Roasted coconut milk chicken is a unique way to whip up succulent and tender poultry! Prepared with Asian-inspired spices and seasonings and rich coconut milk, it’s a hearty dinner idea that will fill your kitchen with flavorful aromas.
Sometimes when I’m in a cooking rut, I like to get inspired by my favorite chefs. I’ve been following Jamie Oliver for as long as I can remember. I love heading to his site when I’m feeling stuck. I recently rediscovered his recipe for chicken in milk and decided to put my own twist on it! Switching up regular milk for coconut is a game changer.
I’m no stranger to cooking with coconut milk. Be sure to check out this recipe for Malaysian braised beef short ribs if you prefer red meat. This Thai yellow shrimp curry is another favorite, as is this vegetarian-friendly dal makhani recipe. As you can see, coconut milk is an ingredient that I never shy away from.
Back to the recipe at hand: roasted coconut milk chicken. It’s very easy to throw together, and while it does take a bit of time to roast — it’s totally worth it! I like to serve mine with rice, vegetables, salad, and some homemade bread (to soak up that amazing sauce). It also makes for some really delicious leftovers.
Course: Main Dish
Recipe Difficulty: Easy 🥄
Whether you make oven roasted or Instant Pot whole chicken, the meat will be incredibly tender and juicy. If that doesn’t do the trick, the lemongrass, Thai basil and coconut milk in the dish will have you craving a second helping!
INGREDIENT NOTES AND SUBSTITUTIONS
- Chicken – Go for a whole bone-in chicken for this roasted chicken recipe. If you have boneless, drumsticks, or even wings in the freezer, you can use the same ingredients, but keep in mind the cooking time will be a lot different. Something to be aware of!
- Coconut Milk – You will need the full-fat varieties that come in a can for the correct amount of creaminess.
- Lemongrass – If you can’t find any fresh lemongrass, use 2 tablespoons of lemongrass paste. Look for it in the produce section of your local supermarket.
- Lemon Zest – Perfect when paired with lemongrass! The citrus flavors work wonderfully with coconut milk.
- Sage – I also love the way that sage complements the citrus and coconut in this recipe. The combination is just amazing.
- Cinnamon – Same goes for cinnamon! This slightly spicy seasoning adds to the richness of the overall flavor profile.
- Garlic – I can’t forget my favorite savory dish add-on: a healthy helping of garlic. You’ll need 12 cloves!
- Salt & Pepper – Use this to season the chicken before browning it!
- Olive Oil – You’ll need to use this ingredient to brown the chicken before you roast it.
To see this recipe in action, watch the video in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
HOW TO MAKE ROASTED COCONUT MILK CHICKEN
- Brown The Chicken. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. While you wait for it to warm, pat the chicken dry with paper and season it with salt and pepper. Heat up the olive oil over medium-high heat in an oven-proof pot. I recommend that you use a Dutch oven. Try not to burn the skin, as you simply want to brown it. Your best bet is to constantly move the poultry with tongs as it browns.
- Roast The Chicken. Remove the chicken from the pot and place it on a plate. Pour out any excess fat into a small bowl — you can either use it to roast some vegetables for a side dish, or you can discard it. Using a spoon, scrape up any bits of cooked chicken that may be stuck to the pan (you can leave it in the pan, but it’s important to un-stick it so that it doesn’t burn!). Place the chicken back inside, then add the coconut milk, lemongrass, lemon zest, sage, cinnamon, and garlic to the pot. Bake covered for 90 minutes.
- Baste, Bake Some More, & Serve. Remove the lid and baste your coconut milk chicken with the juices inside the pot. Continue to bake uncovered for 35 more minutes. Turn off the heat and let it sit for 10 minutes before you remove the chicken from the pot. You can discard the lemon grass and cinnamon stick (if not using ground) from the sauce at this point. Carefully cut the meat and serve with the side dishes of your choosing!
Notes for Instant Pot Whole Chicken
- You’ll need a trivet.
The trivet holds the chicken above the coconut milk to prevent it from becoming soggy. We’re not braising the meat- we want Thai roasted chicken.
If your pressure cooker is an Instant Pot brand, a trivet should have been in the box. Otherwise, you should be able to find one at any store that sells electric pressure cookers.
- Crispy skin requires an extra step.
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to get crispy golden skin in the Instant Pot, but it IS possible under an oven broiler!
Using the trivet handles, lift the whole chicken out of the Instant Pot and transfer it onto a baking sheet lined with foil. Then, place it under the oven broiler for 2-4 minutes.
