Grilled Chicken Skewers

These chicken skewers are magnificently easy to toss on the grill for a quick dinner. The distinct Thai taste comes from a simple marinade of coconut milk, fish sauce, cilantro, and curry.

Seven grilled chicken skewers with red onion, coconut milk, and cilantro on a wooden board

Chicken skewers come in all sizes and shapes. These chicken skewers are easy as can be, require just a handful of ingredients, and take on a lovely Thai lilt thanks to coconut milk, which lends the chicken sweetness and tenderness without leaving it overwhelmingly coconutty, and fish sauce, which lends the chicken just the right complexity. Originally published July 16, 2016.Renee Schettler Rossi

How to Use Up Leftover Coconut Milk

You’re going to be left with a little extra coconut milk in the can after making the marinade for these chicken skewers. Not that you asked, but if you want our advice, consider tossing together some coconut rice as a subtly sweet side that goes perfectly with the slightly pungent and peppery chicken. Simply cook rice as you usually would, substituting the coconut milk for an equal amount of water. Watch and stir the rice frequently as the natural sugars in the coconut could cause it to scorch more easily than usual. And don’t forget a pinch of salt.

Chicken Skewers

  • Quick Glance
  • (3)
  • 25 M
  • 25 M
  • Serves 6
5/5 - 3 reviews
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Special Equipment: 6 to 12 skewers (metal or wood)



In a resealable plastic bag or baking dish, mix together the coconut milk, fish sauce, garlic, cilantro, curry powder, and pepper. (Or, if you prefer to save yourself the chopping by hand, simply toss everything into a food processor or blender and pulse prior to pouring it into the bag or baking dish.)

Pat the chicken breasts dry. Place them on a cutting board and, working with 1 chicken breast at a time, hold a sharp knife parallel to the cutting board and cut all the way through each to create two skinny chicken cutlets. Then cut the chicken into bite-size pieces or long strips. Place the chicken in the marinade and squish the bag or turn the pieces in the baking dish to coat. Seal the bag or cover the baking dish and refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours. (If you’re in a hurry, you can marinate the chicken for less time, although the flavor will be quite faint.)

If using wooden skewers, soak them in water at least 1 hour before grilling. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over medium-high heat.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and thread the it on the skewers.

Place the chicken skewers on the grill directly over the heat. Cook, turning frequently to char all sides, until the chicken is cooked through, 6 to 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken. Pile the skewers on a platter or, if desired, use a knife to slide the chicken off the skewers and onto individual plates. Sprinkle with additional cilantro and thinly sliced red onion. Serve immediately.  

Print RecipeBuy the The Total Grilling Manual cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

These chicken skewers are very juicy and the flavors are wonderful.

I am one of those people who gave up chicken breasts years ago for chicken thighs after too many disappointing recipes which produced dried-out chicken. The marinade takes about 5 minutes to throw together. I marinated my chicken for 3 hours. Two pounds of chicken breasts gave me 5 long metal skewers full of meat.

Do yourself a favor. Save the rest of the can of coconut milk and make coconut rice to go with the chicken. This was a fabulous meal which we enjoyed with grilled summer squash and a medium-bodied Pinot Noir.

These skewers are unbelievably easy to prepare and just as delicious. The chicken was soooo tender and very flavorful.

My grill was nicely heated to a toasty 600°F. I placed the skewers directly in the grill and rotated the skewers about every 2 minutes for 8 1/2 minutes total grill time. I made these on a hot summer day along with corn on the cob and a nice salad. I served the chicken on the skewers.

My suggestions: Omit the cilantro in the marinade and perhaps sprinkle it on the chicken skewers before serving; Although the marinade is delicious as-is, I would reserve about 1/2 cup before adding the chicken, cook it down to thicken it a bit, and then add a teaspoon peanut butter and a pinch of red pepper flakes to make a wonderful dipping sauce. And this makes a lot of marinade for 2 pounds of chicken, so I strongly suggest maybe using 4 pounds of chicken as it's too delicious for just 3 skewers per person!


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  1. Hi, Is there a big taste difference using thighs instead of breasts? This really looks delicious but I only. have thighs at the moment! Thanks!

      1. Thanks David! I really love your recipes…they always turn out perfect and delicious! 🙂 I usually don’t change a thing about them!

  2. What? No fish skewers in this slideshow? Chicken is soooo overused! Here’s a good fish one that is Alaskan all the way: Catch yourself a fish. Cut out it’s backbone but leave the skin attached. You now have an “open fish book”, Take two hardwood sticks, like Birch or Alder and thread the pages two times. One in, one out. Stick the sticks in the ground or make a contraption to hold the fish in the smoke of your fire. High up, so it cooks slowly in the smoke. Eat with your fingers, with whatever berries are nearby…

    Tra-La! Alaskan Fish Skewers!

  3. Can healthy also taste good? Oh yes! We really enjoyed these chicken skewers. I served these delectable gems with a Thai peanut sauce for dipping, coconut jasmine rice, and grilled pineapple. It was quick and easy and loaded with flavor. I let it marinate for 4 hours which, in my opinion, was needed to fully infuse the chicken. The fish sauce really took the flavor over the top. I did have a few reservations about cutting the chicken into bite-size pieces as some of them were quite small, but once threaded onto the skewers they seemed to work fine, albeit some of the small pieces were a bit overdone. Next time I make this I may use thin strips of the chicken breast and thread them on the skewers for more even cooking. These are wonderful, flavorful, and I cannot wait to make them again soon.

  4. Delicious! Used 2 pounds thighs and only had time to marinate for 2 hours. Plenty of flavor, but a longer time would have been even better. Served with basmati rice tossed with cilantro and Thai green curry with bok choy.

    1. Magnificent, Bianca! So happy to hear you love these as much as we do! Yes, even a short marinade imparts some flavor, but wait’ll you try it next time with a longer bath in the marinade… Thanks so much for taking the time to write us. We greatly appreciate it and look forward to hearing which recipe on the site you try next!

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