So easy and tasty, this healthy Thai Coconut Milk Grilled Chicken is a perfect example how every day, simple flavors can take plain old chicken to delicious new heights.

Easy Thai Coconut Turmeric Grilled Chicken

This Thai {inspired} Coconut Milk Grilled chicken definitely falls into the category of:

Recipes I’ve Been Holding Out on Sharing.

Don’t be mad.

I wanted to wait until there was no longer snow on the ground to share it.

Not that I’m above grilling in the snow, of course.

In fact, we basically survived the snowpocalypse earlier this year because I willingly traipsed out on the back deck in sub-zero temps and blizzard-like conditions at least weekly to grill this chicken.

Grilled chicken made summer not feel so far away. And I’m no dummy; I recognize when food can become therapy, and I run with it.

But I also realize that not everyone views January as an ideal time for grilling. Now that the weather has warmed up to a balmy 55 degrees where I live, I feel comfortable getting this recipe out there.

Easy Thai Coconut Turmeric Grilled Chicken

I’m not exaggerating when I say that we really do make this Thai coconut milk grilled chicken all the time.

Even though the chicken obviously has a Thai-inspired flavor profile, it totally belongs on a backyard grilling menu right there with the classics (like grilled pork chops, kebabs, and other favorite grilled chicken recipes).

And if you’ve fallen in love with this Grilled Lime Coconut Chicken, you’ll absolutely adore today’s recipe. Similar…but different enough to allow you to have room in your heart for both.

The flavors are subtle and perfectly balanced, and it seems as though marinading in coconut milk + fragrant spices is the secret to amazingly juicy chicken.

One time, probably mid-December when we had a few cousins over, I doubled this recipe using 4-5 pounds of chicken tenders and was sure we’d be eating leftover coconut milk grilled chicken for days.

Boy, was I wrong.

I have never seen tender, tasty chicken devoured so quickly. Even though manners were (somewhat) enforced, I was still shocked at the rate this delicious chicken was gobbled up.

It’s easy to see why it has become a family favorite.

Serve this delectable Thai Coconut Milk Grilled Chicken with this 5-minute Thai Peanut Sauce for dunking and alongside this chopped Thai salad, and you might have one of the most delicious meals on the planet staring you in the face.

Easy Thai Coconut Turmeric Grilled Chicken

A quick note about grilling:

If you don’t own a grill or it’s still too cold or you’re a little scared, don’t panic – I’ve included some alternate ideas for how to cook this deliciously flavorful Thai Coconut Milk Chicken.

Personally, I grill everything on my Camp Chef pellet grill. I’ve waxed poetic about it before, but it’s amazing.

I love this grill so much and have been known to engage innocent bystanders in a one-sided conversation about how much that pellet grill means to me while they stand there awkwardly figuring out how they got into this situation. <–no one is paying me to say this, btw, I’m just a big fan.

Easy 5-Minute Thai Peanut Sauce
Chopped Thai Salad with Honey-Garlic Dressing
Quick Brazilian Cheese Bread {Pao de Queijo}

One Year Ago: Turkey and Brown Rice Taco Burritos
Two Years Ago: Skillet Taco Pasta Shells {30-Minute Meal}
Three Years Ago: My Favorite Lightened Up Egg Salad Sandwich

Easy Thai Coconut Turmeric Grilled Chicken

8 votes


Thai Coconut Milk Grilled Chicken





Yield 6 servings

If you don't have a grill, this chicken could be cooked on a grill pan, pan-fried in a skillet or or broiled in the oven. I've even thought about tossing the chicken and marinade into the Instant Pot for 7-8 minutes high pressure and see how that goes (haven't tried that yet, though). 


