Hi, I’m Emily, and I like easy, yummy dinners.Right now, it’s hot-as-blazes, so I don’t feel much like heating up the house with a long roasting time or standing at the stove stirring something fussy for an hour. (Give me a month or two, and I’ll be ALL about long, slow, cozy meals when the weather cools down!)But so long as the heat persists, quick, easy, DELICIOUS meals are the name of the game over here. This Grilled Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce is just that kind of meal!Simply marinated shrimp skewers are grilled (it only takes a few minutes per side!), then served with a quick and easy creamy peanut sauce that you might find yourself slurping by the spoonful.
Add a little cucumber salad (recipe later this week!) and some rice or cauliflower rice on the side, and you’ve got an easy, delicious dinner that didn’t take a lot of heat or fuss. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!
HOW TO MAKE CHICKEN SATAY
Chicken satay is a marinated or seasoned grilled chicken skewer, usually served with a sauce. Marinades and seasoning blends vary, but I really love this combination. My chicken satay marinade is SUPER flavorful and uses pretty simple ingredients. Here’s what’s in mine:
CHICKEN BREAST OR CHICKEN TENDERS. Great for chicken satay and easy to dice. (You can totally swap in chicken thighs, if you prefer.)
COCONUT MILK. This creamy base makes for tender, delicious chicken. I use the full-fat canned coconut milk. (Most of it will be discarded after marinating, so it won’t add a significant caloric load to the recipe.)
LIME JUICE, TAMARI, PURE MAPLE SYRUP. We balance out the flavors here with some tartness/acidity (lime juice) a bit of salty & umami (tamari) and sweetness (a tiny bit of pure maple syrup). The combination is terrific with coconut milk + the other seasonings.
GARLIC & GINGER. I love the frozen, pre-minced kind. There aren’t any additives, and you just pop out a cube when you need one. (Look for it in the freezer section! It’ll change your life!)
MILD YELLOW CURRY POWDER. Some recipes use curry powder, some use curry paste, some use a combination. In mine, I use mild yellow curry powder. We’re using 1 tsp. for the whole marinade, so the flavor will definitely be present but not overpowering. If you’d like a stronger curry flavor, you can definitely increase the amount.
TIPS & TRICKS FOR THE BEST CHICKEN SATAY WITH PEANUT SAUCE
USING A GRILL PAN. A grill pan is a GREAT tool for the kitchen. Mine is made from cast iron, so it retains and distributes heat beautifully. It can get those lovely sear marks and I can keep an eye on it inside, which means I don’t need to fuss about grilling outside or what the weather is. I love it! (PS – Here’s a great tutorial for maintaining cast iron if you need it!)
SOAK YOUR SKEWERS. If you’re using wooden skewers, you’ll want to soak them in water which will keep them from charring/burning. I recommend at least 30 minutes, up to several hours if you can. I like the 6″ size for chicken satay.
TIPS FOR COOKING EVENLY. To get the most evenly cooked chicken satay:
- WATCH THE SIZE. Do try to keep your chicken dice pretty consistent with about 1″ cubes. The more evenly sized it is, the more evenly it’ll cook.
- CONSIDER A PRESS. With my grill pan, I also like using this little grill press on top, since I can add pressure to the bottom end of the chicken skewer, since gravity sometimes pulls the top end down a bit further. (If you don’t have one, you can use a pair of metal tongs to press the bottom chicken down a bit for the heat.)
TRICK FOR THE BEST PEANUT SAUCE. I highly recommend natural peanut butter, with just peanuts (or just peanuts and salt). The texture will be thinner and more runny, which is perfect for peanut sauce.
FAQ FOR GRILLED CHICKEN SATAY WITH PEANUT SAUCE
WHAT DO YOU SERVE WITH CHICKEN SATAY? Along with the peanut sauce for dipping, our favorite side dishes are Thai Cucumber Salad (coming this week!) and rice. You could also swap cauliflower rice for a low-carb option.
ARE THERE PALEO & WHOLE30 OPTIONS? YES! This grilled chicken satay recipe is paleo & Whole30 friendly. For paleo, you’ll simply swap cashews/cashew butter for the peanuts/peanut butter and coconut aminos in place of the gluten free tamari. For Whole30, you’ll also omit the maple syrup.
CAN I USE A DIFFERENT NUT FOR THE SAUCE? If you don’t tolerate peanuts, I recommend cashew butter. I haven’t tried this with sunflower seed butter.
IS THIS SPICY? No, my chicken satay is not spicy. I use a mild yellow curry powder that doesn’t carry heat with it. If you *want* it spicy, you can add some sriracha, a pinch of red pepper flakes, or use a spicier curry powder.
CAN I USE CHICKEN THIGHS INSTEAD? Sure! My family prefers chicken tenders or chicken breast, but boneless, skinless chicken thighs absolutely work. Just follow the same guidelines for dicing.
TRY THESE OTHER RECIPES >>
Grilled Chicken Satay with Creamy Peanut Sauce
Marinated chicken skewers grilled and served with creamy peanut sauce. This delicious dinner is a family favorite!
- For the Grilled Chicken Satay:
- 10–12 (6″) wooden skewers
- 1 lb. chicken tenders or chicken breast, cut into 1” cubes
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1 Tbsp. lime juice
- 1 Tbsp. gluten free tamari (can sub coconut aminos or soy sauce)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tsp finely minced fresh ginger
- 1 tsp. pure maple syrup
- 1 tsp. yellow curry powder
- To garnish: 1-2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro, crushed peanuts
- For the Peanut Sauce*
- 1/4 cup natural creamy peanut butter (just peanuts or peanuts & salt)
- 3–4 Tbsp. coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. gluten free tamari (can sub. coconut aminos or soy sauce)
- 1 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
For the Grilled Chicken Satay:
NOTE: If you’re using wooden skewers, soak them at least 30 minutes in water if possible, which will help keep them from charring.
If you haven’t already, cut your chicken into 1″ cubes. Place in a bowl or container with high sides.
In a small bowl, make your marinade. Whisk together coconut milk, lime juice, tamari, syrup, and curry powder until smooth and well combined.
Pour the marinade over the diced chicken cubes. Stir with a fork to coat.
Marinate in the refrigerator at least 10 minutes, up to 8 hours.
When you’re ready to cook the chicken, poke your soaked skewers through 4-5 pieces of chicken per skewer, leaving a little room at the end of the skewer for you to use as a handle while cooking.
Place chicken skewers on a clean plate and repeat until all chicken is on skewers. Discard the remaining marinade.
Preheat your grill or grill pan (I choose medium heat for a grill pan). Add skewers (working in batches if needed, so as not to overcrowd). Cook 2-3 minutes per side, or until the chicken is opaque and cooked completely through.
Place cooked chicken on a clean plate and repeat, as needed, until all the chicken is cooked. Garnish with chopped cilantro and crushed peanuts, if desired. Serve with peanut sauce.
For the Peanut Sauce:
(I like to make my peanut sauce while the chicken is marinating, but you can make it 1-2 days ahead of time, if needed. It’ll keep for a week in the refrigerator.)
In a small bowl or a jar, combine peanut butter, coconut milk, tamari, and pure maple syrup.
Whisk until completely smooth. (If you’re having trouble, you can also use an immersion blender or gently warm up the mixture in a saucepan over low heat while you stir)
*For a paleo version, you can make this with cashew butter instead of peanut butter. Use coconut aminos in place of the tamari. For a Whole30 version, make these same adjustments and omit the pure maple syrup.