chicken in peanut sauce

$6.70 recipe / $1.68 serving

2013 is going to be GREAT, I can feel it!

This is the first recipe of the year and I already know that it’s going to go on next year’s “best of” list! It’s SO good and SO easy. Peanut and coconut combine to make an incredibly luxurious and creamy sauce for the chicken, which is then sassed up with just a little soy sauce, brown sugar, lime, and sriracha! If you don’t have sriracha, you can just add a pinch of red pepper flakes… or just leave it out for a mild version.

Of course this “luxurious” sauce is a little high on the fat content, so make sure to serve this up with a side of some yummy vegetables, like this Crunchy Asian Salad. And, if you can find it, serve it over brown jasmine rice for some added fiber.


Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Chicken in Peanut Sauce

4.2 from 9 reviews

chicken in peanut sauce
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $6.70
Cost Per Serving: $1.68
Serves: 4
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 2 inches fresh ginger $0.14
  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.08
  • 1 lb. chicken breast* $1.99
  • 1 (14 oz.) can coconut milk $2.14
  • ½ cup natural peanut butter $0.66
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce $0.10
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar $0.02
  • ½ teaspoon sriracha hot sauce (optional) $0.02
  • 1 medium lime $0.50
  • ¼ bunch cilantro (optional) $0.20
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice $0.69
  1. If you don’t have cooked jasmine rice on hand, begin cooking your rice first so it will be ready by the time the chicken and sauce are complete. To begin the sauce, mince the garlic and then peel and grate the ginger into a large skillet or pot. Saute both in the vegetable oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until they are soft and fragrant.
  2. Cut the chicken into small pieces (about one inch across). Add them to your skillet or pot. Saute until lightly browned and cooked through (about 10 minutes).
  3. Turn the heat down to low and add the coconut milk and peanut butter. Stir gently to combine the two and dissolve any browned bits off of the bottom of the pan. Once the sauce is relatively smooth, add the soy sauce, brown sugar, sriracha, and juice from half of the lime. Stir to combine and heat through (about ten minutes).
  4. Pull the cilantro leaves from their stems and roughly chop. Scoop about one cup of jasmine rice into the bottom of each bowl and then top with the chicken and sauce (about ¾ cup). Sprinkle the fresh cilantro over top and enjoy!
*I buy my chicken breast in bulk/on sale to get a low price and freeze it for later use.

Chicken in Peanut Sauce

Step By Step Photos

ginger garlic oilStart by mincing the garlic and grating the ginger (peel the ginger with a vegetable peeler or scrape the skin off with the side of a spoon). Saute both in vegetable oil over medium heat for 1-2 minutes, or until soft and fragrant.

raw chickenCut the chicken into small pieces, about one inch across each.

cooked chickenAdd the chicken to the pot/skillet and saute until cooked through (about 10 minutes). It’s okay if stuff sticks to the bottom of the pan because it will dissolve off into the sauce, just don’t let it go past “brown” to “burned.”

coconut peanutNext, add the coconut milk and peanut butter.

stir to dissolveTurn the heat down to low. Gently stir (to minimize splashing) the two together until they are smooth and all of the browned bits on the bottom of the pan have also dissolved in.

FLAVOR!Now it’s time to add a little pizazz! We’re touching all of the flavor bases here with the soy sauce, brown sugar, sriracha, and lime juice. You can start with juice from half of the lime and add more if you’d like. If you don’t have sriracha, add a pinch of red pepper flakes for a little heat.

finished sauceStir all of those flavor ingredients in and your sauce is finished! Allow the sauce to heat through and then serve. Just make sure to have the heat low enough so that the pot does NOT boil. If it reaches a boil, the coconut milk will separate.

Chicken in Peanut SauceServe with cooked jasmine rice and a sprinkle of fresh, chopped cilantro. INCREDIBLE.


  1. Anonymous says:

    The recipe sounds delicious, but we are lucky if we can find chicken breast for less than $6.99/lb… and that is on sale!!!

