Lime Fish Sauce Chicken

This chicken dish is extremely easy. And, unlike a lot of recipes on this site, comes from bottled food. I usually rally against that kind of thing, but I’m not ready to make my own peanut butter, chili sauce, or fish sauce. It’s a healthy and quick way to make a tasty sauce. I’m crazy so I check the ingredients labels to make sure my pre-packaged foods don’t contain preservatives, artificial flavors, or tons of salt and trans fat. Or maybe just contain as few of these things as possible.

I don’t know if you’ve ever smelled fish sauce, but it is pungent. I mean, that smell will tickle your sinuses, and not in a good way. But you need to power through. Once the sauce warms up, it lends a salty, well-rounded flavor and that stench disappears. The addition of peanut butter makes the sauce creamy while some lime juice adds a fresh burst of acidity.

Serve with white rice and chopped peanuts. I also like to add a steamed green, like spinach or broccoli. Drizzle the leftover sauce on top and you have yourself a simple meal!

From Cooking Light

Lime Fish Sauce Chicken

serves 4

4 chicken breasts or 6 chicken thighs
1 cup chicken broth
3 tablespoons sweet chili sauce
2 teaspoons fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tablespoons unsalted peanuts, chopped

  1. If using breasts, pound into even thickness. If using thighs, cut and open so they lay flat. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan over medium heat until it ripples. Cook chicken until done, about 6 minutes each side. Cook in batches if necessary. Set aside and keep warm.
  3. Add chicken broth, chili sauce, and fish sauce to pan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced, about 10-15 minutes. Scrape browned bits from the pan while the sauce is heating.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice and peanut butter until combined. Drizzle sauce on chicken and sprinkle with chopped peanuts.

I like using chicken thighs with this recipe — they cook faster than breasts and they have more flavor. But if you prefer a leaner cut, then go with the breasts.

Whichever cut you choose, you will have beautiful browned bits at the bottom of your pan from cooking. These bits have a beautiful, deep flavor and become part of your sauce since you make everything in the same pan.

Leave a comment


  1. I know I would love this dish! All those wonderful flavors! I’m glad you explained that the fish sauce mellows, because I usually leave it out because it smells so vile, but will use it now that I know it doesn’t continue to smell. Thanks for stopping by my blog. All of your recipes appeal to my love of spicy, flavorful, but quick dishes.

    • Thanks Lynne. That smell also deterred me from using fish sauce at first, but pinch your nose and wait for magic to happen. You won’t regret it. It’s kind of like anchovies in Caesar dressing. Most people’s initial reaction is “ew!” But if nobody knows they’re in there, they all rave about the flavor!

  2. That looks delicious! I love all those flavours – the peanut butter, the lime, and yes, even the fish sauce. I grew up eating it, though it’s been hard to sell to my other half. What he doesn’t realise is that it’s the secret ingredient in lots of the Asian dishes he loves.. 🙂

    • So true, Celia! Fish sauce is all over Thai and Vietnamese food, like soups, curries, and noodle dishes. I just slip it in there when the others aren’t looking. They just know the food tastes good.

  3. This chicken looks great! I hear you about the fish sauce… whenever I cook with it I have to tell my husband to leave the kitchen until the smell is gone or he whines.

  4. What a great recipe as you said. I have all these ingredients too- hey I am in Jersey, Princeton. I look forward to following and reading your wonderful site!

    I have been reading about fish sauce, and from people who write from Asia, so I have to experiment more with it, since we have so many wonderful markets here in my area…thanks…

    • Welcome, Elizabeth! Thanks for the kind words. I love the Asian markets – they have so much cheap, fresh, interesting produce. On top of that, I can buy huge jugs of soy sauce and toasted sesame oil for practically nothing.

  5. Hey Liza, thanks for coming over, I watched the video- Ouch!

    I also just saw where you say you have bad lighting at night, so do I, in the Princeton area we have so many tall tall pine trees so I get no light inside at all! I built an easy light box out of white boards and use that with a lamp and day light bulbs, works, but I do get bored with the same photo setting…be nice to own a house boat 🙂 yeah right?


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