Indonesian Chicken Satay Recipe – Sate Ayam

an array of Indonesian chicken satay

This chicken satay is all about succulent grilled chicken pieces on the skewer with a generous drizzle of spicy peanut sauce and sweet soy sauce.

Indonesian chicken satay

Indonesian chicken satay – or Sate Ayam in Indonesian – is simply delicious and moreish. It’s one of the most sought-after street foods in Indonesia. 

You will almost always find a seller or restaurants and other places to eat that sell this grilled chicken on the stick.

Chicken satay with overlay text

This modest but yummy dish is favoured among Indonesian cuisines that it is now considered as one of the national foods. And it was officially chosen as one by the Indonesian Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, together with Gado-gado, Nasi goreng, Soto, and Rendang.

Satay is an influence from the Arab traders who came to the country hundreds of years ago. This food is basically the Indonesian version of middle-Eastern kababs/ kabobs/ kebabs. They are all grilled meat pieces on a skewer.

And there are many types of satay, i.e. chicken satay, goat satay, beef satay, pork satay, etc. However, the most well-liked are the ones made with chicken and goat’s meat. 

The way Indonesians make satay is easy and straightforward. We don’t put too many spices or herbs to marinate the meat before cooking.

As a matter of fact, most street food sellers do not marinate the meat at all. However, they do brush the satay with spiced oil during the grilling.

Key Ingredients

Skinless and boneless chicken, onion, garlic, ground coriander, black pepper powder, kaffir lime leaves, cooking oil, chillies, salt and Indonesian sweet soy sauce are what you need to make this delicious Indonesian chicken satay.

When it comes to chillies, you can use either red chilli powder, dried-chilli flakes, or fresh red bird’s eye chillies. You can also adjust the amount according to your taste. This recipe offers a not-too-spicy flavour that even your young children can enjoy. 

To make life easier, I must say that this recipe is very forgiving. You don’t have to fret if you don’t have kaffir lime leaves. I understand not everybody will have these exotic fragrant leaves. So feel free to skip. But do use them if you can get them. Because you can always use the rest for other recipes such as Lamb Tongseng, Ayam Suwir Bumbu Bali, and Ikan Pesmol, etc.

As for sweet soy sauce, please try your best to get the Indonesian sweet soy sauce to get the authentic flavour.

Ways to make Indonesian chicken satay at home

In this recipe, I recommend marinating the chicken before cooking. However, should you run out of time, you can just prepare the spiced oil and brush the chicken pieces with it as you grill/ cook the satay. And to make sure your poultry is flavoursome, try piercing the chicken pieces a little bit before you put them on the skewers.

chopped onion and spices on a frying pan
frying spices
chicken in marinade

Needless to say, grilling the satay on a barbecue is the best way to make this Indonesian chicken satay at home.

However, you can cook them on a griddle pan or oven grill to create an equally delicious satay.

grilling chicken on the skewers
ready grilled chicken satay

The secret of delicious Sate Ayam

And the secret of delicious Indonesian chicken satay lies in the freshness of the meat and the satay sauce. 

Because as you and I know, chicken can smell. And unfresh poultry meat is even more no-no. So if you want to make your own satay, make sure you get a fresh chicken. 

The most recommended one is boneless chicken thighs. Because they have more fats that make the Satay moist and not dry when it is cooked 

But really, I use boneless chicken breasts more often. Simply because my kids are not keen on the chicken thighs. They don’t like fats. 

So, to avoid my satay getting dry when cooking, I have to marinate it with a few spices and oil. And of course, I also have to watch the griddle pan very very closely when I cook. Because I have to make sure the chicken meat cooks rightly, that it will be succulent and not dry. 

Last but not least, no matter how well the meat pieces are grilled, if they don’t have tasty peanut sauce over them, the Sate Ayam won’t be as good. 

Ways to enjoy the satay

Indonesians love their rice. It’s the main staple across the country. 

Hence, plain white rice is the most common companion for this chicken satay. And another choice is to have your Sate Ayam with lontong which is hard-boiled rice cakes. 

You can check out this post on how to make your own lontong

As for the side, this satay is often served with a simple pickled cucumber, carrot, chilli and shallot. To make this pickle, you just cube those three veggies and add a few tablespoons of white vinegar (I use lemon), a teaspoon of sugar and salt to taste. Prepare the pickle a few hours before serving so the flavour will develop better. But if you want something similar with a more elaborate flavour, you can try my cucumber and tomato salad.

