This Lime Chilli Coconut Chicken is one we love around our place. If I had to pick the one food I couldn’t live without, it’d likely be chicken. I know some people find chicken boring but I’m here to tell you – are you kidding me?? Haha. I find chicken to be the most versatile of all meats to the point that I could start to sound like Bubba from Forest Gump with his shrimp fascination.

3 pieces of chicken thighs on a white plate, garnished with cilantro and half a lime.

“You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Deh’s uh chicken kabobs, chicken creole, chicken gumbo, pan fried, deep fried, stir fried. There’s pineapple chicken, lemon chicken, coconut chicken, pepper chicken, chicken soup, chicken stew, chicken salad, chicken and potatoes, chicken burger, chicken sandwich”.  KFC … ok so he didn’t say that last one.

By the way, have you ever written a word so many times in one go that it looks like it’s spelt wrong?? Chicken, chicken, chicken …..

4 pieces of chicken thighs in a skillet with creamy sauce.

How about this Lime Chilli Coconut Chicken

This recipe is all about rich flavours, with an Asian flair in half an hour or less. Along with chicken, I really enjoy Asian cuisines and flavours so a lot of my savoury dishes are inspired by them. This one in particular was rolling around in my brain for a good month before I actually made it and now I’m saddened that I waited so long. It’s that good and we’ll be eating this as a regular now.

How do you make it

This is simply oiled and seasoned bone-in, skin on chicken thighs that are browned in a pan over medium heat until that skin gets all crispy and golden and mouth-watering and … sorry, nearly lost me for a moment. Then we set those babies aside, but not for long. Drain the pan then return a little of that oil back to it.

2 photos: seasoning chicken thighs.

Next, we saute some onion, ginger and chilli in a pan until it softens. Add the sauce which is made up of coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce, lime juice and, umm, that’s it. Cook it until it thickens. Add the chicken back with a handful of spring onions (aka green onions or scallions) and you’re basically done.

Can I swap any of the ingredients

  • Chicken – My recipe uses bone in, skin on chicken thigh for maximum flavour but, if you prefer, you can certainly make this with boneless thigh or breast meat and with or without the skin. Just note, the boneless pieces will take less time to cook.
  • Coconut milk – I use full fat coconut milk in this one. You can swap it for a light version if you prefer but you may need to use a little corn flour (cornstarch) mixed with a little water to thicken it up.
  • Chilli – adjust the amount of chilli to your liking. This Lime Chilli Coconut Chicken has quite a mild heat. Also, I use 2 types of chilli in this recipe – one for more heat, the other for a little colour – but you can stick to what you like best. Only have dried chilli? No problem.
  • Seasoning – I would not add any extra salt other than what the recipe states. Fish sauce is also a little salty so you don’t want to overpower the dish. Stick to the recipe and if you like it saltier, add it at the end after tasting.

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4 pieces of chicken thighs in creamy sauce on a white plate.

If you’re slighty addicted to chicken like I am, or not, you absolutely must try this Lime Chilli Coconut Chicken. Serve it with a wedge of lime and some rice, salad and or steamed vegetables and you’ll think you’re eating dinner in a tropical hideaway somewhere.

More chicken dinner recipes

A black skillet filled with chicken thigh cutlets in a creamy sauce.

Lime Chilli Coconut Chicken

5 from 4 votes
This Lime Chilli Coconut Chicken is one of those easy chicken dinners that tastes amazing and takes 30 minutes or less. Chicken pieces with a golden, crispy skin in a coconut milk sauce.



  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in & skin-on (notes)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Pinch each of salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1 tablespoon ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  • 1 long red chilli (fresh), finely chopped (seeds removed) (notes)


  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons fish sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced


  • DRY THE SKIN side of the chicken thighs with paper towel. Rub with oil and sprinkle over a little salt and pepper.
  • BROWN THE CHICKEN - Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken pieces, skin side down. Cook for around 12 minutes without moving for 10-12 minutes. If they are browning too quickly, the heat is up too high.
  • Flip the thighs over and cook for a further 8-10 minutes. Check the chicken is done by checking it with a meat thermometer which should read 75C / 165F or cut into the thickest part and it should no longer be pink.
  • DRAIN THE PAN  - Set the chicken aside. Pour the oil from the pan into a separate jug, wipe the pan clean with paper towel then add back 1 tablespoon of the chicken oil.
  • SAUTE - Over medium heat, saute the onion, ginger, chilli flakes and half of the fresh chilli until soft.
  • ADD THE SAUCE INGREDIENTS - Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, fish sauce and lime juice. Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer for around 5 minutes until it thickens. Add the spring onions and remaining chilli, then return the chicken pieces skin side up. Cook for another 1 minute.
  • SERVE - Serve over rice with a side salad or wilted greens, and a wedge of lime on the side


  1. You are welcome to use boned chicken thighs but I find thighs with bone in more flavoursome. The cooking time will be less if you use thighs that are already boned. You could also use skinless breasts or thighs, but make sure to cut down the cooking time.
  2. Adjust the chilli heat to your taste
  • A good frying pan
  • I always use wooden spatulas when cooking (as opposed to when baking)
Have you tried this recipe?Rate or comment below and let us know how it was!

Golden skin chicken thighs in a skillet with creamy sauce