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Thai Chicken Satay Skewers

Serves 6     adjust servings

The best way to bring Southeast Asian flavors to your kitchen is to make these Thai Chicken Satay Skewers with Peanut Sauce! Marinated chicken thighs seasoned with lemongrass, shallot, and chili are threaded onto skewers and grilled to juicy perfection. It makes a perfect appetizer or main dish when paired with this Thai Cucumber Salad! 


  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons lemongrass*, smashed and minced
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 red chili pepper,** chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, grated or minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce***
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • wooden or metal skewers
  • salt, for seasoning chicken before grilling
  • more oil, for grilling


  1. Place the 6 chicken thighs in the freezer for about 20 minutes so that they are easier to chop. Use a sharp knife to cut the chicken thighs into bite size pieces, about 1-2 inches (see photos). Place all the chicken pieces into a large ziplock bag.
  2. Add all the other ingredients to the ziplock bag: 2 tablespoons lemongrass*, 1 chopped shallot, 2 cloves garlic, 1 red chili pepper**, 2 teaspoons ginger, 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 tablespoon coriander, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 and 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 3 tablespoons brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  3. Seal the bag and place in a bowl. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. I usually prepare this the day beforehand for a full 24 hour marinade. The longer the better, to bring in all that flavor! Marinate for a maximum as 48 hours. Turn the bag over once or twice, to make sure all the pieces of chicken get nice and flavorful.
  4. If you are using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them in water for a couple hours (or at least 20 minutes) so they don't get burned and charred on the grill.
  5. Preheat your grill to high heat. Mine was at about 550 degrees F. 
  6. Place the chicken pieces onto the skewers. See photos. Instead of spacing out the chicken on the whole skewer as you would for normal kebabs, we are packing them together tightly on one end, as is traditional for satay. 
  7. Brush each satay lightly with oil so that it doesn't stick to the grill. Sprinkle liberally with salt.  
  8. Carefully grease the grill grates. When the grill is very hot, scrub the grates with a grill brush to make sure they are clean. Pour a small amount of vegetable oil into a small bowl. Wad up a paper towel and dip it into the oil with tongs. Use the tongs to brush the grill grates with the oiled paper towel, making sure the paper towel is not so saturated that oil drips into the fire. Close the lid and let it heat up again for another couple minutes. 
  9. Turn the heat down to medium, about 375 degrees. Turn off one of your grill burners, or arrange coals off to one side. Arrange the "stick end" of your satay over indirect heat. If the thin wood is placed directly over the flame, it will burn up.
  10. Grill the satay skewers over medium heat for about 7-8 minutes. 
  11. Use tongs to flip each satay skewer over. Continue grilling for another 5-8 minutes. If the outside of the chicken is getting overdone but the center is raw, move the chicken to indirect heat.****
  12. Check the meat with a meat thermometer. Take it off the grill when the center of the chicken is at about 160 degrees F. 
  13. Remove to a plate, cover with foil and let rest for about 4-5 minutes. 
  14. Serve with Thai Peanut Sauce, (not optional!) and also this Thai Cucumber Salad, for a true Thai experience.  Toasted or grilled bread is the other side dish you are going to want! See note.