While the picture doesn’t do this dish justice, this sticky coconut chicken with coconut rice is absolutely amazing.

The recipe comes courtesy of Leigh Anne and is one of the many I have tried of hers and loved (i.e. Macaroni Grill Penne Rustica, Sour Cream Banana Bread – to be posted soon!).

This chicken dish is a dream because it is so easy to prepare and even quicker to grill. I will be making this again and again. Thanks, Leigh Anne!

What To ServeRice (or better yet, Coconut Rice)
Grilled Pineapple
Spinach Strawberry Salad with Homemade Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

Sticky Coconut Chicken

Sticky Coconut Chicken

Sidenote: I used the extra coconut milk left in the can as part of the liquid in my rice and it was unbelievable! It was very mildly sweet and paired so well with the chicken. Yum!


  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Marinade chicken in coconut milk, ginger, pepper and red pepper flakes at least one hour (I let mine marinade four about four to five hours). Grill on barbecue.
  • Glaze:
  • 3/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes


  1. While the chicken is grilling, bring above ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is reduced and thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Be patient because it takes a little while. But once it starts getting really thick, immediately take it off the heat!
  2. Glaze both sides of chicken the last few minutes of grilling and serve chicken over rice.

Recipe Source: from Leigh Anne with my slight adaptations

88 Responses to Sticky Coconut Chicken

  1. Valerie says:

    I am making this now, but I noticed someone commenting about replacing the “BROWN ” sugar with honey? The recipe doesn’t say brown sugar, so I’m hoping it wasn’t a mistake!

  2. Paul Rybak says:

    Made this tonight. I used offset grilling using Chicken Breast. Cut down a tad on the pepper flakes. But my wife and I loved it and will make again!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I/m making this for dinner tonight. How do you think the glaze would work out with honey instead of brown sugar? Or is there another ingredient you would recommend in place of the brown sugar?

  4. Staci says:

    Can I substitute fresh ginger for ground? And if so how much ground ginger should I use?

    • Mel says:

      Staci – I have never subbed ground. You will have to experiment. Start with just a little amount since it can be overpowering.

  5. nicole says:

    I too have made this twice and no way could I get that glaze to thicken. I even burned the chicken the first time waiting for it to thicken. The second time I did glaze in advance and it again took forever, so I decided to throw in a little cornstarch

  6. V Martin says:

    This recipe is awesome! The glaze/sauce is soooo tasty! I can’t wait to eat the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. It wasn’t as coconutty as I’d hoped, but the glaze made up for it. I’m telling all my friends.

  7. Erica Williams says:

    We had this for dinner tonight and it may just be the best thing that I’ve ever eaten! Yum!

  8. Jenny says:

    Hi Mel,
    I loved your Honey Lime Tilapia so much, I had faith your other recipes would be good too! I made this Sticky Coconut Chicken tonight for dinner, and my husband and brother loved it. I also added the leftover coconut milk to the rice, and it was a welcomed difference in the flavor. I did want to let anyone who substitutes sugar for Splenda to not do it with this recipe! It does not thicken like it should. I made a second batch of the glaze with actual sugar, and it did what it was supposed to do. 🙂 Great recipe, and thanks for sharing! I’ll be looking to try some others off your site!

  9. kristin says:

    Made this tonight! It was wonderful. Will definitely be making this again. Thanks for the recipe!!

  10. Mel says:

    Bailey – I don’t know – I haven’t tried it!

  11. Bailey says:

    Could you cook this in the crock pot?

  12. Mel says:

    Teresa – it’s been years since I’ve made this (looks like I need to correct that!). I’m not sure why it isn’t thickening to be honest. If I get time, I’ll try to remake it soon and test it out.

  13. Teresa says:

    I need some advice with the glaze…. third time making it and it does not thicken for me like it should. The 1st time it finally thickened after about 40 minutes on the stove. I’m not new to the kitchen so this is frustrating the heck out of me…. help.

