Peanut Butter Chicken is a rich, creamy, and mildly spicy recipe the whole family will love! Each piece of chicken is seared to perfection, then coated in a thick peanut sauce and served atop fluffy rice. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it’s ready in under 30 minutes!
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Adaptable: This recipe is ideal for a weeknight dinner, but it’s impressive enough for entertaining guests.
- Great for leftovers: The flavors intensify overnight, so leftovers are great the next day for quick and easy lunches or dinners.
- Rich in protein: This recipe is high in protein and healthy fats, making it a great addition to your weekly rotation.
No-fuss peanut butter chicken
This peanut butter chicken recipe is a unique flavor combination that will absolutely impress anyone who tries it! Seared chicken thighs are covered in a warm, rich, and creamy peanut butter sauce infused with a hint of spice.
With only 10 minutes of prep and 15 minutes of cooking time, you can make this dish after long, busy days when you want something quick and delicious. The reason I love this recipe so much is that it’s incredibly versatile!
It can be enjoyed as comfort food because of how rich it is, but it can also be dressed up as an elegant meal to serve dinner guests. Serve it alongside rice, sautéed vegetables, or even noodles for a dish you’ll want to make over and over again.
Ingredients & substitutions
- Tomato: Adds a refreshing tanginess to the sauce. Use any variety you have on hand.
- Fresno pepper: Imparts a mild heat to the sauce. If Fresno peppers are unavailable, red jalapeños or pepper flakes are great substitutes to bring in some heat.
- Peanut butter: Gives the sauce its rich and nutty base. Make sure to use creamy peanut butter for the best results.
- Brown sugar: Sweetens the sauce while adding rich, molasses notes. You can use light or dark brown sugar, or try coconut sugar for a similar flavor profile.
- Soy sauce: Provides a necessary savory, umami element to balance the richness of the peanut butter. For a gluten-free option, use tamari or liquid aminos.
- Chicken broth: To thin the sauce while adding depth. You can also use vegetable broth or water if you prefer.
- Lime juice: Adds a bright zesty punch of flavor. Rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar will also work if you don’t have access to limes.
- Chicken thighs: I use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this recipe since they’re juicy and flavorful, perfect for absorbing the sauce. You can also use chicken breasts but remember to reduce the cooking time.
- Kosher salt: To season the chicken and infuse flavor. You can also use coarse sea salt.
- Olive oil: Used for sautéing the chicken and veggies, imparting a slight richness. Avocado oil is another good option since it has a high smoke point.
- Onion: Provides a subtle sweetness and an aromatic base. Use white or yellow onion.
- Garlic: For that fragrant punch. I recommend fresh garlic here, but garlic powder will work in a pinch.
- Ginger paste: To add warmth and zest. Alternatively, you can use freshly grated ginger.
How to make peanut butter chicken
- Prepare the sauce: Combine the peanut butter sauce ingredients in a medium bowl, making sure the consistency is smooth and creamy.
- Season the chicken: Chop the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and season them generously with kosher salt.
- Sear the chicken: In a skillet, warm the olive oil and sear the chicken for a couple of minutes on each side to achieve a light golden hue. Remove the chicken from the pan.
- Sauté the veggies: Using the same skillet, sauté the onions in more olive oil until they’re translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, cooking briefly to release their aromas.
- Assemble the elements: Incorporate the peanut butter sauce and chicken back into the skillet, allowing the flavors to meld as they simmer. Serve this peanut butter chicken warm with your favorite garnishes and sides!
I love to top my peanut butter chicken with garnishes like roasted peanuts, cilantro, and an extra squeeze of lime. And for a full meal, try pairing it with some of these sides:
- Fluffy jasmine or basmati rice
- Spicy cucumber salad
- Crisp stir-fried vegetables
- Blistered shishito peppers
- Asian cabbage slaw
- Raw carrot salad
Frequently asked questions
This recipe is not gluten-free as written since it contains soy sauce. However, you can easily swap soy sauce for tamari or liquid aminos to make a gluten-free peanut butter chicken recipe.
The peanut sauce should coat the back of a spoon, but it can be thinned with a bit more broth if needed. Ultimately, it’s a personal preference.
Storage & reheating
Keep your peanut butter chicken fresh for longer by following these simple storage tips:
- Fridge: Once cooled, you can store leftover peanut butter chicken in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days.
- Freezer: For longer storage, you can freeze leftovers for up to a month in freezer-safe bags or an airtight container. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
- Reheating: To reheat, add the chicken to a saucepan with a bit of oil, adding broth if necessary to thin out the sauce. Alternatively, you can heat the chicken in the microwave in 30-second increments, stirring in between.
- Nut butter: Swap the peanut butter for cashew or almond butter instead.
- Sweet: Balance the spice with more brown sugar or a dash of maple syrup or honey.
- Thai-inspired: Mix in coconut milk for a creamier texture.
- Zoodles: For a lower-carb option, serve your peanut butter chicken over zucchini noodles instead of rice.
- Perfect sear: Wait until the skillet is very hot before adding chicken for the best sear.
- Consistent stir: To prevent the sauce from sticking or burning, stir it frequently.
- Thawing: If your chicken is frozen, let it thaw in the fridge overnight. If it’s cold, bring it to room temperature for about 30 minutes before slicing and cooking.
- Nut roast: For added flavor, lightly roast the peanuts before garnishing.
Looking for more chicken recipes?
If you enjoyed this peanut butter chicken recipe, take a look at more of these mouthwatering chicken recipes:
If you try this Peanut Butter Chicken recipe, let me know what you think! Rate and review this recipe in the comments below. Don’t forget to take a picture and tag me on Instagram @lenaskitchenblog!
30-Minute Peanut Butter Chicken
Peanut butter sauce
- In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the peanut butter sauce, stir until smooth and combined. Set sauce aside.
- Cut chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. Season pieces with kosher salt and toss to combine.
- In large skillet, heat 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken once th pan is hot and cook 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil, then the onions to the same skillet. Cook until onions are translucent on medium heat (about 5 minutes), stir often to prevent burning.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the skillet. Cook approximately 1 minute on medium heat, stirring to prevent burning.
- Gently add the peanut butter sauce to the skillet, then the chicken, stir to coat the chicken. Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Remove from heat, serve the chicken with rice. Garnish with chopped peanuts, cilantro and additional fresno pepper slices if desired and serve.