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. 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!
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!
- 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.
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