  • 14-ounce can light or full-fat coconut milk
  • 5-6 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse, kosher salt 
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger or ginger paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1-2 pounds chicken breasts or chicken tenders
  • Lime wedges, for serving (optional)


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, garlic, brown sugar, salt, ginger, turmeric, cumin, coriander and cilantro. 
  2. Place the chicken in a gallon-size ziploc bag; pour in the marinade. Seal the bag and press until the marinade coats the chicken evenly. Refrigerate for 2 hours or up to 24 hours. 
  3. Preheat a grill to medium-high. 
  4. Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting the excess marinade drip back into the bag. 
  5. Grill the chicken until cooked through (time will depend on thickness of chicken - about 5-6 minutes per side for chicken breasts and 2-3 minutes per side for chicken tenders). 
  6. Let the chicken rest for a few minutes before serving. 

Recipe Source: inspired by recipes from Serious Eats and in this cookbook by Chrissy Tiegen

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44 Responses to Thai Coconut Milk Grilled Chicken

  1. Emily says:

    We had this tonight and the whole family loved it. My kids had multiple helpings, which never happens, especially the one who rarely eats meat! My husband claims to not like Thai food, so I was vague in my description to him, and he liked it too! I had planned to have plenty for leftovers and enough to freeze, but after how much we all ate, I’m looking at maybe one or two portions left! Guess I’ll be making it again soon! Thank you!

  2. Laura says:

    I made this last night and served it with a small jug of 5 minute peanut sauce. The chicken was full of flavour, tender and moist. I liked the peanut sauce too. But my husband wouldn’t try it. He said he just couldn’t wrap his head around peanut butter and chicken! Not an adventurous eater. So I have lots of leftover sauce. I’ll use some of it on noodles for lunches. Have you ever frozen it?

  3. Shelly says:

    My instinct/habit tells me to serve this chicken over a bed of rice, but rice usually needs a sauce too. Do you think simmering the marinade would work?

    • Mel says:

      Sure! Or make extra marinade and simmer that for a sauce if you don’t want to use the part that came in contact with the raw chicken.

  4. GG says:

    Hi Mel,
    Just curious, why kosher salt? I learn so much from your site!!!

    • Mel says:

      Good question! I use coarse, kosher salt for most savory recipes so that’s why I included it here. I prefer it over table salt for seasoning meats and the like. If you are using table salt, you might want to cut down on it just a bit.

  5. molly says:

    Hi Mel! I finally made this tonight and tried it in my crockpot…it turned out great and was a big hit! I served it over rice and am thinking I’ll throw some chunked carrots into the slow cooker along with the chicken next time, just for kicks 🙂 Thank you for the dee-lish recipe! xo

  6. Dani says:

    So yummy! Made this last week and my entire family loved it.

  7. Jessica Glover says:

    I made this over the weekend and it is fantastic! My (very picky) 7 year old declared it her new favorite chicken and has asked the past 3 nights when we are having it again! I love how quick and easy it was to put together and with summer and 100+ degree days here in South GA I am happy to not turn the oven on! Thanks Mel!

  8. Olya says:

    The moment I saw this recipe I knew I have to cook it. It was so delicious! I don’t have a grill, so I fried my chicken on a grill skillet. I served it with your Quick Thai Sauce, variation of your Chopped Thai Salad (kale and edamame are not available here) and some Cilantro Lime Rice. Definitely goes to my recipe collection!

  9. Kim says:

    What a delicious recipe. I made the Thai peanut sauce with it. Made some rolls, roasted broccoli and strawberries. Thanks Mel!!

  10. Sara says:

    So I insta-potted this…and chunked the chicken when it was done…yum. I have started experimenting with frozen chicken in the instapot and I would say it was a complete success! 22 ounces of frozen chicken (the chicken breasts were frozen in one big mass from the way I froze them) along with the marinade recipe, for 35 minutes and quick release. No other ingredients added. Turned out fantastic. I checked the meat to make sure it was cooked through and it checked out! Whoa, nice quick dinner! I’m wondering if I could add rice and water in with this….hummm that would be even better! So many things to try!

  11. Allyall says:

    This was delicious and worthy of using a can of coconut milk. For doubling I just thinned with water. I served wih the salad and peanut sauce you suggested and it was delicious.

  12. Dawn says:

    I made this chicken last night and we LOVED it!. We eat chicken often and I have prepared it all different ways, but this I think was the best:) Thanks for sharing! Every blog I follow has a recipe or two from Chrissy’s cookbook and everyone loves them. I think I need to finally purchase her cookbook!