  2. Anon – Now that I think about it, this sauce would be AWESOME over some stir fry vegetables, too! Then just spoon the whole lot over the jasmine rice :)

  3. This looks so yummy!

  4. yum! i am absolutely making this! sounds and looks so good. :)

  5. Mmmm, peanut butter…

  6. Sarah says:

    This is like an easy version of the Thai dish Swimming Rama, which is traditionally served over a bed of fresh spinach – it is SO GOOD.

  7. This was delicious and quick. I substituted lemon and rice noodles in place of lime and rice. Next time I will saute a red pepper and add some green onions to dress it up. Thank you!

  8. I just made this for dinner after you posted it :) It was definitely tasty!

    My one criticism though, is that I actually found the peanut butter to be a little bit overpowering. Thai peanut sauce that I have had at restaurants seems to be a little more discreet and flavorful, and I feel like the coconut milk didn’t really shine through in the recipe as much as it could have.

    All in all, though, I would make it again! Thanks Beth and happy 2013!

  9. This sounds great! Along the lines of Nick’s comment – whenever I’ve tried dishes that use peanut butter, they’ve ended up sickly sweet and overpowering. Is there a specific kind of peanut butter you recommend? I admit i’ve just used regular peanut butter before, not natural, so I’ll have to look for that. Thanks!

  10. This looks super delicious!

  11. Hey Beth. This looks like it would be a good crock pot recipe. Maybe adding some veggies in the last hour of cooking… What do you Think? I’m also thinking of trying your Greek chicken stew in the crock pot as well. I love all your recipes (if I could afford the ink and paper I would print and bind them all) and I am trying to make as many of them as I can work in the crock pot since I work til 7 each night and prefer to eat rather than start cooking at that time. :)

  12. i’m glad this was the first recipe i saw on this blog, because i make a similar recipe all the time and knew the rest of it should be good. :) instead of sriracha, i like to use a bit of red curry paste, and i’ll usually sub white or apple cider vinegar for the lime juice. i also tend to marinate the chicken beforehand with turmeric, garlic, pepper, sugar, coriander, and some coconut cream i reserve from the can for the sauce. (my poor thai grandmother, bless her, would come after me if she knew i only rarely grilled the chicken. it’s just so much easier on the stovetop or under the broiler.) the listed recipe is delicious as is, though!

    i can field a couple questions about the peanut butter too: you’ll want to find a natural peanut butter that has no sugar added. you’re in the right direction if you open up the jar and there’s a nice, thick layer of oil on the top. the closer you can get to “nothing but peanuts finely ground in their own oil”, the more thai your sauce will taste. if you have peanuts and a food processor, you’re already good to go.

    thanks for a recipe, and have a great new year. :)

  13. cindy says:

    Yep, you really have to read the ingredients on the peanut butter. Should just say “Peanuts” and maybe salt. All of Trader Joe’s peanut butter is natural, and pretty affordable. Mmm, I love this kind of stuff! But veggies and “Chickenless” strips for me (vegetarian).

    Happy New Year, Beth! :)

  14. Ah, yes. You definitely want to use natural peanut butter. I forgot to specify that in the ingredients! I’ll fix it now :) I use Smucker’s brand because that’s what they have at my local grocery. Even on peanut butter that is labeled “natural” you do want to check the ingredients list. I had bought one once (I think it was Great Value brand) that was labeled natural but still contained brown sugar, which changes the flavor quite a bit.

  15. This looks great! Can this be done with extra firm tofu instead of chicken?

  16. what a great way you start off the new year. I love anything peanut and sriracha and coconut milk. The sauce looks pretty rich and do you think I could skinnyfy it little bit with low fat peanut butter and light coconut milk?

  17. Rie – I think you definitely could use tofu in place of the chicken :)

    Dixya – I think lite coconut milk would probably still be good, although I’ve never worked with low fat peanut butters, so I don’t know about that.

  18. This sounds so good, and super easy besides! I also may try it with tofu, as we’re a half vegetarian household. But chicken is also delicious, so maybe I will just have an entire batch to myself… :)

  19. Anonymous says:

    My family makes a recipe very similar to this but with a heaping spoonful of curry paste for the spicy and added bell peppers and green beans. I also know for a fact that chunky peanut butter can be substituted for creamy. We love this recipe.

