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This easy Chicken Satay recipe features tender, juicy, and flavorful marinated grilled meat paired with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. No worries if you don’t have a grill or grill pan; you can also cook the chicken in the oven or in an air fryer!

spread of chicken satay with peanut sauce and rice

One of the things I love most about traveling is exploring a city on foot. I could walk around a place for hours enjoying the architecture, street performers, and local food. The sights, sounds, and smells as you’re walking through give you a much fuller sense of a place.

Satay is street food from Southeast Asia. It’s seasoned meat that’s skewered and grilled. Because of the seasonings and marinade, it’s incredibly tender, juicy, and flavorful.

dipping chicken skewer into peanut sauce

Chicken is my favorite, but you can also find satay made with other meats, such as beef, goat, pork, and shrimp, as well as tofu. It’s typically served with a balanced sweet, salty, and spicy peanut sauce for dipping.

It’s traditional to cook satay on a fire; the aroma is completely enticing as you’re walking around working up an appetite. But this dish is just as alluring when you make it at home. And bonus, you can cook it on a grill, in the oven, or in an air fryer and it’s delicious no matter which method you use!

grilled chicken on skewers

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • It’ll transport your taste buds to Southeast Asia, right in your kitchen.
  • You can cook this chicken on a grill, in the oven, or in an air fryer (see the recipe below for instructions for each method).
  • The peanut sauce is good enough to eat on its own. (Or use it as a dressing for salads, rice bowls, or cold noodle salads, or as a dip for meat, veggies, spring rolls, etc.) Make a double batch!
rice with chicken satay and peanut sauce in bowl

The Best Chicken Satay Recipe with Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce:

peanut satay sauce ingredients
  • Roasted salted peanuts
  • Canned unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
  • Light brown sugar
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Soy sauce, tamari sauce, or coconut aminos
  • Garlic
  • Spicy red chili pepper
  • Galangal or ginger
  • Salt
  • Water

Chicken Satay:

chicken satay ingredients
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Avocado oil
  • Light brown sugar
  • Soy sauce, tamari sauce, or coconut aminos
  • Fresh lime zest
  • Fish sauce
  • Red onion
  • Garlic
  • Spicy red chili pepper
  • Galangal or ginger
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Turmeric
  • Salt
  • Boneless skinless chicken thighs

Step-by-Step Instructions

Make the Peanut Sauce:

how to make peanut sauce for satay
  1. Add all ingredients for the peanut sauce (except the water) to a food processor.
  2. Pulse a few times, and then process until it forms a sauce, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary.
  3. If need be, add a little water through the feed tube with the motor running to thin it out until it reaches your desired consistency.
  4. Store covered in the fridge until using.

Marinade the Chicken:

how to marinade chicken satay
  1. Add all ingredients for the chicken satay (except the chicken) to a large bowl.
  2. Stir to combine.
  3. Add the chicken and stir until well-coated.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Thread the Chicken on Skewers:

how to thread chicken on skewers
  1. Soak wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes.
  2. Thread the chicken onto the skewers.

Pro Tip: If you use 6 skewers, you can easily portion this dish once it’s cooked because it makes 6 servings.

Grill the Chicken Satay Skewers:

grilling chicken satay skewers
  1. Preheat a grill to medium-high; once the grill is hot, add the chicken skewers.
  2. Cook the chicken until it’s charred and fully cooked in the center, about 6 to 8 minutes per side.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget, you can also cook this in the oven or in an air fryer! The recipe below gives instructions for each cooking method.

Storage

Once the chicken is cooked, you can store the leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

grilled chicken satay recipe with cilantro garnish

Cooks Tips

  • Soaking wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes before grilling helps prevent them from catching on fire.
  • You can easily adjust the flavor of the peanut sauce to suit your preference! Feel free to add more or less sugar, lime juice, chili pepper, and salt to taste.
  • The chicken thighs are fully cooked when there is no pink in the center. Additionally, the thickest part of the meat should register an internal temperature of 170F on an instant-read thermometer.
chicken satay graphic

Chicken Satay FAQs

What is Chicken Satay?

Chicken Satay is a Southeast Asian dish from Java, Indonesia that’s also popular in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. You can commonly find it as street food from local venders.

It’s believed that ancient Mesopotamia (which is modern day Iraq) was the origin of this type of skewered grilled meat. The Afghans brought the dish to India, and later the Mongols brought the dish to China. It’s thought that Indian and Arab traders and possibly Chinese immigrants brought this dish to Indonesia.