Use caution when broiling, because food can go from golden to burnt very quickly.
Can I Make Roasted Coconut Milk Chicken In The Instant Pot?
Absolutely! Don’t miss my Instant Pot instructions on the recipe card below. It should take no more than an hour to make, meaning you’ll save a lot of time if you do have an IP.
Does Coconut Milk Tenderize Chicken?
Coconut milk does tenderize chicken, making it a great ingredient to use in roasting, baking, or even as the base of a marinade. You’ll end up with tender and juicy results every time! Plus, roasted coconut milk chicken is filled with wonderful flavor from the addition of the milk and the other seasonings and spices.
What Does Coconut Chicken Taste Like?
My roasted coconut milk chicken boasts an Asian-inspired flavor thanks to the combination of several different flavors: rich coconut milk, citrusy lemongrass, spicy cinnamon, and earthy and peppery sage. The chicken is tender and juicy thanks to the coconut milk and the slow-roasted cooking method! Yum!
The fundamental flavors of Thai cuisine
The next time you sit down for a taste of Thai, think about which of these flavors are in the dish.
- SPICY – This typically comes in the form of Asian hot sauces and spicy curries. The combination of spicy and sweet is featured in dishes like sweet and spicy shrimp pizza.
- SWEET – Dishes like Thai mango salad and ingredients like coconut milk allow us to experience the sweetness.
- SALTY – There’s a bit of fish sauce for extra saltiness in fried pork belly sliders, and that saltiness is found in many other dishes too.
- SOUR – The sour flavor of tamarind and lime is sure to make you pucker.
- BITTER – Thai cuisine incorporates fresh leaves of plants, and many of them add bitterness
- UMAMI – Soy, mushrooms, and other earthy umami flavored ingredients are used often to help balance the other flavors in the dish.
Roasted Coconut Milk Chicken
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Pat dry the chicken with paper towels. Season the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Heat oil in a heavy based oven-proof pot (See Note 2) over medium high heat and brown the chicken all over. Be careful not to scorch the skin on bottom, you want to brown it. I constantly moved it around in the pot using tongs.
- Carefully remove chicken and set aside on a plate. Pour the out the excess fat and set aside to roast vegetables or discard. With spoon, scrape up bits of cooked chicken on bottom of pan and leave in pan. Return chicken to the pot, add remaining ingredients and bake covered for 90 minutes.
- Remove lid and baste chicken with juices. Leave uncovered and bake uncovered for 35 minutes.
- Let stand for 10 minutes before removing the chicken. Remove and discard lemon grass and cinnamon stick from sauce. Carefully cut into pieces or completely shred meat. Serve chicken with the sauce on the side and steamed rice with vegetables of choice.
Instant Pot Method
- Pat dry the chicken with paper towels. Season the chicken with kosher salt and black pepper.
- Add trivet to Instant Pot. Place whole chicken on trivet and add the cinnamon sticks, sage leaves, lemon grass, lemon zest, garlic cloves and pour coconut milk over all.
- Cover with lid and seal vent. Cook on Poultry or High Pressure setting for 6 minutes per pound. Allow pressure to naturally release for at least 10 minutes.
- Carefully lift chicken out of Instant Pot using trivet handles and discard cinnamon sticks, sage leaves, lemon grass, lemon zest pieces. Strain cooking liquid and press cooked garlic through sieve. Add cooking liquid back to Instant Pot and press the Sauté setting. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered to reduce. Serve with shredded chicken.
- ***If you're looking for crispy skin on chicken, it isn't possible in the Instant Pot, but it's possible under an oven broiler! Using the trivet handles, remove chicken from Instant Pot and transfer to a baking sheet lined with foil. Place under broiler for 2-4 minutes, watching closely so as not to burn.
- For fresh lemongrass, trim and split lengthwise. If unavailable, use 2 tablespoons lemongrass paste, found in the produce section of most supermarkets. Stir it in with the coconut milk before pouring over chicken.
- Use a Dutch oven that is stove top and oven safe. If you don’t have an ovenproof skillet or pan, brown the chicken, then transfer it to a casserole dish or baking pan large enough to hold the chicken and other ingredients.
- Cook Time for Whole Chicken in Oven
- Cook Time for Instant Pot Whole Chicken
4 pound chicken: 24 minutes on high pressure
5 pound chicken: 30 minutes on high pressure
Allow a natural pressure release for at least 10 minutes before quick releasing any remaining pressure.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.