Citrus Soy Chicken Skewers

Citrus soy chicken skewers take an hour to prepare but taste as though they’ve taken a lot longer. Peanut butter steps in to do the heavy lifting, while juicy chicken thighs remain juicy and full of flavor. Zesty, a little spicy, and covered with garlic and soy, what’s not to love?

Citrus soy chicken skewers on a plate of lettuce, with a bowl of peanut dipping sauce.

Adapted from Carrie Morey | Hot Little Suppers | Harper Horizon, 2021

To save time on weeknights, this peanut sauce skips the traditional steps of roasting and crushing the peanuts and uses peanut butter instead. You don’t really need a side for this dish because with all the accouterments for toppings, it makes a full plate. Still, I never make enough of it—my children always want more.–Carrie Morey

Citrus Soy Chicken Skewers FAQs

Why do I have to presoak the wooden skewers?

Wooden and bamboo skewers burn easily, especially over a hot grill. By soaking them, it prevents them from catching fire.

What can I do with extra peanut sauce?

This recipe may make more peanut sauce than you need for one meal, but that just means more opportunity!  Toss with hot soba noodles or linguine, serve with steamed broccoli, or drizzle it over deep-fried tofu.

At what temperature is it safe to serve and eat chicken?

The magic number is 165°F/71°C. At that temperature, any bacteria are killed. It’s also the same for all pountry.

Citrus Soy Chicken Skewers

Citrus soy chicken skewers on a plate of lettuce, with a bowl of peanut dipping sauce.
This is a great way to use one of my favorite go-to meats: boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They cook quickly and have a little fat on them, so they get a great charred texture from the grill, but feel free to substitute boneless skinless breasts instead.
Carrie Morey

Prep 20 mins
Cook 10 mins
Total 1 hr
Entree
American
3 to 4 servings
594 kcal
No ratings yet
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Equipment

  • Metal or pre-soaked wooden skewers

Ingredients 

For the citrus soy chicken skewers

  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic, from 3 to 4 large cloves
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, from a 1- to 2-inch (2.5- to 5-cm) knob of ginger peeled
  • 1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime (about 1 teaspoon zest and 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons juice) preferably organic
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • Mild vegetable oil for the grill

For the peanut sauce

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 5 (about 3 1/2 oz |100 g) 1-inch (25-mm) chunks fresh pineapple
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 1 (1 to 2 tablespoons) shallot finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger, from a 1- to 2-inch (2.5- to 5-cm) knob of ginger peeled
  • 1 teaspoon store-bought or homemade chile garlic sauce
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime (about 1 teaspoon zest and 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons juice) preferably organic

For serving (optional)

  • Cooked rice or butter lettuce
  • Chopped roasted peanuts
  • Chopped scallions
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Chopped fresh basil
  • Chopped fresh mint
  • Minced red onion

Directions
 

Make the citrus soy chicken skewers

  • In a large resealable plastic bag, combine garlic, ginger, lemongrass, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime zest, and lime juice.
  • Cut the chicken into strips or cubes, about 3/4 inch (2 cm) wide. Don’t worry if some of the pieces are irregular in size. Add the chicken to the bag and massage to thoroughly coat. Refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes, turning every 15 minutes.

Make the peanut sauce

  • While the chicken marinates, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, combine peanut butter, pineapple, soy sauce, water, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, shallot, ginger, chile garlic sauce, lime zest, and lime juice. Pulse until combined and smooth.
  • Preheat a grill to 450°F (232°C). Carefully rub the grill grates with a paper towel soaked in vegetable oil. Alternatively, preheat a grill pan on the stovetop until very hot.
  • Once the chicken finishes marinating, thread pieces onto skewers. Grill until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F (74°C), 4 to 5 minutes per side.

To serve

  • Arrange skewers over rice or lettuce and top with chopped peanuts, scallions, cilantro, basil, mint, and red onion, as desired. Drizzle with peanut sauce and serve. (Alternatively, put the toppings and peanut sauce in separate small bowls for passing.)
Print RecipeBuy the Hot Little Suppers cookbook

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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1servingCalories: 594kcal (30%)Carbohydrates: 26g (9%)Protein: 57g (114%)Fat: 31g (48%)Saturated Fat: 7g (44%)Polyunsaturated Fat: 8gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 216mg (72%)Sodium: 2047mg (89%)Potassium: 1056mg (30%)Fiber: 5g (21%)Sugar: 11g (12%)Vitamin A: 99IU (2%)Vitamin C: 31mg (38%)Calcium: 78mg (8%)Iron: 4mg (22%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These citrus soy chicken skewers and peanut sauce were tasty.  I can see why these would be good for children as indicated in the headnote because they weren’t too spicy and neither was the sauce. Using the pineapple in the sauce was brilliant as it gave a nice sweetness with the flavour of the pineapple without being overpowering.

