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Quick and Easy: Spicy Peanut Butter Chicken

Categories: Cooking, Food, Meal Planning



My children love this. LOVE. There really isn’t much not to love about it as long as you like peanut butter. I have several different versions of this recipe, but this one is my children’s favorite and it is the simplest to prepare. A win-win situation of you ask me.

You will need:


1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup water
2T soy sauce, or Tamari (which is basically gluten free soy sauce)
1T brown sugar (if your peanut butter is sweetened skip this)
2T veg oil
3 cloves garlic, minced OR 6 cloves ROASTED garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (use more if you would like this anything but mild)
4cups broccoli
4 chicken breasts

Mix all the ingredients through the crushed red pepper into a mixing bowl.

Yum, roasted garlic. Just doing my part to keep vampires at bay.


It will take a few minutes of vigorous mixing in order for it to become smooth.


Cover this and set aside. The longer you set it aside, the more the flavors will meld together and the spiciness will come through. If you think to make this in the morning, even better.


Cut the crowns off of your broccoli. Look broccoli up in the dictionary and vow to remember how it is spelled this time. Write it one last time in an effort to commit it to memory… broccoli. There.

I like to cut them into bite sized pieces so that I don’t have to cut it up at the table.


I fillet the chicken breast, as usual, and then slice it into strips. This makes cooking the chicken so much easier. Pour a little bit of oil into the pan, just enough so that it doesn’t stick, perhaps a tablespoon or two.


After the chicken is slightly browned on the outside remove it from the heat.


Dump the broccoli on top. Add about 1/4 - 1/2 cup of water to the skillet. Return it to low heat WITH A TIGHT FITTING LID IN PLACE (sorry ’bout that omission) and let the chicken and broccoli steam. This ensures that the chicken is cooked all the way through, yet remains moist, while the broccoli cooks.


Remove from heat. Oooooo, steamy. You can lean over and give yourself an impromptu facial if you desire, though you may get odd looks from your family. Not that I would know.

Almost all of the water should be gone now. If there is a small but left don’t worry about it. If there is still a significant amount just pour it off.


Dump the peanut butter mixture into the skillet.


Gently stir to coat. If you are too rough all the broccoli will break and that will be a tragedy.


Serve with rice. Or coconut rice if you feeling crazy. Enjoy.

This is one of those meals that tastes just as good (better?) reheated. I ate it for lunch the next two days and was wishing I could have had it again today. Instead I had hummus. No, I am not sick of it yet.

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30 comments so far...

  • I’m trying this tonight. Is there link to a text-only version of the recipe that I can print? Otherwise I have to run back and forth from my office to the kitchen, and I will spill my wine.

    E. Peevie  |  April 15th, 2008 at 5:59 pm

  • this looks so so so yummy! i will have to try it with fake chicken. i LOVE peanut sauce and do not want to buy the premade because i use it for one recipe and then it goes bad! Plus hubby does not like spicy and i can control it here. ooh no worries, that’s just a little drool there…

    Kate  |  April 15th, 2008 at 6:14 pm

  • yum! looks delish :)
    i can never remember broccoli either, i always ask myself; 2 c’s or 2 l’s?

    Bronnie  |  April 15th, 2008 at 8:06 pm

  • I have yet to not be really pleased with one of your recipes. They are all so easy and delicious. Can’t wait to try this one.

    Lisa- Domestic Accident  |  April 15th, 2008 at 8:32 pm

  • I have this problem - I check my bloglines feed late at night, and invariably I find one of your yummy recipes, and go to bed incredibly hungry and dream of the food you’ve written about :)

    Note to self: read Chris’ blog while still able to stumble downstairs and cook.

    Note to self 2: go downstairs and defrost some chicken breasts for lunch, so I’m not thinking about this recipe for the entire day.

    Thanks for the great recipes!

    Tess  |  April 16th, 2008 at 7:15 am

  • Mmmm, this looks even easier than a crock-pot version I have (sweet potatoes, spinach, onions instead of broccoli). Must. Have. Peanut chicken. SOON.

    Brigitte  |  April 16th, 2008 at 10:57 am

  • Made your Penne with Vodka sauce the other day… can’t wait to try this! YUM!

    Jen  |  April 16th, 2008 at 12:11 pm

  • I’m going to have to make this for my boyfriend who is a peanut butter fanatic! Hopefully, if the broccoli is IN the recipe and coated with peanut butter he will at least try it (I’m not holding my breath though).

    Also, hummus is just about the best stuff on earth. It is easy to make, the ingredients do not spoil quickly, and it is very filling while not terribly fattening. I like putting calamata olives in mine.

    Bryanne  |  April 16th, 2008 at 1:13 pm

  • This is how I remember to spell broccoli…in the movie Daddy Daycare (a fave movie of my kids) there is a song that goes…
    B-r-o-c-c-o-l-i, I am the broccoli and don’t know why,
    C-a-r-r-o- and a-t, carrots are good for you and me,
    Uh, Uh, Uh…
    Just in case this helps! LOL

    Cooksonmom  |  April 16th, 2008 at 2:34 pm

  • yum. I love peanut sauce. just a heads up, in case you didn’t know—the brand La Choy is GF (made with soy, so obviously if you have soy allergies stay far away—) and it is totally cheap and in most regular grocery stores. they also have a teriyaki that is GF.

