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Peanut Butter Chicken Recipe

Peanut lovers will LOVE this peanut butter chicken recipe boosted with orange, ginger, garlic and chili flakes.

Use skewers (or not). Use a grill (or not). Serve hot (or not) You have options! All delish.

cooked chicken skewers on cutting board 3

I always use boneless chicken thighs as they are more forgiving, juicier and more flavorful. But chicken breasts are fine too, especially marinated in the flavorful sauce.

All the flavor in this recipe comes from the peanut sauce which is bold and delicious. The orange, ginger, garlic and cilantro work beautifully together. You can make it as spicy or mild as you like.

How to serve peanut butter chicken

I adapted this this easy peanut butter chicken recipe from Aida Mollenkamp at Food Network by altering the cooking and serving options. I’ve made it many times in many different ways. Here are three options.

  1. Skewers: This makes a lovely presentation, but it’s definitely more work cutting up the chicken and threading them on the skewers. For a big shortcut, buy prepared chicken skewers. More expensive, but very convenient.
  2. Whole boneless chicken pieces: Skip the skewers, marinate the chicken, then grill. Serve the peanut chicken as is over quinoa or rice with extra peanut sauce on the side. Or, for appetizers or a picnic, consider cutting the chicken into pieces and threading them onto small wooden skewers or toothpicks.
  3. Bone-in chicken pieces: Marinate and bake or grill.

When I am serving a crowd, I go with #2 to save time. Or the shortcut in #1 for a splurge. Leftovers are great in a salad by the way.

cooked chicken skewers on cutting board 2

What to serve with peanut chicken

This easy meal only takes about 30 minutes (plus 30-60 minutes of marinating time) and is great served hot, room temperature or cold.  

I like to serve it on a buffet table or for a casual dinner with friends.

For dinner, try serving it with Curried Rice with Raisins, Party Salad with Grilled Vegetables and Quinoa, Thai Mango Salad, Bread Salad with Charred Snap Peas or Roasted Bok Choy and Broccoli. Try a lighter option by serving it over cauliflower rice.

How to make this peanut butter chicken recipe

boneless thighs, soy, brown sugar, ginger, peanut butter, garlic, cilantro, peanuts, chili flakes, orange juice and zest
Ingredients: boneless chicken thighs, soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, peanut butter, garlic, cilantro, peanuts, red pepper flakes, orange juice and zest
boneless thighs cut in pieces on board
If using skewers, cut boneless chicken into pieces. Otherwise, leave them whole to marinate.
peanut sauce in cup and bag of chicken mariniating
Mix ingredients together to make a creamy peanut butter sauce. Place 2/3 of sauce in airtight container or bag with the chicken to marinate. Reserve remaining peanut sauce for basting and serving.
chicken skewers on grill raw
Thread chicken on skewers (with pieces of red peppers if you like). Spray well with oil to avoid sticking to the grill. Place skewers on heated grill. If using whole pieces, spray with oil and place on grill.
cooked chicken skewers on grill
Grill chicken for a few minutes per side until charred and cooked through. Baste with reserved peanut butter chicken sauce.
cooked chicken skewers on cutting board p3
Garnish with fresh cilantro (or parsley) and crushed peanuts.
cooked chicken skewers on plate with oranges

Tailor To Your Taste

  • Serving options (see above): In a nutshell, serve the peanut chicken on skewers or as boneless chicken pieces over rice or greens. I use long toothpick skewers for appetizers.
  • Flavor variations
    • Vary the heat with more or less chili flakes. The recipe is fairly but not crazy spicy.
    • If you or your guests are not cilantro fans, replace with parsley.
    • Leave out the orange zest for less intensity.
    • Feel free to add red pepper or onion pieces to the skewers.

Shortcuts

  • Peanut Sauce: Use a good quality peanut sauce instead of making the one in the recipe. You can add orange zest and ginger if you like.
  • Skip the skewers and grill whole boneless chicken pieces. Serve them as is or cut into pieces after grilling and thread onto skewers for appetizers if you like.
  • Buy prepared chicken skewers *** big time saver ***
  • Substitute fresh ginger and garlic with the ones that come in jars or frozen cubes.

Make Ahead 

  • This peanut chicken recipe is delicious at room temperature or cold, so you can definitely make it a couple hours ahead and serve it at room temperature, adding the garnishes right before serving.
  • Alternatively, refrigerate it and either bring to room temperature or serve it cold. You can warm it in the microwave for minute or two, covered, but don’t overcook it or it will become dry. This is where thighs are better than breasts. Less likely to dry out.

