With classic Thai flavors in a creamy coconut cream sauce, this Thai Coconut Chicken recipe is one our go-to’s for an easy and better-for-you dinner option.
Easy Thai Chicken Stir Fry Recipe
Never had Thai food or never made Thai food at home? It is actually very easy and pretty healthy. This recipe is considered to be a stir-fry recipe since it is all made in one pan (except the rice!) and stir fried.
Many folks also associate Thai food with spice, heat and curry. When preparing it at home, these flavors can be adjusting to your liking or even made sweet instead of spicy. You are in the driver’s seat.
Technically speaking, this isn’t a curry, but curry is actually a broad term that just means any sauce seasoned with dried spices. It is commonly associated with a yellow curry made in Indian, but they are also found in Thailand. Since we aren’t using dried spices, it is not a curry, although some might disagree.
Why You’ll Love This Thai Coconut Chicken
Tender chicken coated in a flavorful sauce- what’s not to love?
- No curry – If you aren’t a fan of traditional curry, this is a Thai recipe that doesn’t use the super flavorful curry spices. That makes it kid and picky eater friendly (as long as you don’t season it too spicy).
- Fresh flavors – With ingredients like fresh lime, vegetables and cilantro, you can beat the fresh flavors that this dish has.
- Quick and easy – Considering this dinner is ready in only 20 minutes, it’s a good idea to make when you’re short on time and need to get dinner on the table quickly.
- Easily Customizable– You can add so many more veggies to this dish or even swap out the protein.
Ingredients You’ll Need
These ingredients can all easily be found at your local grocery store.
- Chicken breasts – You want this to be boneless skinless chicken breasts. You could use chicken thighs if you’d like, just keep in mind the cooking time will be different.
- Corn starch or flour – You need something to help the seasonings stick to the chicken.
- Salt and pepper – With the bold flavors of thai food, you don’t need much to season this great recipe. Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper are what I use.
- Vegetable oil – This is what we use to sauté the chicken. It helps it to not stick to the pan when cooking.
- Vegetables – I use a combination of broccoli and yellow onion. But you could add in some others like green beans or baby corn to make this comforting meal.
- Garlic – I always like to use fresh garlic cloves rather than buying the pre-minced jarred version from the grocery store.
- Ginger – Fresh ginger is always preferred over the pre minced version. I like to either mince or grate mine for this recipe.
- Coconut milk – Full fat coconut milk is important to use here. The creaminess factor of this chicken might just be the best part.
- Hot chili sauce – If you have trouble finding it, it can easily be found at Asian grocery stores. Add more or less depending on taste.
- Sugar – To balance out the hot and savory flavors, we add a little sugar. Plain white sugar or brown sugar are great.
- Lime juice & lime zest – A squeeze of fresh lime juice really brightens up this tender chicken. You can use lemon juice in a pinch, but make sure it is fresh. Lime zest offers a pure lime flavor without the acidity.
- Cilantro – This is optional, but definitely adds some color and flavor to the dish. You could also use green onions for garnish.
- Lime coconut rice – You could also use jasmine rice, white rice, brown rice or even thin rice noodles for serving.
How to Make Thai Coconut Chicken
You are going to love how easy it is to make this recipe- dinner on the table in just 30 minutes. If you are making your own rice, start that first because it takes the longest.
- Trim chicken. Remove excess fat from chicken breasts and cut into strips.
- Coat chicken. In a shallow bowl, mix corn starch, salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in the mixture, covering the majority of each piece.
- Fry chicken. Heat oil in large frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add chicken and discard remaining flour mixture. Turn frequently until cooked evenly. Remove chicken onto a paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
- Cook Broccoli. Cook the florets until just tender, but they still hold their shape.
- Cook onions. In same pan, add onions, garlic and ginger. Cook until onions start to soften. If there is little to no oil left, add an additional teaspoon.
- Make sauce. Add coconut milk, broccoli florets, hot chili sauce, sugar, lime juice and cilantro.
- Add chicken. Return cooked chicken and broccoli to the mixture. Toss to coat. The corn starch chicken will thicken the sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and allow to sit before serving. The sauce will continue to thicken as the temperature decreases.