    crockpot lady  |  April 16th, 2008 at 2:41 pm

  • i make a sauce similar to this,
    1/4 c Hot water
    1/2 c Smooth peanut butter
    1/3 c Soy sauce
    1/4 c Lemon juice
    1 ts Cayenne pepper
    1/4 c Brown sugar or honey

    and drizzle it over couscous & veggies, use it to make homemade pad thai, or do something similar to this recipe but using tofu in the place of chicken. it’s super fast and tastes delish - we tried it with almond butter to accommodate a peanut allergy and it was just as good, but different.

    that chick  |  April 16th, 2008 at 2:55 pm

  • This dish looks yummy… much like your others! One quick side note, when cooking with peanut butter stick it in the microwave for 15-30 seconds. It will make it way eaiser to stir and mix with other ingreediants!!! :-)

    missy  |  April 16th, 2008 at 4:27 pm

  • That looks awesome!!!!! And I’m a super-picky eater :D Definitely going to have to try this one… I’ll bet it would be good with some sliced carrots in it too….

    Ashley  |  April 16th, 2008 at 5:25 pm

  • You might want to add COVER the chicken and broccoli to steam. I figured you must mean that from the photo below with the cover beside the steamy pot and the facial suggestion…

    Chris says: yes that would be an important part of the recipe. Ooooops. I added it in, thanks.

    cristen  |  April 16th, 2008 at 9:59 pm

  • and I should have said, sounds yummy! I just added that to my file of your recipes on index cards. Good thing I keep those next to the computer…

    cristen  |  April 16th, 2008 at 10:00 pm

  • Sounds yummy… am making this tonight…we’ll see what the kids think…One thing you didn’t mention - How long do you steam the broccoli and chicken for with the tight fitting lid or is it just until the water is gone?


    Donna  |  April 17th, 2008 at 12:31 am

  • Okay, I admit I don’t have kids, but I do love your recipes! THANKS! . . . and I love your humor and real approach to day-to-day!

    Chris says: Oh, thank-you.

    Liesl  |  April 17th, 2008 at 12:57 am

  • This looks delish! We’re trying it tomorrow with the coconut rice which we love!

    lolly  |  April 17th, 2008 at 1:51 am

  • Okay, I’m just thinking out loud here…..and I hate to be a wimp about this….but here I go anyway. Is there any way you could add some sort of neato feature like Martha Stewart has that says…”Click here to print recipe” and then you pick the size you want etc.? I know, not a big deal to write it out, but it looks oh so not as desireable in my scratchings. And quite frankly you’re right up there with Martha…outside of the billions of dollars thing (I’m assuming).

    I love the recipes…coconutty…mmmm.

    Brenna  |  April 18th, 2008 at 12:25 am

  • perfect! I was just writing out next week’s menu based on cooking two chickens on Sunday. This fits in perfectly for the night I know I will be working late!

    bsazama  |  April 18th, 2008 at 7:51 pm

  • THANK YOU! You have just saved our dinner tonight. I have run out of inspiration for dinner this week and I have all of these ingredients on hand!

    Kari  |  April 18th, 2008 at 8:15 pm

  • I make something very similar and my kids love it, too. Make a double batch of the peanut sauce…it keeps well in the fridge and is great with satay or as a dip for fresh veggies. When you’re really in a hurry, this is also great with shredded rotisserie chicken.

    Tucci Mama  |  April 19th, 2008 at 1:00 am

  • Yum! We just tried this recipe tonight and everyone loved it.

    Think I might follow “cristen’s” idea of keeping the box of recipe index cards next to the computer.

    princess of piffle  |  April 20th, 2008 at 10:23 am

  • This is the first recipe of yours I’ve been able to make. It was so tasty!!! We didn’t have broccoli, but we used kale blossoms because that is what they had at our farmers market. It was really good & next time I think I’ll try spinach!

    Katie  |  April 21st, 2008 at 3:55 am

  • This was delicious thanks! My daughter actually ate chicken and broccoli tonight, that is a first and trust me I try! Keep them coming! You have made me want to stay home and cook as the food at restaraunts don’t taste nearly as good as your recipes!

    mandi  |  April 23rd, 2008 at 4:01 am

  • i made this last night for my roommates and boyfriend and everyone LOVED it. a few additions: i put tomatoes in with the chicken, which gave it a sort of afro-thai feel (when i was in senegal, it was peanut-butter-tomato everything) and then added the broc and peanut butter mixture, which was really nice and gave it an extra meatiness. i also added a billion more red peppers… ours was firehouse hot, and the coconut rice was an awesome offset.

    we put some toasted almonds in with the rice and i think next time i might even try some shredded coconut for sweetness.

    amazing dish though…. by far the best peanut butter chicken on the web.

    raleighelizabeth  |  May 9th, 2008 at 2:38 pm

  • So yummy. I used veggie chicken and cauliflower as a rice substitute.

    I was reading your posts about guilty meals. I’m in college so most of what I make is really quick and in the microwave. (Like 5 minute nachos). I think the recipe’s on my blog if you want to try it.

    Mekkie  |  September 20th, 2008 at 12:32 am

  • So very good! Everyone loved it…….I make it often and the kids love it every time too! Thanks!

    Lisa  |  October 29th, 2008 at 6:17 pm

  • Not a mom myself, but for a peanut butter lover — this was amazing! Thanks so much.

    Simple and Yummy! :o)

    Anna  |  March 27th, 2009 at 9:01 pm

  • You are hilarious! Can’t wait to try this! If it is as good as your wit, I will have some happy campers tonight!

    Jenny  |  February 1st, 2012 at 7:05 pm