Chicken Satay Skewers

You can serve these chicken satay skewers as an appetizer for 6 to 8 people, or as an entrée with steamed rice for 4 people. Either way, make sure to serve them with the peanut sauce and some cucumber slices.

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chicken satay skewers on a green platter with lime wedges, hot peppers and peanut sauce.

What are Chicken Satay Skewers?

Chicken satay is a southeast Asian preparation of chicken where the meat is seasoned, skewered and then traditionally grilled. It is always served with a sauce to dip into and both are delicious! Although satay is traditionally grilled, there are other ways to cook the skewered chicken and this recipe gives you lots of options.

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Ingredients on a table - coconut milk, fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, spices, ginger and garlic.

Satay Marinade

There are as many different marinades for satay as there are cooks making the dish, but this particular marinade really helps to not only season the meat but tenderize it as well. Coconut milk is key here. Not only does it add moisture to the chicken, it also helps all the other flavors adhere to the meat. Those other flavors are garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin and coriander. The brown sugar sweetens the deal and the fish and soy sauces add the salt. 

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Chicken strips marinating in a blue baking pan on a wooden table with a pair of tongs next to it.

How Long to Marinate?

You can marinate the chicken for up to 8 hours, but I’ve found that 2 hours is plenty. In that amount of time, marinating in the refrigerator, the strips of chicken take on all the flavor you need and are so very very tender when cooked. 

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skewered chicken slices on an air fryer basket on a wooden table with a blue and white striped towel.

How to Cook Chicken Satay Skewers?

It’s true. Satay is traditionally grilled, but we can’t always grill (some of us don’t have grills or sometimes there are a few feet of snow between the kitchen and the grill). Good news is that you can use other appliances to do the job. Broiling is just grilling upside down after all, and air-frying really can replicate a grilled effect well. Check out the recipe below to see cooking instructions for your stovetop, oven, grill or even your air fryer!

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Cooked chicken satay skewers on an air fryer basket with a blue and white striped towel.

How Long to Cook Chicken Satay

How long you cook the chicken depends on two things – how thickly you’ve sliced your chicken breast and how hot your chosen cooking method is. I like the chicken strips to be at least ½-inch thick so you can notice how tender they are. If you’re cooking on an outdoor grill, just a few minutes per side is ample. In your air fryer at 400ºF, I cook them for 10 minutes or so just to get a little brown on the edges. Use the recipe times as a guide and then give or take a minute or two based on how thick or thin your chicken strips are.

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chicken satay skewers on a green platter with lime wedges, hot peppers and peanut sauce.

Dipping Sauce for Chicken Satay Skewers

My favorite dip for chicken satay (and possibly my reason for making satay at all) is peanut sauce. It’s easy to make and is oh so tasty. You can customize your sauce by thinning it with water to the consistency that you like, or adding a little hoisin sauce to give it a sweeter flavor. Both are delicious.

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Chicken Satay Skewers

  • Prep Time: 15 m
  • Cook Time: 14 m
  • Marinating Time: 2 h
  • Total Time: 2 h 27 m
  • Servings:
    4

Ingredients

  • 10 to 12 12-inch Bamboo Skewers
  • 2 pounds chicken breast
  • cup coconut milk
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • pinch crushed red pepper flakes
For Serving:
  • peanut dipping sauce – See Recipe
  • sliced cucumber
  • lime wedges
  • Thai basil basil or mint leaves

Instructions

  1. Soak the bamboo skewers in water for two hours so they do not splinter or burn while cooking.
  2. Slice the chicken breast into lengthwise strips, about ½-inch thick.
  3. Combine the coconut milk, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, cumin, coriander, turmeric, brown sugar, and crushed red pepper flakes. Add chicken strips and toss to evenly coat the chicken with the marinade. Refrigerate and marinate for 6 to 8 hours.

  4. Thread the chicken strips, like an accordion, onto the pre-soaked skewers. You can leave one piece of chicken on a skewer or double up and use two pieces of chicken per skewer.
  5. Cook the chicken in one of the following ways:
  6. a. Grill – Pre-heat an outdoor grill or indoor grill pan and oil the grates lightly. Grill for 4 minutes on each side.

  7. b. Broil – Place the chicken satay under the broiler for 4 minutes on each side.

  8. c. Pan Fry – Pre-heat a 12-inch pan or griddle over medium high heat and add a glug of peanut or vegetable oil. Pan-fry the chicken satay for 3 to 5 minutes on each side.

  9. d. Air-fry – Pre-heat the air fryer to 400°F. Air fry for 10 to 12 minutes, turning over halfway through the cooking process.

  10. Transfer the cooked chicken to serving platter. Garnish with cucumber slices, lime wedges, torn basil or mint leaves and serve the chicken satay with peanut dipping sauce.
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