Thai Coconut Milk Braised Chicken (Low Carb, Keto)
Juicy and tender oven braised chicken swimming in a rich Thai coconut gravy.
A one pan low carb recipe and a foolproof yet simple method to cooking perfect whole chicken every time.
A great alternative to a traditional roast chicken, this easy oven braised chicken is full of bold Thai coconut flavours.
Low carb, keto friendly, and gluten free with only 4.5g of net carbs!
Be sure to make my Aromatic curry paste
Thai coconut milk braised chicken is a simply stunning one pan recipe with flavours you won’t believe you created. Anyone can make this easy whole chicken recipe with a Thai coconut gravy and nail it every time.
Don’t let the name frighten you, braising is just a fancy way of saying this chicken is seared on the outside to lock in the flavour, then slow cooked in the oven the make is soft tender and juicy.
The rich coconut milk protects the chicken and keeps it from drying out while the meat becomes succulent and fall off the bone tender. Meantime in the pan below a rich, succulent coconut gravy bursting with bold Thai flavours you won’t be able to stop eating.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Simple in both preparation and cooking, require little cooking skill
- An easy to master recipe that turns out well every time
- The Thai coconut flavours developed are next level
- Oven braised chicken is tender, soft, and moist
- Uses simple, easy to come by ingredients
- Uses a single pan for easy clean up
- This chicken recipe is low carb, keto, and gluten free
Intense Thai Coconut Flavours
Thai coconut milk brasied chicken uses my aromatic curry paste both in the marinade and in the gravy. If you have tried it then you know it’s full of ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and chilies which are quintessential in Thai cuisine.
When cooked in coconut milk with onions and red peppers, the aromatic curry paste creates a very Thai flavoured dish.
The best way I can describe it, is that this recipe tastes exactly like you expect when you think Thai coconut chicken.
A Very Low Carb and Gluten Free Entree
Thai Coconut Milk braised chicken is a very low carb recipe.
Depending on the size of the chicken used this recipe easily yields 6 if not 8 servings.
With just 4.5g of net carbs per serving, this keto chicken recipe leaves plenty of room for a low carb side dish!
What Does Braised Mean?
Braising is a cooking technique that uses two different types of heats to cook the food.
A hot dry eat is first used to brown the outside of the meat and lock in that flavour.
Next, liquid (in this case coconut milk) is then added to the pot which is covered and kept at a lower temperature for a long time until it becomes tender and soft.
Very similar to how a slowcooker works, braising if often used on tougher cuts of meat, although it can be used to cook any cut of meat or vegetable.
What Does Braising do to Meat?
Braising creates a truly remarkable texture when done correctly.
Why does braising produce such tender and juicy meat, as well as a rich and flavourful gravy?
The answer is time, heat, and liquid.
When the meat is first seared with high temperatures, the Maillard reaction is responsible for the distinct flavour that comes along with properly browned meat.
But while this seared meat hangs out covered in a lower temperature oven, heat, time, and moisture get to work melting away tougher connective tissues in the meat like collagen and gelatin which drip into the pan below creating a wonderfully rich gravy.
When all is said and done, what you should be left with is a slightly crisp outer crust, juicy, soft, tender cuts of meat inside, and a thick gravy full of complex and deep flavours.
What you need to oven braise a whole chicken
Oven braising whole chicken is extremely straightforward and simple. It’s a true one pot recipe, assuming you have the right pot.
To braise a full chicken you’ll need an oven and stovetop safe pot, Dutch oven, or simmering pan large enough to fit a whole chicken without crowding it, preferably with a lid.
This vessel will cook the chicken in its entirety through both the stove top searing and the slow oven braising which makes for a quick and simple clean up.
How to Braise Chicken
Braising a whole chicken may sound like some fancy restaurant technique but I assure you that you can absolutely nail this recipe every time regardless of your cooking ability.
The best part is, no one who tastes this will be able to believe how simple this recipe was, the flavours and textures are just too incredible.
Thai coconut milk braised chicken has 3 simple tasks you need to complete.
- Preparation and seasoning: A layer of aromatic compound butter under the skin, and a quick season on the outside
- A hot dry sear: Whole chicken into a hot pan with some coconut oil until each side is seared and browned
- A Low and slow oven braise: Coconut milk, veggies, and aromatics into the pan and brought to a simmer before hanging out in a lower temperature oven until the meat is infused with flavour, and fall off the bone tender.
Keto Thai Coconut Milk Braised Chicken
- Large oven safe simmering pot with lid
- Knife and Cutting Board
- 1 whole roasting chicken 3-5 pounds
- ½ cup butter softened
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup aromatic curry paste
- 1 can coconut milk full fat
- 3 whole Thai chillies
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 large red pepper sliced
- ⅓ cup cilantro fresh
- salt and pepper
- Heat oven to 425°F [220°C]
Prepping and Seasoning the Whole Chicken
- The first step is to prepare the whole chicken for searing. Start by gently using your fingers to separate the skin from the meat, while leaving the skin in tact on the bird. Slide your fingers under the skin and work them around the breast meat, thigh, legs, and any other part you can reach without ruining the skin too much.
