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 rice or cauliflower rice!

Whole coconut milk braised chicken in a braising pan with yellow curry sauce.

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 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

  1. The gentle Thai flavors are incredible.
  2. The meat is so tender you could easily mistake it for pulled chicken.
  3. 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.
  4. The sauce is so good that you'll want to drink it up by the spoonful.
  5. Despite the richness of this dish, all the ingredients are very healthy for you. Healthy + Delicious = Awesome!

Coconut milk chicken on a plate with rice and broccoli.

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 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, I'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.

A close up of come coconut milk braised chicken with Thai curry sauce poured over the top.

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 (my 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 my two favorite sides with this chicken. As far as veggies go, we love these recipes:

Pieces of coconut milk braised chicken on a white plate.

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Whole coconut milk braised chicken in a braising pan with yellow curry sauce.

Coconut Milk Braised Chicken

  • Author: Kristen Stevens
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Braised
  • Cuisine: Thai

Description

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 rice or cauliflower rice!

✨ If you love this coconut milk braised chicken recipe as much as I do, make sure to give it a 5-star review in the comments below!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 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 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Thai green curry paste
  • 10 stems of cilantro, leaves and stems separated
  • 1 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut milk (about 2 cups)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 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)
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Serve the chicken with the reduced sauce on the side and the cilantro leaves sprinkled over the top.

Notes

Ginger paste and lemongrass paste can be bought in the produce section of most grocery stores. You can also make your own by grating ginger with a microplane and very finely mincing lemongrass.

After searing the chicken, we remove the oil from the pan as we find that the flavor is best with fresh oil.

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.

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Coconut milk braised chicken in a pan with Thai curry sauce and the recipe title on top of the picture.