I’ve made chicken skewers with peanut sauce for years but never with thigh meat and always using coconut milk in my peanut sauce so the pineapple was a nice change. Even though the thighs give a good flavour, it wasn’t the easiest to skewer. I used 5 large free-range chicken thighs but once I started slicing them into strips some just ended up as small chunks due to the irregular shape of my thighs. 

I prefer breasts as you can get the perfect uniform strip. I did find the marinade to be a tiny bit salty even though I used low sodium soy sauce so I did serve the skewers with lime wedges. I would make this again but would add finely diced red chiles or some Sriracha to my peanut sauce just to give it a bit of a kick.

These citrus soy chicken skewers were a quick and yummy dinner choice. Full of flavor without having to marinate for hours. It is also super kid-friendly. I’d definitely make it again, however, I might tweak it a little.

If I used thighs again I wouldn’t skewer them, I’d just grill whole skinless boneless thighs. They are difficult to cut in uniform pieces so although some of my pieces were 1 inch thick and a few inches long, some were 1/2 in thick and a couple of inches long. It didn’t seem to make much difference in cooking they were just a little weird to skewer. If I wanted to use the skewers I might try it with breasts instead.

This dish is packed with delicious flavors! The peanut sauce is to die for–my daughter and I kept dipping into it just on its own; the recipe made quite a bit so I boiled some angel hair pasta and used part of the sauce to make a pasta salad. I was able to use the same toppings: peanuts, cilantro, and green onion for both the chicken and the pasta. We love chili crunch so we dotted the whole meal with that as well. I also served it with broccoli slaw.

I may either cut the meat into chunks next time for ease of preparation or use chicken breast which is easier to cut into uniform strips. I loved the appearance, aroma, and taste of all the components–definitely a keeper!

The citrus soy chicken skewers were delicious, even though I used chicken breast, the chicken was flavorful and moist. It was a nice meal with rice and steamed broccoli.

This recipe includes some big delicious flavors–I really enjoyed using lemongrass, it has such a unique flavor and is easy to find and use. I was pleasantly surprised at how little marinade time was needed for very flavorful chicken. I made the marinade and peanut sauce ahead of time, so the recipe was convenient and flexible. The chile garlic paste added a wonderful boom to the peanut sauce!

Because this recipe is easy to make in steps and ahead of time, if I make this again, I may make smaller skewers and serve as an appetizer.

These citrus soy chicken skewers would be good on their own, but when you add the tangy peanut sauce, it makes the dish great. Plus, it was super easy to pull together. I liked that the marinating was for 30 to 60 minutes with flexibility. Too many times I’ve wanted to do a recipe only to find you’re supposed to marinate the meat overnight. Not here. I got a late start and still had the dish on the table ready to eat in just over an hour.

I served the dish with rice (a stroke of genius because rice was a perfect vehicle for the extra sauce!) and still needed a side dish. We had four people and four chicken thighs. You could easily double this recipe, though, and make it work without sides. That’s actually not a bad idea. I definitely wanted more!

We thoroughly enjoyed the results of this citrus soy chicken skewers recipe. It was very easy to make, and all of the ingredients worked together to make a nice marinade and a complex peanut sauce. With the exception of the lemongrass, we happen to always have all of these ingredients in the house, so this can be made fairly quickly, and easily, especially since our corner store always has lemongrass in stock.

We had fresh shrimp spring rolls to start our meal, which the peanut sauce went beautifully with. I served the chicken with coconut rice and white corn on the cob. Everything worked together to make for the kind of meal you want to figure out how to make again sometime soon.

Wow, this is so full of flavour! Though it looks like a long list of ingredients, you can prepare both components (chicken and sauce) in advance so once you sit down to dinner your dishes will be done and all you have to do is enjoy! The peanut sauce is brilliantly made with peanut butter in a food processor (no mess, no fuss) but it does make a lot (more than you might need).

Next time I make this, I’ll do a double batch of the chicken to have leftovers. We served this on rice with finely sliced lettuce, cucumber, and peppers, some mint and cilantro with roasted crushed peanuts as kind of a “bowl meal”.

I love new ways to grill chicken (this would have been successful under the broiler as well), and this has lots of good flavors. A good summer dish.

Originally published October 19, 2021

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