Coconut Milk Braised Chicken
Coconut milk braised chicken is a delicious whole chicken recipe that is very easy to make. The chicken is coated with a lemongrass and ginger rub then slow-cooked in coconut milk. The flavorful sauce is incredible poured over steamed rice or cauliflower rice!
This Coconut Milk Braised Chicken is the love child of Jamie Oliver's delicious Chicken in Milk and our all-time favorite Thai flavors.
Slowly cooking the whole chicken for two hours in dreamy, creamy coconut milk infused with lemongrass, ginger, and lime juice creates the most tender and flavorful meat.
Once you (very easily!) pull the chicken off the bone, you serve it with the crazy delicious sauce poured over the top and use each bite to sop it up. Serious yum!
What we love about coconut milk braised chicken
- The gentle Thai flavors are incredible.
- The meat is so tender you could easily mistake it for pulled chicken.
- Once the initial sear is over you can walk away and forget about this dish until it is done. The hands-on time is only 20 minutes, tops.
- The sauce is so good that you'll want to drink it up by the spoonful.
- Despite the richness of this dish, all the ingredients are very healthy for you. Healthy + Delicious = Awesome!
So what does braising mean, anyway?
Don't be intimidated by the term. Braising is really just a fancy word that refers to cooking meat (and sometimes veggies) in liquid for a long time on low heat. Think crockpot; it's exactly the same technique except it's done in a pot in your oven or on your stove.
Braising is best for cheaper, tougher cuts of meat as the long, gentle cooking process breaks down the connective tissues, melts the fat and lets the muscle tissue absorb moisture so the meat becomes very tender. It's also 100% foolproof. If you can put meat in a pot and pour the liquid over it, you can braise.
In this coconut milk chicken recipe, we've used coconut milk as the braising liquid and added some ginger, lemongrass, cilantro and a few other tasty things to give it lots of flavor.
How to make coconut milk chicken
You'll start by mixing together some ginger and lemongrass paste with salt and stuffing this underneath the skin. This puts the flavor right on the meat and makes the chicken absolutely delicious.
Then you'll add the chicken to a pot, large skillet, or (our favorite) a braiser and sear it on all sides so the skin is nice and crisp.
Once you add the coconut milk and a few spices, put the chicken back into the pan and let it simmer gently until the chicken is cooked.
We like to sprinkle some fresh cilantro on top and serve this with jasmine or basmati rice. It's delicious!
What to serve with coconut milk braised chicken
You'll DEFINITELY want something that you can pour the sauce over. Rice or cauliflower rice are two favorite sides that go well with this chicken. As far as veggies go, we love these recipes:
- Best Roasted Broccoli
- Sauteed Green Beans with Garlic
- Spicy Honey Roasted Carrots
- Easy Asian Coleslaw
- Sesame Coconut Kale Salad
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More delicious whole chicken recipes:
- Lemon Herb Butter Roast Chicken
- Roasted Parmesan Crusted Chicken
- Crockpot Roast Chicken
- Orange Cranberry Roast Chicken with Rosemary Balsamic Butter
Coconut Milk Braised Chicken
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
- 4 lb. whole chicken
- 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ginger paste, divided (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Zest and juice of 1 lime
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste
- 10 stems cilantro, leaves and stems separated
- 14 ounce can coconut milk, about 2 cups
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- In a small bowl, mix 2 tablespoons of the melted coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of the ginger paste, the lemongrass paste, and salt. In another small bowl, mix the remaining tablespoon of ginger paste with the lime zest and juice, garlic, green curry paste, and the cilantro stems.1 tablespoon lemongrass paste, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt, Zest and juice of 1 lime, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste, 10 stems cilantro, 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- If there is a string tying your chicken, remove it. Dry the chicken with paper towels. Carefully seperate the skin from the chicken breast, trying not to tear the skin. Using a spoon, spread the mixture with the lemongrass under the chicken skin. If any gets on the chicken skin, remove it with paper towels or it will burn.4 lb. whole chicken
- Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large pot or braiser. Place the chicken in the pan, bottom side down to start, and sear it on all sides until it is nicely browned. Use a pair of tongs to turn the chicken, inserting one tong end into the chicken and gripping with the other tong end on the outside of the chicken. When brown, remove the chicken from the pan and pour out the oil. (See notes)
- Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pot then pour the mixture from the remaining small bowl into the pot. Let it cook for 1 minute then pour in the coconut milk. Put the chicken in the pot, breast side up. Cover the pot and put it in the oven for 2 hours.14 ounce can coconut milk
- Remove the chicken from the pot and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving. Bring the liquid that is in the pot to a boil over high heat until it reduces to 1 cup.
- Serve the chicken with the reduced sauce on the side and some cilantro leaves sprinkled over the top.
Spatchcocked the chicken for faster cooking and made extra sauce so leftovers could be meal prepped lunches with zoodles. So good!!
How long did you cook it for in the oven then with the spatchcock method?
Made this tonight, the flavors were great, but how did you get yours brown? Was I supposed to take the lid off at the end? (your picture seems to be the back, not the breast?) I had a 6 lb chicken and checked it after 2 hours, it was somewhat overdone. I will make this again but with thighs and simmer on the stovetop. Bones and juices are simmering for soup stock!
