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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.
4.68 from 28 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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Recipe Rating

74 comments on “Creamy Coconut Milk Chicken”

  1. Wonderfully easy. Added turmeric and dash of ginger, reduced some tomatoes. I have a coconut tree in my yard, so we harvest every bit of it. Making coconut milk at home is a bit of a pain but soooo worth it

  2. Your instructions were easy to follow and complete. Thank you for that! Everything timed the way you indicated. It was easy and quick. I expected something different from the flavor, I suppose. Like nothing was the star, so to speak. Wasn’t strong in coconut, nor tomato, nor the spice mix yet not quite all jiving together. (I ate the next day and same thing.) I think next time I’ll cut back on tomatoes to let the coconut milk shine through more. It really was so easy and time-friendly to make!

  3. Made this recipe as per the recipe but I used chicken tenderloins which cooked up quicker and added some turmeric (I’m always looking for ways to add it to recipes so it doesn’t go to waste). This added a little something extra which was nice! I made this with coconut lime rice and there was enough sauce to soak in the rice. So good!!!

  4. This recipe was very good! Didn’t take too long and the rub on the chicken was a different flavor that I haven’t used in cooking before which was great. I added ginger and lime juice to really brighten at the end. Would make again!

  5. This is now one of my go to recipes! My daughter & I love it! Always a treat, full of flavor and versatile. Side with rice, roasted or mashed potatoes & roasted veggies. I think next time I’ll try a little pasta.
    The sauce is fantastic and chicken comes out very tender.

  6. Avatar photo

    I made this recipe tonight and it turned out so delicious! It’s very rare that I make online recipes that turn out sooo good and this is one of them. I’m on a low sodium diet so I didn’t add any salt other than what’s in the can tomatoes I used and it was still delicious! I made whole wheat thin spaghetti pasta and used the coconut & tomato sauce as the pasta sauce with grated parm on top. I also made a side of garlic spinach. Dinner was fabulous tonight. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  7. Made this tonight. Didn’t change anything and it turned out so tasty and the chicken was moist and very flavorful! Served it with steamed rice and steamed zucchini. Look forward to making it again.
    Thanks so much!!

      1. PurtDayumGood and quite easy. Experimenting with parmesan cheese in the leftovers.
        Thanks for sharing…

  8. Made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing. I didn’t have cayenne so I had to substitute chili powder so my spice profile was a little lacking, but that’s no fault to the recipe. I made it with your lemon rice and it was absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing.

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