You’ve all seen Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Chicken in Milk, right? Well I didn’t have any milk on hand, but I did have some coconut milk. What happened next was a succulent, flavorful roasted chicken that is perfect for dinner or shredded up and put in a soup. Check out the video to see how this Thai Roasted Chicken in Coconut Milk comes together. I’ve also included an Instant Pot version for you, too.
We are currently in Utah hiking with family. I think I mentioned a few months ago we won the lottery. Not THAT lottery, but a national parks one for access to hike Coyote Butte – The Wave. We found out in January, and for only letting 20 people a day into the park, we were super excited.
So before the trip I wanted a homey, comfort dinner Sunday evening and Jamie Oliver’s Chicken in Milk came to mind. What’s better than roasted chicken and mashed potatoes? But I’m trying to be healthier these days and skipped the mashed spuds. I had to switch gears namely because I was too lazy to head to the market for milk. Ever notice that sometimes milk doesn’t sour and other times it goes bad quickly? Mine didn’t make the cut and down the drain it went.
So, since I didn’t have any fresh milk I decided to use coconut milk and go a more Thai influenced route. I had a few lemongrass stalks, which would lend themselves well to the lemon infused sauce. Things were looking up. Besides all that, for anyone who is lactose intolerant, this is perfect for you – a literal winner, winner, chicken dinner!
First things first, heat the oil in a heavy based pot over medium high heat and brown the chicken all over. Be careful not to scorch the skin on the bottom, you want to brown it. I constantly moved it around in the pot using tongs. This helps with caramelization in the sauce.
I kept true to his recipe and believe me, this is a killer dish. I like the cinnamon and garlic in the sauce and the lemongrass worked perfectly. For fresh lemon grass, trim and split lengthwise. If unavailable, use 2 tablespoons lemon grass paste found in most supermarket produce sections. Stir it in with the coconut milk before pouring over chicken.
A handful of fresh sage topped it all off and in the oven it all went. I know, sage in a Thai recipe? I didn’t want to stray too far from the original recipe.
Comfort dinner here we come!
The aroma this gives off is intoxicating. Really. One must make this to know the deliciousness. And don’t forget to occasionally baste the chicken with the coconut milk sauce.
The sweet and fatty coconut milk, cinnamon and lemon zest were fantastic. I like to use my vegetable peeler to get thick strips of the lemon zest and it does such a great job of not getting any of the bitter white pith from the lemon. What I learned from the original recipe using milk is that the acid from the citrus helps the milk dissolve into small bits of curd creating this magical lemony, cinnamon, sage infused sauce. This time using coconut milk proved to be just as delicious.
This Thai Roasted Chicken is a meal to be slowly enjoyed, but I dare you to, you can’t. We devoured this in now time with a big bountiful salad. Forkfuls of roasted chicken dipped in the magic sauce. Feel free to skim off the fat from the chicken on top of the sauce if you prefer. I’ve also shredded the chicken and served it with steamed vegetables and the sauce poured over all. However you want, this is one delicious roasted chicken.
Want to try something different? How about my riff on Jamie Oliver’s chicken in milk and go for this Thai Roasted Chicken in Coconut Milk. Give it a try and break out that crusty bread to sop up all the goodness of this sauce.
This Thai Roasted Chicken recipe was previously posted here on Kevin Is Cooking May 2016 and has been updated with new copy and video.
This Thai Roasted Chicken recipe has been updated with Instant Pot directions as of April 2018.
- 5 1/2 lb whole chicken
- 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 2 cinnamon sticks broken
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves loosely packed
- 1 stalk lemon grass (See Note 1)
- 1 lemon zest only
- 12 cloves of garlic whole
- 2-13 oz cans coconut milk
Preheat oven to 375°F. Completely rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Sprinkle the chicken all over with with kosher salt and black pepper.
Heat oil in a heavy based oven-proof pot (See Note 2) over medium high heat and brown the chicken all over. Be careful not to scorch the skin on bottom, you want to brown it. I constantly moved it around in the pot using tongs.
Carefully remove chicken and set aside on a plate. Pour the out the excess fat and set aside to roast vegetables or discard. With spoon, scrape up bits of cooked chicken on bottom of pan and leave in pan. Return chicken to the pot, add remaining ingredients and bake covered for 90 minutes.
- Remove lid and baste chicken with juices. Leave uncovered and bake uncovered for 35 minutes.
- Let stand for 10 minutes before removing the chicken. Remove and discard lemon grass and cinnamon stick from sauce. Serve chicken with the sauce on the side.
Completely rinse chicken under cold water and pat dry with paper towels.
Sprinkle the chicken all over with with kosher salt and black pepper.
Add trivet to Instant Pot. Place whole chicken on trivet and add the cinnamon sticks, sage leaves, lemon grass, lemon zest, garlic cloves and pour coconut milk over all.
Cover with lid and seal vent. Cook on Poultry or High Pressure setting for 6 minutes per pound. Allow pressure to naturally release for at least 10 minutes.
Carefully lift chicken out of Instant Pot using trivet handles and discard cinnamon sticks, sage leaves, lemon grass, lemon zest pieces. Strain cooking liquid and press cooked garlic through sieve. Add cooking liquid back to Instant Pot and press the Sauté setting. Cook for 10 minutes uncovered to reduce. Serve with shredded chicken.
***If you're looking for crispy skin it will not happen in the Instant Pot. BUT, you can with this simple step. Lift the chicken using the trivet handles from your Instant Pot and transfer to a lined baking sheet.
Brush with a little oil and place under broiler for 2-4 minutes, watching closely so as not to burn. Voila! Crispy skin in minutes.
- For fresh lemon grass, trim and split lengthwise. If unavailable, use 2 tablespoons lemon grass paste found in most supermarket produce sections. Stir it in with the coconut milk before pouring over chicken.
- I use a Le Creuset Dutch oven that is OK for stove top and the oven. If you don't have an oven-proof skillet or pan to brown the chicken in, be sure to transfer to a casserole dish or Dutch oven after browning the chicken large enough to hold the chicken and other ingredients for the oven to bake.
Note: As a general rule, the cooking time is 20 minutes per pound of meat plus an additional 15 minutes at 375ºF. Chicken weights vary, and I used a 5 1/2 lb chicken.
Instant Pot Whole Chicken times (As a general rule, the cooking time for whole chickens: every pound add 6 minutes, for every half a pound add 3 minutes to total cooking time.
- 3 pound chicken: 18 minutes on high pressure
- 4 pound chicken: 24 minutes on high pressure
- 5 pound chicken: 30 minutes on high pressure
- Allow pressure to naturally release for at least 10 minutes.