Lemongrass Chicken with Rice and Zucchini Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Lemongrass Chicken with Rice and Zucchini

59 reviews / 4.9 average

This Lemongrass Chicken with Rice and Zucchini is OMG-level good! Tender chicken thighs, sautéed and then simmered in a creamy coconut and lemongrass sauce, sits next to a steamy pile of jasmine rice, fresh herbs, and your choice of veg.

Hello and happy flavor day to you! Because this right here is a flavor all-star.

This recipe involves tender chicken (thighs, please!) sautéed and then simmered in an OMG creamy-coconut-lemongrass-flavor-packed sauce, with steamy jasmine rice, and fresh herbs, and some veggies on the side if you want.

And all I have to say is big, big love for this.

Why Everyone Needs This Lemongrass Chicken ASAP

As with most superdelicious foods, this lemongrass chicken is giving us the best of both worlds:

  1. Fresh, energized, life-giving flavor from the lemongrass and lime and cilantro;
  2. Creamy and totally comforting lusciousness from the coconut cream, chicken, and rice.

So it eats like a comfort food, but it tastes like lightness and zippy zing and flavor excitement, and it is all-around one of my favorite things to cook and eat right now.

Lemongrass chicken in a bowl with rice and zucchini and topped with fresh herbs.

How To Make This Lemongrass Chicken

The method of making this is fairly straightforward: sauté the chicken, build the sauce, add the chicken back in. That's pretty much the bones of it.

For vegetable activity - zucchini is all up in my CSA right now, so I like to serve this with pan-fried zucchini half-moons with their little tender-crispness and golden browned spots. But I can confirm that any vegetable, including a very delicate and simple green side salad, is just as lovely.

Use What You Have On Hand

For substitutions, chicken breasts will work, although I prefer thighs. For a vegetarian option, pan-fried tofu would be fabulous. I am also having visions of shrimp and feeling really excited about it. Right? With a little fish sauce or something? That would be awesome.

And coconut milk could work in a pinch, but COCONUT CREAM is the gold standard for achieving a sauce that ladles on like a gravy, which I just cannot seem to quit. It is cash money deliciousness.

Lemongrass chicken in a bowl with a fork  being held by a white hand.

Sending lots of love to summer and fresh flavors that support a good food mood. Lemongrass, you star, you.

Lemongrass Chicken: FAQs

So chicken breasts can work here, right?

Chicken breasts could work, but you'll lose a bit of the juiciness and tenderness, so chicken thighs are the way to go if those are available to you. For a vegetarian option, pan-fried tofu would be perfect!

I can only find coconut milk. Will that work?

Coconut milk will work a pinch, but you might lose some of the creaminess. Make sure to use full-fat coconut milk instead of light coconut milk.

I'm trying to cut out refined sugar. Do I need the brown sugar in the sauce?

The brown sugar really helps balance out some of the flavors of the coconut cream and the lime juice, so it's best to keep it in. For a refined sugar-free option, you could try coconut sugar instead.

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

Click here to watch step-by-step stories for how to make this recipe!

Source notes: My version of this recipe was modeled after a pre-made product (I am very fancy) called Kevin's Lemongrass Chicken. I have also tried a lemongrass chicken from a local Vietnamese restaurant that was similar (and also delicious!), but the version I tried was more of an oil-based sauce vs. cream-based sauce, so in making this I was attempting to replicate the former!

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Lemongrass Chicken-1

Lemongrass Chicken with Rice and Zucchini

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x


This Lemongrass Chicken with Rice and Zucchini is OMG-level good! Tender chicken thighs, sautéed and then simmered in a creamy coconut and lemongrass sauce, sits next to a steamy pile of jasmine rice, fresh herbs, and your choice of veg.




  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper to taste
  • olive oil

Lemongrass Sauce:

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, ribs and seeds removed (optional), minced
  • one 1-inch knob of ginger, grated or minced
  • 2 tablespoons lemongrass or lemongrass paste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • one 14-ounce can unsweetened coconut cream (similar to coconut milk, but NOT the same as cream of coconut, which is sweetened!)
  • juice and zest of one lime
  • salt to taste

Serve with:

  • cilantro and/or basil, chopped
  • rice
  • zucchini or broccoli or a nice lil green salad


  1. Cook the chicken: Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken thighs, sprinkle with spices, and cook for 8-10 minutes until cooked through. Remove from pan. Once cooled, shred / pull into small bite-sized pieces.
  2. Make the lemongrass sauce: Add the garlic, jalapeño, and ginger to the chicken pan (you don't have to wipe it out - save all those good flavors). Sauté until fragrant. Add the lemongrass and brown sugar; stir to combine. Add coconut cream and bring to a low, gentle simmer. Season with lime zest, lime juice, and salt. 
  3. Finish: Add chicken back in to the sauce. Stir in some fresh cilantro or basil just before serving. Serve over rice with any veggies that you like (see zucchini directions in the notes section). And now enjoy this amazing flavor moment. ♡


To make the zucchini: Cut two zucchini into coins, toss with olive oil and salt and pepper, and arrange in a layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes at 450 degrees.

For the chicken, I prefer it to be a little more roughly chopped rather than perfectly cut pieces, so I like to do a combination of shredding and then run my knife once or twice through the whole pile of shredded chicken.

The amount of oil you use with the chicken as well as the length of time that you cook it will both affect the overall creaminess of the sauce. More oil in the pan = thinner sauce. I normally use about 1 tablespoon of oil with the sautéing of the chicken, and I let the chicken cook until it's very browned on the outside, leaving almost no oil left in the pan (just delicious browned bits stuck to the bottom, which get pulled up again when you build the sauce in the pan). The video here shows a little more oil and less cooking time for the chicken, resulting in a slightly more runny sauce. It's going to be delicious either way you go with the sauce because this flavor is so awesome.