  20. My husband just made this for dinner tonight and it’s an awesome recipe. We make a lot of thai & thai-inspired dishes and this is one of my new favorites! Thank you!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I want to know where the person who says they cant get chicken for less than 6.99 a pound lives…so that I never move there on accident.

  22. Anonymous says:

    This recipe is so delicious! I made it VEGAN by substituting “chicken” seitan instead of chicken meat and LOW-CARB by stir-frying assorted veggies (green onions, eggplant, carrot & red pepper) instead of rice. I also used less coconut milk to make the sauce thicker for the veggies. Definitely one I will be making again and again – THANKS :)

  23. Found my dinner for tonight! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

  24. My wife and I really enjoyed making this recipe; it was fun and I learned a few things. I am curious as to why the brown chicken bits were difficult to get the pan before adding the coconut/peanut sauce. Why is that? Thanks for the great recipe.

  25. Zackzor – are you asking why the brown bits are difficult to get off of the bottom of the pan before adding the liquid? If so, it’s just because they are sticky and when you add the liquid, it helps them dissolve off. It’s kind of like when you add hot water to scrub a pan. It’s just a lot easier with moisture :)

  26. Angela says:

    I just made this for dinner and my husband loved it. I’m not a big fan of Thai food, but I am trying to expand my food horizons. Instead of the sriracha, I used some finely diced red bell pepper and I also used light coconut milk to cut down on the fat and make it more Weight Watcher friendly.

  27. Anonymous says:

    I made this for dinner last night, and my wife raved about it. I’m eating leftovers for breakfast as I type, if that says anything. I added some stir-fried vegetables then served it on a bed of green cabbage and rice noodles as rama.

  28. Happy 2013! If this is just the start of great recipes this year, I can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us. :D Simple, affordable, yet delicious and inspired. A college cook’s dream come true. YUM.

  29. This one and your siracha hummus our my absolute favorites. Love your blog!

  30. Kim Metcalf says:

    Another Fantastic Recipe!!! My husband and son made this tonight and WOW, we loved it. Thank you.

  31. Annette says:

    Made this tonight. Wonderful! Used light coconut milk and added carrot in match-stick pieces. A definite winner. Will make again and again. Love your blog and recipes.

  32. Anonymous says:

    2 inches of ginger was a buck! Other than that the prices were right on! I did just look at my PB jar and see they have added sugar, so not one hundred percent right, but overall it was a good, tasty dish! We also used a lot more sriracha because it’s delicious!

  33. This sounds amazing and right up my alley with tastes I love! I plan to try this very soon and add bellpepper, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. I also plan to use tofu instead of chicken. We’re a big fan of curry like dishes in my household and love them veggie heavy.

    I did learn something with the whole natural peanut butter discussion everyone has going on here. I didn’t know!
    Although I buy my almond butter at Winco here where I live and they have a machine where you just grind it yourself and purchase by the ounce. It’s amazing :) I’ll certainly have to give my dishes a try with natural peanut butter from now on.

  34. Melissa says:

    I have to agree with Nick about the peanut butter being overpowering. Also, the oil separated while everything was simmering together which looked very unappetizing. This is the first time I’ve had anything but a rave review for one of your recipes though! :)

  35. Melissa says:

    Also Beth, you should definitely try this peanut sauce recipe – it’s from a local restaurant here in Victoria, B.C. where I live and it is honestly the best peanut sauce I’ve ever had. :)

  36. Anonymous says:

    Is there anything to substitute the coconut milk with?

  37. Anonymous – Unfortunately the coconut milk is the main ingredient in the sauce and there’s just nothing suitable to replace it with. Even though it’s called “peanut sauce” the coconut is every bit as important to the texture and flavor.

  38. Ok, I just made this for dinner for me & my husband and we’re scraping the bottom of the pan! Thanks for the recipe!

  39. I’m so excited to try this out – I’ve been using store-bought Thai peanut sauce to cook my chicken in, and now I can make my own! I usually sautee some green beans in there as well for my veggie fix.

  40. Sally says:

    Recently found your blog and am loving it! This dish was also excellent. With the leftovers, I threw in some fresh spinach I had lying around and it softened in the warm peanut deliciousness, adding a little green.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Tanks for the great dish! One question, though. Do you have a rough idea how much ginger your two inches yields? My yield is all over the place depending how big the ginger my store has. It would be helpful to know roughly how much I should have. Thanks!

