When you want everyone to agree on what to eat, make Chicken Satay. Grilled chicken skewers flavored with soy, lime, and ginger and served with a peanut dipping sauce, they taste succulent, a little spicy, and a little sweet. Satay is easy to make, scrumptious to eat, and there’s something inexplicably fun about eating food on a stick!
Why You’ll Love This Satay Chicken
- Appetizer or Main Event. While chicken satay is traditionally served as an appetizer (you’ve likely seen it on Asian restaurant menus), we most often enjoy it as the main event. The leftovers are also great on salads (try Ramen Salad) or turned into Asian Chicken Wraps.
- It’s Fun. I’m not sure why, but there’s something magical about dunking a skewer of tender, grilled meat into a rich peanut dipping sauce. (Equally magical is the Thai Peanut Stir Fry That Got Me Married in my cookbook.)
- That Sauce ‘Tho. The best part of chicken satay might just be the Thai peanut dipping sauce. It’s creamy, richly spiced with ginger and garlic, and has a lightly spicy, sweet note that is nothing short of habit-forming.
Between the quick and easy prep, leftover potential, and did I mention PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE, you’ll fall in love with this easy satay recipe!
5 Star Review
“Easily the best chicken satay I’ve ever cooked or eaten.”— Ian —
About Chicken Satay
Satay is dish that originated in Indonesia but is popular across Southeast Asia in places such as Thailand and Malaysia.
Although there are many varieties of satay, all of them begin with tasty meat that’s marinaded in a variety of herbs and aromatics (chicken, pork, and beef can all be used for satay), then grilled over an open flame for a lightly crisp exterior, smoky taste, and juicy interior.
Satay is also served with dipping sauce to complement the meat.
In Indonesian chicken satay recipes and Thai chicken skewers, the sauce is typically made with peanut butter, sugar (I use honey), and spices.
It’s sweet, spicy, nutty, and absolutely delicious.
How to Make Chicken Satay
This chicken satay skewers recipe begins with an easy marinade.
It ends with a rich and tangy-sweet peanut dipping sauce that you’ll want to start enjoying on EVERYTHING (we love it with Air Fryer Tofu too!).
You can serve satay hot off the grill, or enjoy it at room temperature.
Satay sauce can be served hot or cold, though I find it’s best either warm or at room temperature.
- Marinade. A salty-sweet blend of soy sauce, fish sauce, honey, Sriracha, lime juice, ginger, and garlic. It will flavor every bite of the chicken and does double duty to tenderize the meat.
- Chicken Breast. Between the marinade and the grill, the chicken becomes exceptionally tasty and tender. Chicken breasts are also easy to thread onto skewers, so much better than chicken thighs.
The Best Peanut Dipping Sauce
The Thai peanut dipping sauce might just be the best part of chicken satay!
- Peanut Butter. A delicious peanut sauce requires creamy, rich peanut butter for flavor and texture.
- Honey. Naturally sweetens our peanut sauce just enough to keep you coming back for more (like in my favorite Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken recipe); honey also tastes outstanding paired with the peanut butter in savory dishes like this one.
- Soy Sauce + Fish Sauce. Salty, umami flavor bombs.
- Sriracha. For a touch of heat. If you want spicy chicken satay skewers, you can add more for an extra kick.
- Ginger + Garlic. Two must-have ingredients that provide complex flavors.
- Lime Juice + Cilantro. Acidity and freshness. Could use shallot or red onion as well.
- Marinate the chicken, and soak the skewers.
- Prepare the peanut dipping sauce.
- Thread the skewers.
- Grill the satay skewers over medium-high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Serve with toppings and peanut dipping sauce. ENJOY!
How to Make Baked Chicken Satay
Here are some tips for making chicken satay skewers without a grill.
Personally, I prefer the char the grill (or a grill pan on the stovetop) adds, but if you don’t have access, the oven will still produce good results.
- Marinate the chicken as directed, soak the skewers, and prepare the peanut sauce.
