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Creamy Coconut Milk Chicken

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!


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.

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


  • 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


  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 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.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!


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



  • 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

coconut milk chicken breasts in black skillet garnished with cilantro

Stovetop Coconut Milk Chicken Breasts

Katerina | Diethood
Tender, spiced chicken breasts in a creamy, fragrant coconut milk sauce.
4.77 from 26 votes
Servings : 4 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins


  • 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.




Calories: 341 kcal | Carbohydrates: 12 g | Protein: 26 g | Fat: 20 g | Saturated Fat: 9 g | Cholesterol: 73 mg | Sodium: 941 mg | Potassium: 676 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 4 g | Vitamin A: 500 IU | Vitamin C: 13 mg | Calcium: 59 mg | Iron: 2 mg | Net Carbs: 10 g

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.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Fusion, Indian
Keyword: chicken dinner, chicken dinner ideas, coconut chicken, coconut milk chicken, low carb chicken
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70 comments on “Creamy Coconut Milk Chicken”

  1. Avatar photo
    Gordon Wagner

    I had 2.5 lbs of chicken breast, so I pretty much doubled the rub ingredients and the rest. I sliced the chicken into 1 1/2″-ish pieces. Delicious! I think I’ll add half a red bell pepper next time, however.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Yes, you can freeze it, but with coconut milk, there is always a risk that it will split when thawed.

      1. Thanks. I had 2.5 lbs of chicken thighs that needed to be cooked so I made a large pot of the recipe. This an easy and very tasty meal.

  2. I made this for dinner tonight using chicken tenders. I almost didn’t make this because of the review that said it was bland. I’m glad I did though, it is really good! I really liked it. My husband said it was too spicy but he still ate it up.

    1. Made this tonight and it was great! The only change was that I added some lemon juice right at the end for brightness. Oh, I also seasoned the sauce with the same herbs as the chicken. So much flavor! Delicious!!

      1. Super tasty. I never seem to be able to make juicy and flavorful chicken breasts and this was awesome! And no need to marinate – even better. Thanks so much for sharing this tasty & healthy recipe. I didnt make any changes, it’s perfect as is.

  3. Looks better than it tastes. Very plain, bland and nothing I would repeat unfortunately. I will give it kudos that it is generally healthy, but they taste is just not there.

    1. I’ve realized over time that there are those who require more salty, spicy, sweetness, bitterness, etc. So I cheat a little….when I or one of my family find that a chicken dish is bland, I add in a Knorr chicken broth or bouillon cube…or 2 😊. I made this recipe and my kids and I loved it as is….but my husband kept saying it’s lacking a little more flavor. Popped in a bouillon cube for him and now, it’s perfect for him! Hope this helps!

  4. Super delicious and so easy!! So many recipes out there don’t work out and this was a wonderful surprise! Super happy I tried this recipe! Definitely will be making it often.

    1. Easy and delicious! I didn’t have tomatoes, so I opted for red peppers. I also used bone-in chicken thighs instead of boneless breasts and adjusted the cooking time accordingly. I served this with fried rice…fantastic! I will definitely make this again.

      1. I did the same (my husband has an allergy to tomatoes). I simmered the mixture for about 35 minutes – delicious!

  5. Amazingly simple to make for something with so much flavor. We had it over rice. Will definitely be making this again.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Actually, no. Tomato paste is a thick concentrate and it will only thicken the sauce and, also, the taste will be very tomato-y. 😊 It adds a very strong flavor.
      You can use fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes.

      1. Easy and DELICIOUS! Served topped with a little sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes, rice and asparagus. A keeper…

  6. I will be trying this recipe tonight, however, I only have 3 cans of regular coconut milk. Will this still work and should I add anything to cut the sweetness of the milk? Thank you

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