  13. Susan P says:

    I have never bough coconut milk before. The only one I could find at my grocery store said it was unsweetened. It didn’t say anything about “lite.” Is this one ok to use? It has 11g of total fat and 2g of sugar.

  14. Tabitha says:

    Can’t wait to try this tomorrow night! I am a “new” fan of yours, and so far every recipe I have tried has delivered, and left me wanting more! Thank you! Question- I’m wondering if this marinade would be good on say grilled shrimp or fish? Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

  15. Kate says:

    I LOVE your site. Every single thing that I have made has been a success! Many are in regular rotation at our house. I made this last night, using chicken tenders. I marinated the tenders for about 4 hours, set the broiler to low, and cooked them on a foil-lined sheet pan, 5 minutes each side, or so. My fiancé gets excited about NOTHING, but said this is the kind of chicken he’d go to a restaurant for, and even requested it again tonight. I served it with turmeric rice, to which I added peas, and a side of steamed broccoli. I’ve never seen him eat something so fast. Thank you for this brilliant site!!

  16. Nancy B says:

    Mel, first of all let me say I love your site! I was looking for something to do with some boneless skinless chicken thighs and your recipe looked amazing. I took your suggestion about trying to cook it a different way and I did just that; I have recently jumped on the sheet-pan bandwagon, so I cooked it on a sheet pan–at 425 degrees—first I roasted some cubed sweet potatoes tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper for 10-12 minutes, then added broccoli and red onion tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper along with the chicken—cut in bite sized pieces before marinating–baked for 15-20 more minutes, stirring once or twice and served it with cauliflower rice. Light and delicious!!! Thank you!!!

    • Mel says:

      Oh my gosh, amazing! Sounds so yummy! I’m totally going to try that, Nancy – you are a genius.

      • Nancy B says:

        Nope…you are! You’ve given me the courage to step out of my comfort zone and not be bound by following a recipe “to the letter”. Thanks again!!!

  17. PJ Carson says:

    Why not use regular creamy peanut butter and skip the 1/4 cup of sugar/honey? Will it ruin the texture or is this an option?

    • Mel says:

      You could definitely try that! I like the flavor/texture of the natural PB but it wouldn’t be a deal breaker to use creamy.

  18. Shelly says:

    Hi Mel! I love your recipes. You should be proud of yourself! I wanted to email you a question, but I couldn’t find any way to contact you on your site, so I’ll just leave it here. Haha! Do you have any go-to recipe ideas for toddlers? My son is almost 2 and he used to be such a good eater, but has slowly become more and more picky, which makes me sad! I find myself constantly giving him bread, cheese, and pasta, because that’s what I know he will eat. I would be so appreciative if you would do a toddler post, or something about healthy snacks/lunch/dinner ideas.

  19. Diane Barber says:

    You had to say Instant Pot ! I might have to try that with boneless chicken thighs ! Thank you for sharing your recipe Mel .

  20. Paige says:

    This chicken looks amazing!


  21. Kara says:

    This sounds fantastic, and I’m looking forward to trying it! I have to admit that I’ve never tried coconut milk or cooked with it. My family does not like coconut…at all. 🙁 Does the chicken taste like coconut, or are there enough flavors that they won’t taste any it (I hope!)?? Thanks for your help. 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Hey Kara – that’s a great question! The chicken definitely does NOT have a strong coconut flavor. The coconut milk helps give the chicken a juicy tenderness, but the other flavors shine through after grilling (not the coconut flavor).

  22. April says:

    Mel- you need to try a Traeger grill. It’s a wood-burning grill/smoker/BBQ/heaven. It is SO amazing. It will change your grilling forever!

  23. Ellisa says:

    Thanks for sharing this yummy looking recipe! Quick question: do you do anything about the tendon in chicken tenders before you cook them?

    • Mel says:

      I don’t; but that’s why a lot of times I avoid chicken tenders and just slice regular boneless, skinless chicken breasts into thinner cutlets if I want a smaller chicken piece, like a chicken tenderloin.

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