Thai Peanut Chicken

While I was scrolling through Pinterest last week I saw a photo of Chicken Satay with Peanut Sauce and my mouth started to water. I knew that’s what I had to cook next. But when I got to the grocery store I spotted a sale on chicken drumsticks for a shocking $0.59/lb. You bet I snatched those up. Instead of dipping the cooked chicken in peanut sauce, why not just cook the chicken in the sauce and make it into Thai Peanut Chicken? Taking advantage of sales is all about being flexible!

This also brings up a great point that one of my savvy readers, Craig, reminded me of this week. Whenever grocery stores have excess inventory, they’ll drastically drop the price in order to sell it off before having to spoil it out at 100% loss. It’s tricky to spot these sales, but if you make sure to keep your eyes open, it’s worth the extra browsing. Often times these items are a bit closer to their expiration date, but if it’s something you can freeze or use right away, it’s totally worth it.

Anyway, back to the Thai Peanut Chicken…

I used a slightly modified version of this Thai Peanut Sauce recipe that I made years ago as the marinade. I skipped the coconut milk because it was too expensive this time (I need to stock up to Trader Joe’s!) and I wanted the mixture to be a bit thicker so it would stick to the chicken. Also, because I’m modifying my sugar intake at the moment, I used honey instead of brown sugar and subbed chili garlic sauce instead of Sriracha. Feel free to sub brown sugar and Sriracha if desired.


You can use this same recipe for other types of chicken pieces as well. Chicken thighs? YES, that would be so good. Chicken breasts will be a bit dryer, but will work. The total cooking time will depend on the size of your chicken pieces, how packed they are in your baking dish, and whether they are bone in or boneless. I suggest starting with 30 minutes for boneless and 45 minutes for bone in chicken. Use a quick read meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the thickest piece of meat and add more time if needed (it should reach 160℉). That’s really the only good way to tell if it’s done. I have a basic model (like this), which is very inexpensive and can be found at most stores that carry kitchen gadgets. I consider it a kitchen “must have” item.

Oops, back to the Thai Peanut Chicken! (again)

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Thai Peanut Chicken

4.73 from 22 votes Inexpensive chicken drumsticks are transformed into an exotic and flavorful Thai Peanut Chicken thanks to a simple Thai Peanut Sauce. Author: Beth – Budget Bytes Servings 4 (2 pieces each) Prep 45 minutes Cook 1 hour Total 1 hour 45 minutes Save RecipeSaved! Print Recipe


  • 1 clove garlic ($0.08)
  • 1 inch fresh ginger ($0.24)
  • 1/2 fresh lime (1.5-2 Tbsp juice) ($0.25)
  • 1/2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (or Sriracha) ($0.17)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce ($0.15)
  • 1 Tbsp honey (or brown sugar) ($0.12)
  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil ($0.57)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.04)
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter ($1.11)
  • 3 Tbsp hot water ($0.00)
  • 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro ($0.50)
  • 3 lbs chicken pieces ($1.86*)


  • Mince the garlic. Peel the ginger with a vegetable peeler or by scraping the skin with the sharp side of a spoon. Use a small holed cheese grater to grate the ginger. Add the garlic, ginger, the juice from half the lime (1.5-2 Tbsp), chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, and vegetable oil to a medium bowl. Whisk together. Add the peanut butter and hot water, then whisk again until fairly smooth. Roughly chop the cilantro. Save a handful of the cilantro to top the dish after baking, and stir the rest into the peanut sauce.
  • Set aside 1/2 cup of the peanut sauce for later. Add the remaining peanut sauce to a gallon sized zip top bag along with the chicken pieces. Remove as much air from the bag as possible, close it up tightly, and massage the bag to mix the marinade with the chicken. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.
  • When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken pieces and all the marinade from the bag in a casserole dish so that the pieces are in a single layer. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, then use a brush to add the reserved peanut sauce to the top of the chicken. Cook for an additional 15 minutes, then use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature. If it’s not up to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, bake 10-15 minutes more and then test again. Repeat until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Top the baked chicken with the reserved cilantro and serve.

See how we calculate recipe costs here.


*My drumsticks were on sale for $0.59/lb.


Serving: 2PiecesCalories: 720.4kcalCarbohydrates: 15.68gProtein: 86.2gFat: 35.23gSodium: 876.68mgFiber: 3.9g Read our full nutrition disclaimer here. Have you tried this recipe?Mention @budgetbytes or tag #budgetbytes on Instagram!

Thai Peanut Chicken

Want to cook these on the grill? Sure, why not! Take advantage of that beautiful summer weather. 🙂

Step by Step Photos

Start making the peanut sauce by mincing one clove of garlic and grating about one inch of fresh ginger. You can peel the ginger with a vegetable peeler or the side of a spoon before grating it on a small holed cheese grater. Add the garlic and ginger to a bowl with the juice of half a lime (1.5-2 Tbsp), 1/2 Tbsp of chili garlic sauce or Sriracha, 1 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 Tbsp honey (or brown sugar), 1 tsp toasted sesame oil, and 2 Tbsp regular vegetable oil.

Then add 1/2 cup natural peanut butter and a few tablespoons of hot water to help thin it out a bit and loosen up the peanut butter. Stir until it’s fairly smooth (it will have some chunks from the garlic and ginger).

Remove the leaves from about a 1/2 bunch of cilantro, then roughly chop the leaves.

Stir most of the chopped cilantro into the peanut sauce, but save some to sprinkle over top of the finished dish.

I was lucky enough to find this pack of drumsticks for $0.59/lb., but you could use other types of chicken, if desired. Just keep in mind that cooking time will vary with the size of your chicken pieces and whether or not they are bone in or boneless. I used about 3 lbs. of chicken. 

Save about 1/2 cup of the peanut sauce to brush onto the chicken later and add the rest to a large zip top bag. Add the chicken pieces, remove as much air as possible, then massage the bag to coat mix the chicken with the sauce. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to over night. I like to put a baking sheet under the bag in the refrigerator just to be extra careful. You don’t want any of that raw chicken juice dripping in your fridge.

When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the chicken and all the sauce from the bag into a casserole dish big enough for the chicken to lay in a single layer. Bake for 30 minutes…

At 30 minutes, brush the remaining peanut sauce over the top of the chicken. Bake for an additional 15 minutes, then use a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of one of the largest pieces. The internal temp should be 160 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s not, bake for another 10-15 minutes then test again. Mine were pretty packed in there and might have been close to frozen in the center, so they needed another 10 minutes.

When they’re cooked through, top with the remaining chopped cilantro and serve.

I served my Thai Peanut Chicken over jasmine rice, but if you want to get fancy, you could serve it with some Savory Coconut Rice.

Right after I took that photo I was all like…


Mmmmm Thai Peanut Chicken! 

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