Creamy Coconut Milk Chicken

4.66 from 232 votes
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This Coconut Milk Chicken recipe comes together in one pan, with a creamy sauce that’s out of this world. You’ll love this stellar combination of delicate coconut milk, perfectly cooked chicken breasts, and exotic spices!

coconut milk chicken breasts in black skillet garnished with cilantro


 

Tender Coconut Chicken

If you’re craving something savory without the fuss (hello, easy weeknight dinners!), this Coconut Milk Chicken recipe is just what you need! It’s a breeze to make, coming together in about 30 minutes, and all you need is one pan. The flavors are fantastic – tender, white-meat chicken in a creamy, spice-infused sauce, with the added zing of diced onion and fresh tomatoes. I’m excited for you to try it; it’s the kind of dish you’ll keep coming back to.

side view of chicken breasts in coconut milk sauce with diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro

Ingredients Needed

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  • Cumin, Paprika, Oregano, and Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Yellow Onion: Yellow onions tend to be sweeter, but white onion will work also.
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Coconut Milk: I recommend unsweetened, light coconut milk for this dish.
  • Cilantro or Parsley: Chop finely for a garnish.
frying onions and diced tomatoes in a black skillet

How To Make Coconut Milk Chicken

  1. Prepare the Chicken Breasts: Pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towels and set aside. Combine spices, herbs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub seasoning mixture all over chicken breasts.
  2. Brown the Chicken Breasts: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and cook for 6 to 7 minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove chicken, cover, and set aside.
  3. Create the Sauce: Gently saute onions, garlic, and tomatoes in the remaining olive oil until soft. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer; simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
  4. Finish Cooking the Chicken in the Sauce: Carefully add the chicken breasts back into the pan. Be careful not to splash the simmering sauce. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for 4 or 5 more minutes until the chicken is tender but not dry and has an internal temperature of 165°F. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with cilantro or parsley before serving.

Tips For Perfectly Tender Chicken

Chicken breast is a wonderful protein option when prepared correctly, but it does dry out easily! To avoid this, try these tips.

  • Use a thermometer: If you think the chicken is nearly done, test it with a meat thermometer first. The internal temperature should be 165°F.
  • Do the knife test: Try cutting the chicken with a sharp knife. If it seems rubbery and resistant, but not dry, cook for 3 more minutes and try again. Rubbery chicken will be juicy, but not tender.
  • Be careful not to overcook the chicken. Once it has gone past the rubbery stage, it will be perfectly tender and moist. Further cooking will dry out the chicken and cause it to be tough.
top shot of 3 chicken breasts in a skillet with coconut milk sauce

What Goes With Coconut Milk Chicken?

This dish pairs wonderfully with rice. My Lemon Rice is a great match, as is this Mediterranean Rice. If you’re trying to cut carbs or follow a Keto diet, I recommend Cauliflower Rice or Roasted Cauliflower Steaks. If you’d like a vegetable side, try my Asparagus with Lemon Butter Sauce.

How To Store And Reheat Leftovers

  • How to store: Store leftover chicken in the sauce to keep it from drying out. Place the chicken with its sauce in a food storage bag or container and refrigerate up to 4 days. Refrigerate the rice in a separate container for the same length of time.
  • How to reheat: To reheat on the stove top, heat the chicken and rice separately, covered, on low until just heated through. Add a tablespoon or so of water to the rice to help it soften and re-steam.

More Coconut Chicken Recipes

ENJOY!

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4.66 from 232 votes

Coconut Milk Chicken Breasts

Enjoy tender chicken breasts simmered in a creamy coconut sauce with this easy, one-pan Coconut Milk Chicken recipe.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts,, 1-inch to 1-1/2 inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper,, If you like spicy food, use 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. If you don't like spicy food, omit the cayenne pepper.
  • 1 teaspoon salt,, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper,, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil,, divided
  • 1 small yellow onion,, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic,, minced
  • 2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes,, or use 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, well drained
  • 1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened, lite coconut milk
  • chopped fresh cilantro,, for garnish
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Instructions 

  • Pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towels and set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl combine cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper; stir until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Rub the seasoning mixture all over the chicken breasts.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken breasts to the heated oil and cook for 6 to 7 minutes on each side or until browned and almost cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken breasts.
  • Remove chicken from skillet and set aside on a plate; keep covered.
  • Add remaining olive oil to the skillet; add onions to the heated oil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender and translucent.
  • Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer; let simmer for 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens.
  • Return chicken breasts to the skillet; reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Chicken is done when internal temperature registers at 165˚F.
  • Taste the sauce for salt and pepper; adjust accordingly.
  • Garnish with cilantro or parsley, and serve.

Equipment

Nutrition

Calories: 341kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 941mg | Potassium: 676mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

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193 Comments

  1. Donna says:

    Can you oven bake this recipe?

    1. Katerina says:

      Hi!
      You can definitely bake the chicken breasts, but make the coconut milk sauce in a skillet.

  2. Amanda Eppolito says:

    Fabulously flavorful and so simple to make! Extra salt and pepper at the end brought out flavors perfectly. This is definitely going into my recipe file for use again and again.