Thai cuisine sets itself apart from others through its strong and aromatic flavors, and today’s Thai chicken recipe displays that aspect in the simplest way possible.
This dish features air-fried chicken thighs served on white rice and pickled vegetables. Similar rice dishes are pretty easy to find in all parts of Thailand; our carefully prepared version of the traditional recipe will show you how to make exotic Thai chicken right in your own kitchen.
What Does Thai Chicken Taste Like?
This recipe utilizes several kinds of spices, but rest assured the natural flavor of chicken still comes through without being overpowered.
The marinade we use for chicken has a diverse range of flavors, but the dominant flavor is umami with a bit of heat.
Spice is a staple of most dishes in Thai cuisine, and we certainly can’t leave it out in this recipe. However, this dish isn’t searingly spicy by any stretch; its mild spiciness adds another layer to the overall flavor.
Is This Recipe Healthy?
Yes, Thai chicken is a healthy dish.
This dish has 507 calories in each serving, making it a fulfilling main dish. Instead of cooking it in oil, we air-fried the chicken to cut down on the amount of fat. As a result, there is only 5.5 g of saturated fat in each serving.
Despite the number of spices used, sodium is restricted to 550 mg per serving, which is within the limits of our nutrition guidelines.
Chicken thighs provide you with 24.8 g of lean protein, while vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, and lettuce add fiber, minerals, and antioxidants to the dish.
Skin-on and boneless chicken thighs are perfect for this dish because of their tender texture. We chose to air-fry the chicken to ensure a delectably crispy skin and avoided using oil.
The marinade for the chicken is a special aspect of this dish. The blend includes soy sauce, fish sauce, garlic, Sriracha, chili powder, ground black pepper, brown sugar, and cornstarch.
This sauce is versatile and can be used on any cut of chicken.
Serving the chicken with plain, raw vegetables is pretty boring, so why not make a quick brine for your vegetables? All that you need is vinegar, white sugar, and lime juice. Soak the vegetables for some time to enjoy crunchy carrots and cucumbers.
These two marinated vegetables bring some much-needed sourness to this dish, and they are also fun to eat. We have also included some green lettuce for its leafy texture.
White rice is a very prominent part of Thai cuisine because it goes well with just about anything. Rice balances this dish by incorporating carbohydrates, but you can always replace it with noodles.
We sprinkle some cilantro and roasted peanuts on the chicken to garnish the dish. While cilantro adds a refreshing touch, the peanuts bring their signature crunchy texture and nutty flavor to the dish.
Tips for Cooking
Marinate the chicken
Ideally, you should marinate the chicken for 5 to 6 hours before cooking. If you don’t have much time, marinating for about 5 to 10 minutes in advance is fine too. Aside from adding flavor to the chicken, marinating also helps tenderize the meat.
Don't overcook the chicken
The key to great chicken dishes is cooking the protein to perfection, because overcooked chicken is usually tough to eat.
Chicken thighs are more forgiving than chicken breasts since you can cook them for a bit longer without worrying, they will turn out dry.
Insert a thermometer into the chicken to check its internal temperature. It’s cooked when the temperature reaches a minimum of 165 °F.
Let the chicken rest
You’re not entirely home free after cooking the chicken. We recommend letting it rest for about 5 minutes before cutting it; if you cut the chicken immediately after cooking, it may lose moisture.
How to Store and Reheat the Leftovers
Thai chicken can last for 3 to 4 days in the fridge and 2 to 3 months in the freezer. Transfer the chicken to airtight containers to store safely. Reheat the chicken in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes at 350 °F.
What to Serve With
A typical Asian meal often comes with a stir-fried dish or soup on the side of the main course. This meal is no exception; check out our favorite side dishes.
Thinking chicken for tonight’s dinner? This Thai basil chicken recipe is super quick to make: In less than 30 minutes, you’ll have a satisfying plate of chicken stir-fry filled with a delicious aroma from the Thai basil leaves.
Usually chicken and rice are cooked separately, but for this dish, they are cooked together so the rice packs as much flavor as the chicken. Cleaning up is also a breeze.
Slice the cucumbers: Wash the cucumber, then place it horizontally on the cutting board. Cut into 1/8-inch thick slices.
Cut the carrots: Slice off the top part and peel the skin. Use a vegetable peeler and peel along the length of the carrot to get thin slices. Stack the slices and cut them into thin strips.
Prepare the lettuce: Wash the leaves carefully and dry them with a salad spinner.
Cook the rice: Cook rice in a pot, microwave, Instant Pot, or rice cooker.
Mince the garlic: Cut off the root and peel the skin off the cloves. Mince with a knife or garlic mincer.
Chop the cilantro: Bunch the cilantro together and chop finely.
Make the sauce: Prepare a small bowl. Add 2 tbsp garlic, 1 1/2 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce, 1/2 tbsp Thai fish sauce, 1 tsp Sriracha, 1/2 tsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, and 1/2 tsp cornstarch. Mix until combined.
Marinate the chicken: Marinate 16 oz chicken thighs in the sauce for 5 minutes.
Cook the chicken: Move the chicken to an air-fryer, and cook it for 12 minutes at 375 °F.
Pickle the vegetables: Add 1/4 cup of white vinegar, 1 tbsp granulated sugar, and 1/2 tbsp lime juice to a bowl holding 6 oz cucumbers and 4 oz carrots. Let them sit for 10 minutes.
Garnish and serve: Serve the chicken with 3 cups of cooked medium-grain rice, 3 oz green lettuce, and pickled vegetables. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cilantro and 0.5 oz unsalted roasted peanuts.
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 508Calories from Fat 191
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 5.5g
Trans Fat 0.1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4.5g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.9g
Vitamin A 6951.5IU
Vitamin C 8.3mg
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tuyet Pham is an award-winning Saigonese chef who believes that joy is the secret ingredient to delicious food. At Healthy Recipes 101, Tuyet personally tests and simplifies every recipe, ensuring maximum flavor with minimal effort. With a background at prestigious French restaurants P’TI Saigon and Le Corto, Tuyet knows how to make every dish exceptional.
Luna Regina is an accomplished writer and author who dedicates her career to empowering home cooks and making cooking effortless for everyone. She is the founder of HealthyKitchen101.com and HealthyRecipes101.com, where she works with her team to develop easy, nutritious recipes and help aspiring cooks choose the right kitchen appliances.
Packed with flavor and spices, making it a delicious and healthy meal option.