Satay Chicken


5 from 12 votes
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Homemade satay chicken features marinated and grilled chicken skewers with the most addictive peanut sauce. It’s easy, authentic, and always a crowd-pleaser.

satay chicken.

Making homemade chicken satay is always a fabulous option whenever I’m craving Thai or Malaysian food.

Coming from a half-Malaysian background, satay was a staple in my household, but today’s recipe is actually more Thai-inspired. During my travels, I spent several months in Thailand and during that time attended an intensive Thai cooking school for over two weeks. Thai satay chicken is one of our signature recipes, and I’m so excited to share this authentic recipe with you!

Table of Contents
  1. What is satay chicken?
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make chicken satay
  4. Can I make this in the oven?
  5. Tips to make the best recipe
  6. Storage instructions
  7. Serving suggestions
  8. Frequently asked questions
  9. Chicken Satay Recipe (Recipe Card)

What is satay chicken?

Satay is the name of a dish that consists of pieces of meat (chicken, pork, or beef) that are skewered, grilled, and served with a richly spiced peanut sauce. 

In terms of the cooking process, the meat is marinated, skewered, then grilled over high heat. The end result is finger-licking charred chicken that is tender and juicy inside. Paired with a seriously addictive peanut sauce, it’s no wonder it’s one of the world’s most popular dishes! 

I’ve been making it at least once a week since returning from my travels, and I do not doubt that you’ll love it too, because:

  • Mouthwatering flavors and textures. The long marinating time makes the chicken juicy and tender and infuses it with a lot of flavor. 
  • Quick to make. Although a little prep work is needed to marinate the chicken, it’s hands-off once it’s time to cook.
  • Perfect for parties. Skewered chicken is a great appetizer or a main dish for large gatherings. It is easy to make chicken satay in big batches with a large grill. 
  • Can be prepped in advance. You can marinade the chicken, thread it on skewers a day in advance, and grill it when needed. 

Ingredients needed

Aromatics and spices make the foundations of this recipe. Besides those and the chicken itself, there isn’t anything else needed to make them. Here is everything you will need:

  • Chicken thigh fillets. For skewered chicken, thigh meat is always preferable over breast meat, as it has a higher fat content and has less risk of drying out. I used skinless and boneless fillets.
  • Aromatics. Shallots, onions, and garlic make the base of the marinade.
  • Lemongrass. The secret ingredient! Not only is it a staple in Thai cuisine but also a staple for most chicken recipes, including this one. It adds a distinct citrus flavor that balances out the other ingredients.
  • Oil. I used olive oil but any neutral-flavored oil is fine.  
  • Soy sauce. Adds a little umami flavor.  
  • Turmeric powder. To flavor the chicken and give the satay its distinctive yellow color. 
  • Sugar. I like to add a pinch of sugar to balance out the salty and savory flavors. It also helps with the caramelization of the exterior.
  • Salt. To taste. 
  • Basting sauce. A combination of coconut cream and peanut oil is needed to brush the chicken as it cooks to keep it juicy and moist.
  • Peanut sauce. My homemade Thai peanut sauce slathered over this chicken is *chef’s kiss*.

Find the printable recipe with measurements below.

How to make chicken satay

Step 1 – Make the marinade. Add all ingredients except for the chicken to a food processor and blend until a grainy thick paste forms. 

chicken satay marinade ingredients.

Step 2 – Marinate the chicken. Add the cubed chicken to a bowl and pour the marinade over it. Give the chicken a mix, then cover and refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or overnight.

marinated chicken in dish.

Step 3 – Grill the chicken and serve. Once the chicken is marinated, thread 4-5 pieces on pre-soaked bamboo skewers. Cook the satay on a preheated grill or grill pan for 2-3 minutes per side, basting with coconut cream and peanut oil a few times. Serve immediately. 

chicken satay on grill.

Can I make this in the oven?

Yes! Easily make oven-baked chicken satay with a few small tweaks. The cooking time is slightly longer, but you can make it year-round with less clean-up than a grill.

Start by prepping the chicken as instructed. Once it’s marinating, preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Next, line a large baking sheet with tin foil and grease generously. Now, add the chicken to the skewers and place them on the greased sheet, ensuring the skewers aren’t touching one another. Finally, bake for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through (and basting once).

Tips to make the best recipe

  • Always soak the skewers. This step is crucial as dry skewers will burn on the grill. I like to soak them for about 5 minutes before threading the chicken on.
  • Allow the chicken to come to room temperature. Remove the chicken from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking it on the grill. The chicken may cook unevenly if it’s cold. 
  • Cut the chicken into even pieces. To ensure all sides cook evenly and completely. We don’t want some chicken to be over-cooked and other bits under-cooked!
  • Marinate for longer. The beauty of this kind of chicken is that you can marinate it for up to two days in advance without affecting the texture of flavor.

