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Easy Thai Satay Chicken Recipe

Thai Satay Chicken is loaded with authentic flavors like turmeric, lemongrass, chiles, and fish sauce. A rich and spicy Thai Peanut Sauce is perfect for dipping.

Cooked thai satay skewers on a black plate. They are garnished with peanuts and chopped cilantro

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BBQ Season Is Time for this Thai Chicken Satay Recipe

After a cold Christmas in Connecticut, we returned to the Bay Area in mid-January to find summer came early this year. Really early. But dire drought conditions aside, I did what any self-respecting Californian would—I pulled out the barbecue.

To be honest, I felt giddy as I plucked a handful of ripe cherry tomatoes off the vine and popped one between my teeth. The sweet taste of summer filled my mouth. It was time to bust out my famous Thai chicken satay recipe.

Authentic Thai Flavors

I’ve spent years trying to recreate the flavors I fell in love with on the streets of Bangkok. Now, with the help of a Thai ex-patriot friend, I’ve finally nailed this easy recipe for the classic Thai street food.

This Thai chicken satay recipe starts by marinating the chicken in signature Thai ingredients like lemongrass, turmeric, galangal (you can substitute fresh ginger), chilies, and fish sauce. Palm sugar assures authentic Southeast Asian flavor, but dark brown cane sugar is a fine substitute. The end result is heaven on a skewer.

Overhead shot of the cooked chicken skewers on a black plate

What ingredients do you need?

  • Shallots
  • Lemongrass
  • Garlic
  • Red chilies
  • Galangal or fresh ginger
  • Fresh turmeric or dried turmeric
  • Ground cumin
  • Fish sauce
  • Soy sauce
  • Palm sugar or brown sugar
  • Oil (any neutral-flavored oil like safflower, sunflower seed, canola, corn, or vegetable)
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh meat

How to make Thai Satay

  • Combine the marinade ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until the solid ingredients are finely minced.
  • Cut the chicken into strips or 2-inch chunks.
  • In a large bowl or resealable plastic bag, combine the marinade and the chicken and toss to coat.
  • Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.
  • Soak bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes and heat a grill or grill pan to high heat.
  • Thread the marinated chicken meat onto the skewers (discard the marinade) and grill for about 4 minutes per side, until cooked through.
  • Serve immediately with Thai Peanut Sauce for dipping, wedges of lime, and chopped fresh cilantro.
  • Add a side of Thai Pumpkin Curry, Thai Fried Rice, or Instant Pot Coconut Rice to round out the meal.

When this Thai satay hits the grill, the smell immediately brings me back to the Bangkok night market.

If you live in a place that has actual winters, you can always make this chicken satay recipe indoors using a grill pan.

low angled shot of the dish on a black plate

More Great Thai Recipes You’ll Love

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

Easy Thai Satay Chicken

the best thai chicken satay

This simple Thai chicken satay marinade can be mixed up in minutes in a food processor. Making it by hand takes only a few minutes more. Serve with an authentic Thai Peanut Sauce for dipping and sticky rice if you can get it for a treat that will transport you to the food stalls of Bangkok’s famous Charoen Krung Road.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes


  • 2 shallots, cut into quarters
  • 1/4 cup chopped lemongrass
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 to 2 fresh red chilies or ½–1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 inch-long piece galangal or fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh turmeric or ½ teaspoon dried turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • ¼ cup fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into strips or 2-inch chunks (or use chicken breast tenders)


  1. Combine all of the ingredients except for the chicken in a food processor and process until smooth (alternatively, slice the shallots thinly and mince the lemongrass, garlic, chilies, galangal or ginger, and fresh turmeric and stir together in a bowl, along with the remaining ingredients.)
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken and marinade and stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour and as long as overnight.
  3. Soak bamboo skewers in water for about 30 minutes and heat a grill or grill pan to high heat.
  4. Thread the marinated chicken meat onto the skewers (discard the marinade) and grill for about 4 minutes per side, until cooked through. Serve immediately.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 437Total Fat 13gSaturated Fat 3gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 175mgSodium 1464mgCarbohydrates 10gFiber 1gSugar 5gProtein 66g


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Last Updated: August 16, 2021


By on January 29th, 2014

About Robin Donovan

Hi, I’m Robin! I am a full-time food blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. I spend my days cooking, writing about, and photographing food.

I’m the author of more than 40 cookbooks, including Ramen for Beginners, 5 Ingredient Cooking for Two, Sushi at Home, The Baking Cookbook for Teens, and the bestselling Campfire Cuisine.

My food writing has also been featured in major print and online pubications including Cooking Light, Fitness, San Jose Mercury News, San Francisco Chronicle, and other popular publications.

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3 thoughts on “Easy Thai Satay Chicken Recipe”

  1. I’ve been thinking about this soup all weekend. Don’t care that I had already done the week’s menu planning and shopping – we’re having this soup this week. Now I’ve just drooled all over the keyboard again!


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