Grilled Thai Curry Chicken Skewers with Coconut-Peanut Sauce


This wonderful recipe was passed on to me by my dear friend, Kelly Santoro. She found it in the Costco magazine, of all places, but the recipe originally comes from food writer Alice Currah of the blog and book, Savory Sweet Life.  The dish is a crowd pleaser for all ages. It’s the sauce. My 10-year-old son, upon taking a second helping of the broccoli I served alongside, answered my surprised look with, “Mom, this sauce would make anything taste good.” I have to agree: I was tempted to forget the chicken entirely and just have the sauce as soup! 


Most of the ingredients are pretty straightforward. If you’re not familiar with red curry paste, it’s a delicious blend of lemongrass, Thai ginger, fresh red chilis and fragrant spices. Most large supermarkets carry it in the Asian food section but if you don’t see it, be sure to ask; for whatever reason, my local market does not shelve it near the other Thai ingredients, but rather in a special Thai food display elsewhere in the store. Otherwise, you can always find it at Whole Foods.


Begin by pounding the chicken breasts to an even 1/2-inch thickness. This both tenderizes the meat and ensures it cooks evenly.


Next, make the marinade by combining the soy sauce, brown sugar, lime zest, vegetable oil, garlic, curry powder, ginger, cardamom and salt in a bowl.


Cut the chicken into chunks and combine it with the marinade. Cover and let marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.


Meanwhile, make the sauce by combining the coconut milk, peanut butter, dark brown sugar, soy sauce and red chili paste in a medium saucepan.


Bring the sauce to a boil, then turn the heat down and cook a few minutes more. Finish the sauce with freshly squeezed lime juice.


Once the chicken has marinated, thread the chunks onto skewers.


Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. To grease the grill, lightly dip a wad of paper towels in vegetable oil and, using tongs, rub the paper towels over the grates until smooth and shiny.


Grill the chicken about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.


Serve with the coconut peanut sauce and enjoy! If you have leftovers, try serving the chicken over a salad — the chilled sauce makes an excellent dressing.


Note: I made several changes to the original recipe. For starters, I added a bit of salt and extra garlic to the marinade, and also swapped lime juice for lime zest as I do not like to use acidic ingredients in marinades for boneless skinless chicken breasts (they are so lean, it almost cooks the exterior of the meat and creates and leathery texture). I also pounded the chicken breasts first to tenderize them. To the sauce, I added more red curry paste and lots of fresh lime juice to brighten the flavor — otherwise, it was just too rich for my taste. To see the original recipe, click here.

Grilled Thai Curry Chicken Skewers with Coconut-Peanut Sauce

Print Recipe
Servings: 4-6
Total Time: 40 Minutes


For the Chicken

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar, packed
  • Zest of one lime
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-1/2 - 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

For the Coconut-Peanut Sauce

  • 1 (13-oz) can coconut milk (do not use low fat)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from 2 limes

For Serving

  • 1 lime, cut into wedges (optional)


  1. Pound the chicken breasts to an even 1/2-inch thickness between two pieces of wax or parchment paper. Cut the breasts into 1-1/2" pieces and set aside.
  2. Make the marinade by combining the soy sauce, dark brown sugar, lime zest, vegetable oil, garlic, curry powder, ginger, cardamom and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and mix until chicken is evenly coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Make the sauce by whisking together the coconut milk, peanut butter, brown sugar, soy sauce and red curry paste in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 3 minutes. Set aside.
  4. Preheat the grill to high heat. Meanwhile, thread the chicken pieces onto skewers. Grease the grill. Place the skewers on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes, turning once, or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve the chicken skewers with the Coconut-Peanut Sauce and lime wedges, if desired.


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  • Thank you for sharing! This sounds amazing. And the tip about not using citrus with boneless skinless chicken… I’d never made that connection before, but you’re right! Zest only from now on!

  • Vaniljekjeks

    This looks incredible! I think I’d leave out the cardamom, as that’s used (almost religiously) in cakes and sweet products in Norway. It might weird out my partner (unless it’s what totally makes the dish… is omitting it unwise?)

    You really do give me the best recipes for marinades. I was VERY popular this summer when I made Tequila Lime chicken.

    • Jenn

      You could definitely leave out the cardamom but I promise you can’t really taste it :)

  • The flavor combinations sound amazing. Pinning this recipe to give it a try at some point!

  • I love Thai flavors!! Definitely saving this recipe! I’ve always wanted a recipe for a good peanut sauce and this sounds delicious.

  • easydoesit

    How much lemon zest? Never used it before so I was just a bit unsure of amount.

    • Jenn

      You need the zest of one lime, which is about a teaspoon.

  • cathy

    Can I use fish sauce instead of soy sauce? We have allergy’s to soy.

    • Jenn

      Hi Cathy, I think fish sauce would work, but I’d start with half the amount in the marinade as the flavor of fish sauce is very strong. Same goes for the Coconut Peanut Sauce – start with just a teaspoon and then add to taste.

  • Wendy

    Can you use the oven for this recipe instead of grilling?

    • Jenn

      Hi Wendy, Sure…you may want to flash them under the broiler to get a little color.

  • Beth

    This looks great, and we want to make it for company this weekend- what other sides would you recommend with it?

    • Jenn

      Hi Beth, This is a great dish for company. Honestly, I would keep the sides very simple like jasmine rice and a very simply prepared green vegetable (like broccoli sautéed with a little garlic and fresh ginger). The sauce can go on everything, and it has a ton of flavor. Please come back and let me know how it turns out…hope you all enjoy it!

      • Beth

        Jenn, It was delicious! I served it with the jasmine rice and the garlic ginger roasted broccoli, and our guests loved everything! Thanks so much for another wonderful recipe. :)

  • Kim

    Amazingly delicious! So completely simple and so much flavor. A simple way to get a great meal on the table during the week. I made it with brown jasmine rice. Kids loved it too :)

  • Mo

    OMG, JENN! This was fantastic! Our picky eater ate it and loved it! This tastes like chicken satay, which is his favorite. This is going to be a staple! Thanks for another hit!

    • Jenn

      So glad, Mo!

  • Todd

    Delicious! I subbed tumeric for the cardamom and thought it was great.

  • Amy Simonson

    These look so yummy – dinner tonight!! For those of us who can’t have peanuts, Trader Joe’s sells Sunflower Seed Butter (way less expensive than the grocery store) that works really well in place of peanut butter. I can’t wait to try these!

  • Emilie

    this has become a staple weeknight dinner in our house. After making the skewers the first time, we’ve simplified it to just use chicken breasts hammered a bit thinner on the grill. the flavors are incredible–fresh yet comforting–and the leftovers disappear from our fridge immediately! a new favorite!

  • Linda

    Several of your recipes I will admit take lots of prep time but are they ever worth it! The flavors in this dish are simply amazing. I’ve rarely been disappointed by any of your recipes and gladly pass your website on to anyone that wants the recipe! The flavor was wonderful on these and the sauce was amazing!

  • joanne

    These are superb! My kids absolutely love them. Thanks so much!

  • Judy

    Hiya Jen.
    I don’t do skewers and be don’t do grill.
    Now what can I do? :-)

    • Jenn

      Hi Judy, You could cook the chicken in a grill pan. (You could also bake it but it wouldn’t be as good.)

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