  14. Rebecca says:

    Thank you so much for posting! My husband said it is the best chicken he has ever had, my 3yo like any other 3yo usually picks at her plate but she licked the plate clean and asked for more, defiantly going to be a usual in our house!

  15. Amanda says:

    I love your site! My chicken is about to hit the grill… I just wanted to add that Our Best Bites has a really good sweet and savory coconut rice that would go perfectly with this!

  16. sara says:

    Oh, this looks incredible (and is seriously making me question the wisdom of giving up meat for Lent!). All the flavors sound incredible, especially with coconut rice. Yum! I will definitely be trying this one after Easter!

  17. Kelly says:

    Mel, I apologize that I am just now getting back to say thank you for the tip and the quick response! I saw your reply on my phone in time to make this the other night and then haven’t been back on since . . . until this morning, when the craving for biscuits hit and I’m back 🙂 your story of struggling with biscuits cracked me up (mom, these are yucky again!) and also hit home, as I am struggling to recreate my great-grandma’s biscuits time and time again myself! Gonna try your drop biscuits 🙂 Thanks again for such a great recipe resource, entertaining blog & sharing your knowledge!

  18. Mel says:

    Hi Kelly – I’m glad you found your way here and that the sweet and sour chicken was such a hit! As for this sticky coconut chicken, you could use the broil option in your oven. I’d line a baking sheet with foil and broil the chicken about 6-7 minutes each side, placing an oven rack in the upper third of your oven (not too close to the broiler element but definitely in the top half of the oven). Watch closely so it doesn’t overcook!

  19. Kelly says:

    Hi Mel! I am new to your wonderful, amazing, drool-inducing site (thank you Pinterest!). I made your sweet and sour chicken a few nights ago and my husband said it was the best chicken ever!! And, he ate a ton of it and then took it for lunch the next day, so pretty sure it was a hit 😉 My question on this coconut chicken is this: it is not grilling season here in Alaska . . . I was hoping you could give me some guidance on using the stovetop/oven to make this? I would soooooo appreciate your time! Thanks!!

  20. […] 4. While the chicken is grilling, bring above ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is reduced and thickened, about 8-10 minutes.  But once it starts getting thick, immediately take it off the heat! It turns to molasses very quickly so be mindful after 5 minutes. Glaze both sides of chicken the last few minutes of grilling and serve chicken over rice. Original recipe here […]

  21. Amy says:

    I made this tonight for supper and it was delish! I used the remaining coconut milk for the rice and it was the perfect touch. I am a serious addict of your blog =)

  22. Nicole says:

    I made this tonight with bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and it was delicious! It paired nicely with this coconut curry cauliflower recipe I found here: http://www.grouprecipes.com/51571/roasty-toasty-coconut-curry-cauliflower.html. Thanks for sharing this!

  23. […] found this recipe on melskitchencafe.com and adapted it to make it lighter. Mel’s blog is my new favorite… I have a feeling I […]

  24. […] I’ve loved finding new recipes and recently tried the Sticky Coconut Chicken (originally from this blog). The rave reviews were an understatement! This dish was amazingly flavorful, the chicken […]

  25. Katie says:

    I am making this tonight for my husband and I(kids will be passed out after trick or treating so they will eat earlier. Wanted to add the following about making rice with coconut milk. I take 2 cups of rice, put it in a microwave safe bowl. add one can of coconut milk and fill the can with water, add that to the rice and coconut milk. Stir, microwave for 8 minutes. Take it out, stir, add ore water as needed, microwave for 6 min. keep adding water, stirring and microwaving for 6 min intervals until your rice is cooked to your liking.

  26. Tracey M. says:

    I just found your recipe blog today! This recipe looks wonderful and I’m also looking at making your Basic Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce. I love adding coconut to my cooking.

  27. […] Tuesday – Chili in Crockpot (cook beans the day before in the crockpot) Wednesday – Coconut Chicken Thursday – Crockpot Lasagna Friday – Pizza Saturday – Pork Chops on BBQ or […]

  28. Bonny Day says:

    I made last night and used chicken legs (because it’s what I had) My family went crazy over this! My kids ate two legs a piece they never eat more than a few bites of their food! My husband was pouring the glaze over his rice and chicken he LOVED the glaze! I really loved this recipe! Thanks so much!