  42. Teresa says:

    Do you know how much powdered ginger I would use for this recipe if I do not have fresh ginger? Thanks!

  43. Anonymous – I think two inches would be about two tablespoons, but it’s okay if you have a little more or a little less because of the girth of your ginger. It’s a very forgiving ingredient :)

    Teresa – Because powdered ginger is a little more concentrated, I’d start with a teaspoon and adjust according to your tastes from there.

  44. Anonymous- I take that back… I just grated some ginger while making another recipe and one inch is definitely more along the lines of one *teaspoon*. It’s hard to estimate :)

  45. Easy and delicious. I used my own homemade seitan in place of the chicken and yours looked nice and saucy so I tossed in steamed broccoli and red bell pepper, too (and used light coconut milk). Fast. Tasty. Thanks, Beth!

  46. loved it, beth! so very good!

  47. I made this with almond butter, as I had it leftover from something else, and it was amazing. I was licking my spoon after storing the leftovers.

  48. Anonymous says:

    I was wondering about what 2 inches would amount to because I use store bought pureed ginger in your teriyaki meatballs and use 2 tbsp for 2 inches and it tastes perfect. I tried it with this but because the PB is so overpowering I think I need to add more next time.

    This was really good. My 3 year old devoured it, my 14 year olds opinion I will not repeat. lol I threw in brocolli and I think because there is so much sauce, next time I will add other veggies as well.

  49. This comment has been removed by the author.

  50. This Recipe Rocks, thanks for sharing.

    It made a ton of extra sauce so I put the extra in tiny plastic cups and then in the freezer. I’ll just cook some chicken and add the sauce.

  51. Another yummy looking recipe. Pinned this one too. Thanks!

  52. Just made this for dinner and this recipe ROCKS! Keep inspiring and proving that you can even eat like a king on a dime :)

  53. Anonymous says:

    I don’t have lime, but i do have lemons. Would this be an okay substitute?

  54. Anon – Honestly it’s hard for me to imagine if lemon would be good or bad in this. The lime has a very distinct flavor that goes well with the coconut, so I’m not sure how lemon would change the flavor. If you decide to try it out, please let us know how it is!

  55. This looks awesome! But one cup of rice per person is an enormous amount. From my understanding, 1/3 cup of uncooked is a serving.

    How woul this be with your yellow rice? Weird combo of flavors?

  56. Tyler – That’s one cup of cooked rice per person, not uncooked :) I think 1/3 cup uncooked would be roughly one cup once cooked. I don’t think I’d pair this with the yellow rice because it would be too many flavors competing. I liked the subtlety of the plain jasmine rice against the peanut sauce, but who knows, you might like it!

  57. You know what might be great with this? Some chopped kale in the sauce… especially if you decide to use brown rice. Yum.

  58. Anonymous says:

    Very good! It made me 4 work lunches :) It made so much sauce, though, that in the future I would plan ahead to add maybe a bell pepper and some broccoli. I also had to add some salt – I know that “season to taste” goes without saying for real cooks…but I often forget and wonder why my food is bland!

  59. This was so yummy! I think next time I make it I’ll try it with less peanut butter and maybe some panang curry paste. I always have to tweak things the second time I make them.

  60. I recently made this recipe. It was delicious! I loved the sauce. I could just drink it Ha! I added veggies to mine, red pepper, onion and green beans. I also used brown rice although I have to admit I prefer the white Jasmine. But with a little one I try to be as “healthy” as possible :)

  61. Marisela says:

    Yummy and easy recipe! Thank you so much for posting all your awesome recipes! =)

  62. The peanut butter separated into a layer of oil that would not mix back into the rest of the sauce… Any tips on how to mix it back together or prevent this from happening?

  63. Jithu – Oh no! I can’t think of what may have made that happen… I’ll keep researching it and let you know if I find anything :(

  64. Anonymous says:

    I loved this and my husband did too. My only complaint would be the taste of the peanut butter. Kind of overwhelming, but I did cheat and used regular peanut butter since I didn’t have any natural peanut butter in my pantry… Next time I’ll try with natural!!