Instant Pot instructions: 1. Add the chicken, seasonings, and lemongrass sauce ingredients (except for the coconut cream) to the Instant Pot. 2. Pour in 1/4 cup of water, cover, and cook on high pressure for 12 minutes. 3. Release the steam, shred the chicken, and stir in the coconut cream. 4. Let the chicken sit for a few minutes to thicken up and enjoy! 

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Sauté
  • Cuisine: Thai-Inspired

Keywords: lemongrass chicken, chicken recipe, lemongrass recipe

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Do you have a preference of lemongrass or the paste? I LOVE lemongrass and cook with it a bunch. In my town I can only find it at Whole Foods and you get two stalks and I can never get it to taste as lemongrassy as I want to. So was wondering if maybe the paste helped with this? I am dying to try this recipe. Thank you.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Megan! We love lemongrass paste for the convenience and concentrated flavor, so would definitely recommend it for this recipe!

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Do you have a lemongrass paste you can recommend? Preferably one I can order online? I just moved to a rural area and I’m having a hard time finding this beloved ingredient!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    Where do you find lemon grass paste? Have never seen it in the grocery store. And, if using lemongrass, is it chopped or how is it used? Sorry, new to lemongrass.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      We find it in the produce aisle by the fresh herbs. Here’s a post about how to prepare fresh lemongrass!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Corina. Yes, we haven’t tested it in the Instant Pot, but we think it would work out just fine!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      The nutrition facts don’t include the rice. Thanks for the question!

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        Sorry about that, Stephanie! The rice and zucchini are factored into the nutrition calculations.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Great question! I think any of your favorite veggies would be great! Some of my favorites that come to mind are sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, cauliflower, and broccoli.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      We haven’t tried, but yes, we think that it’d work out just fine!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    Was so looking forward to this dish, without knowing, I bought cream of coconut, and not coconut cream, may be a little clarification would help, can be found in the thai, not the normal canned milk aisle 😩

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Oops! I just did the same thing. The chicken tasted like candy it was so sweet! I couldn’t find coconut cream and figured cream of coconut was the same. Lesson learned. Next time I’ll use coconut milk! ☺️

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    So easy and delicious, Lindsay. Thankyou!
    As my husband is vegan, I may try this as a tofu spiced saute in addition to the fantastic chicken sautee.

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    I made this tonight…a double recipe since I had a 3# package of chicken thighs. The chicken took longer than 8-10 minutes to cook, even though I split it into batches so as not to overcrowd. Next time I think I’d cut it up a bit first to shorten the cooking time. I added fish sauce and a splash of soy sauce and a second lime for the double batch. I think I’d halve the sugar next time too. But overall a delicious meal!

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    This was amazing! Omitted the jalapeño for my kids and it was a total crowd pleaser! Make this recipe!!

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I have chickens living with me as pets and could never eat them. Could I use another animal instead for this recipe — such as dog or horse?

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Does your mom live with you, Lersch? (or more likely, you with her) If not, just use her.

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      This comment is everything. 😂

      Making this tonight! I have no doubt it will be 5 ⭐️.

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    The flavours are so perfect, thanks for the help using zucchini…and it was so easy.
    I would definitely make again!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made with jalapeño, zucchini, lemongrass, and garlic from our garden. So fresh and tasty! Yum!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    What a great combination of flavors! Was intimidated to use lemongrass but prep was super easy. Will make again!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe looks delicious and seems easy to make. I’m craving for comfort food. Tired of eating out. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this recipe today and added mushrooms and onions while sautéing the chicken. Also added a dash of fish sauce to the lemongrass sauce for a little more fullness of flavor. It was delicious!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Any recommendations as to how to pan fry those zucchini? Look amazing but I don’t want to screw it up.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yes! Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Once heated, add in the zucchini, and saute on each side until browned! Should be about 2 minutes per side.

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Made this last night. It was really good. Cozy, delicious. Next time I think I will leave more of the jalapeño seeds and ribbing is because I like a little more heat. I air fried some broccoli as a side. Would make again. Perfect!

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe is a keeper for sure! It was a hot night so I prepped the chicken in the instant pot so I didn’t have to stand over sizzling chicken on a hot pan, hah! I used two jalapenos with all the ribs and seeds and it was perfectly spicy to balance the sweet citrus. Thank you!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I made this tonight and it was reeaaallyyy good. Definitely a keeper. Also I really appreciated your response to the dog or horse comment 😂

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m on Weight Watchers and didn’t realize coconut cream is so high in calories!! Would there be a way to combine coconut cream with plain fat free Greek yogurt next time? Or would that affect the taste/texture too much?

    This recipe was AMAZING by the way. Big hit with my hubby! But all PoY recipes are 😊

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      If you don’t mind the flavor of plain fat free Greek yogurt, we think that’d be a great substitute!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    SO yummy! My kiddo said she’d be happy if I just made the sauce again. Used Trader Joe’s Ajika seasoning instead of paprika and jalapeño, and used coconut milk for fewer calories – but simmered it for a long time to thicken it. 10/10 will make again.
    Would be delicious with tofu plus veggies as well.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      So glad it was a hit with your family! Totally agree that tofu would be wonderful in this recipe!

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    This recipe was delicious and was easy to make. I could not find the coconut cream, had to use coconut milk. It was still good, the family agreed it was a keeper recipe. I could not find lemongrass paste but making the lemongrass was quick and easy.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Glad to hear it turned out well with coconut milk and regular lemongrass! Thanks so much for the comment, Mary!