  29. Sarah says:

    I made this last night and my husband was going crazy over it, it really was the perfect grilled chicken! I also used the leftover coconut milk and made your fluffy couscous recipe, subbing the coconut milk for the chicken broth. That was delicious! I got lots of hugs and thank you’s for such a good meal 🙂 I’m excited to eat the leftovers for lunch!

  30. Reyna says:

    I made this last night and we all really loved the flavors. They were definitely subtle, so I might look to make it a little bolder next time–but that may also be because I served it alongside pad thai which may have just been overpowering as a combo. I can’t wait to make this on the grill this summer. It screams backyard BBQ!

  31. Cassidy says:

    I made this tonight and it was a big hit! I left out the red pepper flakes because I have small kids, but it was excellent. I also used the extra coconut milk in the rice, and next time I will double the glaze to use for sauce because the glaze was my favorite part!!

  32. Amber says:

    Ok, well I made it and I must say it came out really well. I am sure its 100% better on the grill (cant beat that grilled chicken taste!) but I was happy with the skillet version. Sadly, I had to use boneless, skinless breasts….my husband wont eat anything but those, I may sneak in some thighs for me and the kids next time tho! I took your advice as well and put the milk in the rice (I used brown) but I think white rice would have tasted better with the coconut milk, just because the brown rice has a nutty flavor and it kind of overpowered the coconut I think. Anyhow, I am attaching the picture I uploaded onto tinypic.com – it isnt the best since it was taken with my Iphone, but you will get the idea! 😉


    I really enjoyed it though, plus the kids loved it, even my picky 2 year old ate every piece I gave him and half of mine! Thanks so much!

  33. Amber says:

    Yum! Will do. Putting it into my rotation next week! Will comment back after I try it. Thanks so much. 🙂

  34. Amber says:

    Could you cook this on the stove top? I don’t have a grill, and using the broiler never seems to work out for me. Any ideas? Thanks! It looks wonderful, and I will be trying it sooner or later, just depends on if the stove top works and/or when I get a grill!

  35. judy says:

    looks yummy!!!

  36. Adrienne B says:

    I tried it with chicken breasts and when I did the coconut rice I put extra glaze on it, and it was AWESOME!! I love this!!

    • Mel says:

      Adrienne – glad this worked out with chicken breasts subbed for the thighs…and that the result was fantastic. Thanks for letting me know!

  37. Adrienne B says:

    So I didn’t read chicken thighs, and are marinating chicken breasts, thats ok, right?

  38. Chavah says:

    Just tried this for dinner and it was fantastic. A recommendation though, the glaze was great, we just wish we had some left over to put on top of the chicken and rice, as it was needing sauce. Next time, I will make more glaze to drizzle over the meal, since that’s probably all it needs—a drizzle. The chicken was so tender and flavorful. Definitely making this again. I also took Mel’s suggestion and added the coconut milk to the rice to cook. Great flavors going on.

    • Mel says:

      Chavah – thanks for the recommendation! I love when people add those things to their comments. Glad you liked this recipe!

  39. Julie Hansen says:

    Sticky Coconut Chicken looks/sounds so yummy I couldn’t wait to try it- so I’m making it today. My question is about the coconut milk. The kind I bought is almost like cream- in flavor and calories:( I think I was expecting it to be sweeter. Did I get the right kind? My chicken is still marinating so I haven’t tasted the finished product yet- sounds soooo good! Also, thanks for such an incredible web site!! I look at it daily and I’ve made many of your recipes– we’ve never eaten so well:)

    • Mel says:

      Hi Julie – usually in the Asian foods aisle there is coconut milk and cream of coconut. If your can said coconut milk, you are using the right stuff. It is fairly thick (but not as sweet as cream of coconut). And yes, it does pack a punch with calories. Occasionally I’ve been able to find the light coconut milk and I buy a lot when I find it. Let me know how this turns out!