  65. Anonymous says:

    Hi. I normally * love* all of your recipes, but I did not like this one at all, unfortunately. It was just way too “Americanized” for me with the peanut butter. It was so heavy and thick and not as flavorful as I would have liked. However, my two year old loved the “pee nee buttah chicka” and just licked the sauce off without eating the chicken!

  66. My boyfriend and I made this recipe a few weeks ago. It was so delicious! I have to admit, I probably would have found the peanut butter overwhelming had we not doctored the recipe a bit…we love spicy, so we added a ton of sriracha! We actually added some broccoli to it to balance it a bit, as it is a very heavy dish, and it was just spectacular. Will make it again! Thanks Beth!

  67. Heather says:

    Hey Beth! This recipe sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to try it.

    Just a thought for some of the folks who found the peanut butter overwhelming or oily – check out PB2 from Bell Plantation (usually sold in health food stores). It’s a powdered peanut butter that has had 85% of the fat removed as they have essentially pressed out the oil. So you get alllll the peanutty tasted but with less fat and less oily texture.

    I love using it in cookingc baking and in smoothies.

    • Lalita says:

      That is funny, was at the store today getting the ingredients for this recipe and saw that PB2 stuff and bought it. This was my peanut butter base for the sauce. It worked really well.

  68. Marisa R. says:

    Just wanted to let you know that this was fantastic and my whole family appreciated it’s deliciousness. It was great with steamed broccoli! Thanks for this great recipe! :)

  69. Jenny says:

    I made this with mock duck instead of chicken. So good! I will add some veggies next time.

  70. Very Good. My hubby went back for 3rds and my kids had seconds before declaring it was very filling.

  71. mary says:

    My kids LOVED it…..I’ve made it about 5 more times. It’s become a staple. And its a cinch to make! I love it myself! I did add some Thai fish sauce to it….it takes care of my Thai fix!

  72. Brandi says:

    I made this tonight and added in some onion and spinach to try to get a bit more veggies with my dinner. This is amazing and tastes like it took a lot more work than it did!

  73. Amelie R says:

    Just did this with extra firm tofu and half almond and half peanut butter, added some onion and a green pepper, two more tablespoons of sriracha sauce and it was OUT OF THIS WORLD. Thank you!

  74. Kimberly says:

    Made this last night with stir fry vegetables added in, and it was amazing! We added the sriracha to taste at the table because my 16 month old son was eating it too, and we all loved it! thanks!

  75. Erin says:

    I could swim in the peanut sauce. It’s sooo good! This is probably one of my most favorite quick meals. The only change I make is I sautee onions and peppers to add in with the chicken.

  76. stovesand says:

    tastes like warm peanut butter and nothing else. my husband and daughter wouldn’t eat it. I tripled the soy sauce and it still didn’t help. way, way, way too much peanut butter. i’d say get that down to 1/8 of a cup. won’t be making this again

  77. wunmi says:

    This was awesome. Just made it and eating it as I type! I added onions and spices to the chicken pre-sauce. Thanks so much. Will be checking out your blog more often.

  78. Beth says:

    I was wondering how this freezes? I was thinking of making it all up, putting it on a bed of rice and freezing it in individual portions for my husband to take to work for lunch. Thanks for any thoughts!

  79. Timo says:

    Just cooked this recipe with a little alteration as i wanted a thicker sauce. The sauce on the pics seemed to be a little runny. I added some crushed pepper to add abit of oomph. But overall, good recipe. Thanks

  80. Beth N. says:

    I made this tonight and it was AMAZING!!! I didn’t use the hot sauce (I’m a wimp, lol) or cilantro (didn’t have any). I had to use ground ginger and lime juice, instead because they were all I had. This tasted just like our local Thai restaurants peanut chicken dish!!!! Thank you for sharing this awesome recipe!! I told my neighbor about it and printed a copy out for her tonight as well, as she tried a sample and loved it too! My toddler and husband agreed it was yummy!!

  81. Lalita says:

    Another hit! Seems like I could have used more chicken since there was a lot of sauce. Hubby went back for seconds. This will be a fun recipe to play around with.

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