Curried Chicken Thighs

5 from 3 votes
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Thai-inspired Curried Chicken Thighs with a zesty cilantro-peanut salad and lime. This grilled chicken thigh recipe is flavor-packed, nutritious, and an absolute must-try!

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Curried chicken thighs topped with cilantro-peanut salad on a blue and white serving platter.

Chicken thighs are marinated in a coconut-curry mixture before being grilled and topped with a bright, zingy herb salad.

One taste of this grilled chicken thigh recipe will have your family and friends begging for the ingredient lowdown!

Usually our go-to chicken dinner recipe is my Honey-Sesame Chicken, but it now has some serious competition.

If you have your grill fired up this summer, I highly suggest grilling the chicken thighs over some live fire. (Might as well throw this Avocado Corn Salad on the menu, too!)

Otherwise, an indoor grill pan or cast iron skillet works perfectly fine. (You can also bake these chicken thighs, if you prefer!)

Just don’t skip the salad topper, which turns this dish into something truly restaurant-worthy.

As far as sides, a simple batch of white rice is a lovely complement to the Asian-inspired flavors. (As is this Cucumber Sesame Salad!)

Curried chicken thighs arranged on a blue and white platter topped with cilantro and peanut mixture.

How to Make Curried Chicken Thighs

This recipe does require a little forethought in the form of a 6 to 8 hour marinade.

I just prepare the marinade and chicken in the morning, and by the time dinner rolls around, it’s ready for action.

At that point, this grilled chicken thigh recipe comes together in right around 30 minutes!

Also, to all my grilled chicken enthusiasts, you’ll also want to check out this Turmeric Chicken recipe.

The Ingredients

Recipe ingredients arranged on a platter in separate bowls with labels.
  • Chicken Thighs: I suggest using boneless, skinless chicken thighs. They have a little more fat than chicken breasts, which makes them extra juicy and less prone to drying out, however are still quite lean.
  • Coconut Milk: Coconut milk helps tenderize the chicken as it marinates, while infusing it with rich flavor.
  • Curry Paste: Look for a yellow curry paste, which is made of garlic, Thai chili peppers, ginger, lemongrass, and spices.
  • Cilantro: Feel free to use the leaves and tender stems of the cilantro for the salad. If you’re not a cilantro fan, parsley or Thai basil will also work.
  • Peanuts: Look for roasted, salted peanuts, which add richness and crunch. If using unsalted, just add a pinch of kosher salt to the salad.
  • Lime: I like using a double dose of lime in the salad and as a final garnish. It adds zesty brightness and acidity.
  • Sesame Seeds + Oil: A mix of sesame seeds and sesame oil add lots of rich, toasty flavor to the salad topping.
  • Chile Pepper: I like using a Fresno chile pepper, which adds a good punch of heat, as well as fruity, smoky flavor. If you can’t find Fresno chiles (or prefer the dish without spice), use minced red bell pepper instead. A sprinkle of Aleppo pepper is also a lovely alternative!

Ingredient Tip

For less heat, remove the seeds and ribs from the chile pepper. The white membrane and seeds are the hottest part of the pepper. If you can scrape off the innermost layer of flesh inside the chile, too, you will greatly lessen the heat.

For a complete list of ingredients and quantities, see the recipe card below.

The Directions

Step 1: Marinate the Chicken in a gallon-size zip-top bag with coconut milk and curry paste. Let sit overnight or for at least 6 to 8 hours.

Chicken thighs being marinated in coconut milk and curry paste, and then grilled until nicely charred.

Step 2: Grill Chicken on an outdoor grill, indoor grill pan, or cast iron skillet over medium-high until lightly charred and cooked through. Transfer chicken to a serving platter.

For Baked Chicken Thighs

If you prefer baking over grilling or pan-searing, you can bake the chicken thighs at 425ºF for 20 to 25 minutes, until they reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.

Step 3: Prepare Cilantro-Peanut Salad by combining cilantro, peanuts, oil, sesame seeds, soy sauce, lime, and chile. Mix and set aside.

Cilantro, peanuts, oil, soy sauce, seeds, lime, and chile being mixed in a large glass bowl.