Was supposed to be 4 stars not 3
The color comes from the sear in step 4 🙂
Looks super yummy,definitely will give it a try this Saturday, thank you for the delicious recipe ❤️
Has this recipe been amended for use in a clay pot (Romrtopf)
We haven’t tried it in a clay pot. 🙂
Breast side Up? Picture looks breast side Down
Yep, breast side up!
COCONUT MILK BRAISED CHICKEN
This looks delicious and I plan on making it soon.
However, why does you chicken photo show red chili peppers and slices of lemon when neither are included in your recipe ingredient list as additions?
The chili pepper doesn’t add much to the flavor, but if you like it spicy, a minced chili pepper would do the trick. The lime on the side is just for serving. Totally optional1
Sounds delicious! Can this be made in a Dutch oven?
Yes! It works great in a dutch oven!
This recipe looks delicious!
Since I am a fan of sous vide cooking with Anova precision cooker, I’d like to adapt this recipe to the sous vide method. I can use chicken parts, like thighs and drumsticks, instead of the whole chicken and distribute them between sous vide bags. The problem is that it is impractical to add the braising liquid in such quantities to the chicken parts in the bags. Instead, I think of using the mixture of all the ingredients of your recipe as a marinade for the meat. Then I would reuse the marinade as a braising liquid for veggies to accompany the chicken and finally add the chicken back into the sauce.
Will it work, in your opinion?
I love my Anova, too! But I honestly haven’t experimented with it enough to know if it will work with this recipe. The only time I tried to sous vide chicken it was a bit of a disaster and I haven’t tried since. But your idea certainly seems worth trying!
Fantastic recipe! Will definitely be making this a regular meal. I subbed fresh graded lemongrass and ginger instead of the paste.
This sounds delish….want to make it today but unfortunately only have red curry paste…would that work and allergic to cilantro…can I use parsley instead? Just discovered your site and can’t wait to try all these yummy recipes…great work!
Red will work just fine! I hope you love this recipe as much as we do!
OMG, this looks AMAZING. I found your recipe after looking for milk chicken recipes and was totally intrigued by this unique twist on the Jamie Oliver-esque recipes. I’m wondering – have you ever made this (or anything similar) with just chicken thighs (still bone-in with skin on)? Also, do you have any sense of how the recipe would be affected by using lite coconut milk? That’s all I have because the stores near me haven’t had regular/full fat coconut milk in weeks (and also, since I have asthma, I’m trying to super-limit my store trips). I may just try this anyway with what I have, but advice on any changes to cook time or other if not using the whole chicken would be awesome. Thank you again!
You could definitely adjust this recipe to make it with thighs. I would reduce the cooking time to about 40 minutes – though check them to see if they are done at that time. Light coconut milk should work, too. It may not be as creamy but worth it to avoid a trip to the store. 🙂
How is 325 a low heat in the oven? Mine only goes to 250
325 Fahrenheit, which is 162 Celcius. 🙂
This was a winner in the slow cooker – just added some extra water and let it cook all day on low. So delicious. The leftover stock would be a great asian soup base too.
So awesome to know that it can be made in a slow cooker!
I love it more when it’s spicy. Great recipe!
Spice makes everything better, doesn’t it?!!
Definitely! I so loved spicy and healthy foods!
Oh i love braised chicken, especially this one, a taste of thai, so love to eat this.
I’m so happy you like the recipe!!
Today is the fourth time I’ve made this recipe in the last 6 weeks and it’s so delicious! My new favourite recipe, bursting with flavour! The first time I made it on the stove and while the skin didn’t crisp up and the sauce didn’t thicken, it was the most tender chicken I’d ever had. I’ve since made it in the oven, and that’s definitely my favourite way of cooking it. Thanks for such an amazing recipe! I’m doing lots of gut healing and recipes like this are just perfect.
I’m so happy you like the recipe! Hooray!
Made this yesterday & it was so divine! Prep was pretty simple as well. Thanks for sharing!
I’m so happy to hear you like the recipe!!! 🙂
This looks so delicious! Would it be possible to brown it and then put it in the slow cooker with the rest of the ingredients? Or is there a reason not to?
I haven’t tried this recipe in a slow cooker yet but my hunch is that it would work great. If you make it in your slow cooker I’d love to hear how it turns out!
If you make ahead, can you store the chicken and sauce together? If not, why must you separate it? Thank you!
That’s a really good point you bring up! I always store it separately as it works best for me with my sheet pans and my tiny fridge. But … you can definitely store them together if that works better for you.
Thank you for your reply!
I love the flavors in this — such a nice twist on a classic roast chicken. The make-ahead tips are great, too! I always hate carving a chicken in front of people — I think it freaks them out sometimes 🙂
Totally agree with you about carving a chicken in front of guests. Definitely not for the faint of heart lol!!
OMG OMG!! I blogged Jamie’s Chicken in Milk a few weeks ago! It’s one of the best roast chickens I have ever EVER had! I adore this. I am totally going to make it on Sat night!! I have a Thai curry soup recipe I use, slight variation on what you use, I reckon it will work great!
How did I ever miss that blog post? I totally love milk chicken!
Let me know how you like the recipe. I hope you love it as much as I do!!