That Spicy Chick

Spicy Thai Roast Chicken

This Spicy Thai Roast Chicken is perfectly juicy and tender with charry skin, and infused with fragrant Thai aromatics and seasonings. It’s served with a delicious spicy and tangy dipping sauce (Nam Jim Jaew), and is perfect for easy family dinners or your holiday table!

Close-up of whole Spicy Thai Roast Chicken on platter with cucumber slices and coriander sprigs.

I’ve got a winner winner Thai chicken dinner for you all today! And it is everything you want and more from a roast chicken meal.

This Spicy Thai Roast Chicken is simple enough to make for weeknight dinners, and great for feeding a crowd or hungry family. It also would be a fantastic main for your holiday table if you’re looking to switch up flavors and go with an Asian theme this year. 😉

The chicken gets coated in a savory, spicy and sweet Asian aromatics infused marinade. It’s then roasted to juicy, tender chicken and charry skin perfection! 😍

Serve it with a Thai spicy dipping sauce (Nam Jim Jaew – recipe included too below), fresh cucumber slices, and warm steamed rice for the ultimate Thai roast chicken dinner!

Close-up of Spicy Thai Roast Chicken pieces on platter with cucumber slices and coriander sprigs.

Why This Recipe Works

  • Fragrant aromatics like lemongrass, garlic, chilies, shallots, and coriander roots in the marinade infuses the chicken with a mouthwatering flavor.
  • Spatchcocking the chicken helps to cut down the cooking time and ensures that even the breast meat (which is prone to drying out), is wonderfully juicy and tender!
  • Nam Jim Jaew – a spicy, sour, and slightly sweet sauce made with nutty toasted glutinous rice powder is the perfect dipping sauce for the juicy chicken.
  • It’s simple and straightforward to make, super delicious, and a crowd pleaser!

Let’s make some roast chicken together!

Ingredients

Labeled ingredients for Spicy Thai Roast Chicken on wooden board.
Spicy Thai Roast Chicken Ingredients
  • Whole Chicken: You’ll need one whole fryer chicken that weighs 1.7 to 2 kilos (3.7 – 4.4 pounds). Check the cavity to make sure there’s nothing inside before you start working with it.
  • Asian Red Shallots: Substitute with red onion or French shallots if you can’t find these.
  • Lemongrass: I used fresh lemongrass stalks, which are available at Thai or Asian grocery stores and in some large mainstream supermarkets. But you can substitute with lemongrass paste, which can be found in most supermarkets if you can’t get fresh lemongrass.
  • Coriander Roots: These are the end parts of the coriander stems. I prefer to trim off the hairy parts and use just the roots and bottom stem parts. If you can’t get coriander with the roots still on, you can use the stems instead.
  • Chilies: I used plenty of Bird’s Eye red chilies. But any small hot red chilies will work. Feel free to use fewer if you prefer to make this milder.
  • Coconut Sugar: I used the type that comes in discs and shaved it with a knife so that it breaks down easily in the marinade. You could also use palm sugar or light brown sugar if you have either on hand instead.
Labeled ingredients for Nam Jim Jaew (spicy dipping sauce) on a wooden board.
Nam Jim Jaew (Spicy Dipping Sauce) Ingredients
  • Glutinous Rice: Also known as sticky rice. This is a key ingredient for the dipping sauce. You can find it in Asian supermarkets or online. In a pinch, you can use long grain Thai rice. It won’t have the signature nutty flavor and same texture, but it’ll still work.
  • Tamarind Paste/Concentrate: I used the bottled variety instead of fresh tamarind here. You can find bottled Thai tamarind paste in the Asian aisle of some large supermarkets, Asian/Thai grocery stores, or online.
  • Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed as always! Nam Jim Jaew is all about the sour and spice, and fresh lime juice will give you the perfect tangy flavor to accentuate all the bright and spicy notes.
  • Thai Chili Powder: This is a mixture of chili seeds, flakes, and chili powder. If you don’t have this on hand, you can use crushed red pepper chili flakes instead.

Full ingredient list and amounts are in the recipe card below.

How to Make Spicy Thai Roast Chicken

1. First, let’s make the marinade: You can do this in a mortar and pestle like I did, or in a blender. I prefer and recommend using a mortar and pestle as the marinade is always more flavorful when made by hand. However, a blender will also get the job done. You’ll need to push down the ingredients with a spoon a few times to make sure everything gets blended well if your blender in not very powerful.

To make the marinade, simply pound all the fresh ingredients (full ingredients are listed below in the recipe card) until smooth, then stir in the sauces and seasonings.

Process steps for making the marinade in a mortar and pestle.

2. Spatchcock the chicken: Next we’re going to spatchcock (also known as butterfly) the chicken – which means remove the backbone. The reason we’re doing this is to make the chicken lay flat and shorten the cook time. Spatchcocking also prevents the chicken becoming too dry, particularly in the breasts.

To spatchcock the chicken, first place it breast side down on a chopping board. Then use kitchen scissors to cut through both sides of the backbone all the way up to the neck area and remove it. You might face some resistance since you’re cutting through some bones. But keep going and take your time if you need to. (You can save the backbone to make chicken stock another time or discard it.)

Then clean out the inside with some paper towels. Turn the chicken over and press down on the breastbone to flatten the chicken.

Process steps to spatchcock a whole chicken.

3. Marinate the chicken: Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl rub it all over with the marinade, as well as under the skin on the breasts. This will ensure that the entire chicken, including the breasts which are known to be the hardest part to take on flavor, soaks up all the flavors in the marinade. Cover the bowl and allow to marinate for 3 hours in the fridge, or overnight for best flavor.

Spatchcocked chicken in large mixing bowl with marinade.

4. Roast the chicken: Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place a baking rack on top. This setup makes sure there’s air circulating all around the chicken and helps it cook evenly. If you have a roasting tin, you’re welcome to use it instead.

Place the chicken on the rack and tuck the wing tips underneath. Pour 2 cups of water into the baking tray (this will prevent any excess dripping marinade from burning and becoming too smoky). Then roast the chicken for 25 minutes in a preheated oven at 190°C/374°F.

While the chicken is in the oven, reduce the marinade in a small saucepot on the stove. Then baste the chicken with it. Then continue roasting for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through.

Uncooked marinated chicken and roasted chicken on a baking rack on top of a foil lined baking tray.

You can pierce the area between the leg and breast to check if the chicken is done and the juices run clear. Or you can use a digital kitchen thermometer to check – it should register 73°C/165°F. Once the chicken has cooked through, transfer the tray to a cooling rack and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.

5. Make the Nam Jim Jaew (spicy dipping sauce): While the chicken is in the oven (or resting after roasting), you can quickly whip up the dipping sauce. The toasted glutinous rice is one of the key ingredients for this sauce and it adds a lovely nutty flavor. The other main flavors of the sauce are spicy and sour. You can adjust the amounts indicated for the lime juice, sugar, and Thai chili powder to suit your preference.

To make the sauce, whisk together the toasted rice powder, tamarind paste, fish sauce, lime juice, coconut sugar (or light brown sugar), and Thai chili powder. Then stir in the garlic, shallot, and coriander. Give the sauce a taste and adjust sugar and lime juice if needed. Then set it aside until you’re ready to serve.

Top view of Nam Jim Jaew (spicy dipping sauce) in a small bowl.

6. To Serve: You can either present the chicken whole with some sliced cucumber and coriander on a large serving plate or platter to carve at the dining table.

Top view of spicy Thai roast chicken, cucumber slices, and coriander sprigs on a platter lined with parchment paper.

Or you can cut it into pieces and arrange them on the serving platter so that everyone can help themselves.

Spicy Thai Roast Chicken pieces on platter with with cucumber slices and coriander sprigs.

Serve with the Nam Jim Jaew and warm steamed rice.

Full detailed instructions are in the recipe card below.

Cook’s Tips

  • Marinate overnight for best flavor. A few hours will work fine, but you’ll get the BEST flavor by marinating overnight in the fridge because the chicken will get plenty of time to soak up all the wonderful flavors.
  • Cover the bowl with a paper towel AND cling wrap if marinating overnight in the fridge. This will prevent water droplets that’ll form on the cling wrap from dripping onto the chicken and marinade.
  • Use disposable gloves when rubbing the marinade on the chicken. Fish sauce and chilies can make your hands itchy, so use disposable gloves when applying the marinade if you have sensitive skin.
Front view of roasted chicken and cucumber and coriander on platter lined with parchment paper.

FAQs

Is it better to spatchcock a chicken than to roast it whole?

