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This recipe for Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce is bursting with authentic Thai flavor! Chicken (or tofu) is bathed in a fragrant marinade of coconut milk and Thai spices, then grilled to perfection and served with a flavorful satay dipping sauce. Video. Vegan-adaptable!
We have been loving this Chicken Satay Recipe– so fresh, flavorful, and perfect for summer grilling! This can be served as an appetizer or a meal.
Last night we made a vegan version with tofu and created a whole meal out of it, along with this Coconut Rice (see recipe notes) and our Asian Cucumber Salad, so delicious!
Thai Satay Video
What is Chicken Satay?
Chicken Satay is a traditional Thai appetizer made with chicken breast or thigh, that is marinated in coconut milk, and curry powder threaded onto bamboo skewers, then grilled to perfection and served with a flavorful Thai peanut dipping sauce.
Ingredients in Chicken Satay
Listed below are helpful kitchen notes on a few key ingredients for the chicken satay below. The complete ingredient list is in the recipe card at the end of post.
- chicken or tofu – chicken breast keeps this nice and light, but thighs work too (or sub tofu, for a plant-based option, see recipe notes)
- coconut milk – use full fat for the best flavor
- yellow curry powder – Use store-bought or make your own homemade yellow curry powder
- ground turmeric – Turmeric is what gives satay its iconic natural yellow color and the earthy and slightly peppery taste. If you have access to fresh turmeric, use it but will need to use about 1/2 tablespoon extra for the recipe.
- sugar- use palm sugar, or brown sugar, honey or agave for your sweetener.
- salt – or use Fish sauce as a substitute which adds more umami flavor to your satay. Just need to add a little extra (1/2 teaspoon) if using fish sauce.
- soy sauce – I prefer this mushroom soy sauce or substitute GF liquid amino acid.
- peanut oil – or sub olive oil or oil of your choice
- skewers – bamboo skewers are traditional or use metal skewers
- garnishing options – crushed roasted peanuts, limes, and cilantro
Peanut Dipping sauce
- peanut butter -smooth, or chunky. Use natural peanut butter if possible.
- red curry paste -homemade or storebought
- coconut milk -full fat is best
- sugar, or brown sugar, honey or agave
- vinegar – white, rice, apple cider or lime juice works great for this recipe.
- fish sauce – depending on your brand, some are saltier than others. Start small and adjust at the end.
How to Make Chicken Satay
Step one: Soak Skewers
Soak the wooden skewers for 30-60 mins. You can use metal skewers, too, if you have those.
Step two: Make the Marinade.
Mix all the marinade ingredients in a shallow pan. Whisk together until all the ingredients are well blended.
Step three: Marinate chicken or tofu
Add the chicken to the marinade, and make sure both sides are covered with the sauce.
Cover the meat, marinating in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
The longer you marinate, the more flavorful the chicken and tofu.
Step four: Make the Satay Dipping Sauce
Make the peanut dipping sauce by adding all the ingredients together in a small saucepan or skillet over medium heat. Whisk the sauce often to mix all the ingredients. Once the sauce thickens, remove it from the pan into a serving bowl, and serve at room temp- and let’s get the chicken on the grill!
Step five: Skewer and grill.
Preheat the grill to medium-high and spray the grates with spray oil. Thread all the chicken on the skewers.
Don’t throw away the leftover sauce! We will use it to baste the skewers while grilling. This good stuff will help season your chicken satay even more!
Grill the chicken satay on medium-high heat at 3-4 minutes per side.
Generously brush the leftover sauce on each side when you flip the chicken.
(If using chicken thigh, lower heat to low to cook all the way through.)
Keep a close eye to avoid burning or overcooking the chicken as the pieces are smaller and can burn quicker, especially in the last few minutes.
Step seven: Serve!
Place the skewers on a platter and serve with the peanut dipping sauce. Sprinkle with crushed roasted peanuts and cilantro for garnish and serve with our Asian Cucumber Salad.
- Be careful not to overcook the chicken skewers. The pieces are thinner, and the hot flame can easily burn them. Set a timer to help remind yourself to check on the chicken.
- To prevent sticking, make sure to grease the grill well. If your skewers are cooking too fast, lower the heat, and use a very thin metal spatula to help ease the meat from sticking to the grates.
- I love the flavor of Mushroom Soy Sauce, but you can use any soy sauce at home. Adjust the saltiness of your marinating sauce before adding the raw chicken.
