Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken and Rice Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken and Rice

22 reviews / 5 average

Grilled marinated chicken, fluffy rice, and excessive handfuls of mint and cilantro, finished off with a generous drizzling of big and flavorful creamy coconut lime sauce.

The picture I'm going to paint for you today starts with grilled marinated chicken, fluffy rice, and excessive handfuls of mint and cilantro, and it finishes with a generous drizzling of creamy coconut lime sauce that is so big and so flavorful that you cannot be unchanged by it.

You know I'm not always the biggest fan of chicken but THIS. This sauce-soaked, herb-loaded wonder is exactly the kind of chicken I like.

Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken and rice with bite on fork.

It's the time of year when I start to build my meal plans around getting outdoors as much as possible. I know what's coming (WINTER) and I know how much I will be outside (HARDLY AT ALL) so I'm doing my best to really lean into those summer flavors and the kinds of meals that naturally bring you outside into the sun. And if those meals can put loads of fresh summer herbs to good use, double win.

For that reason this recipe serves two purposes:

  • Getting you outside into the sun / fresh air to boost the mood a bit.
  • Giving you the foundation for all good things: that zingy, salty, herb-loaded coconut lime sauce.
Coconut lime sauce in a food processor.

Coconut milk, lime juice, lime zest, fish sauce, cilantro mint garlic oh my. This. Sauce. Is. So. Good.

It's worth mentioning that between recipe development, photos, and video, the three people working on this recipe (working out of three separate locations) each ended up with slightly different looking sauces. One thin, one medium, one thick.

The lesson: coconut milk can vary greatly from can to can and brand to brand, and how much lime sauce you add (and whether you measure or just squeeze) can also impact the final coconut lime sauce texture. I'd recommend just starting with what's written and then adjust as needed.

Grilling chicken on a grill.

At the end of the day, chicken and rice never fails, but it EXTRA never fails us when it's serves as a blank canvas to holds all the flavors of that cool, creamy sauce.

A little char on the chicken, a fresh squeeze of lime, hot sticky rice, and a heavy dousing of puckery coconut lime sauce. It's creamy and summery, bright and fresh, and deeply filling and satisfying.

Bring it on.

Coconut Lime Grilled chicken with rice on a plate.

Check Out Our Video For How To Make Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken:

Click here to see the step-by-step web story instructions for this recipe!

The coconut lime sauce (and the crown jewel!) of this recipe was inspired by the sauce in this Forbidden Rice salad recipe from Food52. Not one but two people on our team made it and convinced me I needed to try it! They were not wrong. The Food52 recipe was authored by Asha Loupy. You can find her website here and her Instagram here.

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Grilled chicken on a plate with rice and lime wedges.

Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken and Rice

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


Coconut Lime Grilled Chicken Bowls! Grilled marinated chicken, fluffy rice, and excessive handfuls of mint and cilantro, finished off with a generous drizzling of big and flavorful creamy coconut lime sauce.


Units Scale

Coconut Lime Sauce

  • juice and zest of 2-3 limes (about 1/4 cup)
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk (solid / creamy stuff in a can for a creamier sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste (or fresh grated lemongrass, if you have access!)
  • half a jalapeño pepper, ribs and seeds removed
  • 1 clove garlic
  • small bundle of fresh cilantro
  • small bundle of fresh mint

Everything Else

  • 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 cups rice, uncooked


  1. Sauce: Pulse all sauce ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.
  2. Chicken: Pour about half of the sauce over the chicken and allow to marinade for 30 minutes. (This 30 minute wait time is a good time to make some rice!)
  3. Chicken: Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat. Cook the chicken on both sides until browned and fully cooked, about 4 minutes per side. Allow to rest for a few minutes.
  4. To finish: Serve grilled chicken with rice and vegetables, and drizzle with remaining sauce.



Sauce Consistency: The thickness and creaminess of your sauce is pretty dependent on the nature of your coconut milk. There can be so much variance between brands and even just from can to can, which you can see between our Instagram story videos, our photos, and our step by step videos. The good news is that regardless of texture, the sauce tastes *delicious.* And you can always boost the creaminess by adding more of the top / solid part of the coconut milk into the sauce.

Vegetarian / Vegan: Sub 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce for fish sauce, and serve on pan-fried tofu!

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: Thai-Inspired

Keywords: grilled chicken, grilling recipe, grilled chicken thighs, coconut sauce, coconut chicken, healthy summer dinner, rice bowls

One More Thing!

This recipe is part of our collection of delicious rice recipes. Check it out!

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe looks fantastic. Will it work with boneless chicken breasts? And if the breasts are too large, slice in half or possibly thirds?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Be careful with fish and citrus juice. Citrus can cook fish (see ceviche). You wouldn’t be able to leave it on as long.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    your recipes are amazing!! thanks for inspiring and sharing…please keep up the great work.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Looks as wonderful as all your recipes! I am not a fan of fish sauce. Ok to leave it out and still accomplish a tasty sauce?
      Or can you suggest a substitute?

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    I don’t eat sugar or sweeteners of any kind. Do you think this would still be worth making without the sugar?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      The carton which you’re referring to is coconut water – not coconut milk. You will notice the difference in creaminess between the two products. The carton product is clear and not creamy at less (due to it having less fat). The can version is a proper milk, fully creamy in texture and opaque. Using the carton version, your sauce will be watery.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      I think the cold coconut milk that’s found in the cold dairy case should work ok. It won’t be as thick and creamy as canned coconut milk but should still be ok. I’m assuming you’re not referring to coconut water. Good luck!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Do you think it would be bland without the lemongrass? Just came from the store and forgot it and who knows when I’ll venture into the store again!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Yum yum yum! My one year old DEVOURED this with yum sounds, lips smacking, and squeals of delight. I’d been craving something new and this was a home run! Tender chicken on nutty quinoa loaded up with sweet potatoes, bell pepper, eggplant, and broccoli all over quinoa. Already sent your recipe to family and friends to try!

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    So good! Love the balance of flavors in this bright, tangy but creamy sauce. We doubled the recipe for lunch wraps today.

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Super nice recipe that’s nice and light for the hot weather! Definitely what I want to eat when I’m looking for something healthy and quick to make!
    Thanks for sharing,
    A Canuck Chef in the Netherlands

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hi Lindsay,

    Looking forward to making this! I’m in the market for a food processor but it looks like the Cuisinart you have listed is out of stock everywhere. Do you have any other recommendations?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      The Cuisinart one really is our favorite here. Some members on our team have the 14-cup Cuisinart food processor, which it looks like is in stock. That could be a good one too!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    Can’t stop making this! The sauce is amazing – full disclosure, I couldn’t get the consistency right and added greek yogurt to make it more creamy. Also used a little less fish sauce and subbed ginger for lemongrass paste bc I couldn’t find it at my store. The result was a praise hands emoji dinner from my very picky family.

    One thing I LOVE about POY sauces is how easy it is to customize to your own taste! Also can report that you can marinate longer than 30 mins without no issue. My chicken ended up marinating for ~2 hours. Perfection!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Correction: that should say “marinate for longer than 30 mins WITH no issue.” Oops!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Good Blog, thanks. the article that I just read is very interactive and I got a lot of knowledge from here. are you really a writer? I was amazed by your writing, very easy and I was able to understand.

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love the look of this delicious and nutritious dish. I believe this is a wonderful diet and weight loss example for people looking to start and achieve fitness transformations. I personally haven’t building on the grill in a New York minute. After looking at the grill chicken, I think I might have to re-up on chicken breasts to see if I can really as good as you. Keep up the good work with your blog Lindsay. 🙂