Indonesian Peanut Butter Chicken

I don’t know how authentic “Indonesian” this recipe is—I don’t even know where we got this recipe—but in our family it has gone by the name “Indonesian Chicken,” sometimes “Peanut Butter Chicken,” for years.

I like this dish because the ingredients are straightforward, while the flavor is complex. Yes, you could change it up and throw in some ingredients with more pizzazz (cilantro, peppers, onions), but I like this one just the way it is—the way we’ve eaten it for years and years.


Indonesian Peanut Butter Chicken


  • 2 lbs chicken (anything boneless/skinless; we prefer breasts but thighs also work very well)

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

  • 2 tablespoons peeled & grated fresh ginger root (from about a 2-inch piece)

  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (increase to 1/2 teaspoon for more heat)

  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter


  1. To cook in a crockpot: Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, fresh ginger and cayenne. Place chicken in the bowl of a crockpot, pour sauce on top, cover with lid and cook on low until fully cooked and tender, about 6-8 hours.

  2. To cook in an Instant Pot: In a glass measuring cup, whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, fresh ginger and cayenne. Fill with water up to the 1 cup line. Place chicken in the bowl of an instant pot, pour sauce on top, secure lid and cook at high pressure until fully cooked and tender, about 10-12 minutes. Allow for a natural pressure release, at least 10 minutes. You may want to turn on the sauté function and boil down the liquid a little before proceeding to the final step.

  3. When ready to serve: Remove chicken from pot, add peanut butter to the juices, and whisk to combine into a creamy sauce. Return chicken to sauce to keep warm. Ladle chicken and sauce over a bowl of white or brown rice, and serve with a side of bright veggies. Optional garnish with chopped peanuts.


  • I often use frozen chicken breasts in this recipe—just follow the instructions above using the still-frozen chicken and cook for the maximum suggested cooking time. This always works for me.

  • For another tasty spin on this recipe, omit the peanut butter and simply serve the chicken with the flavorful brothy juices left over after cooking. This goes great with rice and a heaping side of sautéed veggies.