Chicken Satay Skewers are an ageless classic dish found all over Asia. My recipe uses chicken thighs for extra juicy skewers and my own homemade tasty sauce. Perfect for every occasion from lunchboxes, to picnics, buffets and tasty Asian feasts.
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This is barely a recipe. I’ve written it with 2 ingredients plus a little oil to grease the tray. Those ingredients are chicken and satay sauce. Because I want you to be able to make these skewers using a jar of sauce if you wish.
But I highly recommend that you use my Satay Sauce recipe. There are a few more ingredients but nothing crazy and it takes 15 minutes to put together.
While you have some sauce on the go, I’d also highly recommend making a batch or 4 of my Satay Sprouts. You you heard me. I took the quintessential British festive vegetable and I coated them in satay sauce. And by jove am I glad I did!
How to Serve Chicken Satay Skewers
Hot, cold or room temp. It doesn’t matter as they are always good. They are also perfect for eating on the go (perhaps without the dipping sauce). Throw a few in with your packed lunch for something a little different.
Make Chicken Satay Skewers into a Feast
I truly believe that you can make any dish into a proper feast! Whether thats a feast for one after work on a Tuesday, a casual feast for four on a Friday evening or a feast for 12 for a special occasion!
I’ve included this recipe in my Alternative Asian Feast collection.
The feast centres around my Korean Ramen with Belly Pork and these Satay Chicken Skewers. There is also a selection of sushi including Prawn Nigiri, Scallop Onigiri, Salmon Maki Rolls and Crab Uramaki to start and Vietnamese Summer Rolls on the side. Everything is rounded off with my Mango Coconut Ice Cream.
Don’t forget to head over to the Big Asian Feast post for all of my tips and tricks to help you host a fun and stress-free feast. Plus remember to check out my other feast collections and all my Asian inspired recipes.
Ingredients for Chicken Satay Skewers
Chicken thighs will always be my go to cut of chicken where chicken breast might be more common. Thighs are tender and juicy. The little bit of extra fat bastes these skewers from the inside out.
I buy my thighs ready boned and skinned. They’re a little more expensive but I hate doing it myself so I’m willing to pay for the convenience. This isn’t to say that you cannot start with whole thighs, just make sure that you end up with the right quantity of meat after de-boning.
You can use breast if you prefer but reduce the cooking time a little. Chicken wings are also ace cooked in this way (don’t bother skewering them).
You have two options.
- Use your favourite jar/bottle. There are some really good ones out there and I’ve used many for years. No shame.
- Use my Homemade Satay Sauce recipe. The recipe given makes a little more than you need for 12 skewers but my post gives you other options for ways to use up that extra sauce.
To find out about more of my favourite Asian Ingredients, check out my guide to the Top 16 Asian Ingredients which I always keep stocked in my pantry.
I’ve also suggested a whole bunch of recipes to try once your cupboard is fully stocked!
The basic premises of satay sauce grilled onto meaty skewers can be adapted to various meats or fish. Scallops, salmon, prawns, duck breast, lamb steaks or pork would all make fabulous satay skewers.
The skewers can be eschewed all together. Whole chicken thighs can be marinated and grilled in their own right. The same is true for the other potential meat substitutes.
My favourite way to vary this recipe is how the skewers are cooked. They are amazing cooked on a BBQ (the UK kind, not the low and slow, US kind). The cooking time is quite similar on a hot BBQ. They probably will need turning around and moving around the grill more than in this recipe.
If you don’t have a grill, the skewers can also be cooked in the oven. I would recommend the highest heat possible and for them to be cooked on a rack. Low and slow will result in dry skewers with no charring.
Make it Vegetarian or Vegan
The chicken will have to go. But satay sauce is vegan. So choosing a vegetarian or vegan friendly meat substitute will still result in gloriously flavoured skewers. Quorn, seitan or tofu are all options. I would tend to press and fry tofu before marinating and grilling in the sauce.
Satay skewers can also be made with vegetables. Mushrooms, courgettes, or aubergines would all be good options. You could use a variety of vegetables but I would be inclined to not mix and match.
Make each skewer the same vegetable. This will ensure that each skewer cooks evenly. There is nothing worse than a mixed kebab with burnt onion, underdone courgette and a couple of mushrooms on the floor of the oven!
But! The best vegetarian or vegan option is obviously to just jump straight to my Satay Sprouts recipe. The sweet and spicy sauce offset the earthy bitterness of the Brussels Sprouts in the most amazing way.