Love peanut sauce? Try one of these recipes

cooked chicken skewers on cutting board 3
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Peanut Chicken Recipe

Peanut lovers will love this peanut chicken recipe boosted with orange, ginger, garlic and chili flakes. Marinate, grill, top with cilantro and crunchy peanuts – delish!
Prep Time23 mins
Cook Time7 mins
Marinating Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 -5 mains
Author: Cheryl

Equipment

  • wooden or metal skewers (if using)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds (907g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or use chicken breasts if preferred)

Marinade/Sauce

  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/2 cup (118 ml, 4 oz) freshly squeezed orange juice 2 medium oranges
  • 1/2 cup (120g) peanut butter natural peanut butter is fine too
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup light soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger (or 2 frozen cubes)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced (or 4 frozen cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes

Garnish

  • 1/4 cup (22g) chopped cilantro leaves (or parsley if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup (125g) chopped roasted peanuts

Instructions

  • SOAK SKEWERS (if using). If using wooden skewers, soak them for 30 minutes. I prefer metal skewers because you don't have to soak them and I find wood ones burn too easily even if soaked.
  • MAKE MARINADE/SAUCE: In a medium bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, orange juice and zest, sugar, soy, garlic, ginger and chili flakes until smooth. Pour 2/3 of sauce into a plastic sealed bag. Reserve 1/3 for dipping sauce.
  • MARINATE THE CHICKEN: If making skewers, cut chicken into 1 inch wide strips (otherwise leave in whole pieces). Add chicken to marinade, seal bag, squish to coat chicken well and marinate in the fridge for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
  • HEAT GRILL: to medium-high heat (about 400-425F/204-218C). Note 1 (cooking options)
  • GRILL CHICKEN: Thread chicken on skewers (if using). If you are not doing skewers, you will just BBQ the boneless chicken in pieces. Oil the grates with a cloth to avoid sticking to the grill (or instead, I spray oil directly onto the chicken). Grill until cooked – a few minutes on each side. Don't overcook. An instant read thermometer will read 160F/71C. Temperature will rise with 5-10 minutes resting.
  • ASSEMBLE AND SERVE: A couple of options here:
    1) serve right on the skewers
    2) remove from large skewers and thread onto smaller wooden skewers (for an appetizer, thread 1-2 pieces per skewer);
    3) if you cooked the whole thigh/breast, cut into pieces and thread onto skewers;
    4) serve chicken in larger pieces.
    In all cases, place the chicken on a serving plate and sprinkle on cilantro and peanuts. Drizzle on the reserved peanut sauce or pass it separately. Chicken can be served hot or at room temperature.

Notes

  1. Cooking options (instead of grilling)
    • baked boneless chicken breasts: 425F/218C for 18-20 minutes
    • baked boneless chicken thighs: 425F/218C for 20-25 minutes
    • baked bone-in chicken: 400F/204C for 25-40 minutes. 
    • For all options, marinate and bake, adding extra sauce after baking. Bake all to an internal temperature of 160F/71C with an instant read thermometer. 
  2. Variations
    • Serving options: Serve the peanut chicken on skewers or as boneless chicken pieces. I use long toothpick skewers for appetizers with one or two bites of chicken.
    • Flavor variations and add-ins
      • Vary the heat with more or less red pepper flakes. The recipe is moderately spicy.
      • If you don’t like cilantro, replace with parsley.
      • Leave out the orange zest for less intensity.
      • If using skewers, you can add red pepper or onions pieces along with the chicken (as pictured). 
  3. Shortcuts
    • Peanut Sauce: Use a good quality peanut sauce instead of making the one in the recipe. You can add orange zest and ginger if you like.
    • Skip the skewers and grill whole boneless chicken pieces – chicken thighs (preferred) or chicken breasts. Serve them as is or cut into pieces after grilling and thread onto skewers for appetizers if you like.
    • Buy prepared chicken skewers *** big time saver ***
    • Substitute fresh ginger and garlic with the ones that come in jars or frozen cubes.
  4. Make Ahead:
    • This chicken is delicious at room temperature or cold, so you can definitely make it a couple hours ahead and serve it at room temperature, adding the garnishes right before serving.
    • Alternatively, refrigerate it and either bring to room temperature or serve it cold. You can warm it in the microwave for minute or two, covered, but don’t overcook it or it will become dry. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates using boneless skinless chicken thighs and including garnishes. Calories and fat will be lower with boneless chicken breasts.

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Peanut Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 405 Calories from Fat 207
% Daily Value*
Fat 23g35%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 10g
Cholesterol 144mg48%
Sodium 833mg36%
Potassium 691mg20%
Carbohydrates 12g4%
Fiber 3g13%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 39g78%
Vitamin A 224IU4%
Vitamin C 12mg15%
Calcium 47mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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This Peanut Butter Chicken Recipe, originally published in 2016, has been updated with new information and pictures.

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