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5 from 6 votes

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 (change as needed): 6 -5 mains
Author: Cheryl

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.
Calories: 405kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 833mg | Potassium: 691mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 224IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg