Peanut Butter Chicken

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Peanut Butter Chicken is one of my favorite take-out fake-outs. It’s got all the flavor of a pad thai without the expense or hard to find ingredients. You can also make it with sunflower seed butter to accommodate for nut allergies.

Peanut Butter Chicken | Good Cheap Eats

This was historically one of my family’s very favorite meals. I originally shared it over here on May 16, 2008, almost eight years ago — when I didn’t know how to take a food picture that wasn’t blurry. We were deep in debt. Deep.

My husband and I were determined to get out of debt as quickly as possible. We were willing to do some pretty drastic things: give up most luxuries, sell as many things as we could, get extra jobs wherever we could. For the most part, the kids didn’t really notice.

Except at the dinner table.

Oh, don’t worry, they had plenty to eat. No one went hungry. Trust me. But, we did cut down on the amount of meat that we ate. In fact, we might have had meat about once or twice a week. Most meals back then were heavy on the carbs and veggies. 

My body builder son still can’t believe I ever put him through that, but it was a balanced diet, just not very carnivorous.

One of the meals I made — when we did have meat — was this one. The sauce, a melange of peanut, soy, ginger, and red pepper flakes, is packed with flavor. Noodles easily make up for the scant amount of chicken. The original recipe called for twice the meat that I ever put in it as well as bottled dressing which is gross and expensive. I adapted it all to be healthier and cheaper.

Peanut Butter Chicken | Good Cheap Eats

We didn’t eat Peanut Butter Chicken for awhile, thanks to my daughter’s peanut allergy. Even though she could have sunflower seed butter, I have tried not to rely on it too much. Recently, I made our old favorite and it brought the same smile to my face as it always did.

And, yes, it’s just as good with sunflower seed butter as it is with peanut butter. And it’s still a great way of stretching meats in budget meals.

I’ve made this as a freezer meal kit many times. Simply store the sauce and the cooked chicken mixture in separate containers. Thaw completely and then reheat the chicken while you boil fresh pasta. Mix it all together and you’re good to go, faster than you can call your favorite Thai takeout place.

Promise me you’ll make this! It’s so very yummy.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe great meals don't have to be complicated or expensive. There's a better way, and it won't take all afternoon.

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  1. Joyce Perdue says:

    Have tired and tired to not gag on cilantro but finally the other day….tried again and….not good. What can I substitute for it? I despair….

    • Janet says:

      I do NOT like cilantro either. Substitute parsley or simply omit it. In most recipes, no one will notice the difference.

    • Yes, what Janet said. You can leave it out. If it’s not something you care for, it certainly is better to omit.

  2. Tiffany R says:

    Thanks for the dinner idea! I had this tonight with leftover grilled chicken and threw in some sautéed carrots, zucchini, mushrooms and water chestnuts. Topped with sesame seeds and cilantro from my garden. Yum! And it makes a tons so I have enough leftover for lunch all week. Yeah!

  3. Erica says:

    Thank you for posting this recipe when you did! We had a bunch of leftover chicken tenderloins that I was planning on using tonight in something but had no idea what (made bacon chicken subs two nights ago; do you see a theme? :)). Left some out for the 15 yr old who doesn’t like peanut butter and went to town. I used zucchini and carrots, white onion and red wine vinegar because that’s what I had. My husband and I liked it a lot. The 13 yr old (who ironically, loves peanut butter) was not a fan, but as he’s 13, he has something to say about everything I do/make/say these days. Lol!

  4. Mimi says:

    We made the Peanut butter chicken last night, and we loved it so much, we are making it again tonight! Amazing flavors. Just the right amount of heat, and sweet. So delicious. Thank you!

  5. Carolyn says:

    Can I ask, why store the sauce and chicken separately in the freezer? My thought was to cook the chicken, cool, combine the sauce and chicken, freeze, then, when warming, add the veggies (maybe some snap peas, the shredded carrots and green onion).

    Is there any harm in combining the sauce and chicken for freezing?

    • I don’t think it will do any harm. I’ve always done it that way to ensure that the sauce really coats the noodles, but there shouldn’t be any issue doing it a different way.

  6. pat says:

    Thanks for this recipe. I don’t have ginger to grate. I do have ground ginger. Could I use some of that or just leave it out?

    • Probably would just leave it out. You can get fresh ginger in a paste in the produce section. It’s a nice way to have it last a little longer than fresh knobs.

      • pat says:

        Thanks! I will check out the paste next time I go shopping!

  7. Sarah Zeola says:

    This looks awesome and is perfect for my freezer meal plan! I just found some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the freezer and we have a giant package of soba that I have been trying to figure out when to use. I am going to sub the soba for the other noodles and we have everything on hand to make this. Thanks for sharing, Jessica!

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