Storage instructions

To store. Transfer leftovers to an airtight container when it cools. Keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. 

To reheat. Reheat chicken in the oven preheated to 300F degrees or in the microwave until heated through. Be sure to remove the skewers if you choose the latter option.

To freeze. Remove the chicken from the skewers, transfer it into zip-top bags, and freeze for up to 2 months. 

Leftovers idea

Be creative with the way you re-purpose any leftovers. Toss the chicken through a simple salad and use the peanut sauce as a dressing, make a Fusion-style pizza using the peanut sauce as the sauce base, or even add it to wraps and sandwiches.

chicken satay.

Serving suggestions

While the classic Thai peanut sauce is a must, I love using other Asian-inspired sauces for some variety.

  • Bulgogi sauce– It’s sweet and almost ketchup-like.
  • Eel sauce– No eels needed, I promise. It’s thick and glossy and has a very rich flavor so a little goes a long way.
  • Potsticker sauce– A thinner, more savory sauce.
  • Katsu sauce– I often refer to this as Asian BBQ sauce. It’s sweet, smoky, and seriously addictive.

Frequently asked questions

What does chicken satay taste like?

Thanks to the rich-flavored marinade, these grilled chicken skewers has a rich savory flavor with sweet notes and hints of lemongrass. It is also smoky when cooked on a grill. 

Is chicken satay Thai or Indonesian?

Chicken satay is a popular dish in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia and has many variations. The Thai version inspires this particular recipe.

Is satay healthy?

Satay is a relatively healthy meal option as it is grilled and not fried. It is a good source of protein, minerals, and vitamins and can be a part of a balanced diet. Pair it with some vegetables and steamed rice for a balanced meal.

Can I use a grill pan?

Yes! Using a grill pan works just fine if you don’t want to bust out a charcoal or outdoor grill. Just be sure to avoid overcrowding the chicken on the pan and cook in batches if needed.

chicken satay recipe.

Chicken Satay Recipe

5 from 12 votes
Homemade chicken satay features marinated and grilled chicken skewers with the most addictive peanut sauce. It's easy, authentic, and always a crowd-pleaser.
Servings: 12 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 15 minutes


  • 2 pounds chicken thighs cubed
  • 2 shallots peeled
  • 1/2 white onion chopped
  • 3 stalks lemongrass trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce


To serve


  • In a food processor, add all the ingredients except for the chicken. Blend until a thick paste remains.
    chicken satay marinade ingredients.
  • Add the chicken to a bowl and cover with the marinade. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes or up to 12 hours.
    marinated chicken in dish.
  • Once the chicken is marinated, thread 4-5 pieces on some pre-soaked bamboo skewers. This recipe makes approximately 12 skewers. Make the basting sauce by whisking the coconut cream with peanut oil.
  • Preheat a grill pan or grill, and once hot, add the chicken satay to them and cook for 2-3 per side, basting as needed.
    chicken satay on grill.


TO STORE. Transfer leftovers to an airtight container when it cools. Keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. 
TO REHEAT. Reheat chicken in the oven preheated to 300F degrees or in the microwave until heated through. Be sure to remove the skewers if you choose the latter option.
TO FREEZE. Remove the chicken from the skewers, transfer it into zip-top bags, and freeze for up to 2 months. 


Serving: 1servingCalories: 141kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 15gFat: 7gSodium: 346mgPotassium: 243mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 19IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mgNET CARBS: 4g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Doesn’t that look good. Will have to give it a try. Always looking for new chicken recipes.

  2. Dude these are awesome! I was just downing some chicken satay last night! Now I can have it in sandwich form?! Genius!

  3. This looks really good. Both my chicken AND my sandwiches have gotten boring lately so it’s a good way to mix it up. Growing up my grandparents made me cottage cheese sandwiches. You toast the bread so it’s not like it’s mushy. I still love em!

  4. My family always went to Ponderosa when I was young. It’s basically a buffet of homestyle food. I only ate the mac and cheese. My favorite sandwich is hummus and veggies…or a falafel. God I love falafels! I probably had tons of weird habits as a child like eating frosting out of the can, but I still do those so I don’t think I grew out of them 🙂 Not sorry.

  5. Sauce that’s so good you have to eat it with a spoon? Can’t wait to try it. This would be awesome wrapped in lettuce or collard greens!

  6. Peanut free peanut sauce?! LOVE IT! Love almond butter more, though 😛 And mister… we don’t even have the time to talk about all the strange habits I had as a kid. And how a lot of those didn’t stay in my childhood years 😆

  7. That freaks me out that peanut sauce doesn’t have peanuts in I do love satay sauce and always have. I thought it was Thai? I am such an uneducated foodie. As a kid I ate ketchup like you ate that sauce. I would ask for a bottle of ketchup with the bread they serve before a meal and dip bread straight into ketchup and then just eat ketchup with a spoon. Kids are so weird yet so awesome at the same time.

