Coconut Lime Chicken

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Meet your new favorite easy weeknight dinner that’s even better than takeout! This Thai-Inspired Coconut Lime Chicken is packed with flavor, oh so creamy, and it’s simple to make as well, with minimal ingredients. This family friendly dinner is naturally gluten free and dairy free too. Try it paired with freshly steamed rice and my Best Roasted Broccoli.

A white skillet with Thai Coconut Lime chicken and a white and blue linen with chilis, lime, and cilantro around it.

It’s no secret we’re absolutely crazy about the coconut lime flavor combo around here! The obsession started with this Coconut Lime Ice Cream, and I’ve been creating different recipes around those flavors ever since. Which brings us to today with this savory Thai Coconut Lime Chicken.

You’re going to love this one because the flavors are similar to a Tom Gai Soup, but it’s more subtle because there’s no curry paste involved. There’s also no tricky ingredients to track down either. I wanted to keep this one a extra simple recipe that has so much addictive flavor, you’re going to want to put it the menu weekly!

Thai Coconut Lime Chicken in a white skillet with chilis, cilantro, and lime wedges around it.

This recipe is on the saucy side, so it’s extra good with freshly steamed rice. But if you prefer a thicker sauce, you can either thicken it with a starch of your choice, or remove the chicken and reduce it down.

We love all the sauce which is the consistency of a thin curry piled over the above mentioned rice, with loads of roasted or steamed veggies. This way you have that wonderful coconut-lime flavor infusing your whole plate!

Watch How to Make this Coconut Lime Chicken

Ingredients & Substitutions

  • Chicken – I used boneless skinless chicken breasts here, but chicken thighs would work well too. The chicken breasts simmer in the sauce for 20-25 minutes, so you can either use bone-in chicken thighs. Or if you’re using boneless, cut down the cooking time to around 10-15 minutes by adding them to the sauce later, (this will vary depending on size).
  • Onion, Garlic, & Ginger – These 3 make up quite a bit of the savory backdrop of flavor in this sauce. And the ginger is especially important as it pairs so well with the coconut and lime.
  • Chili – This one is optional, but we like to add a sliced red chili for just a touch of heat. But feel free to leave it out, or add more depending on your preference.
  • Fish Sauce – really adds a lot of depth to this sauce and gives this dish it’s characteristic ‘Thai’ flavor. But if you really can’t use it at all for some reason, you can sub in coconut aminos/soy sauce for a different but still yummy and savory flavor.
  • Lime – I use both the zest in the sauce and some freshly squeezed lime juice added at the end for perfect lime flavor. I always recommend using a microplane grater because you end up with super fine zest that fairly melts into the sauce.
  • Coconut Milk You definitely want to go with full fat coconut milk here for the fullest flavor. And if you really want to go all out, try coconut cream!
  • Cilantro / Thai Basil – fresh herbs are super tasty here, and these 2 in combination are seriously good. But to keep things simple you can leave them both out, or go with the easily available cilantro.

Make this recipe step by step

The onions and garlic being sautéed before the sauce is cooked for the Thai Coconut Lime Chicken.

Step 1: After prepping all of the ingredients for this recipe, we’ll start by browning the chicken, then set it aside to begin the sauce.

Step 2: Next we’ll sauté the aromatics, (onion, garlic, & ginger pictured above). When the onion has softened this is also where you can add the optional chili for a touch of heat.

The sauce ingredients added to the pan along with the sautéed chicken ready to simmer.

Step 3: Then we’ll add the fish sauce, lime zest, and coconut milk along with the browned chicken breasts.

Step 4: And finally just simmer the sauce turning the chicken once until it’s done in the center, about 20 minutes. Just before serving stir in the freshly squeezed lime juice and season to taste with salt.

The finished Thai Coconut Lime Chicken in a white skillet with chilis, lime, and cilantro around it.

What to serve with this Coconut Lime Chicken

Freshly steamed rice (or cauliflower rice) and either a steamed or roasted veggie(s) are my top choices. But I also really love this with roasted sweet potato in place of the rice.

The sweetness of the potato is so good with this coconut lime combo. And for the easiest way to add a veggie, try adding chopped up spinach to the sauce right at the end!

Also the fresh herbs are so good with this! You definitely don’t need both cilantro and Thai basil by any means, but if you have them both, they’re phenomenal with this. I just lucked out having both in the my fridge for recipe testing, and on a whim decided to throw both onto the leftovers.

It was so good, I would recommend it that way every time you make this. But for the sake of being ‘somewhat practical’, either herb is delicious here!

More coconut lime flavored recipes

Finally if you’re looking for more of these flavors, check out our Thai inspired recipes. Or you can find even more options with our Asian inspired section of the recipe index!

I sure hope you get a chance to make this Thai Coconut Lime Chicken soon. And if you do, I hope you’ll leave me a comment/star rating below. I always love hearing from you here in the comments!

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The finished Thai Coconut Lime Chicken in a white skillet with chilis, lime, and cilantro around it.

Thai Coconut Lime Chicken

  • Author: Kari
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This creamy coconut lime sauce simply envelopes the chicken and makes for the tastiest easy dinner paired with steamed rice and some roasted broccoli!



2 tablespoons avocado oil, or sautéing oil of choice

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, 1 1/2 pounds

1/2 cup minced yellow/white onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1 red chili, thinly sliced, optional

2 teaspoons lime zest, grated with a microplane

1 can full fat coconut milk, 13.66 oz

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro and/or Thai basil, optional

Additional lime wedges for serving, and sliced chili for garnish if desired


Preheat a 9″ skillet (I use cast iron) over medium high heat. When the pan is hot but not smoking, add 1 tablespoon of the oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.

Add the chicken breasts to the pan and cook until browned on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Then remove the chicken from the pan and set it aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan along with the onion, garlic, and ginger. Lower the heat to medium-low and cook stirring often until the onion softens and is lightly browned, 4-5 minutes.

Next add the optional chili, lime zest, coconut milk, and fish sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, and using a wooden spoon, scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Lower the heat to maintain a simmer, and add the chicken breasts back to the pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, then turn the chicken breasts over and cook an additional 10 minutes, or until the chicken is just done in the center.

When the chicken is done, add the lime juice to the sauce, and season to taste with salt. Sprinkle the chopped fresh herbs over the top if using, and serve!

  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: Coconut Lime Chicken, Thai Coconut Lime Chicken Recipe, Creamy Coconut Lime Chicken

42 thoughts on “Coconut Lime Chicken”

    • I hope you enjoy it, and I’m not sure if you can freeze it, but I think it should freeze fine. Let me know how it goes or if there are any more questions I might be able to help with!

  1. One of our new go to favorite recipes! I swapped pickled jalapeños for the red chilis and it’s amazing over rice. YUM!

    • I’m so glad you enjoyed it, and I definitely need to try the pickled jalapenos! I was picking up ingredients to make this today and couldn’t find chilis this week, so jalapenos it is!


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