Coconut Milk Braised Chicken
This Coconut Milk Braised Chicken is cooked whole in creamy coconut milk that’s infused with delicious Thai flavors. It’s easy to make and super tasty. It's a great weeknight chicken dinner!
This Coconut Milk Braised Chicken is the love child of Jamie Oliver's delicious Chicken in Milk and my all-time favorite Thai flavors.
Slowly cooking the whole chicken for two hours in dreamy, creamy coconut milk, infused with lemongrass, ginger and lime leaves, creates the most tender and flavourful 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 I 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.
- It reheats beautifully. If you're having company, you can make this the day ahead. (See the notes below to find out how to pull this off like a pro.) I actually think it's almost better the next day.
- 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 (sometimes veggies) in liquid for a long time on low heat. Think crock pot; 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.
There are two ways you can braise meat: on the stovetop or in the oven. While many people swear by the oven method, I don't personally notice a difference between the two as far as the taste or texture of the meat goes. I will typically use the stovetop method as I often want my oven free for other things I'm making. For both methods, you want the heat to remain low and constant.
In this coconut milk braised chicken recipe, I've used coconut milk as the liquid and added some ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves, cilantro and a few other tasty things to give it lots of flavor.
Tips for Make Ahead Coconut Milk Braised Chicken
If you're making this chicken for company, you may not want to deal with carving the meat, and all the mess that comes with it, at the same time you're trying to set the table, finish the salad and do ev-er-y-thiiing else. Making this up to 2 days ahead is a great option. I've made this chicken ahead of time many times, and it works beautifully, almost better than if you serve it right out of the pot.
Note: this can be done anytime you braise or roast a whole chicken.
- Once the chicken has finished cooking remove the whole chicken from the pot and put it on a baking sheet. Let it sit just until it is cool enough to handle, about 15 minutes. Pour the cooking liquid from the pot into a jar. Seal the jar and store it in your fridge.
- Take a second rimmed baking sheet and set it beside you. You will use this one for all the meat that comes off the chicken.
- Pull the wings off from the chicken and put them on the new baking sheet.
- Using a sharp knife, cut the skin around each of the drumsticks. Then, using your hands, pull the drumstick and thigh from the chicken. Leave the bone in the drumstick and the one in the thigh but remove any smaller bones that might have come off when you separated it from the body. Do this for both sides.
- Slice the skin between the two breasts. Using your hands carefully remove each breast from the bone. You can either cut each breast in half lengthwise or carve them into smaller pieces.
- At this point, I like to pick through the rest of the bones to find any other good meat. There's usually at least a small handful of smaller pieces you can find.
- Wrap the tray tightly in plastic wrap and store it in your fridge for up to 2 days.
To Reheat the Coconut Milk Braised Chicken
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Remove the chicken from the fridge and take off the plastic wrap.
- Scoop the cooking liquid (it will have congealed) over the chicken. Cover the tray loosely with aluminum foil.
- Reheat the chicken for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the chicken is steaming and hot.
- Transfer the chicken and the sauce to a platter and serve right away.
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Other Delicious Chicken Dinner Recipes:
- Perfectly Baked Chicken Breasts
- Honey Garlic Chicken
- Sweet and Spicy Paleo Chicken Fingers
- Crispy Garlic Butter Chicken and Brussels Sprouts
- Asian Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner
This coconut milk braised chicken is cooked whole in creamy coconut milk that's infused with delicious Thai flavors. It's easy to make and super tasty.
- 1 3-lb. whole chicken
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
- 1 tablespoon very finely chopped lemongrass
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
- 1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (about 2 cups)
- 2 lime leaves
- Zest of 1 lime
- 1 Thai red chili
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 5 thin slices of ginger
- 8 stems of cilantro
- 1/2 cup chopped Thai basil
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Melt the coconut oil on medium-high heat in an ovenproof pot just a little larger than your chicken.
- Combine the lemongrass, sea salt, and ginger in a small bowl. Pour in 1 tablespoon of the melted coconut oil and mix well.
- If the chicken is tied, remove the string. Using your hands carefully separate the skin from the meat. Spread the sea salt rub under the skin. Be careful not to get it on the skin as the lemongrass and ginger will burn when you're browning the chicken.
- Place the chicken in the pot and brown it on all sides. Use a pair of tongs with one end inserted into the chicken to easily turn the chicken around in the pot.
- Once the chicken is browned on all sides (about 10 minutes), remove it from the pot. Pour out most of the coconut oil then add the coconut milk, lime leaves, lime zest, chili, garlic, ginger, and cilantro. Put the chicken back in the pot, breast side up, cover the pot and put it in the preheated oven.
- Braise the chicken for 2 hours, or until it is falling off the bone and very tender.
- Separate the meat from the bones and serve with the Thai basil over the top and the cooking liquid (with the cilantro, etc. removed) on the side as a sauce. You may if you'd like, reduce the sauce a little by boiling it for a few minutes before you serve it.
If you'd rather braise this dish on the stovetop simply prepare the chicken as per the recipe but cook it over very low heat on your stove. You want the liquid to be at only the slightest simmer.