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Creamy Coconut Milk Chicken

This Coconut Milk Chicken recipe comes together in one pan, with a creamy sauce that’s out of this world. You’ll love this stellar combination of delicate coconut milk, perfectly cooked chicken breasts, and exotic spices!


If you’re hungry for something savory, but aren’t really feelin’ a complicated set of ingredients and steps (can we say weeknight dinner?), this is the recipe for you! Coconut milk chicken is so simple and easy, and comes together in about 30 minutes. Plus, you only need one pan!

The flavor profile is a total winner, too– juicy, white-meat chicken in a creamy sauce jazzed up with aromatic spices, diced onion, and tangy fresh tomatoes. I can’t wait for you to try this recipe – it’s one you’ll come back to again and again.

side view of chicken breasts in coconut milk sauce with diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro


  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: You can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs.
  • Cumin, Paprika, Oregano, and Cayenne Pepper
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Yellow Onion: Yellow onions tend to be sweeter, but white onion will work also.
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Coconut Milk: I recommend unsweetened, light coconut milk for this dish.
  • Cilantro or Parsley: Chop finely for a garnish.

frying onions and diced tomatoes in a black skillet


  1. Prepare the Chicken Breasts: Pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towels and set aside. Combine spices, herbs, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub seasoning mixture all over chicken breasts.
  2. Brown the Chicken Breasts: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken breasts and cook for 6 to 7 minutes on each side, or until browned. Remove chicken, cover, and set aside.
  3. Create the Sauce: Gently saute onions, garlic, and tomatoes in the remaining olive oil until soft. Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer; simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
  4. Finish Cooking the Chicken in the Sauce: Carefully add the chicken breasts back into pan. Be careful not to splash the simmering sauce. Reduce the heat to low, and cook for 4 or 5 more minutes, until the chicken is tender but not dry and has an internal temperature of 165°F. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste, and garnish with cilantro or parsley.
  5. Serve and Enjoy!


Chicken breast is a wonderful protein option when prepared correctly, but it does dry out easily! To avoid this, try these tips.

  • Use a thermometer: If you think the chicken is nearly done, test it with a meat thermometer first. The internal temperature should be 165°F.
  • Do the knife test: Try cutting the chicken with a sharp knife. If it seems rubbery and resistant, but not dry, cook for 3 more minutes and try again. Rubbery chicken will be juicy, but not tender.
  • Be careful not to overcook the chicken. Once it has gone past the rubbery stage, it will be perfectly tender and moist. Further cooking will dry out the chicken and cause it to be tough.

top shot of 3 chicken breasts in a skillet with coconut milk sauce



  • How to store: Store leftover chicken in the sauce to keep it from drying out. Place the chicken with its sauce in a food storage bag or container and refrigerate up to 4 days. Refrigerate the rice in a separate container for the same length of time.
  • How to reheat: To reheat on the stove top, heat the chicken and rice separately, covered, on low until just heated through. Add a tablespoon or so of water to the rice to help it soften and re-steam.

More Coconut Chicken Recipes


Tools Used in this Recipe

coconut milk chicken breasts in black skillet garnished with cilantro

Stovetop Coconut Milk Chicken Breasts

Katerina | Diethood
Tender, spiced chicken breasts in a creamy, fragrant coconut milk sauce.
4.39 from 55 votes
Servings : 4 people
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes


  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, (1-inch to 1-1/2 inch thick)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked or sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, (If you like spicy food, use 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper. If you don't like spicy food, omit the cayenne pepper.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups seeded and diced tomatoes, (or use 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, well drained)
  • 1 can (14 ounces) unsweetened, lite coconut milk
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish


  • Pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towels and set aside.
  • In a small mixing bowl combine cumin, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper; stir until thoroughly incorporated.
  • Rub seasoning mixture all over chicken breasts.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add chicken breasts to the heated oil and cook for 6 to 7 minutes on each side, or until browned and almost cooked through. Cooking time will depend on the size of the chicken breasts.
  • Remove chicken from skillet and set aside on a plate; keep covered.
  • Add remaining olive oil to the skillet; add onions to the heated oil and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until tender and translucent.
  • Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add tomatoes and continue to cook for 5 minutes, or until tomatoes are soft.
  • Stir in the coconut milk and bring to a simmer; let simmer for 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens.
  • Return chicken breasts to the skillet; reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 4 to 5 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Chicken is done when internal temperature registers at 165˚F.
  • Taste sauce for salt and pepper; adjust accordingly.
  • Garnish with cilantro or parsley, and serve.




