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!
TENDER COCONUT MILK CHICKEN
If you’re hungry for something savory, but aren’t really feelin’ a complicated set of ingredients and steps (can we say weeknight dinner?), this is the recipe for you! Coconut milk chicken is so simple and easy, and comes together in about 30 minutes. Plus, you only need one pan!
The flavor profile is a total winner, too– juicy, white-meat chicken in a creamy sauce jazzed up with aromatic spices, diced onion, and tangy fresh tomatoes. I can’t wait for you to try this recipe – it’s one you’ll come back to again and again.
- 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.
HOW TO MAKE COCONUT MILK CHICKEN
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Finish Cooking the Chicken in the Sauce: Carefully add the chicken breasts back into 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.
- Serve and Enjoy!
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.
WHAT GOES WITH COCONUT MILK CHICKEN?
- This dish pairs wonderfully with rice. My Lemon Rice is a great match. If you’re trying to cut carbs or follow a Keto diet, I recommend Cauliflower Rice!
- If you’d like a vegetable side, try asparagus — like my Asparagus with Lemon Butter Sauce, or Shaved Brussels Sprouts Stir-Fry with Cranberries.
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
Tools Used in this Recipe
Stovetop Coconut Milk Chicken Breasts
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (1-inch to 1-1/2 inch thick)
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 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
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 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
- 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 seasoning mixture all over 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 sauce for salt and pepper; adjust accordingly.
- Garnish with cilantro or parsley, and serve.