- When you’re ready to cook the chicken, lay the threaded chicken skewers on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Broil the skewers for 5 to 6 minutes, until the chicken is golden on the outside and cooked through.
- To Store. Leftover skewers can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Store the peanut sauce in a separate airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Remove the chicken from the skewers and place it on a baking sheet. Let come to room temperature, then reheat it in the oven at 350 degrees F. As soon as the satay is warm, serve it immediately; watch it carefully so that it doesn’t dry out. Reheat the sauce gently on the stove or in the microwave, stirring every few minutes.
- To Freeze. Freeze chicken and peanut sauce separately in airtight, freezer-safe storage containers for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
What to Serve with Chicken Satay
- Salads. Add crunchy freshness with Asian Cabbage Salad or Asian Cucumber Salad.
- More Thai Food. Make it a Thai-inspired feast with Shrimp Pad Thai, Green Curry, or Panang Curry.
- Grilled Vegetables. Maximize your grill space with a side of Grilled Asparagus or Grilled Broccoli.
- Rice. For a simple, super satisfying meal, enjoy your satay with coconut rice or Jasmine rice. See How to Cook Brown Rice and How to Make White Rice.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Grill Skewers. A stainless steel set that’s easy to use anytime a craving strikes. No need to soak them first.
- Grill Tongs. Easily grip and flip anything on the grill.
- Grill Pan. For those without an outdoor grill, this indoor grill pan works on any stove and will yield excellent results.
Chicken satay with peanut sauce, you are just so dippin’ good.
Frequently Asked Questions
I do not find this chicken satay spicy, however, we all definitely have different degrees of spiciness. If you or your family are sensitive to spicy foods, you can leave out or reduce the sriracha to suit your tastes.
I have not tried making this recipe with another protein, but I think beef or pork would both be tasty. If you decide to give it a go, I’d love to hear how it goes. I suggest using flank steak cut across the grain into 1/2-inch strips and diced pork tenderloin.
If you don’t own a grill, don’t despair. I’ve included directions for baking chicken satay above. You can also enjoy this chicken satay recipe by using an indoor grill plate on your stovetop or even a panini press. Just note that the cook times may need to be adjusted slightly so keep an eye on the chicken as it cooks.
In this marinade I’ve used, low-sodium soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, honey, sriracha sauce, ground ginger and garlic.
Sometimes you might find the flavors of turmeric, lemongrass, curry powder, a sweetener like brown sugar, and ground coriander.
For the Chicken:
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch strips
- 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce or tamari for gluten free
- 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce or additional 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice from 2 small, juicy limes
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
- 2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 cloves garlic minced
For the Peanut Sauce:
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 5 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce or tamari for gluten free
- 2 teaspoons fish sauce or additional 2 teaspoons soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice from about 1 small lime
- Chopped fresh cilantro chopped unsalted roasted peanuts, and lime wedges, for serving
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients, except for the chicken: soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, honey, Sriracha, ginger, and garlic. Add the chicken, toss to coat, then cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 2 hours or overnight. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling. If using wooden skewers, soak the skewers in water for 30 minutes prior to grilling.
- Meanwhile, prepare the peanut sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine the chicken broth, peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, Sriracha, ginger, and garlic. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then let cook, stirring often, until the sauce is smooth and has thickened, about 6 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and set aside.
- When ready to cook, preheat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan to medium-high. Then thread the chicken onto skewers.
- Grill chicken until cooked through, about 2-3 minutes per side. Let rest for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts and cilantro, then serve warm with peanut sauce and lime wedges.
- TO STORE: Leftover skewers can be stored in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Store the peanut sauce in a separate airtight storage container for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Remove the chicken from the skewers and place it on a baking sheet. Let come to room temperature, then reheat it in the oven at 350 degrees F. As soon as the satay is warm, serve it immediately; watch it carefully so that it doesn’t dry out. Reheat the sauce gently on the stove or in the microwave, stirring every few minutes.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze chicken and peanut sauce separately in airtight, freezer-safe storage containers for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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