  8. So extremely accurate. I love my heritage, but we’ve got funky fresh stuff going on in our food. Asian supermarket = jarred and canned EVERYTHING.
    Ugh craving this at 1 am right now.

  9. Pinned pinned pinned! Now I just need to get to NJ so I can use my slow cooker and shred some damn chicken!

    1. I picture you with a slow cooker in your dorm making your dorm mate jealous 😉 Oh and setting off the fire alarm!

  10. Oh, holy hell. Chinese school. My brother and I used to have to go to that, and…we started skipping class to go on “wilderness survival expeditions” (aka exploring/hiking the back fields/forests/hills where Chinese school was).

    Let’s just say that it really didn’t end well for us when my parents found out. :'(

    What the eff is this peanut sauce without peanuts!? How can that be!? :'( That’s wildly depressing, but you’re awesome for coming up with this! I think i actually have everything I need to make it! <3 (Other than peanuts, ahahaha. But at least that's optional!)

  11. Peanut sauce without peanuts? I don’t even understand how that is a thing.

    My favorite sandwich is super specific, because it comes from a local sandwich shop that makes everything perfectly: Roast beef and havarti on french bread with their special “house dressing”. It’s the greatest sandwich ever.

    1. Walden Warms. I tried it in America and nearly died!

      ….That sounds delicious and I recall you mentioning it!

  12. Oooo Malaysian food! I wouldn’t know what Malaysian food is so thanks haha. Satay chicken has been a favorite of my brother’s and mine ever since we were little too. We were little kids who didn’t necessarily like Asian food but my parents would take us out anyway so that’s what we’d always get. It’s so good! Oh my gosh EW no peanuts in that tub? That’s disgusting. That should be a crime haha. I’ve actually always wanted to recreate it so I’ll keep this in mind! Thanks!

  13. So you and yo sis will eat the sauce by the spoonful, but I’m thinking I’d eat this salad by the spoonful. I LOVE bread, but I really want to just carry a huge tub of this to school and call it lunch. Or snack. Or “just because I want to”.

    And PB&J stills reigns as my favorite sammich! That was my lunch EVERY SINGLE DAY all four years of high school and I’m still not sick of it. I could totally survive another depression or potato famine.

  14. Oh man, sandwiches are an entire food category around our house. I love ’em! And I’ve been craving chicken salad lately…I think it’s because it’s finally warming up here. (Get ready!) I’ve never had a satay chicken salad, but I’m totally intrigued. (Although probably not as intrigued as you were when you made the mistake of reading the ingredients on a packaged sauce in an Asian market!) Growing up, the strangest thing I did was nibble the edges off of hamburgers. All the way around. The way I saw it, the best part was all of the stuff inside…so let’s get rid of the boring outside first. I’m sure my parents were so incredibly proud of me.

    1. Haha, I am so proud of you for that- I had a friend who’d order big macs and take off the sesame seeds ONE seed at a time.

      We should go to Katz deli- I still salivate over their sandwiches!

  15. I love chicken satay!
    Strange food habit as a kid: When I was a kid, I hated sauce on my pizza, so I would take my slice, put it upside down on a paper towel, and squish all of the sauce out… It was pretty gross. My parents were afraid to take me out for pizza in public. Now, I love sauce on my pizza!!

  16. I tried the peanut sauce without peanuts things a while back and I’m not that good at it! I’ll have to try this with your almond butter option, looks so good!

  17. This looks delectable! I can’t wait to try it!

    When I was a kid, I was a healthy eater… But when I was pregnant, that’s when I had my strangest cravings. I remember sitting in front of the TV, eating beef and cheese fried taquitos, drinking hot chocolate, and it was 9am. That was probably the best thing I ever ate, though the idea gags me out now.

    1. Thanks so much Jerusha (Ps- No joke, you have the coolest name ever)

      This is awkward but that sounds delicious. Can guys get pregnant? 😉

  18. Chicken Satay is basically best friends with my face. I mean peanut butter and PROTEINZ? GIMME ALL OF IT.
    Now, make me a sandwich and we can stay friend mmkay? 🙂 Pinned!

    1. Excuse me but I thought tandoori chicken was your best friend. Scrap that, I thought I was your best friend.

  19. I ate pretty much everything as a kid. I loved things like liver, kidney and heart, but the thought on that now makes me want to throw up.

    But this sandwich, this makes me hungry again.

  20. Lol you and Niki make a great pair. I’m alllll about chicken salad all day every day. This looks fab.

  21. Chinese food was always the preferred takeout (omg I loved boneless spareribs when I wasn’t a vegetarian) and on Christmas, the Chinese restaurants were where it was at for all us Jews because it was the only restaurant open for business 🙂