4.67 from 3 votes

One Pan Saucy Coconut Chicken

 March 7, 2024

Tender chicken meets a creamy coconut milk sauce for a match made in literal heaven. Introducing my One Pan Saucy Coconut Chicken, a simple, easy dinner that comes together in just 20 minutes. It’s filled with tons of herbs and spices for flavor that packs a punch in every bite… and gets better with time. This is the perfect recipe to meal-prep at the beginning of the week, so you can have a delicious, better-than-takeout meal ready in minutes!

A pan of the finished one-pan saucy coconut chicken, sitting on a countertop topped with lime wedges

Friends, what makes for the *perfect* chicken recipe? Is it…

  • Perfectly-Cooked, Tender Chicken: Think, chicken that is lightly crispy on the outside and perfectly juicy and moist on the inside. Chicken may be simple, but it can be hard to get it absolutely perfect.
  • A Creamy, Flavorful Sauce: Cooking the chicken is only half of the battle. The second half? Creating a creamy sauce that is packed with flavor and truly brings the chicken to life.
  • Simple and Easy Assembly: No matter how much you love cooking, nobody wants to spend hours cooking dinner. That’s why simple and easy recipes reign supreme.

If you’re looking for a recipe that fulfills all of the above, then look no further, because I’ve got you. This recipe is one that truly has it all. It’s packed with tender, juicy chicken coated in a creamy coconut milk sauce, and is finished off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Truly, what could be better than that?

Plus, like many of my most recent recipes, this one comes together in just one simple pan, and in just 20 minutes. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, then you may have seen my new series, Dinner in Twenty. This year, I’ve been sharing the BEST 20 minute dinner recipes to help you feed your family in a pinch. From my viral One-Pan “Marry Me” Chicken Orzo to my Quick and Easy Saucy Beef and Broccoli, these are the perfect easy recipes that anyone will enjoy, whether you’re a busy parent of littles or a college student on a budget of time + money!

What You Need to Make This Saucy and Tender Chicken Recipe

  • Chicken Breast: Boneless, skinless chicken breast is the key to making this recipe!
  • Olive Oil: To cook the chicken, I like to choose a better-for-you oil such as olive oil.
  • Seasonings: The seasonings are what truly makes this recipe shine! This recipe calls for a blend of paprika, cumin, ground coriander, sea salt, and ground black pepper for that perfect, well-rounded flavor profile.
  • Onion: Any onion variety works well, in this recipe.
  • Garlic: I always recommend using fresh garlic, whenever possible. The flavor is truly unbeatable!
  • Tomato Paste: A hint of tomato paste gives this sauce the perfect color and adds a mild, delicious flavor.
  • Unsweetened Shredded Coconut: Don’t knock it until you try it – the unsweetened shredded coconut adds that perfectly sweet coconut flavor.
  • Coconut Milk: I prefer to use full-fat coconut milk to keep this recipe dairy-free, but heavy cream also works well, here.
  • Cilantro: Fresh cilantro adds both color and flavor to this recipe.
  • Lime: A squeeze of fresh lime juice adds the perfect finishing touch to this recipe.
  • Rice: While this is not necessarily an ingredient for this recipe, I love serving this Coconut Chicken over a bed of fluffy white rice!
The cooked chicken breasts, sitting in a pan
Next, add the olive oil to a large, deep skillet, on the stove, over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the chicken and allow it to cook, undisturbed, for 4-5 minutes.

How to Make This Quick & Easy One Pan Meal

To make this dish, start by preparing the chicken. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Then, add the ground paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, sea salt, and ground black pepper to a small bowl. Mix to combine, then rub it into both sides of the chicken breasts. Repeat until all of the chicken breasts are coated in the seasoning.

Next, add the olive oil to a large, deep skillet, on the stove, over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add in the chicken and allow it to cook, undisturbed, for 4-5 minutes.Then, flip the chicken to the other side and allow it to cook again, undisturbed, for another 4-5 minutes.

