Lemongrass Chicken with Rice and Zucchini

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

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?

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!

Lemongrass Chicken-1

Lemongrass Chicken with Rice and Zucchini

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


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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