This Thai-inspired coconut lime chicken recipe is fast, comforting, and simple to make! The sauce is silky and zesty. Ready in just over 30 minutes.
It's been a while since I've made a Thai-inspired recipe, so it's time to get more on here. I just love Thai flavors! I have a Coconut Lime Shrimp recipe from 2017, and I decided to make a chicken one based on it. This recipe is easy to make on busy weeknights, yet it's probably a bit different from your usual chicken dinners.
If you're on a low-carb diet or know someone who is, this could be a good option to try. Personally, I like to serve Thai coconut lime chicken over rice. It's perfect for soaking up all that delicious sauce.
This recipe is definitely family-friendly. I do have some suggestions below (and in the notes of the recipe card) on how you can jazz it up even more if you want to. This recipe is delicious as-is, but I know some people like even bolder flavors.
Recipe notes & tips:
- I use my Microplane zester/grater to do the lime zest and ginger. Pro tip: Keep some ginger in your freezer! It's easier to grate that way and lasts for longer. I am so glad my blogger friend Meghan told me that trick years ago... it's been a total game changer for me.
- You can use light coconut milk if you wish, but expect the sauce to be thinner. Coconut milk varies by brand. I found this out the hard way. Some don't thicken as well, so I recommend using full fat Thai Kitchen coconut milk if possible. This isn't a super thick sauce, but it's not watery either.
- If you're one of those people who can't stand cilantro, feel free to leave it out (maybe add more basil and scallions).
- Love spice? Try adding in a chopped Thai chili pepper.
- You can definitely add more lime juice if you want... I suggest serving this with lime wedges so people can add more as needed.
- If you prefer, you can leave the chicken breasts more intact. I recommend cutting them in half lengthwise so you've got 4 thinner cutlets. I'd sear them for 4-5 minutes/side and then finish cooking them in the sauce during the last 5 minutes or so of cooking.
- Feel free to use chicken thighs instead.
- You could add a teaspoon (or so) of fish sauce if you want to give this dish a more authentic Thai flavor. I didn't include it since most people don't keep it in their fridge, but it would be a great addition. So would fresh lemongrass if you happen to see some. 😉
More Thai-inspired recipes to try:
- Easy Thai Shrimp Curry
- Thai Quinoa Salad
- 20 Minute Thai Chicken Curry Soup
- Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken Thighs
Questions about this coconut lime chicken recipe? Let me know in the comments!
Coconut Lime Chicken
- 2 large chicken breasts cut into 1" pieces
- 1/2 medium onion chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced
- 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk (full fat)
- 1 tablespoon lime juice + zest of 1 lime
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 small handful fresh basil chopped (or more, to taste)
- 1 small handful fresh cilantro chopped (or more, to taste)
- 1 small handful scallions chopped (or more, to taste)
- Cut up the chicken into bite-size pieces and sprinkle them with the garlic powder and some salt & pepper (I just do this right on the cutting board).
- Chop the onion then add it to a deep skillet over medium-high heat along with the olive oil. Sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken to the pan and cook it for about 5 minutes (stir it occasionally). Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Stir in the garlic and ginger, and cook for 30 seconds.
- Add in the coconut milk (shake the can first), lime juice + zest, and sugar. Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for about 10-15 minutes or until the sauce is somewhat reduced. This won't be a thick sauce, but reducing does help concentrate flavors and thicken it up a bit.
- Add the chicken back into the pan and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in the cilantro, basil, and scallions right before serving. Season with extra salt & pepper as needed. This dish goes well with rice. I serve it with extra lime wedges (and you can top each bowl with extra cilantro/basil/scallions too if you wish).
- The best trick for fresh ginger: Keep some in your freezer (I just put in a ZipLoc bag), and it's easier to grate and you will always have some on-hand.
- I recommend Thai Kitchen coconut milk. It tends to be less watery than other brands that I've tried. Feel free to use your favorite brand.
- Don't be shy to play with the ingredient quantities:
- Add more sugar, ginger, or lime to suit your tastes. If you happen to have fish sauce, add some in - it'll be delish.
- Add a chili pepper or red pepper flakes for heat.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
Can I use Thai basil instead?
Vanessa Owen says
Can you use thigh fillets, bone in?
Can you cook in advance a freeze?
Many thanks Vanessa
Sure, but adjust cooking time as needed. I think you should be ok freezing it, but the flavors might not be as intense as fresh, and the herbs will wilt, so perhaps add those when serving.
Many thanks, Natasha.
Made it and loved it. I used chicken thighs because it's what I had on hand. Definitely saving it as a favorite.
Yay!! Thanks for taking the time to leave me a review. 🙂
Kim S says
Fabulous and easy. I actually used two cans of chicken breasts from Costco. I didn't have coconut milk, so made my own with shredded coconut I happened to have on hand.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it!
Do you recommend adding the garlic, ginger and coconut milk to a clean pan? I added mine to the same pan that I cooked my chicken and onions, and the sauce came out much darker than what’s pictured here. Still super delicious though! I just want to obtain your aesthetics! 😊
No, all the same pan! 🙂 It helps with flavor. It's possible yours just darkened more because your stove might be slightly different or you just cooked it for a little longer. Don't worry about looks lol... I've been taking photos of food for 5+ years and it's my job! I did cook it all in the same pan then transferred it all to a new pan for photos. As long as it tastes good. 😉
Would you say 2 large chicken breasts is equivalent to about a pound of chicken? Thanks!
Allison Boone says
Going to try this tonight. What veggie would you suggest?
Hope you enjoy it! ♥️ You mean just to serve on the side? Maybe some green beans or carrots?
I made this tonight and it was delicious! All 3 of my kids liked it too! Next time I’ll double it for leftovers! Thank you for the yummy recipe!
Great!! You're very welcome 🙂 Thanks for taking the time to comment!
Another simple yet perfect go-to meal. Your palate is spot-on, Natasha! Thanks again for another gem!
Aww thank you!! 🙂 XO
Delicious! I doubled the brown sugar and the lime juice and it was sumptuously delicious. So creamy - miam! The coconut flavour isn’t too pronounced, it just makes the recipe creamy.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Christelle!!
Late To The Party says
How strong is the flavor of coconut milk? Try as I might I cannot wrap my taste buds around the flavor of coconut, so I've avoided recipes including coconut milk. Absolutely willing to try it but if anyone can recommended a substitute for this recipe, I'd appreciate it. I'm thinking almond milk might be too bland while a dairy milk/yogurt might curdle. Cashew milk, maybe?
Hi! Honestly, it’s just food, so I think you should give it a try haha. If you don’t like it, there’s worse things that can happen and it’s not like you’re wasting a lot of money. I don’t have any good suggestions since this is a Thai inspired recipe and really the whole point of the recipe for me is the coconut + lime flavor combo. It’s not like you’re getting punched in the face by a coconut. It’s nice and delicate. I’m really hoping you give this a try and report back!! 😉
Chrystal Blackburn says
Wow, this came together in the end into such an amazing flavor. Love this!
I just made this tonight and it was an absolute hit with my family. I was skeptical at first but I’m glad I was wrong as it was delicious. Thank you for your time and dedication to these recipes. You make meal times easy for us!
I'm so glad you decided to give it a try!! That's great. Thanks for commenting!! XO
Amazing flavors!! Note: I would use chicken breast and not rotisserie chicken (a little mushy). So good!
I’m so glad you liked it!! Thanks for the tip! ♥️