Spatchcocking the chicken promotes more even cooking since the chicken is lying flat. In addition, it prevents the breast meat from drying out (they cook quicker than the thighs when the chicken is whole) since spatchcocking allows both the thighs and chicken to be done at the same time. Another benefit of the chicken lying flat is that there is maximum exposure of the skin to the heat source. This means more delicious crispy and charred skin.

Can I prepare the any of the components ahead?

You can make the marinade and also the Nam Jim Jaew a day in advance. Store both in separate sealed airtight containers in the fridge. Take the Nam Jim Jaew out of the fridge when the chicken is roasting in the oven.

How long will it keep?

It’ll keep for 3-4 days in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator. The best way to reheat this Spicy Thai Roast Chicken is to wrap in aluminum foil, then place in an oven preheated to 165°C/325°F for a few minutes until fully heated through.

What do I do with the Thai roast chicken leftovers?

If you have any leftovers, you can make a sandwich salad by shredding the chicken and tossing it with some mayonnaise, and maybe some chopped coriander, shallots, and lemon juice. Then pile it into your favorite sandwich bread (buttery croissants taste SO GOOD with it!), along with some lettuce and cucumber slices. Yum! Or you can also top off your lunch salad with it, or eat it again for dinner the next night.

Can I freeze leftovers?

You can place the cut chicken pieces in a freezer friendly sealed bag or an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.

Chicken pieces and whole chicken on platter with cucumber and coriander. Text overlay "Spicy Thai Roast Chicken" and "thatspicychick.com".

More Main Dishes for your Holiday Table


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Chicken pieces on platter with with cucumber slices and coriander springs.

Spicy Thai Roast Chicken

5 from 1 reviews

This Spicy Thai Roast Chicken is perfectly juicy and tender with charry skin, and infused with fragrant Thai aromatics and seasonings. Perfect for easy family dinners or your holiday table.

  • Author: Lavina
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 43
  • Total Time: 1 hour 13 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Roast
  • Cuisine: Thai
Scale

Ingredients

For the Spicy Thai Roast Chicken:

  • 2 Lemongrass stalks – outer tough layers removed and finely minced (substitute with 2 TBLS lemongrass paste if unavailable)
  • 10 Coriander Roots (use coriander stems if unavailable) – roughly chopped
  • 10 Garlic cloves – roughly chopped
  • 2 Asian Red Shallots – peeled and roughly chopped
  • 210 Bird’s Eye Red Chilies (or any other small hot red chilies), to taste – chopped
  • 3 TBLS Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 TBLS Fish Sauce
  • 1 TSP Sweet Dark Soy Sauce
  • ¼ TSP ground White Pepper
  • ½ TSP freshly cracked Black Pepper
  • 1 TSP Turmeric Powder
  • ¼ TSP Kosher Salt
  • 17 grams / 1/3 disc Coconut Sugar – shaved with a knife (substitute with 11.5 TBLS Light Brown Sugar if unavailable)
  • 1 Whole Chicken (1.7 – 2kg / 3.74.4 lbs)
  • 2 cups Water, for pouring into baking tray
  • To Serve: Chopped coriander (cilantro), Nam Jim Jaew, cucumber slices, and warm steamed rice

For the Nam Jim Jaew (Spicy Dipping Sauce)

  • 2 TSP Glutinous Rice (sticky rice) – toasted and pound or ground into a fine powder
  • 1 TBLS Tamarind Paste/Concentrate
  • 2 TBLS Fish Sauce
  • 1 TBLS freshly squeezed Lime Juice
  • 1 TBLS shaved Coconut Sugar, to taste (substitute with 1 TBLS light brown sugar or to taste)
  • 1 TBLS Thai Chili Powder, to taste (substitute with crushed red pepper chili flakes if unavailable)
  • 1 Garlic clove – minced
  • 1 small Asian Red Shallot – peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 TBLS chopped Coriander 

Instructions

For the Spicy Thai Roast Chicken:

