Try these delicious Thai Chicken Satay Skewers for your next meal! Juicy chicken skewers marinated in a savory combination of spices, served with a creamy peanut sauce. A perfect balance of sweet, salty and spicy flavors that will have you coming back for more!
Thai food is awesome.
Years ago when I moved to Toronto I was able to have my first taste of authentic Thai food and have loved it ever since.
One of my favorite Thai foods are those yummy meat skewers called “satay”. Since I like to make things at home rather than spend money on take-out I've created my own version.
This is a chicken satay recipe, however you could also use beef in the marinade if you prefer. The marinade is made of a deliciously fragrant combination of coconut milk, curry powder, cilantro, a little bit of brown sugar and some fish sauce.
Whatever meat you choose, the flavors will taste best if you marinade everything overnight. You can either cook these in the oven, or you can put them on the grill. Either way they taste and smell amazing!
Serve these with some delicious Thai peanut dipping sauce and you've got yourself an awesome appetizer for your next get-together!
This Thai Chicken Satay recipe pairs perfectly with the recipe for my homemade Thai peanut dipping sauce, so be sure to check that out for the ideal accompaniment. You can eat chicken satay skewers without Thai peanut dipping sauce but I highly recommend having it together or else it just doesn't feel complete.
What is Chicken Satay?
Chicken Satay is a popular Southeast Asian dish that consists of marinated, skewered chicken pieces that are grilled or roasted and then served with various dipping sauces.
The key ingredient for authentic Thai Chicken Satay Skewers is the marinade which gives the chicken its unique flavor.
Chicken Satay is a great way to enjoy the flavors of Thailand and it can be enjoyed as an appetizer, a main course, or even as a snack. The dish is especially popular in Indonesia and Malaysia, but can now be found in many countries around the world.
What is Chicken Satay made of?
Chicken Satay is made up of chicken thighs that have been marinated in a blend of spices and herbs, then skewered on bamboo sticks. Chicken breasts can also be used but I find chicken thighs to be more juicy and flavorful than chicken breast.
The ingredients for the chicken marinade are garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coconut milk, soy sauce, brown sugar, turmeric, cumin, coriander, crushed red pepper flakes, curry powder, lime juice and fish sauce.
This marinade gives the chicken its unique flavor and helps keep it tender during cooking. Once the chicken is skewered onto bamboo sticks, it can be grilled until cooked through or roasted in an oven.
Does chicken satay have peanuts?
it is recommended that you brush your chicken satay with peanut sauce before you serve the skewers to your guests and that you additionally sprinkle some finely chopped peanut overtop of the cooked skewers before serving. The infusion of chicken and peanut sauce and the topping with peanuts gives satay a unique texture and flavor which sets it apart from other types of grilled chicken dishes. Not only do peanuts give a subtle crunch but they also bring out all of the other flavors like lemongrass, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce. Peanuts are a staple in not just in Thai cooking but in all Southeast Asian cooking in general.
What is satay sauce?
How to make Peanut Sauce for Chicken Satay
Satay sauce is commonly known as Thai Peanut Sauce and it serves to make Satay skewers stand out from other grilled chicken dishes. The link to my recipe for peanut sauce is here. The sauce is used by brushing it on satay skewers and is served on the side as a dip.
My satay peanut sauce recipe is made by combining ingredients such as creamy peanut butter, garlic, ginger, coconut milk, fish sauce, vegetable oil, soy sauce, chili garlic paste and lime juice as well as using chopped peanuts as a garnish.
Store bought peanut butter makes for a quicker, easier recipe but you also use natural peanut butter by grinding up peanuts yourself. Click ahead to see the full instructions for making my homemade satay sauce / Thai peanut sauce recipe. You can alternatively use store bought satay sauce which will be commonly labeled Thai peanut Sauce on store shelves.
Alternative Cooking Methods
There are several different ways to cook your chicken satay skewers! My favorite method is grilling, but you can cook these in the oven or stove top in a frying pan or similar cookware.
There are a few different ways to cook chicken satay but grilling on a barbeque or stove top griddle is perfect for browning your satay skewers and adding a smokey barbeque flavor to them (especially on a charcoal grill). This is the most flavorful way of preparing and sizzling your chicken satay skewers!
Please note that the instructions included below are just an overview, the full instructions can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
How to Cook Satay on a Grill
Heat the grill to medium-high heat (around 400°F). Place the skewers onto the preheated surface and close the lid to keep in as much heat as possible. Cook for 8-10 minutes until golden brown and done throughout – turning every few minutes for even cooking.
