This recipe for peanut butter chicken is so quick and simple, it’s perfect for busy weeknights when you want something rich and full of flavor without a lot of work. It pairs juicy chicken thighs with a creamy peanut butter sauce and red pepper flakes for a little heat. Serve it with rice or cauliflower rice to tie the meal together.
What Makes This Peanut Butter Chicken So Good
- There’s so much flavor! The name might sound like pieces of chicken just slathered in peanut butter, but it has so much more depth than that. It’s rich and creamy, with a little heat from the red pepper flakes. The tomatoes make the sauce a little tangy, but that’s balanced out by the brown sugar. Everything works together really well.
- This recipe takes roughly 30 minutes, so it’s a great option if you want a delicious dinner but don’t have a ton of time or energy. If you’re serving it with rice, start cooking the rice first so everything can wrap up around the same time, or use an instant rice to make your meal even easier.
- You can keep any leftover peanut butter chicken in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days. Reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave, microwaving in bursts and stirring frequently so it reheats evenly.
Key Ingredients for Peanut Butter Chicken
Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs – You can use chicken breasts if you prefer them, but chicken thighs are fattier, juicier, and have more flavor. They’ll be more tender than chicken breasts, too.
Creamy Natural Peanut Butter – Natural peanut butter is best here because it doesn’t contain any extra ingredients that might throw off the flavor or consistency of the sauce. Natural PB is just peanuts and sometimes salt! If you’re keto or just watching your sugar-intake, our post on Peanut Butter and the Keto Diet has some useful information about peanut butter ingredients to keep in mind. There’s a list of recommendations for keto-friendly types of PB in that post, too.
Red Pepper Flakes – There’s a very small amount of red pepper flakes in the peanut butter sauce. Just enough to add a little spice and flavor, without making the recipe hot.
- If the peanut butter sauce is too thick for your liking after cooking, you can add a little more chicken broth. Alternately, if you like your sauce on the thick side, start out using only ¾ cup of chicken broth. Add more gradually to reach your ideal sauce consistency.
- I prefer to use creamy peanut butter, but you could use chunky peanut butter in your peanut butter chicken if you wanted to. The peanut butter will reduce to a sauce and you’ll have the added crunch from the peanuts.
- I haven’t tried it, but if you have a peanut allergy, you could substitute almond butter in this recipe. Of course, it wouldn’t really be peanut butter chicken at that point!
Other Chicken Recipes I Know You’ll Love
- Marry Me Chicken
- Hibachi Chicken with Fried Rice and Vegetables
- Air Fryer Frozen Chicken Nuggets
- Chicken Gyoza
- Spatchcock Chicken with Garlic-Herb Butter
- Best Ever Tom Kha Gai Soup (Thai Coconut Chicken Soup)
- Everything Bagel Chicken with Scallion Cream Cheese Sauce (Keto)
- Shredded Chicken Tacos
For the Peanut Butter Sauce
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ cup creamy natural peanut butter
- 1-2 tablespoons brown sugar see Notes
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons lime juice
For the Chicken
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1-inch piece ginger grated
- cooked rice
- cilantro optional
- red pepper flakes to taste, optional
- Medium bowl
- Cutting board
- Sharp knife
- Large skillet
- Silicone spatula
- In medium bowl, mix together all ingredients for peanut butter sauce, stirring until smooth and thoroughly combined. Set sauce aside.
- Cut chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces. Season pieces with salt and pepper to taste.
- In large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat. When hot, add chicken and brown 2 to 3 minutes per side.
- Add onions to skillet. Cook until onions are translucent.
- Add garlic and ginger to skillet. Cook approximately 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Slowly pour peanut butter sauce into skillet, stirring to coat chicken. When all sauce has been added, let mixture simmer 5 to 6 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Portion chicken onto serving plates with cooked rice. Spoon peanut butter sauce from pan over chicken if desired. Garnish with cilantro and additional red pepper flakes if desired and serve.
- Brown Sugar: Add 1 tablespoon to start. Taste sauce while mixture simmers and add an additional tablespoon if desired. Honey can also be used in place of the brown sugar.
- Make it Keto: Use Brown Swerve in place of the brown sugar. If using canned diced tomatoes, make sure they don’t contain any added sugar. Use natural peanut butter that only contains peanuts and maybe salt. See our post on Peanut Butter and the Keto Diet for peanut butter recommendations. Serve with cauliflower rice or veggies.
- Make it Gluten Free: Use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, and make sure to use a gluten free chicken broth.
- Make it Dairy Free: Use dairy-free butter.
Number of total servings shown is approximate. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving using the ingredients listed, not including any optional ingredients. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by the desired number of servings. Result will be the weight of one serving.