This Sticky Asian Grilled Chicken is the perfect upgrade to your weeknight chicken dinner. These tender and juicy chicken breasts are coated in a slightly sweet, sticky Asian glaze and then crisped up on the grill for an easy summer meal that's full of flavor and ready in just over 30 minutes.
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An al fresco summer dinner for two
You have probably noticed I'm a fan of recipes with an Asian flare. Soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, sweet chili sauce.....they all add lots of flavor to a dish and are available at almost any grocery store these days. Making a quick sauce with a few of these ingredients is a great way to spice up chicken, fish or even your lunchtime salad. In this dish, the combination of the crunchy, savory slaw with the creamy dressing and the Asian-inspired grilled chicken is a real winner!
Outdoor dinners are a quintessential summer ritual and an easy grilled meal is the ideal way to take advantage of warmer temperatures. It has quickly become one of my new weeknight favorites!
This go-to meal uses simple ingredients, many of which you may already have on hand, and is super satisfying, making it the perfect addition to your outdoor dinner table. Read on to learn more about how to make this Sticky Asian Grilled Chicken or jump straight to the recipe to start cooking!
The full list of ingredients and quantities can be found in the recipe card below.
- Chicken breasts: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are what you'll want for this recipe. They grill well and pick up the flavor in the marinade.
- Mayonnaise: I generally use olive oil mayo but any type works for this recipe.
- Sour cream: This helps to give the cole slaw a creamy texture and tangy taste.
- Peanut butter: Creamy peanut butter is the easiest to work with in this recipe, however, if you happen to have chunky in your pantry that will also work.
- Cole slaw mix: You can chop purple and green cabbage and throw in some carrots, but I prefer using a bagged coleslaw mix for this recipe. The crunchy slaw creates the perfect balance with the grilled chicken. You can toss any leftovers into a salad later in the week or make an extra serving of the creamy dressing and serve the slaw as a side dish with some grilled brats or burgers later in the week!
- Lime juice: I always recommend using freshly squeezed lime juice. You'll need half of a lime.
- Hot sauce: You're only using a little bit so whatever type you have on hand will work just fine.
- Garlic cloves
- Spices: ground ginger, sea salt, ground black pepper
- Pantry staples: Brown sugar, soy sauce, red wine vinegar, rice wine vinegar, dark sesame oil
How to make this recipe
This simple recipe is ideal for warm summer evenings. It comes together in a snap and requires very little hands-on time.
Make the marinade. In a small bowl mix the soy sauce, peanut butter, sugar, vinegar, garlic, oil, hot sauce and pepper. Stir with a fork until the peanut butter is incorporated. Save about a tablespoon of the marinade to use for serving.
Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken breasts and the remaining marinade to a large zip-top bag. Let the chicken sit in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes to soak in some of the Asian-inspired flavors.
Grill the chicken. Add the chicken breasts to a pre-heated grill and grill for 6 minutes. Flip the chicken breasts and grill for another 6 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Make the cole slaw. While the chicken is grilling mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, lime juice, oil and ginger in a large mixing bowl then add the coleslaw mixture and toss to coat.
Serve. Place each grilled chicken breast on a plate. Add a scoop of the cole slaw, drizzle on some of the reserved marinade, and then finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
Tips for perfectly grilled chicken
Grill temperature ⇢ Grill over medium-high direct heat, about 450-500° F. Preheat your grill so the grates are nice and hot before. Once the grill is hot, use a grill brush to give the grates an extra cleaning before you start cooking!
Use a meat thermometer ⇢ It’s the best way to ensure you don't overcook the chicken breasts. Your goal is a nice, juicy chicken breast, not one that's dry so cooking them to 165°F is the way to achieve that!
Meal Prep Tips
- Marinade: You can mix up the marinade a day or two in advance. Store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container until you are ready to use it.
- Dressing: You can also make the slaw dressing a couple of days in advance and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat.
- Marinate the chicken: Since this is a non-acidic marinade, you can leave the chicken in for longer than 15 minutes. You could start this step an hour or two in advance.
Frequently asked questions
My personal preference is a gas grill because I feel like you have more control over the temperature with gas. I'm also more comfortable using a gas grill, however, if you prefer charcoal, that will work too. Just be sure you are cooking chicken over direct heat.
Store any leftover chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The cole slaw will also keep for a day or two but ideally, you'll store that without the dressing already added.
Recommended tools for this recipe
Small glass bowl with lid – I love these little bowls from Crate & Barrel. They are perfect for mixing up sauces and dressings. They also have lids so if you need to store something you don’t need to pull out the plastic wrap, just grab a lid and put the bowl in the refrigerator.
Handheld Juicer – I love these juicers – you’ll see me mention them often in blog posts. They come in three sizes – lime, lemon, and orange. I recommend the lemon or the orange so you can use one juicer for multiple types of citrus.
Since you are making the slaw with the chicken, you've really got a complete meal in this recipe. If you want to add a starter or a side, I'd recommend starting with this Healthy Cowboy Caviar or some additional grilled veggies.
Wine Pairing Notes
If you want to include a glass of wine with your meal this Pinot Gris from Erath Winery is the perfect pairing for this dish. With hints of melon, it has a slightly sweet note that is a great balance with the Asian flavors in this dish. At about $15 per bottle, this is an excellent choice for a weeknight dinner wine!
More recipes for the grill
If you are looking for other weeknight grilling ideas check out these reader favorites:
- Southwestern Turkey Burger Sliders. These turkey burger sliders get seasoned with southwestern spices, and topped with grilled onions, melty cheddar cheese and some mashed avocado for a great summer meal.
- Grilled Salmon with Mustard Sauce. This is pasta is perfect for an easy, everyday meal. Tomatoes, mozzarella, pesto and pasta combine for a vegetarian dish that's ready in just under 30 minutes.
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Sticky Asian Grilled Chicken
For the chicken:
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
- ½ tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoons sesame oil
- ⅛ teaspoon hot sauce, optional
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breast
For the coleslaw:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil mayonnaise
- ½ tablespoon light sour cream
- 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
- ½ teaspoon lime juice
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- pinch of ground ginger
- 2 cups coleslaw mix
- Make the marinade. In a small bowl mix the soy sauce, peanut butter, sugar, vinegar, garlic, oil, hot sauce and pepper. Stir with a fork until the peanut butter is incorporated. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the sauce for serving.
- Marinate the chicken. Add the chicken and the remaining sauce to a zip-top plastic bag and marinate in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes (since this is not an acidic marinade you can leave it longer if you want).
- Preheat the grill. While the chicken is marinating preheat a grill to medium-high heat (about 450°F).
- Grill the chicken. Grill the chicken for 6 minutes per side or until an internal temperature of 165°F is reached. Remove the chicken from the grill.
- Make the coleslaw. While the chicken is grilling mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, lime juice, oil and ginger in a small mixing bowl. Add the coleslaw mixture and toss to coat.
- Serve. To serve, divide the coleslaw mixture between two plates. Top each salad serving with a chicken breast. Drizzle some of the reserved sauce over the top and serve immediately.
This post was originally published in July 2018. It was updated in April 2023 with some new information and photos. No changes were made to the original recipe.