More recipe ideas from the Indonesian kitchen

Thank you for checking this recipe. I hope you are now thinking of making the chicken satay. When you do, it will be awesome if you could share what you think about it in the comments below. 

And please follow me on Facebook, Instagram and/or Pinterest. To sneak a peek at what’s cooking in my kitchen. 

Before you go, don’t forget to check my other recipes for some inspiration for your dinner tonight 😄.

Thank you and all the best.

Yield: 4

Chicken Satay

skewers of Indonesian chicken satay

Indonesian Sate Ayam is the original of all the chicken satay. It's simple, easy and straightforward to make. Yet, it's so delicious and flavourful. Find out why we're the best ?

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 400 gr/ 14.11 oz boneless chicken, cut in small pieces.
  • 1 small onion.
  • 4 garlic cloves.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper.
  • ½ tsp salt.
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves.
  • 2 tbsp oil.
  • For the satay peanut sauce:
  • 100 gr/ 3.53 oz roasted peanuts (see the note).
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped.
  • 5 garlic cloves.
  • ½ tsp salt.
  • 1 tsp sugar.
  • 3 red bird's eye chillies.
  • 1 cup of water.
  • ¼ cup/ 60 ml/ 2.11 fl.oz. Indonesian sweet soy sauce.


  1. If you use bamboo skewers, don’t forget to soak them for a few hours before you use them. It’s to prevent them from getting burned on the grill/ griddle pan.
  2. Pound the onion and garlic into a paste. You can use a pestle and mortar, or a food processor. 
  3. Then heat the oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion and garlic paste, the ground coriander, black pepper, salt and lime leaves. Cook until the herbs and spices release an aroma. Set aside.
  4. Put the chicken pieces in a mixing bowl and add in the cooked spices. Mix and stir well until all meat pieces are coated with the spices. Set aside to marinate for at least an hour or two.
  5. When you are ready to make your Satay, pierce the chicken pieces on the skewers and start grilling them. You can use your oven grill, a griddle pan, or even a barbecue. I find cooking the satay on a griddle pan is effortless and quicker. But I leave the choice to your preference.
  6. For the peanut sauce:
  7. Put the peanuts, onion, garlic, salt, sugar, chilli, and water in a blender. Give it a blitz until you get a creamy but a bit grainy peanut mixture.
  8. Pour the mixture in a small cooking pan/pot and heat it up. When the peanut sauce is boiling, let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes before you turn the heat off. Set aside.
  9. Assemble Indonesian chicken satay:
  10. Arrange the skewers on a plate and pour the peanut sauce over the satay. Then drizzle it with sweet soy sauce.


  • Traditionally, Indonesians would fry the peanuts themselves. I’m a bit lazy, so I use roasted salted peanuts. But of course, you can always follow the original route that is frying the nuts yourself. 
  • You can use chilli powder if you want. For the similar level of heat as this recipe, you would want to put 1 tsp chilli powder. If you love hotter sauce, you can always add more chillies.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 566Total Fat 35gSaturated Fat 8gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 22gCholesterol 102mgSodium 1296mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 4gSugar 14gProtein 42g

The nutrition calculation you find here is just a guide provided by online nutrition calculator. You should not use to substitute advice from nutritionists or health practitioners.

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  1. This looks delicious! I will definitely be making these for dinner soon. I think my boyfriend will absolutely love them. Thank you for sharing!

    1. You’re most welcome. I hope you’ll like it

  2. This looks delicious! I don’t think I can get Indonesian soy sauce where I am located. Is there a substitute or a recipe to make it yourself?

    1. Hi Kate, thank you. Yes, there are ways to make your own sweet soy sauce. You can take a look at my Chicken Sweet Soy Sauce post. I’ve explained in there. Good luck, and let us know how you get on.

  3. Nicolaas. Florijn says:

    Dear DAVY DAR,

    I Came aggros some of U Indonesian recipe ,
    Have find 6 different meat dishes ,
    1 prawn dish and a fish dish .

    I think I have enough to serve a small rise tafel .
    Have invited 6 friends for this Sunday to try out my first attempt Indonesian Cuisine ,


    1. Hi Nicolaas, sounds like you have a lot for your gathering with your friends. I hope you and your friends like the food. Take care and all the best.

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