Creamy coconut milk chicken with fresh lime juice, cilantro, and red pepper flakes. Your taste buds are in for a treat!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.
Coconut Lime Chicken
The best type of meals are sometimes the easiest type of meals that require minimal ingredients and little prep time.
This coconut milk chicken is made with chicken breast that is simmered in the most delicious creamy coconut milk sauce with fresh lime juice, cilantro, and red pepper flakes.
The sweetness of coconut milk combined with freshness of lime juice and spiciness of pepper flakes is seriously one of best flavor combinations. Best way to serve it is over hot cooked rice.
Coconut milk is the star of this creamy cilantro lime chicken. It adds creamy richness, nutty, and slightly sweet flavor.
It also thickens naturally so you don’t need any additional thickening agents. Here are few tips when buying coconut milk.
Canned – there are many varieties of coconut milk, such as canned, boxed, refrigerated, and even powdered. Look for canned coconut milk, usually found in the Asian aisle of the grocery store.
Unsweetened – be sure you’re buying unsweetened coconut milk. It’s naturally sweet, whereas sweetened condensed coconut milk and cream of coconut both contain added sugar and are often found near the coconut milk.
Full-Fat – for best results, use full-fat coconut milk. Lite coconut milk has less fat than regular coconut milk and tends to be more watery looking in the can. Plus you want the richness of full-fat coconut milk.
Shake the Can – when you crack open a can, there’s often a layer of the solid white stuff at the top, which is what’s known as “coconut cream.” Before opening the can, vigorously shake it to combine the cream and the liquid together.
Favorite Brand – I love Thai Organic Unsweetened Coconut Milk, which is fairly available at most grocery stores. It only has three ingredients and tastes and looks the best.
I also love the brand Nature’s Promise, which is a Giant grocery store label. You can also make your own coconut milk with only 2-ingredients!
How to Make Coconut Chicken
Step 1: First prep the chicken by slicing each breast in half lengthwise. Place each cutlet between plastic wrap and pound until no more than 1/4-inch thick. Season all over with salt and pepper, to taste.
Step 2: Heat a large sauté pan, preferably a cast-iron or a stainless steel pan over medium/high heat. Add butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When butter is melted and hot, add chicken and sauté until lightly golden, about 1-2 minutes per side.
You want the chicken lightly seared on the outside but still raw on the inside. Remove the chicken to a plate.
Step 3: To the same pan, add the remaining olive oil, white parts of the green onion and garlic. Cook just until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Make sure to keep an eye on it as the garlic burns easily.
Stir in chicken stock, lime juice and zest, honey, and red pepper flakes. Simmer until the mixture is reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes while scraping to loosen brown bits from the bottom of the pan. You want the mixture at a simmer and not boil, so if needed, reduce the heat at this point.
Step 4: Stir in coconut milk and season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until reduced and thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
Step 5: Return the chicken to the pan and cook until completely cooked through. It should take no more than 4-5 minutes. Make sure not to overcook the chicken or it will be tough.
Step 6: Lastly, stir in the green parts of the green onion and cilantro. Serve over hot cooked rice.
How to Cook Chicken with Coconut Oil
You can easily make this coconut milk chicken recipe completely dairy-free by simply swapping out the butter for the coconut oil. Use unrefined or virgin coconut oil. It’s going to be the least processed.
In step 2, where the recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of butter, simply use 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Heat it over medium/high heat with olive oil and proceed with the recipe as directed.
Coconut Milk Recipes
- Coconut Milk Shrimp – newest recipe on Little Broken!
- Coconut Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Mango Salsa – must for summer grill out!
- Cilantro Lime Coconut Rice – pairs so well with grilled chicken or seafood
- Easy Chicken Vegetable Curry – easy and quick one-pan meal
If you make this Coconut Milk Chicken, don’t forget to leave feedback and a rating.Print
Creamy cilantro lime chicken with coconut milk, fresh lime juice, cilantro, and red pepper flakes. Your taste buds are in for a treat!
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. butter*
- 2 green onions, green and whites sliced + separated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
- Zest of 1 lime
- 2 Tbsp. honey
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1 (14 oz.) can unsweetened coconut milk, full fat
- 2–3 Tbsp. fresh chopped cilantro
- Kosher salt and fresh black pepper
- Slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise and pound each cutlet between plastic wrap until no more than 1/4″ thick. Season each cutlet all over with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large heavy-duty sauté pan over medium-high heat, preferably a cast-iron or a stainless steel pan. Melt butter with 1 Tablespoon of oil. When hot, add chicken cutlets and sauté until lightly golden, about 1-2 minutes per side. You want the chicken just lightly seared on the outside and not cooked through. Transfer to a plate.
- To the same pan, add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and cook the white parts of the green onions and garlic until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Make sure not to burn the garlic.
- Stir in chicken stock, lime juice, lime zest, honey, and red pepper flakes. Simmer until reduced by half, about 3-4 minutes, while stirring and scraping to loosen browned bits from the bottom of the pan. If needed, reduce the heat so the mixture is at a simmer and not a boil.
- Stir in coconut milk and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer until reduced and thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
- Return the chicken to pan and cook until the chicken is cooked through, approximately 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in green parts of green onions and cilantro.
- To make it dairy-free, use coconut oil in place of butter.
Keywords: dairy free, quick, easy, chicken breast, summer
This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission if you purchase through those links. As always, these are products that I currently use or something that I highly recommend. Thank you for your support!