How to Cook Satay in the Oven
Preheat your oven to 425°F (220°C). Add a drizzle of oil to an oven-safe baking tray and spread it around before placing the skewers onto it – make sure not to overcrowd them!
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until golden brown and done throughout – turn every few minutes for even cooking using tongs or a spatula if needed.
How to Cook Satay in a Frying Pan/Stove top/Flat top
Stove-top pan frying yields tender and juicy chicken satay skewers that don’t require too much effort. Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, add the marinated chicken skewers onto the skillet and fry for four minutes per side, or until cooked through. You can use a non-stick pan on the stovetop over medium heat to quickly reheat them while preserving all their juiciness and flavor.
Whichever way you choose to cook or reheat them, these Thai Chicken Satay Skewers are sure to please!
If you want an extra kick of flavor, try adding some red curry paste and finely sliced Thai chilis or jalapenos (not traditional to the dish but they work well!) to the chicken satay marinade. The added heat and spice will give your skewers an amazing depth of flavor.
Can I make Chicken Satay ahead of time?
In the refrigerator, You can marinate the chicken in a bag or an airtight container a day or two ahead of serving. Do not cook until ready to serve. Chicken satay is best cooked fresh.
How to Store and Reheat Leftover Chicken Satay
To store: Store any leftover chicken satay in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
To reheat: Place the chicken satay on a baking sheet and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F until it’s heated through, about 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, you can also use an air fryer set to 400°F for 4-5 minutes.
Can I freeze Chicken Satay?
Yes, you can freeze chicken satay! You can either freeze the marinaded meat unskewered in an air tight bag or container, or you can freeze them prepared on their skewers ready to grill.
How long is leftover Chicken Satay good for?
Leftover Chicken Satay Skewers are best eaten within two days of cooking. If you plan to save any for later, keep them stored in an air-tight container or zip-top bag in the fridge. They’ll stay good for up to four days.
Alternatively, you can also freeze your satay skewers. Place them in a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months.
When ready to eat, thaw completely in the refrigerator before reheating.
What to Serve with Chicken Satay
As mentioned, the most popular way to serve chicken satay skewers is by dipping or slathering them with what's commonly known as Thai peanut sauce. This adds a creamy, nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the savory spices of the chicken dish. Recommended to serve together and essential for getting the full authentic experience.
Another tasty side that pairs well with chicken satay is sticky rice, fried rice or coconut rice.
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2 strips each
- 4–5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 stock of lemongrass
Only use the bottom white part – discard the outer hard layer, then chop roughly. Mince in a food processor
- 1” fresh ginger, minced/grated
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 3 tbsps brown sugar
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ tsp coriander
- ½ tsp curry powder
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- juice of 1 lime
- wooden skewers, presoaked in water for a few hours
The amounts for this section are up to you! I like to prepare a whole lot of extras to sprinkle on my satay skewers!
- red Thai chili, thinly sliced
- fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- red onion, thinly sliced
- chopped/crushed peanuts
- lime wedges, for sprinkling over the skewers
- Thai Peanut sauce – This is a must have along with your chicken Satay skewers!
Create the Marinade and Prepare the Chicken
- Combine all the ingredients for the marinade. I find the easiest way to prepare the marinade is to use a food processor. I start with processing the garlic, lemongrass and fresh ginger, then add the remaining ingredients and pulse until combined.
- Combine the chicken with the marinade (in a zip lock baggie or other air tight container) and allow to chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
- Once the chicken has marinated, push the pieces of chicken onto the skewers (I like to do a zig zag pattern with the chicken). Set aside until ready to cook. Discard any unused marinade.
To cook Chicken Satay on a Grill
This is my preferred and recommended method for cooking chicken satay.
I like to cook my satay skewers on my indoor grill/panini press, but you can also grill them on your BBQ.
To Cook Chicken Satay in the Oven
How to Cook Satay in Frying pan/Stove Top
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, add the marinated chicken skewers onto the skillet and fry for four minutes per side, or until cooked through.
To Serve Chicken Satay:
- Once your chicken satay has finished cooking, brush each skewer with a little peanut sauce while still warm. This will help the other ingredients stick to the skewers when serving them.
- Lay the skewers on a serving plate. Sprinkle with crushed peanuts, sliced Thai chilis, chopped cilantro, and red onion slices.
- Serve with a side of more peanut sauce for dipping, and some lime wedges for sprinkling as you eat!
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Time to Marinate: 4 hours
- Cook Time: 25 minutes
- Category: Main
- Method: Grill/Oven
- Cuisine: Thai