Step 4: Top Chicken with Cilantro-Peanut Salad, and serve with lime wedges on the side.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days. Store the cilantro-peanut salad separately.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm chicken in a baking dish in the oven at 350ºF or a covered skillet over medium-low heat. Top with salad mixture after the chicken is warm.
  • To Freeze. You can freeze the chicken alone (not the salad) in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Meal Prep Tip

Prepare a double batch of the chicken thighs and use them on salads, in grain bowls, sandwiches, or wraps throughout the week.

Serving Suggestions

Curried chicken thighs topped with cilantro-peanut salad styled on a gray surface.

More Healthy Chicken Recipes

If you try this recipe, snap a pic and tag #dishingouthealth on Instagram so I can see your creations. Also, follow along on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest recipe updates.

5 from 3 votes

Curried Chicken Thighs

Curried Chicken Thighs with a zesty cilantro-peanut salad and lime. This grilled chicken thigh recipe is flavor-packed, nutritious, and an absolute must-try!
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

Equipment

  • Grill, grill pan, or cast iron skillet (or baking dish if you prefer to bake the chicken)

Ingredients  

  • 1.5 to 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup canned full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup yellow curry paste
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 small bunch cilantro leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped (salted or unsalted)
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, plus lime wedges from 1 lime for serving
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 Fresno chile, seeds and ribs removed, minced (optional – or use a pinch of Aleppo pepper or chili flakes)
  • Suggested for serving: white rice
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Instructions 

  • In a gallon size ziplock bag, combine chicken thighs, coconut milk, and curry paste. Remove air from bag before sealing. Massage marinade into chicken until well-coated. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. (If you don't have a ziplock bag, use a large mixing bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.)
  • Before cooking chicken, prepare Cilantro-Peanut Salad by combining cilantro, peanuts, sesame oil, sesame seeds, fresh lime juice, soy sauce or tamari, and chile (if using) in a bowl; mix well. Taste and add a pinch of salt, if needed. Set aside while you cook the chicken. (The cilantro will soften as it sits.)
  • Preheat grill, grill pan, or skillet over medium heat. Coat grill grates or pan with cooking oil. Remove chicken from marinade; discard marinade. Sprinkle chicken evenly with kosher salt. Arrange chicken on grill (or in pan), and cook for about 5 minutes per side, or until cooked through.
    *Note: If you prefer baking the chicken, place chicken thighs in a 9×13-inch baking dish and bake at 425ºF for 20 to 25 minutes, until it reaches an internal temperature of 165ºF.
  • Arrange chicken on a platter and scatter Cilantro-Peanut Salad overtop. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over each serving.

Notes

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftover chicken in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days. Store the cilantro-peanut salad separately.
  • To Reheat. Rewarm chicken in a baking dish in the oven at 350ºF or a covered skillet over medium-low heat. Top with salad mixture after the chicken is warm.
  • To Freeze. You can freeze the chicken alone (not the salad) in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Nutrition

Serving: 6oz. chicken with salad topping | Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 4.5g | Sodium: 690mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 1g

I calculate these values by hand to ensure accuracy, however expect up to a 10% variable depending on food brands.

If you love this recipe, please leave a star rating and review below!
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5 from 3 votes

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8 Comments

  1. Tanya narithookil says:

    So good! Made it this week and have had it for dinner 3 days in a row, thanks for a new staple!

  2. Miranda Hayes says:

    5 stars
    Such a fabulous recipe!! We will make it on repeat this summer!

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      So glad you enjoyed it, my friend! Thank you for leaving a review!

  3. Trudie says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! I put on top of white rice and it turned out delightful for lunch the next day. Highly recommend!

  4. Lindy says:

    5 stars
    Could I use red curry paste instead of yellow? If yes, should I eliminate the chile pepper?

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      Yes red curry paste should work fine! You shouldn’t have to eliminate the chile in the salad topping unless you wish for less spice. Red curry paste is normally pretty mild.

  5. sydnie7 says:

    The photo looks like a lot more cilantro than I get in a “bunch.” Do you have a measurement?

    1. Jamie Vespa says:

      About 1.5 cups chopped!