Chicken Satay is a classic easy appetizer to serve with peanut dipping sauce. I love making it a main dish by serving this up with coconut rice and tossing the sauce with some veggies! Grill these chicken skewers and serve them up with my slightly sweet and slightly spicy peanut dipping sauce.

chicken satay on plate over coconut rice with peanut sauce

Who doesn’t get down with chicken on a stick?

Anything on a stick is usually delicious, but I have got to say, hubby RAVED about my simple chicken satay and honestly, they were truly rave-worthy!

And honestly, how could you not win with tender chicken breasts or thighs marinated with shallots, cilantro, garlic, ginger, and a whole bunch of seasonings. You can let this hang out for as little as 20 minutes or let it go overnight for optimum flavor. Then just thread the chicken onto wood or metal skewers and grill these chicken satay skewers outdoors or on a grill pan until the chicken is done. 

Lately, I’ve been making this a complete meal by making a batch of my coconut rice and popping these skewers right on top. I’ll use the peanut sauce to dip the chicken satay skewers in, but I’ll also use the peanut sauce to toss some shredded cabbage and fresh cilantro in. You could even add some thinly sliced red onions to give it more flavor.  Hit it with a little more lime and you’ve got a peanut sauce slaw that’s perfect to serve with this. 

You could always opt for a cucumber salad if you aren’t a fan of cabbage slaw. I can’t imagine that would be anything short of delicious either. And hey, while we’re at it, have you tried my Thai mango salad? I’m planning on serving these chicken satay skewers with that the next time I make it!

satay sauce in bowl with chicken skewers

Ingredients for Thai Chicken Satay:

  • Chicken: Feel free to use boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts for this recipe. You’ll want to cut the chicken into rectangular pieces that you can thread twice onto a skewer.
  • Aromatics: You’ll need shallots, garlic, and ginger. I like to use a shallot but you could also use a 1/4 of a red onion if that’s what you have on hand. You won’t really be able to taste the difference. Use a handful of garlic cloves and a small knob of ginger. Many stores also sell ginger paste in a tube, and that would make a decent substitute for this recipe. You’ll also need lemongrass. Most Asian grocery stores sell lemongrass in many forms. I like to use the paste version that comes in a tube. But you could certainly mince up some fresh lemongrass for this recipe as well.
  • Cilantro: We’ll add this to the chicken satay marinade. You’ll also want some extra on hand for garnish.
  • Spices: You’ll need cumin powder, turmeric, and coriander. These spices add a lot of the same flavors you’d find in a curry powder (minus the actual curry leaf, of course.) All this to say, you could use these three ingredients in the marinade for a teaspoon of curry powder if you’d like.
  • Sauces: You’ll need some oil, fish sauce, and low-sodium soy sauce for this recipe. The good thing about this marinade recipe it that you just toss it all into a blender or food processor and give it a whirl!
  • Brown Sugar: We’ll use this in the marinade to help balance the savory and salty elements we’re using.
marinated chicken in zippable bag

How to Make Chicken Satay:

  1.  Make the marinade. Add the shallots, cilantro, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce, oil, brown sugar, soy sauce, cumin, turmeric, and coriander to a blender and blend. You want the shallots, garlic and ginger to bread down into a sauce-like consistency. Add the chicken pieces to a bowl and pour the sauce over the chicken. Let the chicken marinate for at least 20 minutes. 3 hours if what I like to aim for but you could also let this go for up to 8 hours. 
  2. Make the dipping sauce. Add creamy peanut butter, minced garlic, ginger paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice sesame oil and a squeeze of sambal or sriracha to a bowl and whisk to combine. If the sauce seems really thick, add in 1 tablespoon of hot water at a time until it thins out to your liking.
  3.  Grill them up. When you’re ready to grill these skewers, heat an indoor grill pan or outdoor grill over medium high heat. Clean the grill grates and brush with oil to prevent the chicken pieces from sticking. Thread the chicken pieces onto skewers. I usually zigzag the pieces so that they are secure. When the grill has preheated cook them for 4-7 minutes, flipping them around the halfway mark., This chicken is done when it’s slightly firm to the touch, You’re looking for 165ºF on a food thermometer. Remove the chicken pieces and serve them while they’re warm with the prepared dipping sauce!