Calories: 341 kcal | Carbohydrates: 12 g | Protein: 26 g | Fat: 20 g | Saturated Fat: 9 g | Cholesterol: 73 mg | Sodium: 941 mg | Potassium: 676 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 4 g | Vitamin A: 500 IU | Vitamin C: 13 mg | Calcium: 59 mg | Iron: 2 mg | Net Carbs: 10 g

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Fusion, Indian
Keyword: chicken dinner, chicken dinner ideas, coconut chicken, coconut milk chicken, low carb chicken
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Recipe Rating:

122 comments on “Creamy Coconut Milk Chicken”

  1. Really good recipe but made some tweaks on my own! Added in bamboo shoots, red pepper, curry powder, a little bit of brown sugar, coriander, turmeric, and white pepper to the coconut milk. Topped it off with an additional can of coconut cream to make it a tad bit richer. The people saying it was bland must have used unsweetened coconut milk. I think this is a great recipe to tweak to your liking! Very easy to add in additional seasonings for your preference 🙂

  2. Avatar photo
    Jacqueline Benitez

    This recipe is very good! I agree with the last comment, you need to increase the spices proportionally to the chicken. My husband kept saying,” This is really good but it needs curry.”
    He’s not much on fusion Food. That is the only reason I did not give it five stars.

  3. Next time, I’m going to double the sauce. I served it over rice. It was sooo good! Will definitely be making this dish often.

  4. I was a little worried reading the reviews but this recipe has a ton of flavor. I’m thinking people are using a disproportionate amount of spice for the chicken they use. The recipe states 1 lb. That is about one large chicken breast. I used 3 large chicken breasts and tripled the spices plus added curry, used 2 cans of tomatoes and 1 can of coconut milk. Also used what the recipe states for onion and added more garlic. Added a little fresh basil on top and it is fantastic. Thanks for the recipe. Will definitely make it again!

  5. Made and delicious. Used Rotel diced tomatoes with mild green chili’s cause that’s what I had. Also used 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper. So easy and a keeper! Thank you!

  6. High hopes as I love coconut and tomatoes, I followed exactly and found it extremely bland, it kind of tasted like tomato soup with chicken. Unfort. not a keeper for us.

  7. I love the tenderness of the chicken and agree with other comments that the flavor was a bit lacking, even with all the spices. I cubed my chicken and added Curry powder as well as fresh basil which not only added flavor, but color to the dish. Served it over brown rice. Love the little bit of heat from the cayenne pepper.

  8. Husband liked it, I did not. The chicken was tender and beautifully cooked. But the sauce was just missing some flavor. I added some curry which helped a little but was still lacking.

  9. Made this for dinner tonight it was absolutely delicious my husband loved it. Will be making this agin for sure.!

  10. This was delicious!! I wilted in spinach just before adding the chicken back to the pan. I also served with brown rice noodles. So Good!!!

  11. This is one of my favorite recipes! Thank you. My husband and I have very different taste SO crossover is hard. I realized that if I added curry and used boneless breasts (keeping thighs for me) he might just like it too! AND he did. Such a win!

  12. Thank you! That was delicious! I sautéed sliced mushrooms with the onions and added 1/4 teaspoon of rep pepper flakes for added spice. Fabulous recipe that our whole family enjoyed!!!

  13. It was quick to come together but it was missing something with the flavour…I added lime juice and used fresh tomatoes but it needed more spice and another layer, chilli paste? I’m not sure, but will try it again.

  14. This is a great recipe to improvise with. With the onions I used a yellow pepper, some celery stalks and fresh tomato for the gravy base. Just whatever was left in the fridge. The spices are good even without the cayenne. The chicken breast can be sliced in half for an easier bite size. Will make it again.

  15. So, so good. My husband said, through a full mouth from his first bite, that this is a keeper. Next time I may double the seasonings and add the extra to the coconut milk/tomato mixture.

  16. This was an amazing chicken dish. I diced the chicken and served it over a bed of Basmati ! Everyone LOVED it. Will definitely make again….more than once !!