Can this be Made Vegan?
Yes! Chicken satay can be made vegan. Substitute high protein tofu ( very grillable!) or extra firm tofu for the chicken and leave out the fish sauce, subbing more salt or soy sauce to taste.
Ways to Adapt
- Use tamari, fish sauce or coconut amino if you want a gluten-free version. Taste and play around with the marinating sauce before adding the chicken to check that you love the sauce.
- Instead of chicken or tofu, try beef, shrimp, tempeh, or vegetables if you want different protein and vegetable options variations.
- The best vegetables for satay are; bell peppers, zucchini, onion, mushroom, and tomatoes. Thread them like a kabob but marinate them only for 30-60 minutes.
I hope you enjoy this Chicken Satay recipe! I love sharing tasty Thai food and bringing a little bit of my Thai culture to your kitchen. I hope this recipe brings great delight to your heart and home. Let us know what you think in the comments below.
More Recipes You May Enjoy
- Thai red curry paste
- Instant pot Thai curry chicken
- Thai fish curry
- Green curry paste
- Green curry noodle soup
- 20 easy Thai recipes
- 30-minute Thai green curry
Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce
- Prep Time: 45
- Cook Time: 10
- Total Time: 55 minutes
- Yield: 8 skewers 1x
- Category: Chicken, appetizer
- Method: Grilled
- Cuisine: Thai
This recipe for Chicken Satay is bursting with authentic Thai flavor! Chicken (or tofu) is bathed in a fragrant marinade of coconut milk and Thai spices, then grilled to perfection and served with a flavorful peanut dipping sauce. Vegan-adaptable! Allow 30 minutes of marinating time.
- 8 bamboo skewers
- 1 pound chicken, (thighs or breast) sliced thin and long 1/4 inch thick x 3-4 inches long. See notes for tofu.
- 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon yellow curry powder or sub 1 teaspoon each- turmeric, cumin, and coriander plus 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon garlic, finely minced
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar, palm sugar, agave, maple or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons soy sauce, (or try Thai mushroom soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoons peanut, avocado or olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- Garnishes: lime wedges, crushed roasted peanuts, cilantro
- 1/3 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky
- 1–2 tablespoons red curry paste (to taste)
- 1/3 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar, palm sugar, or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon white vinegar (or lime juice)
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1/4 cup water
Serve with Asian Cucumber Salad and Coconut Rice ( see notes) to create a meal.
- Soak 8 wooden skewers for 30-60 mins.
- Make the marinade: mix all the marinating ingredients together in a shallow pan. Whisk together until all the ingredients are well blended.
- Add the chicken or tofu to the marinade, and make sure both sides are covered with the sauce. Cover the meat, marinating in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight, stirring occasionally. The longer it marinates, the more flavor.
- Preheat grill to med-high. Thread all the chicken on the skewers. Don’t throw away the leftover sauce- we will use it to baste the skewers on the grill.
- Grill the chicken satay on medium-high heat at 3-4 minutes per side. Generously brush the leftover sauce on each side each time you flip the chicken over. Keep a close watch to avoid burning or overcooking the chicken as the pieces are smaller and can burn quicker, especially in the last few minutes.
- Serve on a platter with the Satay Sauce, lime wedges, and sprinkle with crushed roasted peanuts and cilantro.
Peanut Dipping sauce:
- Add all the ingredients to a small saucepan. Whisk until combined over medium heat letting it thicken. Taste, and adjust sweetness, salt and acid to taste. Once the sauce thickens, place it in a small bowl to serve with your chicken satay. Best served warm or at room temp.
Tofu: Use high protein tofu, or extra firm tofu, press gently and blot dry. Cut into 1 inch cubes and pat dry again. Cover in the marinade. Proceed with the recipe.
Chicken: Feel free to cut the chicken into 3/4-1 inch cubes for easier eating. You can also use whole breasts, or whole thighs ( for more of a dinner) adjusting the grilling time.
Chicken or tofu can be marinated ahead up to 24 hours.
To make coconut rice, rinse 2 cups of jasmine rice, drain, add to a medium pot – then measure the remaining coconut milk in the can (you should have about 1/2 to 3/4 cup) then add enough water to the coconut milk to make 4 cups of liquid. Stir this coconut-water mixture with the rice, along with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few kaffir lime leaves or lemongrass ( both optional) Bring to a boil, cover, cook on low heat until all liquid is gone, roughly 20-25 minutes.
