Stir-Fried Peanut Butter Chicken Recipe

When you're craving Asian takeout but don't feel like dialing it in or waiting for delivery, you're in luck: Most stir-fry recipes are reasonably quick and easy to make, and this peanut butter chicken recipe is no exception. In fact, when it comes to flavor profiles, it checks practically all the boxes: sweet, sour, salty, and umami, too. 

"I love the combination of sweetness, creaminess, and umami in this dish," says recipe developer Catherine Brookes. "It's so delicious and tastes just like takeout!" This chicken stir-fry takes just 40 minutes to make, and the result is a fusion-style dish that Brookes says has elements of Thai and Chinese cuisine. Just don't cut corners when it comes time to prepare the meal — you want to make sure you include all the elements, although there are a couple of ingredients that Brookes says are particularly important. "The chili and lime are 2 key ingredients here as the spicy, zingy flavors balance so well with the rich creaminess of the rest of the dish," Brookes says. 

Gather the ingredients for this stir-fried peanut butter chicken recipe

With a few exceptions, you may already have quite a few of the necessary ingredients on hand, especially if you regularly make stir-fries. Check your pantry and fridge before heading to the grocery store for olive oil, chicken thighs, salt, pepper, onion, red bell pepper, garlic cloves, ginger, serrano peppers, peanut butter, soy sauce, coconut milk, honey, and lime. 

One thing to keep in mind is that you have some control over how spicy this dish is. "I tend to deseed the chili before finely chopping it," Brookes says. "This means the final dish is mildly spicy. If you want it hotter, you can leave the seeds in."

Cook the chicken

Add a tablespoon of oil to a large skillet or frying pan and set it over medium-high heat on the stovetop. Throw the diced chicken into the pan and fry, tossing occasionally, until it's cooked and lightly browned. This should take about 8 minutes. Remove it from the pan and set it aside. 

Stir-fry the onion and pepper, then add the aromatics

Pour the second tablespoon of olive oil into the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and pepper to the pan and stir-fry until softened. Once the onion has started turning translucent (about 6-8 minutes), add the garlic, ginger, and serrano peppers to the pan, stirring constantly, and cook for another minute. 

Add the peanut butter sauce ingredients

It's now time to make the sauce. Pour the peanut butter (opt for a smooth or natural version), soy sauce, coconut milk, and honey into the pan. Stir until they're well combined with the veggies, and bring everything to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and allow the sauce to cook and bubble for 10 minutes. "The predominant flavors here are savory, nutty, and creamy, but the honey and coconut milk certainly add a nice balance of sweetness, too," says Brookes about this rich sauce.

Return the chicken to the pan

With the sauce fully cooked, add the chicken back into the pan and stir well, coating it fully. Allow the entire skillet to cook for another 2 minutes, giving the chicken a final chance to cook through. 

Season and serve

All that's left to do is season and serve your dish! Remove the peanut butter chicken from the heat and squeeze in the lime juice. Stir in some salt and pepper to taste, then enjoy right away. "This is great paired with rice or noodles. I also like to add some steamed bok choy on the side," says Brookes. 

Depending on how many people you're cooking for, you might end up with leftovers, as this recipe serves 4. If you don't eat it all one night, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. 

Stir-Fried Peanut Butter Chicken Recipe
5 from 43 ratings
If you like the sweet, savory, slightly spicy flavors of peanut sauce, you'll love this creamy stir-fried chicken finished with lime and chili.
Prep Time
Cook Time
stir-fried peanut butter chicken
Total time: 40 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, diced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch chunk ginger, grated
  • 1 fresh serrano pepper, finely chopped
  • ⅓ cup peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 (15-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lime
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, high-sided frying pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add the diced chicken, season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir-fry until cooked through and lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the onion and bell pepper and fry until softened, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, ginger, and serrano pepper and fry for another minute, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the peanut butter, soy sauce, coconut milk, and honey. Stir well, bring to a boil, and reduce the heat to low. Simmer the sauce for 10 minutes to thicken.
  6. Return the chicken to the pan and stir well. Cook for another 2 minutes to heat the chicken through.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and squeeze in the lime juice and any extra salt and pepper to taste. Stir well, and serve.
Calories per Serving 1,094
Total Fat 88.8 g
Saturated Fat 36.4 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 283.7 mg
Total Carbohydrates 22.2 g
Dietary Fiber 3.3 g
Total Sugars 9.6 g
Sodium 1,218.9 mg
Protein 56.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
Rate this recipe