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Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

April 11, 2024

Bursting with flavors like ginger, coconut, turmeric and garlic, chicken satay with peanut sauce turns out beautifully tender, and extraordinarily scrumptious.

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6 Chicken Satay on a plate served with Peanut Sauce and a Cucumber Salad

Our Favorite Recipe for Chicken Satay With Peanut Sauce

We’ve been making this marinated and grilled chicken satay for a long time. It’s a tried and true The Modern Proper recipe. Full of flavors like ginger, coconut, turmeric and garlic, skewers of chicken satay with peanut sauce are so tender, and scrumptious. This homemade chicken satay goes great with our easy Cucumber Salad, Fresh Spring Rolls, White Rice, and Larb Lettuce Cups.

homemade peanut sauce ingredients in bowls: red curry paste, coconut milk, peanut butter, salt, sugar and apple cider vinegar
Homemade peanut sauce in a bowl made with red curry paste, coconut milk, peanut butter, salt, sugar & apple cider vinegar

How to Make Chicken Satay With Peanut Sauce

Grilled chicken skewers are quite possibly the perfect company food. You marinate them ahead of time—at least two hours, or overnight—and so when your guests arrive, all you need to do is pop the marinated chicken on the grill. Here’s the step-by-step:

  • Mix your marinade. Add coconut milk, garlic cloves, turmeric, cilantro, brown sugar, fish sauce and salt to a bowl and stir to combine.

  • Press the chicken breast pieces between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap, and pound them with a mallet until they’re nice and thin.

  • Drizzle the marinade over your chicken, and let time do the rest!

  • Make the skewers. Two hours later (or the next day), it’s time to skewer your chicken! You can use wooden or metal skewers–both work just fine!

  • Grill! About two minutes on each side, depending on how hot your grill is.

Raw chicken tenders marinating in a turmeric coconut sauce on a sheet pan

How to Marinate Satay Meat

Balanced flavors are the key to a great marinade, as is allowing the meat enough time to soak up all of those lovely flavors and—in this case—colors! The turmeric lends our chicken satay its gorgeous bright golden color, and the satay marinade’s coconut milk base means that the chicken stays super duper moist and juicy, even though we’re using boneless, skinless chicken breast. All of which is to say that if you have time to let the chicken marinate overnight, do!

6 grilled chicken satay on metal skewers
grilled Chicken Satay on skewers served with Peanut Sauce and Cucumber Salad

How to Make Homemade Peanut Sauce

This peanut sauce recipe has no dairy in it, yet is incredibly rich and creamy because it's made with coconut milk. It's also completely gluten free. Incredibly versatile, flavor packed, it has that perfect balance of just slightly spicy and savory. Make it, put it on everything, love it as much as we do. Here’s how to make our chicken satay sauce! In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine:

  • Full fat coconut milk – It makes everything, from Creamy Curry Noodles with Crispy Tofu to Overnight Oats, so rich and delicious.

  • Thai red curry paste – This adds so much flavor. We’ve even used it in a meatball recipe (see our Turkey Meatballs in a Creamy Red Curry Sauce)!!

  • Unsweetened natural peanut butter – Surprise!

  • Salt & Sugar

  • Apple cider vinegar & water

Bring the ingredients to a low simmer and cook for five minutes, stirring continually so the peanut sauce doesn’t burn. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. The sauce can be stored for up to a week. If it gets too thick, just warm it on the stove with a few drops of water.
Chicken Satay skewers served with Peanut Sauce on 2 Plates

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Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  2 hrs 15 min
  • Cook Time:  10 min
  • Calories: 220

Ingredients

Chicken

  • ⅓ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken tenders
  • 18 metal or bamboo skewers
  • ¼ cup crushed peanuts, for serving

Peanut Sauce

  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (add more if you want it spicy)
  • ¾ cup unsweetened creamy peanut butter (we like natural style)
  • ½ tablespoon kosher salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider or white vinegar

Method

  1. Make the chicken. In a small bowl combine coconut milk, garlic, turmeric, cilantro, brown sugar, fish sauce, and salt.

  2. Pat the chicken dry. Using a mallet or rolling pin, pound the chicken tenders until very thin. Arrange the chicken in a single layer in a baking dish or rimmed baking sheet, then pour the marinade over top. Cover and marinate, refrigerated for 2 hours or up to overnight.

  3. Meanwhile, make the peanut sauce. To a small saucepan, add the coconut milk, curry paste, peanut butter, salt, sugar, vinegar, and ½ cup water; whisk to combine. Bring the sauce to a simmer over low heat and cook, whisking, until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from heat and let sit for 10 minutes before serving. If the sauce gets too thick while cooling, reheat it over low and add a splash or two of water.

  4. Preheat the grill on medium. Tightly thread the chicken onto the skewers, dividing evenly. Place the skewers on the grill and cook, undisturbed, 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a serving platter.

  5. Garnish the chicken with cilantro and peanuts. Serve with the peanut sauce on the side.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories220
  • Protein32 g
  • Carbohydrates7 g
  • Total Fat6 g
  • Dietary Fiber1 g
  • Cholesterol87 mg
  • sodium977 mg
  • Total Sugars5 g

Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Nikki

    Powdered turmeric or fresh?

    Ground, hope you enjoy Nikki!

  • Anne

    If using regular peanut butter, should I cut back on the sugar, and if so, how much?

    Hmmm, good question Anne. We haven't tested it with sweetened peanut butter. Maybe combine all the ingredients using 1/2 cup of sugar first, if it isn't overly sweet you could add the rest of the sugar or if you like the sweetness level just leave it at that. Hope you enjoy!

  • Anne

    If using regular peanut butter, should I cut back on the sugar, and if so, how much?

    We. haven't tested this with sweetened peanut butter. We recommend mixing the ingredients for the sauce using 1/2 cup sugar first then if you like the sweetness level leave as is if it isn't sweet enough add the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and finish heating. Hope this helps Anne!

  • Sandra

    can i cook in the oven? and at what temperature?

    Try 400°F on an oiled baking sheet. Bake the chicken for 12 to 15 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165°F. I wouldn't bother to skewer them if you are making them in the oven.

  • atxitmom

    Toasted sesame oil?

    Either one will work. We like using toasted!

  • Alli

    Oh. Wow.
    We've tried a few different satay recipes but this one knocks the others out of the water! I think it must be the extra fish sauce in the marinade and the red curry paste. We only opted for one of the tablespoons since little ones are more spice averse; it was delicious and not too spicy at all! This will definitely be our go-to satay recipe. Thanks for another winner!

    Thanks Alli, so happy you all enjoyed it!

  • Chrystal

    This is my new favorite chicken recipe! My husband said it was 10/10 and u completely agree!

    Thanks Chrystal that is so great to hear! We are so glad you both love it!

  • Anne

    This chicken is delicious! My husband and teenagers loved it, and the sauce! I didn’t have the skewers, or time, so just grilled the tenderloins, and served with the peanut sauce and the cucumber salad recommended. Perfect flavor combination. I used regular peanut butter, so used about a third of the sugar. Does make a lot of sauce so I think I could have halved the whole recipe for that.

    Thanks Anne, we are so glad you and your family loved these!

  • Beth

    This was easy and delicious, liked by kids and adults alike.

    Thanks Beth, so glad everyone enjoyed it!

  • Evelyne

    I've made this recipe (both the chicken and the peanut sauce) dozens of times over the past few years- it's always a hit with guests and it's become a regular for our family also.

    Wow! This is so amazing to hear Evelyne, we are so happy it's become a regular dish! Thanks for letting us know!