavorful, and easy to make.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Keyword peanut sauce chicken
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 3 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 316kcal
Cost $6.25

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen)
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • Salt and pepper, oil (if cooking on stovetop)
  • Optional but recommended toppings: fresh lime juice, fresh cilantro, finely chopped peanuts

Peanut sauce/dressing

  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey (start with less if you want a less sweet sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons EACH: rice vinegar, soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon EACH: pepper, cayenne pepper

Optional: serve over cooked coconut or plain basmati rice (See Note 1)

    Instructions

    • MARINATE CHICKEN: Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes and place in a large zipper-top plastic bag or resealable container. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon curry powder, 2 teaspoons red curry paste, 1 teaspoon sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Whisk until smooth and then pour over the chicken. Knead the plastic bag to coat the chicken. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours or overnight.
    • COOK CHICKEN (GRILL): Thread chicken onto soaked wooden skewers (See Note 2). Preheat the grill to medium-high heat (400 degrees F). Grill on preheated grill for 2-4 minutes per side (usually takes total of 6 minutes) or until chicken is grilled to 160 degrees F when tested with a cooking thermometer. Remove from the grill to a plate. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
    • COOK CHICKEN (STOVETOP): Alternatively, add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons oil in a very large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the skewers (in batches; don't overcrowd the pan) and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side or until golden brown and cooked through. Test with a cooking thermometer; chicken should be 160 degrees F. Remove from the pan to a plate. Cover with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes.
    • SAUCE: In a small powerful blender jar (I use a mini Blendtec/twister jar) add 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, 3 tablespoons honey (See Note 3), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons water, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, 1/8 teaspoon pepper, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, depending on your preference for heat), and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth and refrigerate while finishing everything else.
    • COCONUT RICE (OPTIONAL): Combine 1 cup basmati rice, 1 and 1/2 cups coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste). Stir and place over high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and cover the rice. Allow to simmer for 13-18 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, keep covered, and let stand for 10-15 minutes. Fluff the rice and divide on plates.
    • FINISHING: If you prepared the rice, divide it evenly among plates. Top with cooked chicken skewers. Add a side of peanut sauce. Garnish chicken and rice with fresh cilantro, fresh lime wedges, and crushed peanuts. Enjoy immediately.

    Recipe Notes

    Note 1: We love this dish with plain or coconut basmati rice. The recipe instructions share how to make coconut basmati rice. Here's how to make plain basmati rice:
    • Measure 1 cup rice and rinse in a fine-mesh sieve until the water runs clear.
    • Place the rice in a bowl and cover it with water to soak for about 5-10 minutes.
    • While the rice is soaking, fill a large pot with water and set to boil.
    • Once the water is at a rolling boil, drain the rice and add it to the pot.
    • Cook without reducing the heat, for 5 minutes and then drain and fluff with a fork.
    Note 2: Soak wooden skewers in water for 10-30 minutes before adding chicken onto the skewers. This keeps the skewers from burning on the grill.
    Note 3: We love this sauce exactly how it's written, but it is quite sweet. If you prefer less sweetness, add honey slowly or add some red pepper flakes to make it a bit spicier.

    Nutrition Facts

    Serving: 4servings | Calories: 316kcal | Carbohydrates: 18.6g | Protein: 29.6g | Fat: 21.3g | Cholesterol: 82.7mg | Sodium: 180.5mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 15.9g

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    23 Comments

    1. I am SO the same! It takes me forever to order, and once I try something and like it, that is all that I will order from that restaurant forever!
      I am addicted to peanut sauce, so this easy recipe is lookin’ like dinner! Love it girl! pinned 🙂

    2. This dish looks sooo good. I seriously LOVE peanut sauce! I would eat this meal for dinner any night of the week!

    3. I’m not usually into thai food either, but this does look really good! I would totally try it. And probably love it. 🙂 Pinned!

    4. I’m a big fan of Thai food and this peanut sauce looks legit! YUM! And totally loving that coconut rice 🙂

    5. I just made this with green peppers, carrots, tofu, scallions, bamboo shoots. It’s soo delicious! Thanks for sharing this treat!

    6. 5 stars
      This was so good! Next time I might double the recipe to have leftovers for lunch (my boyfriend eats 3 regular person servings in one sitting, so we didn’t have much leftover!). I adore peanut sauce and love how easy it is to make your own! I would probably put peanut sauce on anything and everything if I could.

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