- In a bowl, combine softened butter, coconut oil and the aromatic curry paste, reserving 2-3 tablespoons of the paste for the sauce. Combine this mixture well to create a compound butter. Using your hand spread this evenly under the skin of the chicken over the meat. Stuff the butter and paste mixture between the skin and the meat, and then smooth it out until the meat is mostly coated in the compound butter.
- Next, clean the outer part of the skin to remove any of the butter mixture that may have gotten on there, and pat the outside of the chicken dry with a paper towel. Coat the whole chicken liberally with salt and pepper.
Searing Each Side of the Chicken
- Melt a few tablespoons of coconut oil in a large oven safe simmering pot, or Dutch oven with a lid. Once hot, sear each side of the chicken for 1-2 minutes until the skin has started to brown. After each side is seared, arrange the chicken so it is breast side up in the pan.
- Surround the seared chicken with chopped onion, garlic, and red pepper. Pour in a full can of coconut milk, and 2-3 more tablespoons of aromatic curry paste.
Oven Braising the Chicken
- Cover with a lid, and start the braising process by bringing the pot to a rapid simmer on the stove. Once simmering place the whole thing in the oven. Cook at 425°F [220°C] for 10-15 minutes maximum to finish the sear, and then drop the temperature to 350°F [175°C] to finish braising. Cook at this temperature for around 1 hour and 30 minutes until the chicken is soft and moist, and just starting to fall off the bone. Cook Longer if desired.
- Remove the braised chicken from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and lime juice before serving.
Nutritional information is calculated using the recipe calculator and verified database available from Cronometer. Although every reasonable effort is made to provide accurate information this estimate is provided as courteously and convenience only. To obtain the most accurate representation of the nutritional information in any given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe.Try the free recipe calculator at Cronometer
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Tips To Master Coconut Milk Braised Chicken
Preparing and Seasoning the Chicken
- The first thing you will need to do is separate the skin from the meat, while leaving the skin intact so you can stuff the butter and aromatic curry paste mixture underneath. Slide your fingers between the skin and meat wherever you can, and gently work the skin away from the meat to create a packet for the compound butter
- Take your time, go slow, get the skin as loose as you can without destroying it
- Room temperature butter will spread under the skin easier than cold butter
- A very cold chicken will harden the butter and make it hard to spread so bring it to room temperature as well
- Rub any remaining butter mixture in the cavity
- Clean the outside of the skin after applying the butter layer underneath to avoid burning
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Searing the Chicken
The sear is an important part of the braise as it locks in flavour and helps the skin get crispy in the oven. Some tips to get the sear on the outside just right:
- Clean and pat the skin dry before you begin searing to help ensure crispy skin
- Ensure the pan and oil is hot before you add the chicken, it will cool down a lot with a whole chicken in the pan so get it nice and hot
- Start with the breast side down, searing for 1-2 minutes before rotating onto the sides, finishing with the chicken right side up (breast side up) in the pan
- Use metal tongs to help handle and hold the chicken in place during searing
Oven Braising The Chicken
The oven is where the real magic happens. All the heat and steam under that lid are going to work on the chicken to make it soft and juicy while the drippings fall to the pan and create a wonderfully flavoured gravy you will want to lap up with a spoon.
Tips to oven braise a whole chicken just right:
- Bring the pan to a rapid simmer on the stove before placing it in the oven. You want everything nice and hot going into the oven
- For perfect crispy skin, finish the sear in the oven by starting the chicken off at a higher temperature such as 425°F [220°C] for the first 10-15 minutes before turning the heat down to begin the braise. This extra sear further enhances what you’ve started in the pan. Just don’t leave it too long.
- Avoid too much basting. The coconut oil and butter on the breast, as well as the skin should protect the meat and prevent drying out. Avoid basting if you can so that the skin can become crispy. If the chicken is drying out too much, your temperatures are either too high, or too much steam is escaping. Turn it down, get a better lid, stop opening it!
What to Serve With Thai Coconut Chicken
Cauliflower rice is a great low carb side dish to mop up that mouthwatering gravy.
This recipe also pairs well with vegetables like green beans, asparagus, sheet pan veg, or a simple salad.
I’ve even been known to spoon this recipe over top of a keto biscuit for a Thai inspired take on chicken and biscuits!
Choose a side!
Make Ahead Tips, Leftovers, and Storage
Coconut milk braised chicken is a low carb recipe that definitely tastes even better the next day. It makes fantastic leftovers.
Store leftovers gravy and all it all together in the fridge and reheat in the microwave or oven as desired.
Since this is a whole chicken and it’s such a simple hands off recipe, it is the perfect recipe for keto meal prep day. Pop it in the oven while you are working on sides and divide it up after once cooked for an easy weekly meal prep.
The chicken is so soft it basically falls into portions anyways.
To save time during preparation, have the aromatic curry paste made and ready in the fridge ahead of time.