  40. Emily says:

    I made last week. It was soooo yummy! I did it with chicken breasts cause I am scared of thighs. I also toasted some shredded coconut and rolled a few pieces of chicken in it while it was still sticky (just to try). It was AMAZING! My husband always wants more sauce so I think I might make more glaze next time to set aside for him.
    Thank you!

    • Mel says:

      Emily – don’t worry, I get a little nervous around chicken thighs, too. This is the only recipe I use them for! Anyway, I’m glad you liked it – thanks for letting me know (your rolled coconut idea sounds delicious!).

  41. Melanie says:

    Hi Sheena – thanks for your comment. I don’t mind if you post my recipes to your sister’s blog, especially if credit is given. Thanks! Let me know if you try any of the recipes.

  42. Melanie says:

    Hey Stephanie – I’m glad you’ve enjoyed this recipe since finding it! Thanks for letting me know.

  43. Deals to Meals says:

    This recipe is now one of my families favorites–thanks!!!! I changed the recipe a little and it was delicious! Instead of adding the coconut milk to the rice, I added it to the coconut sauce. It made it creamy and smooth. We ate it over the chicken and rice and it was SOOOO good! We also kabobbed peppers, pineapple and onions on the grill and ate with the chicken and it was great. Thanks again for the delicious recipes!P.S.–If you are a Utah resident, check out my blog 😉 http://www.myfoodstoragedeals.blogspot.com and http://www.myfoodstoragedeals.com.

  44. jt says:

    Hello, tried this recipe and loved it, thanks for sharing-jane

  45. Cara says:

    OMG! I am gonna try this recipe! I am in a recipe rut and came across your blog, I want to try so many of your recipes. Thank you for posting all your tried and true recipes! Can’t wait to get cooken again!

  46. Melanie says:

    Julie – you probably did the right thing by cutting down the spice. I remember the 1 teaspoon added definite “kick” and we have a high tolerance to spice, so if your family doesn’t like the spice, 1/4 teaspoon will probably add the perfect amount of “kick” without being spicy. Let me know how it turns out for you.

  47. Julie says:

    Question: Do the red pepper flakes make it spicy? I have my chicken marinading as I type. I am making this for the first time for dinner tonight. For the marinade, I only put in 1/4t of crushed red pepper flakes. My family doesn’t tolerate spicy at all (they get it from my hubby :)- I love the spice) But to appease the masses, I just wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be too spicy for them if I used the red pepper flakes in the marinade and the glaze. What was your experience?

  48. jaesi says:

    I am sooooo making this as soon as I can get my hands on some thighs…and not my own…

  49. Jenn says:

    Made this last night for dinner. My husband and I really enjoyed it. I did the rice with the coconut milk and that was good too. Although, isn’t coconut milk supposed to be thiner like regular milk? For some reason my coconut milk was fluffy–like runny whipped cream. It wasn’t coconut cream, but my can said “FOR DESSERT” on it, and I think this might have effected the taste, because I was hoping for a more coconut-y taste and it didn’t have it. Next time, I will get regular coconut milk and try it again.

  50. Mayaveda says:

    Made this last night~ LOVED IT! Looking forward to enjoying more recipes from your blog. Found you through the Swiffer contest. good luck!

  51. KJ says:

    This looks great. I am saving this recipe.

  52. Mandy says:

    Now this is another GREAT chicken recipe I feel I could do. LOVE IT!

  53. Kevin says:

    Coconut chicken sounds really good!

  54. Laura says:

    I gave you an award today on my blog. Just go to my blog and comment on the award post. relmomkitchen.blog spot.com

  55. Melanie says:

    Nicole and Jane – I’m so glad you both tried this and enjoyed it. Thanks for letting me know!!

  56. Jamy says:

    This is FABULOUS! My all time favorite chicken recipe. It’s gonna be hard to top this one, but I’ll keep trying! Can’t wait to try the orange chicken and sweet/sour chicken.

  57. Deborah says:

    Melanie, I have to say that out of all the blogs I read, you make the most food that is right up my alley. I could just cook everyday off of your blog and be a happy camper!!