  17. Definitely a keeper! This was a pleasant spin on our regular chicken dishes. This will be a staple in our monthly meals

  18. Loved it – made it with left over roast chicken – cut up into smaller pieces – including bones (best part) and seasoned the same way as described in recipe. Served with cauliflower rice. Will be a regular in our home. Thank you

  19. Made this last night. Quick, so simple and very tasty. I chose to doubled the seasonings (except for the cayenne) to ensure the flavor was robust. I used both boneless and bone-in chicken thighs. Whole family enjoyed it. Will be putting this recipe in the dinner rotation! 👍🏿

  20. We just didn’t care for it. I think cutting the chicken into smaller pieces would have helped. It was quick and easy to make though.

  21. Avatar photo
    Arlene Brownhill

    Loved this. I browned the chicken and then added the spices and onion. I also added carrots, red pepper.

  22. I made this for my Husband tonight with Caribbean Rice and Beans, it was amazing.
    I added a pouch of knorr cream of Potatoe soup as a bit of a thickener and was so perfect and Delicious
    Thank you for your recipe

  23. Loved it! Are used 21 seasoning salute for the chicken, in addition to what is listed. Great Recipe for a crowd pleaser.

  24. This was an A+. I don’t normally like eating chicken and my husband is picky about his meat (Argentinian).. we were both practically licking our plates. Made according to recipe, only one small addition, added mushrooms bc they were ready to expire. 10/10!

  25. Avatar photo
    Dana LeBlanc

    This was disappointing. I made it exactly as written, and used canned coconut milk. It was thin first off so I had to thicken it with thickener. It wasn’t inedible, but very bland. Won’t make again.

  26. I really enjoyed this recipe. I combined all the ingredients in a casserole dish and baked it in the oven. I served the chicken with rice and broccoli. I would definitely make it again!!

  27. Pretty disappointed. I don’t know if I did something wrong (followed recipe exactly) but it was pretty flat, just tomato soupy flavor. Def needs more acid, heat, Smokey flavor, and salt.I even added some sautéed veggies. Won’t make again.

    1. Did you use canned coconut milk, as the recipe suggests? It shouldn’t be soupy if that is what you used, but if you used fresh coconut milk that comes in a carton, then yeah, that will result in a soupy consistency.

  28. Ok I thought it would be better than it was with all the spices and coconut milk. Didn’t taste the coconut at all. Actually it tasted like Campbell tomato soup poured over chicken. Would not make again.

    1. Hi! I’m sorry it didn’t meet your expectations. If I may ask, did you use canned coconut milk, as the recipe states, or fresh? The main difference between canned coconut milk and fresh is the water content. Coconut milk in a carton is much more diluted than what we get in canned coconut milk.

  29. My family is obsessed with this meal! It’s delicious! And If you’re like me and aren’t prepared to make dinner until 15 minutes before you want to eat, then you can easily cut out the prep work. I sauté the onion and garlic, then add frozen chicken, seasonings and canned diced or crushed tomatoes. Simmer until chicken is cooked enough to shred or cut, then put back into the sauce until it’s done. I usually add frozen green beans here. Finish with the coconut milk and you will have a very happy family!

  30. This was really really good! Added red pepper and a few handfuls of spinach. Served over ramen noodles.

  31. Wonderfully easy. Added turmeric and dash of ginger, reduced some tomatoes. I have a coconut tree in my yard, so we harvest every bit of it. Making coconut milk at home is a bit of a pain but soooo worth it

  32. Your instructions were easy to follow and complete. Thank you for that! Everything timed the way you indicated. It was easy and quick. I expected something different from the flavor, I suppose. Like nothing was the star, so to speak. Wasn’t strong in coconut, nor tomato, nor the spice mix yet not quite all jiving together. (I ate the next day and same thing.) I think next time I’ll cut back on tomatoes to let the coconut milk shine through more. It really was so easy and time-friendly to make!

  33. Made this recipe as per the recipe but I used chicken tenderloins which cooked up quicker and added some turmeric (I’m always looking for ways to add it to recipes so it doesn’t go to waste). This added a little something extra which was nice! I made this with coconut lime rice and there was enough sauce to soak in the rice. So good!!!

  34. This recipe was very good! Didn’t take too long and the rub on the chicken was a different flavor that I haven’t used in cooking before which was great. I added ginger and lime juice to really brighten at the end. Would make again!