TIP: If you’re grilling these on an outdoor grill and using wooden skewers, let the skewers soak in water for at least an hour (I usually soak them for the same amount of time I’m marinating the chicken) this prevents from them from burning on the grill!

chicken skewers on sheet pan

FAQs about this recipe

Are chicken satay skewers gluten-free?

My Chicken Satay recipe can be made gluten-free with one simple swap. You would want to use gluten-free tamari in place of the soy sauce. 

Where did chicken satay skewers originate?

Chicken Satay is actually the national dish of Indonesia. Though they are commonly served in many countries in Southeast Asia, they are actually Indonesian or Balinese. But because many Asian restaurants serve these on their menu and give them their own spin, they have become a part of many Southeast Asian cuisines, such as Thailand and Malaysia. 

What do you serve with chicken satay?

When I make these as an appetizer, I usually serve them with peanut butter satay sauce. When I’m making these for dinner, I’ll usually cook some jasmine rice with coconut milk and serve them with a salad of sorts.

If you like this recipe, you might also like

chicken satay over rice with peanut lime slaw

Original recipe shared May 2016, updated with new images and post May 2023.

Yield: 12-14 skewers

Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce

Chicken Satay is a classic easy appetizer to serve with peanut dipping sauce. I love making it a main dish by serving this up with coconut rice and tossing the sauce with some veggies! Grill these chicken skewers and serve them up with my slightly sweet and slightly spicy peanut dipping sauce.

Chicken Satay with Peanut Dipping Sauce


Chicken Satay:

  • 1 ½ - 2lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into long rectangles
  • ⅓ cup loosely packed cilantro
  • ½ shallot (or ¼ red onion)
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 1-inch knob peeled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons EACH: lemongrass paste AND fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • ¼ cup EACH brown sugar AND lo-so soy sauce (or GF tamari)
  • ½ teaspoon EACH: cumin powder AND turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

Peanut Dipping Sauce:

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste
  • 2 tablespoons EACH: lo-so soy sauce AND brown sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha or sambal oelek
  • coconut rice, for serving (optional)


  1. CHICKEN MARINADE: In a blender, combine all the ingredients except the chicken. Pulse the blender until the shallot, cilantro, and garlic break down into a sauce-like consistency. Add the chicken pieces into a gallon-sized zip-top bag and pour the prepared marinade over the chicken. Zip bag and squish to coat the chicken evenly. Place the zip-top bag on a plate and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes but ideally 3-8 hours.
  2. PEANUT DIPPING SAUCE: Add all the ingredients for the peanut dipping sauce in a medium bowl and use a whisk to combine. If your peanut sauce is thick, you can add 1 tablespoon of hot water at a time to help thin it to desired consistency. Taste and adjust with more soy, brown sugar, or lime juice as desired.
  3. SKEWER: Preheat the grill on medium-high heat for 5-10 minutes, scrub, and oil the grates. Meanwhile, remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and place the chicken (like an accordion) on skewers. Pierce the chicken with the skewer and zig-zag the chicken through the skewers making sure to secure both ends on the stick.
  4. COOK: Place the chicken on the hot grill, cover, and cook for 4-7 minutes, flipping halfway through. The chicken is cooked through when it is slightly firm to the touch or registers 165ºF on a thermometer. Remove, the chicken and serve immediately with the peanut dipping sauce as an appetizer or over coconut rice for a full meal.


  • Chicken: I sliced my chicken lengthwise into thin rectangles that were 1 inch in width.
  • Indoor option: If you don't have an outdoor grill, this can be made in a grill pan, an electric grill, or a cast iron skillet indoors as well. Be sure to oil the pan and you may need to cook the chicken for longer than what's written in the original recipe. Chicken is done when it is firm to the touch.
  • Wooden skewers: If you’re grilling these outdoors and using wooden skewers, let the skewers soak in water for 1-8 hours in advance. The sticks don’t burn and disintegrate as quickly if they are wet.

Have you made this recipe?

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