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Published December 29, 2021. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.
This delicious easy-to-make grilled chicken satay recipe is jam-packed with flavor is the perfect appetizer to serve up to your guests. Try dipping these satays in my tasty peanut sauce.
Making some show-stopping appetizers can often be difficult, especially if you’re trying to impress your friends, family, and guests. Keep it simple, but elegant, and try my shrimp cocktail or Maryland crab cakes.
Many countries in the Orient have their version of satay. It is commonly made with pork, however, using chicken has become incredibly popular in the last few decades especially in the United States. The marinade for this chicken satay can be used in other proteins such as beef or pork.
My version of chicken satay most resembles the Indonesian style with its use of sweetened soy sauce (kecap manis) and dry spices. There are other ingredients you can use in this recipe to customize it and make it your own.
Chicken Satay Ingredients
- Chicken – Thigh meat is commonly used, but you can use breast meat or a combo of both.
- Oil – I like to use peanut oil, but any neutral flavored oil will do.
- Coriander – You can use ground or whole seeds.
- Lime – Use fresh squeezed lime juice.
- Sugar – Use palm sugar if you can get it and if not, light brown sugar will do.
- Turmeric – Ground or fresh turmeric is perfect.
- Garlic – Use whole cloves for this recipe.
- Soy Sauce – Any good soy or tamari will work.
- Cumin – Either ground or seeds are perfect.
- Shallot – A whole peeled shallot will work, if not a very small peeled red onion.
- Sweet Soy Sauce – Also known as kecap manis, but if you cannot find this, simply quadruple the amount of soy sauce and sugar for this recipe.
- Peppers – Any seeded spicy pepper. I prefer a red finger, Fresno, or red jalapeño.
- Ginger – Use a chunk of peeled fresh ginger.
How to Make Chicken Satay
Follow along with these easy-to-follow instructions to make grilled chicken satay:
Process together all the marinade ingredients until smooth.
Pour the marinade over the large, diced chicken in a bowl and mix until well combined.
Marinate covered in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
When you are ready to start cooking, pre-heat the grill to high heat and soak wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes.
Skewer the chicken meat leaving about 3” of the skewer exposed so it is easy to hold and eat.
Add the chicken skewers to the grill about 1” apart from another and cook for 3-4 minutes per side.
Remove from the grill, garnish with optional fresh chopped cilantro, and serve next to the peanut sauce.
Make-Ahead and Storage
Make-Ahead: These are meant to be eaten as soon as they are done cooking. You can cover with foil and keep them in the oven at very low temperatures (200°) for up to 1 hour.
How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
How to Reheat: Place in a pan and cover with a lid or foil and heat in the oven at 350° for 6-8 minutes or until warmed. You can microwave until warmed as well.
chef notes + tips
- If you do not have a grill, cook in a grill pan, or pan with a small amount of oil over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes per side or until browned and cooked through.
- Feel free to use metal skewers.
- Be careful when grilling because the soy sauce in the marinade can cause the chicken to burn and it can happen rather quickly. If need be, turn the heat down to medium on the grill.
- If you do not have sweet soy sauce quadruple the amount of sugar and soy sauce used.
More Chicken Recipes
Easy Chicken Satay Recipe
- 1 peeled shallot
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons palm or brown sugar
- 1 seeded red finger, Fresno, or jalapeño pepper
- 1 ” piece peeled fresh ginger
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup sweet soy sauce, kecap manis
- 3 pounds dark and/or white chicken meat cut into ½” pieces
- 1/2 recipe for peanut sauce
- Add everything except for the chicken to a food processor or a blender and process or blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Prepare the chicken removing and skin or bones and cut into small ½” pieces and add to a large bowl.
- Add the marinade onto the chicken and optionally season with salt and pepper. Mix everything together completely. Cover and keep in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours.
- When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to high heat (450° to 550°) and soak some wooden skewers in water for 20 minutes so they do not catch on fire while grilling.
- Next, skewer the chicken leaving about 3” at the bottom of the skewer to make it easy to hold and eat. I got 12 8” skewers.
- Place the chicken on the grill and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until browned and cooked throughout.
- Optionally garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and serve with peanut sauce.