Grilled Thai Curry Chicken Skewers with Coconut-Peanut Sauce

5 stars based on 17 votes


This 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 that makes it so good. 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 a 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

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. Add the fresh lime juice. 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.

Reviews & Comments

  • This sounds SO good, but the lone grocery store in my city carries only green curry paste–no red. Would that substition make it taste weird?


    - Heather on August 13, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Heather, It will taste a bit different but I think it will still be delicious. Please let me know how it turns out :)

      - Jenn on August 15, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this on Saturday for dinner and loved it so much that I am marinading another big batch in the fridge for tonight and tomorrow! I made it as stated and it was superb! I had some cardamom seeds that I wasn’t sure what to use for so this works out great! Both my young children ate it all up. I used regular Indian curry powder. Thanks for the great recipe.

    - Patti on August 11, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I just made this yesterday and wow, the chicken was super-tasty! The coconut milk sauce was good as well, but I agree with another poster that the chicken is delicious enough to stand by itself.
    My kids may be sensitive to spicy foods, but this chicken was unfortunately a little too spicy for them….which was fine since it meant more for me!

    - ponyo on August 6, 2014 Reply
    • 5 stars

      I should have noted that I used Japanese curry powder (S&B brand) which may have contributed to the spiciness….
      Also, I used chicken thighs and used the broiler in the kitchen, about 3 minutes per side.

      - ponyo on August 6, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this on Friday night when we had two couples over for dinner. Also made the Cous Cous w/ Apricot vinaigrette. NO LEFTOVERS. Everything was so good. Even if you dont have the time or ingredients to make the sauce, the marinade is so flavorful you can get by without the sauce. that’s not to take anything away from the sauce, it is to die for. just saying the marinade is BOMB on its own.

    - Lindsay on August 4, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Jenn, I made this for dinner Sunday night and it was a HUGE hit. I doubled the recipe so I would be sure to have leftovers! One comment, in the pictures it shows you adding the lime juice to the sauce after it’s heated up. The recipe is silent as to when to add the lime juice. It’s in the ingredients list but not in the directions.

    - Karen Rindner on July 29, 2014 Reply
    • Thanks, Karen. It has been corrected!

      - Jenn on July 29, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Oh man…as always, another tasty recipe from OUAC. My lady friend and I decided on this last week for dinner, only we had to bake the chicken breasts because neither of us have a grill. This brief review is based on that recipe modification.

    ‘Twas a splendid dinner with some steamed squash and zucchini on the side. Very filling. Both of us generally prefer a bit of spice to our meals, and we were expecting some with these ingredients. Although it was super tasty, we felt it needed a bit more kick, but it didn’t detract from the overall awesomeness that we devoured while saying things like, “Oh. my. god. So. Good.” You know the meal is good when there isn’t too much convo at the table. Ha ha. I saved the sauce and added a tablespoon or so of chili flakes to it when I reheated it for another chicken dinner a couple nights later. It definitely added the kick. Recommended completely!

    - John Wallace on July 28, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Love this!!! So easy, great flavor….served this with mango chutney and jasmine rice. I used bamboo skewers and soaked them for a few hours , clean up was quick and easy too! Love your recipes!!!

    - Joanne Lee on July 21, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is sooo…good! Made it for dinner tonight – my husband and I both loved it. I will definitely make this again. Thanks!
    BTW – I made as directed, no substitutions.

    - Maggie L on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Delicious ! Made without any changes.
    Left over sauce is great for topping other rice or pasta, or as a soup base.

    - Jo on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is now my GO TO recipe for a delicious curry! I love being able to make such a delicious sauce without having to buy pre-made, jarred sauces. Thanks Jen for another wonderful recipe!

    - Diana Knight on July 17, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We love this despite a lot of ingredients and prep time. But it’s a double meal for us since there’s always sauce left and we then do a stir fry the next night with veggies and tofu and use the sauce to finish it. So delicious. Everyone I’ve ever served the skewers to has been very impressed.

    - Emilie McGee on July 11, 2014 Reply
  • 4 stars

    I have seen this mentioned on here and other threads as well in regards to a desire to substitute soy sauce: I use Bragg ‘ s Liquid Aminos in place of soy sauce in almost all applications when I cook. It tastes like soy sauce and has myriad health benefits. I hope this helps!

    Great recipe!

    - Tif on July 9, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    These were sooooo yummy and easy! The only thing I did differently was use cuts of chicken thighs instead of breasts….I prefer the taste and texture.

