My favorite chicken satay recipe with chicken marinated for maximum flavor, grilled on skewers, then slathered with a creamy, spicy Thai-style peanut sauce. So good!
If you're looking for a fun and spicy recipe for the game day table this year, or maybe an interesting appetizer for the holidays, consider making chicken satay. It's a spicy food lover's dream recipe.
It's pretty easy to make and you can really play with the spice levels to adjust it to your own preference. I make these frequently for parties and gatherings, and they always disappear pretty quickly. Everyone loves food on a stick!
Chicken satay can also be the STAR of your meal. Either serve up a few of them to fill up your plate, or use extra long skewers like I did and serve individually. I love them for a quick and easy dinner.
There are two key components to this recipe - the Marinade and the Thai Peanut Sauce.
The marinade uses a lot of ingredients, though there is very little work. Just a bit of whisking and chopping. And waiting! It really is a wonderful flavor builder, though, so don't skip this important step.
The Thai peanut sauce is a very easy version that uses peanut butter as its base, so you can whip it together pretty quickly and easily. It's also HUGE on flavor, so you may want to make an extra large batch for people. Or for yourself! Check out my Easy Thai Peanut Sauce Recipe here, though it is listed below as well.
Let's talk about how to make chicken satay, shall we?
Chicken Satay Ingredients
- FOR THE CHICKEN + MARINADE
- Chicken. Use chicken breasts or chicken thighs, skinless and boneless.
- Thai Peppers. Or use spicy red peppers available to you. Optional, for some nice heat and flavor.
- Fish Sauce.
- Brown Sugar.
- Soy Sauce.
- Sriracha. Try my home homemade sriracha.
- Spicy Chili Flakes.
- Bamboo skewers soaked in water for at least 20 minutes
- FOR THE EASY THAI PEANUT SAUCE
- Peanut Butter.
- Soy Sauce
- Rice Wine Vinegar.
- Chili-Garlic Sauce.
- Sesame Oil.
- Lime Juice.
- Seasonings. Use cayenne (or paprika for a milder heat), garlic powder (or fresh grated garlic), ginger powder (or fresh grated ginger). Curry powder is a nice addition for extra flavor.
How to Make Chicken Satay - the Recipe Method
FOR THE CHICKEN: Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl or a baggie. Mix until the chicken is evenly coated with the flavors. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
Thread the chicken pieces onto wooden skewers when you’re ready to cook.
Next, heat a grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates. Cook the chicken skewers 4-5 minutes on each side, until the chicken is cooked through. It should measure 165 degrees F. internally.
I like to use my Thermapen meat thermometer from ThermoWorks (I’m an affiliate) to get the perfect temperature every time. Works great!
Garnish with fresh cilantro and spicy chili flakes. Serve with the spicy Thai peanut sauce.
FOR THE THAI PEANUT SAUCE: Whisk all of the ingredients together, except for the water, in a small bowl until well combined and the sauce is nice and smooth.
Add water a teaspoon at a time until you achieve your desired consistency.
BOOM! That's it, my friends! There are a lot of ingredients here, but it is still quite an easy recipe. Most of the work is getting the marinated chicken pieces onto the little skewers, but even that isn't a big deal.
I hope you enjoy it!
Recipe Tips & Notes
- About the Peanut Sauce. This Thai peanut sauce is an easy version and will last a week in the refrigerator or longer. It is not ideal for freezing, and best use right away. Use it as a dipping sauce, drizzling sauce, or you can heat it in a pan with cooked vegetables and/or chicken for a meal.
- Chicken Marinating Time. You’ll get more flavor with a longer marinade. 12 hours or overnight is best. I like to start the marinade in the morning so the chicken is ready by dinnertime.
- Additional Flavors. There are a number of different ingredients you can use to make this recipe your own, particularly for the spicy peanut sauce. Try a tablespoon of red curry paste or a bit of sriracha, or even chili-garlic sauce. Try it with gochujang as well. Coconut milk is a nice addition for the marinade.
- Heat Factor. This recipe is a touch spicy, but you can dial that back by going easy on the sriracha and skipping the addition of spicy chili flakes or powders. However, if you're looking the really up that heat, you have several options - add in more sriracha, add in another hot sauce, sprinkle in spicy chili flakes or use your favorite hot and spicy chili powder. You can also chop or grind up some spicy fresh peppers for the marinade. Ghost pepper chicken satay, anyone? That'll really spice things up!
Here are a few different ways you can serve up this Thai chicken satay recipe:
- Game day food table - set them up alongside extra spicy Thai peanut sauce.
- Holiday appetizers - just make smaller skewers so they can be served as hand held apps.
- Summer grilling dinner - make them the star of the meal.
Alternative Cooking Methods
This recipe calls for grilling the chicken satay skewers on the grill, but you can also cook them in a pan or hot skillet, or in the oven. Here are instructions for cook them:
- SKILLET. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through. The internal temperature should read 165 degrees F. You may need to work in batches.
- OVEN. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the skewers for 15 minutes to 20 minutes on lightly oiled baking sheets, or until the chicken is cooked through. The internal temperature should read 165 degrees F.
Try Some of My Other Popular Spicy Chicken Recipes
- Honey-Sriracha Chicken
- Mango-Habanero BBQ Chicken
- Chicken Teriyaki
- Chicken Korma
- Dragon Chicken
- Korean Fried Chicken
- Butter Chicken
- Coconut Chicken Curry
- Sweet and Spicy Cashew Chicken
- Jamaican Jerk Chicken
- See My Spicy Chicken Recipes
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Chicken Satay Recipe with Peanut Sauce
FOR THE CHICKEN
- 1-1/2 pounds chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3-4 Thai peppers chopped (or use spicy red peppers available to you)
- 1 shallot chopped
- 2 stalks lemongrass trimmed and chopped (or use 1 teaspoon lemongrass paste)
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger chopped
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sriracha
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro + more for garnish
- Spicy chili flakes as desired
- Bamboo skewers soaked in water for at least 20 minutes
FOR THE EASY THAI PEANUT SAUCE
- ¼ cup creamy peanut butter use ½ cup for more peanut flavor
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chili-garlic sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon cayenne powder or use paprika for a milder heat
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder or use 1 clove garlic, finely minced or grated
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder or use 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon water or more as needed for thinning
FOR THE CHICKEN
- Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl or a baggie. Mix until the chicken is evenly coated with the flavors. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.
- Pierce the chicken pieces onto skewers when you’re ready to cook.
- Next, heat a grill to medium heat and lightly oil the grates. Grill the chicken skewers 4-5 minutes per side, until the chicken is cooked through. It should measure 165 degrees F. internally.
- Garnish with fresh cilantro and spicy chili flakes. Serve with the spicy Thai peanut sauce.
FOR THE THAI PEANUT SAUCE
- Whisk all of the ingredients together, except for the water, in a small bowl until well combined and the sauce is nice and smooth.
- Add water a teaspoon at a time until you achieve your desired consistency.
- SKILLET. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet or pan over medium high heat. Cook for 4-5 minutes per side, or until the chicken is cooked through. The internal temperature should read 165 degrees F. You may need to work in batches.
- OVEN. Heat your oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the skewers for 15-20 minutes on lightly oiled baking sheets, or until the chicken is cooked through. The internal temperature should read 165 degrees F.
NOTE: This post was updated on 3/22/22 to include new information. It was originally published on 12/6/19.