  1. Make the marinade: Add the lemongrass, coriander roots, garlic, and shallots to a mortar and pestle and pound into a fine paste. Next, add the chilies and pound until the paste is smooth. Stir in the light soy sauce, fish sauce, sweet dark soy sauce, ground white pepper, freshly cracked black pepper, turmeric powder, kosher salt, and coconut sugar until combined well. (Note: Alternatively, you can bend all the marinade ingredients into a smooth paste using a blender. You will need to uncover and scrape the sides of the blender jug.)
  2. Spatchcock the chicken: Place the chicken breast side down with the legs facing you on a chopping board. Using kitchen scissors, cut through both sides of the backbone and remove it. (Freeze it in a sealed freezer-friendly bag to make chicken stock another time, or discard it.) Use some paper towels to wipe out and slimy or bloody bits on the inside. Then turn the chicken over and press down on the breastbone to flatten the chicken. (You may hear a crack).
  3. Marinate the chicken: Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and pour the marinade all over the chicken. Using your hands (wear disposable gloves if needed), rub the chicken all over with the marinade. Loosen the skin over the breasts and rub the marinade under the skin on the flesh. Turn the chicken around and do the same on the bottom side. Then place the chicken breast side down in the bowl and cover with cling wrap. Allow to marinate for 3 hours in the fridge, or overnight for best flavor. (Remove the chicken from the fridge 30-40 minutes before you’re ready to roast to take the chill off.)
  4. Roast the chicken: Preheat oven to 190°C/374°F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and place a baking rack on top. Place the chicken skin side up on the rack and tuck the wing tips underneath. Spoon some of the marinade evenly on top. Pour 2 cups of water into the baking tray (this will prevent any dripping marinade from becoming too smoky and burning). Place the chicken into the oven and roast for 25 minutes. Meanwhile, transfer the remaining marinade into a small saucepan or pot. Simmer over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Remove the chicken from the oven and baste with thickened marinade. Place the chicken back in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes more, until the chicken has cooked through. (The chicken is cooked through when a digital thermometer inserted in the inner thigh area near the breast but not touching the bone registers 73°C/165°F. If you don’t have a digital kitchen thermometer, you can check if the chicken is done by cutting into the area between the leg and breast – the juices should run clear. If the juices are pink, place the chicken back in the oven for a few more minutes to finish cooking.) Transfer the tray to a cooling rack and allow the chicken to rest for 10-15 minutes.
  5. To Serve: Place the whole chicken on a large serving plate or platter and carve at the table. Or cut into piece and arrange on the platter. Garnish with coriander and serve with the Nam Jim Jaew, cucumber slices, and warm steamed rice.

For the Nam Jim Jaew (Spicy Dipping Sauce):

  1. Make the Nam Jim Jaew: While the chicken is roasting (or resting after cooking), prepare the spicy dipping sauce. Toast the glutinous rice in a dry skillet until golden brown and it smells like popcorn. Transfer to a mortar and pestle and pound into a fine powder (or use a spice grinder to grind). Then transfer to a small bowl and add the tamarind paste, fish sauce, lime juice, coconut sugar, and Thai chili powder. Mix with a spoon to combine, then stir in the garlic, shallot, and coriander. Taste and adjust sugar and lime juice if needed. Then set aside until ready to serve.

Notes

  1. Nutritional information provided is for the chicken, not the Nam Jim Jaew or sides.
  2. Prep time does not include time for marinating the chicken.
  3. Cover the bowl with a paper towel AND cling wrap if marinating overnight in the fridge. This will prevent water droplets that’ll form on the cling wrap from dripping onto the chicken and marinade.
  4. Use disposable gloves when rubbing the marinade on the chicken. Fish sauce and chilies can make your hands itchy, so use disposable gloves when applying the marinade if you have sensitive skin.  
  5. Can I prepare the any of the components ahead? You can make the marinade and also the Nam Jim Jaew a day in advance. Store both in separate sealed airtight containers in the fridge. Take the Nam Jim Jaew out of the fridge when the chicken is roasting in the oven.
  6. How long will it keep? The chicken will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed airtight container in the refrigerator. The best way to reheat it is to wrap in aluminum foil, then place in an oven preheated to 165°C/325°F for a few minutes until fully heated through.
  7. Can I freeze leftovers? You can place the cut chicken pieces in a freezer friendly sealed bag or an airtight container and freeze for up to three months.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4
  • Calories: 639
  • Sugar: 12g
  • Sodium: 1915.2mg
  • Fat: 11.9g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.5g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 5.1g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.1g
  • Fiber: 2.3g
  • Protein: 101.2g
  • Cholesterol: 313.7mg

The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.

This post may contain affiliate links. We are a part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary based on several factors. It should only be used as a general guideline. For more information, please see our Disclosure.