Once the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and add in another tablespoon of olive oil. Dice the onion and garlic and add it to the pan, being sure to stir well and scrape down the sides of the pan to coat them in the excess seasonings.

Next, add in the rest of the seasonings and the tomato paste and stir everything well, allowing it to cook for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the coconut milk or heavy cream (if using) to the pan, alongside the chopped cilantro, and mix until a thick sauce forms.

Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed, then return the chicken to the skillet and mix to coat it well in the sauce. Allow the chicken to cook in the sauce for a few more minutes, until it’s fully cooked through. Once it’s done, remove it from the heat and squeeze lime juice on top, if desired. Serve over rice, and enjoy!

If you make this recipe, please be sure to leave a review and rating below! To see more recipes and behind the scenes, follow along on InstagramTikTok, and Youtube! I’m also now on Pinterest, so stop by and take a look at what’s new.

** Photography by Tanya Pilgrim
A pan of the finished one-pan saucy coconut chicken, sitting on a countertop topped with lime wedges

One Pan Saucy Coconut Chicken

4.67 from 3 votes
Nicole Modic
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
SERVES 6 Servings
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Tender chicken meets a creamy coconut milk sauce for a match made in literal heaven. Introducing my One Pan Saucy Coconut Chicken, a simple, easy dinner that comes together in just 20 minutes. It's filled with tons of herbs and spices for flavor that packs a punch in every bite… and gets better with time. This is the perfect recipe to meal-prep at the beginning of the week, so you can have a delicious, better-than-takeout meal ready in minutes!

Ingredients

For the Chicken:

  • 1.5 Pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast this should be approximately 2-4 breasts, depending on the size
  • 1 Teaspoon Paprika
  • 1 Teaspoon Cumin
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • Ground Black Pepper to taste

For the Creamy Coconut Sauce:

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Onion diced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic mashed
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Ground Paprika
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • 1 Pinch Sea Salt
  • 1 Pinch Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 Cup Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  • 1 Can Full-Fat Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 Cup Cilantro chopped
  • 1 Lime to squeeze on top

Instructions

  • To make this dish, start by preparing the chicken. Pat the chicken breasts dry with a paper towel. Then, add the ground paprika, ground cumin, ground coriander, sea salt, and ground black pepper to a small bowl. Mix to combine, then rub it into both sides of the chicken breasts. Repeat until all of the chicken breasts are coated in the seasoning.
  • Next, add the olive oil to a large, deep skillet, on the stove, over medium-high heat.
  • Once the oil is hot, add in the chicken and allow it to cook, undisturbed, for 4-5 minutes.
  • Then, flip the chicken to the other side and allow it to cook again, undisturbed, for another 4-5 minutes.
  • Once the chicken is done, remove it from the pan and add in another tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Dice the onion and garlic and add it to the pan, being sure to stir well and scrape down the sides of the pan to coat them in the excess seasonings.
  • Next, add in the rest of the seasonings and the tomato paste and stir everything well, allowing it to cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Then, add the coconut milk or heavy cream (if using) to the pan, alongside the chopped cilantro, and mix until a thick sauce forms.
  • Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed, then return the chicken to the skillet and mix to coat it well in the sauce.
  • Allow the chicken to cook in the sauce for a few more minutes, until it's fully cooked through.
  • Once it's done, remove it from the heat and squeeze lime juice on top, if desired. Serve over rice, and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love to see what you made – tag @kalejunkie
in your posts and I’ll re-share!

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  1. 4 stars
    I made this dish tonight, and I really enjoyed it. I am giving it 4 stars simply because I think there’s an omission in the instructions. The ingredients list “1/4 Cup Unsweetened Shredded Coconut,” but the recipe never tells you when to add the coconut. Maybe I was supposed to do it in step 7 when it says, “add in the rest of the seasonings,” but that wasn’t obvious to me. I assumed that meant the spices. Could you clarify because I’d like to try this recipe again with the shredded coconut to see how it tastes. Thanks!

    • Hi Laura, oh no! I am sorry to hear that. You are correct – the coconut should be added in step 7.