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basil coconut curry braised chicken thighs with cilantro

Basil Coconut Curry Braised Chicken Thighs

These juicy chicken thighs have crispy skin and are cooked in a bath of coconut milk, ginger, garlic, basil and lime juice. This dish is bright, creamy, rich and easy to make. It's also gluten-free, keto and Whole30 approved!
5 from 6 votes
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Asian, Gluten-Free, Healthy
Servings 4 people


  • Oven-safe skillet or dutch oven


Seasoning Blend for Chicken

  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne if you don't like heat, skip this!
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano

Coconut Curry

  • Coconut oil for pan
  • 1/2 large white onion finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper finely chopped
  • Salt to have on hand for seasoning throughout
  • 1 1/2 tbsp ginger peeled and sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic crushed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro plus more for topping
  • 1 cup coconut milk if using a very large pan, you may need more to submerge half of the chicken thighs)
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 2 1/2 tbsp basil paste can sub for 3 1/2 tbsp fresh basil. If using fresh basil, save some for topping
  • Fresh sugar snap peas optional, to add at the end!


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. (If making this solely on stove top, skip this step!)
  • Heat an oven safe skillet or dutch oven on high heat. Season with 1 tbsp of coconut oil and let it melt. Once the oil is shimmering and lightly smoky, put the chicken thighs into the pan skin side down. Let them sear for 5-6 minutes, until golden brown and crisp. Remove the chicken thighs from the pan and set aside.
  • There's going to be a lot of chicken fat in the pan. Remove half of the chicken fat, so about 2 tbsp of fat is left.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and let the pan cool off for a minute. Add the chopped onion and bell pepper to the pan and sauté with a spatula. Season generously with salt (to taste, but I did 3 pinches.) Let them sauté for 6 minutes or so, until tender and fragrant. 
  • Reduce the heat to medium low, then add the garlic, ginger and cilantro to the pan. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. 
  • Pour the coconut milk into the pan, then add the lime juice and basil paste. Stir with a spatula until combined.
  • Add the chicken thighs, non-skin side down, to the coconut milk mixture. Make sure they are at least halfway submerged in the liquid so they can cook adequately while in the oven!
  • Transfer the chicken to the oven and cook for 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is at least 165 degrees.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven. If you are adding sugar snap peas, pour them into the skillet and submerge in the coconut milk mixture. They will end up cooking just by being in the hot liquid! Top with cilantro leaves and stems, plus fresh basil if you have it. Serve immediately and enjoy!


Keyword basil, basil paste, canned coconut milk, chicken thighs, cilantro, coconut oil, garlic, ginger, lime juice