  58. Melanie says:

    Ok, Deborah and Grace – I just added you both to my paltry will for your comments. Talk about making my day!! The feeling is completely mutual with both of you. Thanks!

  59. Sheena says:

    I haven’t tried any of your recipes yet, but oh my goodness they look so GOOD!! I am definitely adding quite a few to my menu for the week and I will for sure be making this chicken very soon. If it’s ok I am going to post a few of your recipes on my sister’s and my blog (http://3sisterssharingideas.blogspot.com ), I’ll also be adding a link to your blog. Thankyou so much for your wonderful recipes. I am a recipe-aholic! I could read cook books like novels. I’ll be commenting on your recipes as soon as I cook them. Thanks!

  60. Melanie says:

    Jamy – that’s saying a lot if this is your favorite – I’m really, really glad you liked it. Let me know if you try the other two chicken recipes.

  61. kamailesfood says:

    My husband is not a fan of coconut, but he may eat this. It looks so good!

  62. Nicole says:

    This was great! I have been struggling with Scott at dinner time, and I didn’t even have to bribe him to eat…he ate ALL his chicken and wanted more! I didn’t have thighs, so I used drumsticks and chicken breasts. Yum!

  63. Melanie says:

    Teri – I’ve actually thought I would probably like this with chicken breasts, too. I’m glad you liked it, though. Thanks for letting me know!

  64. Teri says:

    Melanie – thanks for this recipe! I made it tonight & loved it…hubby liked it, too, though he didn’t eat as much as I would have thought he might…I suspect it’s due to the fact that he’s not a fan of chicken thighs, so next time we’ll try it with chicken breasts (I wish they sold boneless skin-on breasts! And the rice was awesome, too! Thanks! 🙂

  65. Leah says:

    Every time I visit your blog there’s something I want to try…what fun for me! I’m bookmarking this chicken recipe, it looks amazing, as usual. 😉

  66. Melanie says:

    Jen – yes, coconut milk is fairly thin consistency. Could it have been “cream of coconut” that you bought? Most stores sell both coconut milk and cream of coconut. Cream of coconut is definitely thicker than coconut milk and is sometimes used in desserts (frostings/cakes). I’m glad you still liked the meal, although I bet you will get a stronger coconut flavor using coconut milk next time.

  67. Melanie says:

    Cindy – thanks for commenting back and letting me know that you liked this. I was curious what the result would be when I read your first comment. Glad it was a hit!

    Mayaveda – thanks for your comment, also. Glad that you made this and loved it!!

  68. Melanie says:

    Thanks, everyone!And Leah, aren’t you sweet? Thank you! I hope you like the chicken…it is really amazing.

  69. grace says:

    even before reading deborah’s comment, i was thinking the exact same thing! this sounds absolutely fantastic to me, as chicken is my go-to protein and i love <>anything<> coconut. keep ’em coming!

  70. Melanie says:

    Jaesi – you make me laugh, as always, with your comments. Thanks for the chuckle!Cara – I’m glad you stopped by! I get in recipe ruts all the time so I know what you mean. I hope you like the ones you try from here!

  71. PheMom says:

    I’m with Deborah! Your food looks so fantastic! I have to try this one soon!

  72. Jenny says:

    Looks really incredible!

  73. Cindy says:

    What a hit!!! My friends loved this dish, I am definitely going to do it again. I had some leftover glaze and mixed it with some bbq sauce and put it on my baby back ribs, delish!! Thank you Melanie. 🙂

  74. Stephanie says:

    I have made this so many times since finding it!!! Thank you so much for posting it!

  75. Cindy says:

    I am in the process of marinating my chicken as I write this. I loved browsing through all the recipes! I hope my guests tonight enjoy this dish.

  76. Leigh Anne says:

    Melanie,It looks so good – if I hadn’t made it twice already in the last two weeks I’d make it again tonight! I love the idea of adding the extra coconut milk to the rice – I usually just throw it away and it’s such a waste! Thanks.

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