- Serving Size: one skewer ( 2 ounces)
- Calories: 245
- Sugar: 8.6 g
- Sodium: 526.3 mg
- Fat: 15.8 g
- Saturated Fat: 6.1 g
- Carbohydrates: 11.9 g
- Fiber: 1.3 g
- Protein: 16.1 g
- Cholesterol: 41.4 mg
Keywords: chicken satay, thai chicken satay, satay recipe, chicken satay recipe, satay sauce , thai chicken skwers,
AMAZING!!! We used chicken thighs for this as its all we had and we marinated for over 24 hours and used our Air Fryer as it was raining!! Everyone asked us for the recipe. It was sooooo good. We served it with some of your other Thai dishes at a party at our house and we will defo cook it again next time on the BBQ!
What a great idea! Glad you all enjoyed. 🙂
Crazy good! Got rave reviews from guests. Followed the recipe exactly and had enough marinade for 2 + lbs. chicken breast sliced thin. Added chili-garlic sauce to peanut sauce for a little heat. Def. making again soon.
We’re so happy you liked this Joyce!
Made the chicken, cucumbers and the rice. The cucumber salad lightened up the heavier sauce. The whole meal was fantastic! I even used lite coconut milk. Will for sure make again. Thank you!
Great to hear Karla!
Could I get the same results cooking this in the oven if I don’t have a grill? Thank you for sharing all your wonderful recipes!
Hi Paloma- I think so??? But have not tried. I know the flavor would be there- so would just have to gauge the temp.
Delicious! Such a fun easy recipe. Grilled meat strips without skewers and turned out perfect. Great marinade and peanut sauce. Served with grilled cauliflower slices
Oh wow–so fast and delicious! I marinated whole chicken thighs (deboned, skinless for a day or so), skipped the skewers for speed and then BBQ’s the meat. When done, I sliced the chicken to serve on a vietnamese salad with nuoc cham dressing and it was amazing. I was skeptical when I saw the marinade, but it caramelized beautifully on the grill without causing flare-ups. Loved the crispy exterior and juicy interior of the chicken, and honestly, the chicken was so flavorful it didn’t even need peanut sauce (although I am a huge fan of yours, my hubby and peanuts aren’t friends). Another recipe to keep. Thanks!
Glad you enjoyed this Bri!
I followed the recipes exactly, except used Tamari in place of soy sauce. (Gluten free.) I used whole boneless skinless chicken thighs, marinated for 6 hours – absolutely the best, most tender chicken satay I’ve ever had. The flavor is sublime. The rice is a subtle compliment. Sadly, my peanut sauce was too spicy to eat as a result of a new red curry (vegan) paste I used. As the sauce sat, it just became hotter, and hotter. However, the leftover chicken I nibbled on is the bomb! I’m planning to use it in the Singapore noodle recipe tonight.
Thank you for all the terrific recipes. ❤️
Glad you liked this Diane! Sorry your red curry paste was too spicy. Any way to thin it out with coconut milk?
Fantastic! Made both chicken and tofu satay with coconut rice and Asian cucumber salad. Marinated full 24 hours – both chicken and tofu were so full of flavour! Received rave reviews from all and requests to make again. Thanks for another great recipe!
Great to hear Alison- glad you all enjoyed this!
Do these freeze well?
I bet they would- haven’t tried so guessing here, but seems like it would freeze well.
Yes! (I’ve only tried it with meat and not tofu.) Use ziplock bags to freeze and squeeze out air pockets as much as possible. Before cooking, let it thaw out at room temperature. Will freeze well for up to 4 months.
Another fantastic burst of flavor from your kitchen to mine. I marinated high-protein tofu and used 1 tablespoon of maple syrup (not 2). This sauteed well with veggies. Skipped the peanut sauce (not a peanut person).
The only adjustment I’ll make next time is longer marination.
Thanks Gail! Great to hear!
This looks like an excellent recipe. Is there anything you can recommend to substitute for the coconut milk? My partner is allergic to it and dairy
What if you made a paste with the spices and using a little olive oil?
Made this last night with the cucumber salad and rice. Amazing!
Oh perfect combo, so glad you enjoyed!
Made this for my family last evening. It was absolutely delicious! I served it with roasted sweet potatoes and grilled veggies. Everyone loved it!
Great to hear Jo!
Thanks very much for another wonderful recipe.