You can read more about the history of satay on Wikipedia and Singapore Infopedia.

bowl of chicken satay and rice

What Do You Eat with Chicken Satay?

This dish is commonly enjoyed with peanut sauce (bumbu kacang) as street food in Southeast Asia. It’s one of those things that you can buy from a street vendor or food cart and eat as you walk around.

Chicken Satay pairs well with a lot of things and you can easily make it into a full meal. Here are a few ideas:

homemade peanut sauce in stoneware dish

Must-Try Thai Recipes

chicken satay recipe on skewers with satay sauce

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Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Other Time2 hours
Yields: 6 servings
This easy Chicken Satay recipe features tender, juicy, and flavorful marinated grilled meat paired with a sweet and spicy peanut sauce. No worries if you don’t have a grill or grill pan; you can also cook the chicken in the oven or in an air fryer!

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Ingredients
 

Peanut Sauce:

  • 3/4 cup roasted salted peanuts
  • 1/2 cup canned unsweetened full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari sauce or coconut aminos
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1/2 spicy red chili pepper or more to taste (or up to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-grated galangal or ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Water if needed to thin it out (I needed about 2 tablespoons)

Chicken Satay:

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce or tamari sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime zest
  • 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • 1 spicy red chili pepper or up to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-grated galangal or ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces

Garnishes (Optional):

  • Cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges
  • Crushed peanuts

Instructions
 

Make the Peanut Sauce:

  • Add all ingredients for the peanut sauce (except the water) to a food processor. Pulse a few times, and then process until it forms a sauce, stopping to scrape down the sides as necessary. If need be, add a little water through the feed tube with the motor running to thin it out until it reaches your desired consistency.
  • Store covered in the fridge until using.

Make the Chicken Satay:

  • Add all ingredients for the chicken satay (except the chicken) to a large bowl and stir to combine. Stir in the chicken until well-coated.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours.

Cook the Chicken Satay:

  • Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before you want to cook it.
  • To Grill: Soak wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes, and then thread the chicken onto the skewers. Preheat a grill to medium-high; cook the chicken until it’s charred and fully cooked in the center, about 6 to 8 minutes per side.
  • To Roast: Soak wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes, and then thread the chicken onto the skewers. Preheat the oven to 400F; place the chicken skewers on a baking tray and roast until it’s fully cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes, flipping the skewers once halfway through. Once it’s cooked, you can broil the chicken briefly to brown it a little.
  • To Air Fry: No need for skewers in the air fryer! Preheat the air fryer to 400F. Brush a little avocado or vegetable oil in the air fryer basket, and arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer. Air fry until fully cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes, flipping the chicken once halfway through.

Notes

  • Nutritional Information: The nutrition information for this recipe was calculated without the optional garnishes.
  • Storage: Once the chicken is cooked, you can store the leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. Store the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • Peanut Sauce Yield: This recipe makes about 1 cup of peanut sauce. There are 6 servings, each serving is 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons of sauce.
  • Peanut Sauce: You can completely puree the sauce until smooth, but I like it with a little texture. For a much smoother sauce, you can use creamy peanut butter instead of peanuts.
  • How to Tell When Chicken Thighs Are Fully Cooked: There should be no pink in the center. Additionally, the thickest part of the meat should register an internal temperature of 170F on an instant-read thermometer.
  • Gluten Free Version: Tamari sauce or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.
  • Low Carb/Keto Version: Use almonds instead of peanuts. Use keto brown sugar instead of regular brown sugar. Serve with cauliflower rice.
  • Paleo Version: Use almonds instead of peanuts. Use coconut sugar instead of brown sugar. Serve with cauliflower rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 368kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 999mg | Potassium: 542mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 141IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutritional information is automatically calculated and should be used as an approximate.

Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: Indonesian, Malaysian, Thai
Keyword: Chicken Satay, Chicken Satay Recipe, Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce, Easy Chicken Satay

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chicken satay recipe pin
Faith, author of An Edible Mosaic.
About Faith

I’m the writer, recipe developer, photographer, and food stylist behind this blog. I love finding the human connection through something we all do every day: eat! Food is a common ground that we can all relate to, and our tables tell a story. It’s my goal to inspire you to get in the kitchen, try something new, and find a favorite you didn’t know you had.

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Recipe Rating




One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    Tender chicken, and hands down the BEST peanut sauce!!

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