Make it Allergy Friendly
Assuming that you use my Satay Sauce recipe, these Chicken skewers are gluten, egg and dairy free.
Nut Free: Follow the alternative suggestions given in my sauce recipe.
Please note that this recipe may contain other allergens not referred to above. For more information regarding any dietary information provided on this website, please refer to my Nutritional Disclaimer.
Equipment Notes for Chicken Satay Skewers
I am a huge fan of using scissors to cut things like bacon and chicken. It is much quicker than using a knife and easier to control the cuts. You can use a knife if you are more comfortable with that.
I used one of my lidded Pyrex dishes to marinate the chicken. I try to avoid using plastic when making this recipe as the satay sauce can easily stain plastic mixing bowls etc. Glass won’t stain.
Using small wooden skewers feels traditional. The exposed ends will blacken unless you soak them in water for several hours beforehand. I am not this organised so I just deal with blackened skewers. The other alternative is to use short metal skewers.
A comprehensive list of the equipment used to make this recipe is included in the main recipe card below. Click on any item to see an example. There are no hard and fast rules so many items can be sensibly substituted to achieve the same results.
The chicken is best marinated for up to 24 hours. You really should therefore start this recipe ahead of time! I’ve specified that the chicken is marinated then put onto the skewers once it has marinated.
This will allow the sauce to marinate the chicken all over and fully. But, if your timeline requires it, you can given the chicken a good mix in the sauce and then skewer it. You can then leave the skewers to marinade. What I don’t suggest that you do is skewer the chicken then add the sauce as it will not permeate as well as it should.
The chicken can be frozen once it has been marinated or cooked. If frozen fully cooked, the skewers can be eaten as soon as they are fully thawed or reheated in the microwave or oven.
I’ve included this recipe in my roundup of hot recipes which are ideal to meal prep and then reheat at the office for lunch.
The collection also includes ideas from other top food bloggers as well as advice about how to store, transport and reheat the meals.
Leftover Chicken Satay Skewers
The chances of any leftovers making it through a whole day in the fridge is slim. That’s certainly the case in my house!
There are many options and ways to use leftover satay chicken. It is perfect added to a salad or wrap (remove the skewers first!). Throw the chicken into a stir fry (perhaps with a little of the leftover sauce) or even use the skewers to top a version of my Korean Ramen.
As I’ve mentioned above, the cooked skewers can also be frozen or will last a couple of days covered in the fridge.
Chicken Satay Skewer Tips
If there are longer thinner pieces of chicken, skewer them in an ‘S’ shape so there are not stringy bits of chicken flying off the skewer as these may catch and burn.
Try to keep the skewers fairly tight but not so much so that the chicken isn’t given the opportunity to cook through. 12 short skewers for 500g chicken is about the right density.
This recipe is best if the chicken is given at least 2 hours to marinate. but if you are not that organised, 15 minutes will still give you nice tasty skewers, especially as the marinade will be cooked onto the chicken too.
Don’t forget to let me know in the comments if you try making this recipe – I want to know what you think and if you made any substitutions, how did it turn out?
More Coconut Milk Recipes
For more great recipes featuring coconut milk, check out my post featuring the Best Coconut Milk Recipes from top food bloggers and this site.
There are soups, curries, sauces, chocolate tarts, ice creams and even scones to try.
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More Chicken Recipes
Chicken Satay Skewers
- 500 g Chicken Thigh Fillets – boneless, skinless
- 400 ml Satay Sauce
- 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut 500g Chicken Thigh Fillets into inch cubes. The nature and shape of chicken thigh fillets means that you won’t be able to achieve neat cubes but try to make the pieces relatively evenly sized.
- Stir 150ml Satay Sauce into the chicken cubes and leave in the fridge to marinate for anything from 2 to 24 hours.
- Line a grill tray with foil. Grease the foil with roughly 1 tbsp Vegetable Oil.
- Preheat the grill to high.
- Slide the chicken cubes onto short skewers. Try not to leave too much of the skewer showing, just enough to pick them up. Lay each skewer on the oiled tray.
- Repeat until all of the chicken is used up – about 12 skewers.
- Pop the try under the grill for 7 minutes.
- Remove the tray and turn all of the skewers over. Grill for a further 7 minutes.
- Serve with the remaining 250ml Satay Sauce as a dipping sauce.