    Another awesome recipe. Thanks so much Jenn!

    - Sandy on July 6, 2014 Reply
  • This recipe looks fabulous with all the ingredients available here in uk, will revert once cooked.
    Ps: I tried your middle eastern chicken kebabs yesterday and they came out very good, even my fussy little kids loved it.

    - Jaz on July 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is marinating for dinner right now! Not sure if the sauce is better hot or room temp? Everyone excited to try this one tonight!

    - Jill on July 2, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Jill, I like it best hot but it’s really delicious either way. Hope you enjoy it :)

      - Jenn on July 2, 2014 Reply
      • 5 stars

        This was a great dinner…used thin cutlets from my butcher (as I knew I wouldn’t have time to make kebobs) & grilled them. Served with lime & some cilantro over rice & a side of roasted broccoli & garlic. The kids loved the peanut sauce although I cut the sugar a bit. Thank you!

        - Jill on July 3, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is a partial review – only of the sauce. I made it last night and had with steamed broccoli and tofu, amazing!
    I did make very minor changes – used 1/4 cup sugar and juice from 1 lime and thought it was still just a tad too sweet for me but all in all excellent & I can’t wait to try with the chicken. Love this site!

    - Sue M on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This dish was a big hit with my family. I served jasmine rice on the side, which was delicious with the sauce. 5 stars!

    - Jill on June 10, 2014 Reply
  • Love this site-haven’t found a recipe yet I would review as anything other than stellar and delicious!!

    Served the chicken and sauce over stir-fried veggies and it was the bomb.

    - Betsy on June 8, 2014 Reply
  • The peanut sauce is amazing! I combined the chicken with zucchini and squash and mushrooms on skewers. A big hit with my husband. Thanks!

    - Kelly on May 30, 2014 Reply
  • made this Thai chicken for memorial day weekend. It was so good that everyone want to know where I got the recipe. Very good flavor, and the sauce was incredible.
    Jenn, I tried so many of your recipe from side dish to main course and dessert and I am very pleased… Thank you.

    - abby on May 29, 2014 Reply
    • You’re welcome, Abby! So glad you’re enjoying the recipes.

      - Jenn on May 29, 2014 Reply
  • Hiya Jen.
    I don’t do skewers and be don’t do grill.
    Now what can I do? :-)

    - Judy on February 12, 2014 Reply
    • Hi Judy, You could cook the chicken in a grill pan. (You could also bake it but it wouldn’t be as good.)

      - Jenn on February 13, 2014 Reply
  • These are superb! My kids absolutely love them. Thanks so much!

    - joanne on January 21, 2014 Reply
  • 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!

    - Linda on November 15, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Emilie on November 11, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Amy Simonson on November 10, 2013 Reply
  • Delicious! I subbed tumeric for the cardamom and thought it was great.

    - Todd on November 4, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Mo on October 6, 2013 Reply
    • So glad, Mo!

      - Jenn on October 6, 2013 Reply
  • 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 :)

    - Kim on October 2, 2013 Reply
  • This looks great, and we want to make it for company this weekend- what other sides would you recommend with it?

    - Beth on September 27, 2013 Reply
    • 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!

      - Jenn on September 28, 2013 Reply
      • 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. :)

        - Beth on September 29, 2013 Reply
  • Can you use the oven for this recipe instead of grilling?

    - Wendy on September 27, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Wendy, Sure…you may want to flash them under the broiler to get a little color.

      - Jenn on September 27, 2013 Reply
  • Can I use fish sauce instead of soy sauce? We have allergy’s to soy.

    - cathy on September 26, 2013 Reply
    • 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.

      - Jenn on September 27, 2013 Reply
  • How much lemon zest? Never used it before so I was just a bit unsure of amount.

    - easydoesit on September 26, 2013 Reply
    • You need the zest of one lime, which is about a teaspoon.

      - Jenn on September 26, 2013 Reply
  • I love Thai flavors!! Definitely saving this recipe! I’ve always wanted a recipe for a good peanut sauce and this sounds delicious.

    - Ashley @ Wishes and Dishes on September 26, 2013 Reply
  • The flavor combinations sound amazing. Pinning this recipe to give it a try at some point!

    - BusyWorkingMama on September 26, 2013 Reply
  • 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.

    - Vaniljekjeks on September 26, 2013 Reply
    • You could definitely leave out the cardamom but I promise you can’t really taste it :)

      - Jenn on September 26, 2013 Reply
  • 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!

    - Sarah on September 26, 2013 Reply

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