- Serve. Spoon rice into a serving bowl, top with chicken and sauce. Garnish and serve with fresh lime wedges to squeeze over top.
What to Serve with Thai Coconut Chicken
I serve my Thai Coconut Chicken over Lime Coconut Rice. The rice actually takes a few minutes longer than the chicken. Really, if you start it first, the entree will be ready just as your rice dings. It really doesn’t need more than rice unless you want to serve a side salad with miso dressing.
We like this easy thai chicken curry exactly as written, but here are a few options to make it your own.
- Peppers – I sometimes add bottled roasted red peppers or red bell peppers to give the dish more color. Just slice the peppers into strips and add in with chicken and broccoli to give them time to warm up.
- Spice – Adding red chili peppers or red pepper flakes give amazing flavor while also spicing things up a bit.
- Rice – I like serving me tasty thai chicken curry with lime coconut rice, but you could also use jasmine rice, white rice, brown rice, cauliflower rice or even thin rice noodles for serving.
- Other Veggies– Cauliflower, carrots, zucchini and any other hearty vegetables is welcome in this dish.
- Protein Swap- Chicken can be substituted with beef, pork, seafood like shrimp or scallops or even tofu.
Storage and Freezing
Storage: You can store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will last for up to five days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop in a heavy bottom saucepan.
Freezing: You can also freeze this thai coconut chicken in a freezer safe container. It will stay for up to three months. I would not freeze it with the rice, either freeze separately or make a new batch of rice. Thaw it in the fridge overnight and reheat in the microwave or stovetop just like leftovers.
Commonly Asked Questions
The main difference between Thai and Indian curry lies in their flavor profiles and ingredients. Thai curries, such as red, green, and yellow curries, tend to be lighter and milder, emphasizing the use of fresh herbs like lemongrass, galangal, and Thai basil.
Indian curries, on the other hand, are bolder and more robust, featuring a diverse range of spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, and garam masala, resulting in a deeper and more complex taste. Additionally, Indian curries often incorporate ingredients like yogurt or cream, while Thai curries typically include coconut milk for a creamier texture.
You sure can! All you have to do is omit the chili garlic sauce. It will still have flavor from the onion and garlic, but will not be spicy.
Sure can. Although I don’t like it cold, feel free to nosh on the leftovers straight from the container.
More easy Asian Recipes
Thai Coconut Chicken Recipe
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1/2 cup corn starch
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil , divided
- 1 medium yellow onion , cut into eighths
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger , minced or grated
- 14 ounces light coconut milk
- 2 cups fresh broccoli florets
- 2-3 tablespoons chili garlic sauce , or Sriracha
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime zest
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro , leaves only, optional, more for garnish
- 1 Fresh lime wedges
- Lime Coconut Rice
- Trim the chicken breasts and cut into uniform 1-inch cubes.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, salt and pepper. Dredge the chicken pieces in the mixture to coat.
- Over medium-high heat, heat the oil in large skillet. When hot, add chicken, tapping off excess cornstarch. Do not crowd the pan. Work in batches, if needed. Brown the chicken, approximately 5 minutes. Remove the chicken to a paper towel lined plate. Set aside. Repeat with the next batch if necessary.
- Add 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil and then add the broccoli florets, sauteing until they just start to soften and the ends get brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
- In same skillet (without cleaning it out or turning down heat), add the onions, garlic and ginger. If the pan is totally dry, add another 1-2 teaspoons of cooking oil. Saute for 2 minutes or until onions start to soften.
- Stir in the coconut milk, chili garlic sauce, sugar, lime juice and lime zest and cilantro, cooking for another 3 minutes.
- Return the cooked chicken and broccoli to the coconut sauce, tossing to coat. Cook over medium heat for an additional 2 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for 2-3 minutes before serving. The sauce will continue to thicken as the temperature decreases.
- Spoon rice into a serving bowl, top with the chicken, broccoli and sauce. Garnish with fresh cilantro, lime wedges and a sprinkle of flaky sea salt.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how you liked it in the comments or star ratings.
- I sometimes add bottled roasted red peppers to give the dish more color. Just slice the peppers into strips and add in with chicken and broccoli to give them time to warm up.