  35. This is now one of my go to recipes! My daughter & I love it! Always a treat, full of flavor and versatile. Side with rice, roasted or mashed potatoes & roasted veggies. I think next time I’ll try a little pasta.
    The sauce is fantastic and chicken comes out very tender.

  36. Avatar photo

    I made this recipe tonight and it turned out so delicious! It’s very rare that I make online recipes that turn out sooo good and this is one of them. I’m on a low sodium diet so I didn’t add any salt other than what’s in the can tomatoes I used and it was still delicious! I made whole wheat thin spaghetti pasta and used the coconut & tomato sauce as the pasta sauce with grated parm on top. I also made a side of garlic spinach. Dinner was fabulous tonight. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  37. Made this tonight. Didn’t change anything and it turned out so tasty and the chicken was moist and very flavorful! Served it with steamed rice and steamed zucchini. Look forward to making it again.
    Thanks so much!!

      1. PurtDayumGood and quite easy. Experimenting with parmesan cheese in the leftovers.
        Thanks for sharing…

  38. Made this for dinner tonight and it was amazing. I didn’t have cayenne so I had to substitute chili powder so my spice profile was a little lacking, but that’s no fault to the recipe. I made it with your lemon rice and it was absolutely delicious! Thank you for sharing.

  39. Avatar photo
    Gordon Wagner

    I had 2.5 lbs of chicken breast, so I pretty much doubled the rub ingredients and the rest. I sliced the chicken into 1 1/2″-ish pieces. Delicious! I think I’ll add half a red bell pepper next time, however.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Yes, you can freeze it, but with coconut milk, there is always a risk that it will split when thawed.

      1. Thanks. I had 2.5 lbs of chicken thighs that needed to be cooked so I made a large pot of the recipe. This an easy and very tasty meal.

  40. I made this for dinner tonight using chicken tenders. I almost didn’t make this because of the review that said it was bland. I’m glad I did though, it is really good! I really liked it. My husband said it was too spicy but he still ate it up.

    1. Made this tonight and it was great! The only change was that I added some lemon juice right at the end for brightness. Oh, I also seasoned the sauce with the same herbs as the chicken. So much flavor! Delicious!!

      1. Super tasty. I never seem to be able to make juicy and flavorful chicken breasts and this was awesome! And no need to marinate – even better. Thanks so much for sharing this tasty & healthy recipe. I didnt make any changes, it’s perfect as is.

  41. Looks better than it tastes. Very plain, bland and nothing I would repeat unfortunately. I will give it kudos that it is generally healthy, but they taste is just not there.

    1. I’ve realized over time that there are those who require more salty, spicy, sweetness, bitterness, etc. So I cheat a little….when I or one of my family find that a chicken dish is bland, I add in a Knorr chicken broth or bouillon cube…or 2 😊. I made this recipe and my kids and I loved it as is….but my husband kept saying it’s lacking a little more flavor. Popped in a bouillon cube for him and now, it’s perfect for him! Hope this helps!

  42. Super delicious and so easy!! So many recipes out there don’t work out and this was a wonderful surprise! Super happy I tried this recipe! Definitely will be making it often.

    1. Easy and delicious! I didn’t have tomatoes, so I opted for red peppers. I also used bone-in chicken thighs instead of boneless breasts and adjusted the cooking time accordingly. I served this with fried rice…fantastic! I will definitely make this again.

      1. I did the same (my husband has an allergy to tomatoes). I simmered the mixture for about 35 minutes – delicious!

  43. Amazingly simple to make for something with so much flavor. We had it over rice. Will definitely be making this again.

    1. Katerina - Diethood
      Katerina Petrovska

      Actually, no. Tomato paste is a thick concentrate and it will only thicken the sauce and, also, the taste will be very tomato-y. 😊 It adds a very strong flavor.
      You can use fresh tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes.

      1. Easy and DELICIOUS! Served topped with a little sprinkle of unsweetened coconut flakes, rice and asparagus. A keeper…

  44. I will be trying this recipe tonight, however, I only have 3 cans of regular coconut milk. Will this still work and should I add anything to cut the sweetness of the milk? Thank you

  45. Made this for dinner last night and it was a hit all around the table! So flavorful and tender; delicious!

  46. Yummy! This looks so delicious and tasty! I can’t wait to give this a try! My family is going to love this recipe!

  47. I’m drooling! So much flavor in one dish! Thank you for sharing this! I know what I am making this week!

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