Fresh, sweet corn off the cob is the perfect addition to chicken with coconut milk in this twist on creamed corn. It's an easy, one pan recipe with just a few ingredients!
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We know that chicken thighs go with coconut milk. It's a classic combo. But when you add fresh, sweet corn kernels along with ginger, green chiles and lime, the light flavors transform something that might have seemed like a heavy recipe - creamed corn - into a refreshing late summer meal that feels like you're being whisked away to a beachfront location.
I loooooove corn on the cob. But another thing I love is corn off the cob. Slicing the corn kernels off to use in all kinds of recipes is a late summer treat. And creamed corn? I have already professed my love of creamed corn to you. But here, we're giving it a twist. Behold the coconut milk creamed corn.
And to make things even better, let's make this all in one pan for easy clean up, shall we? No arguments here.
A one pan chicken recipe that's loaded with Asian flavors and it's dairy free!
- We'll make the creamed corn with coconut milk so it's dairy free. The coconut milk also adds another layer of flavor and richness.
- Ginger, lime, coconut, and chiles bring the Asian flavor combinations that go perfectly with sweet summer corn.
- Cooks in one pan on the stovetop - no need to heat up the oven.
- The chicken skin gets crispy and golden brown for great texture.
Ingredients you'll need
- Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs: Try to get them all pretty close to the same size for even cooking.
- Fresh corn on the cob: Look for ears that are green and vibrant, not dry and brown, with yellow silks sticking out.
- Full-fat coconut milk: Make sure you're getting coconut milk, not coconut cream.
- Serrano chile peppers: Or you can substitute jalapeños for a milder spice.
- Limes: We'll cook some in the sauce and need more for squeezing on top!
- Fresh ginger
- Fresh cilantro
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
How to make chicken with coconut milk creamed corn
Adapted from a recipe by Ali Slagle in NYT Cooking.
Step 1: Prep the chicken thighs, ginger, garlic and chiles
Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper and set aside.
Step 2: Get the chicken thighs crispy in the pan
Heat a large deep non-stick skillet or casserole pan over medium high and add chicken thighs, skin side down. It's okay if they are a little crowded at first, they will cook down. If you prefer, you can do this in two batches.
I used my Lodge enamel cast iron casserole dish, it fits all 8 thighs easily.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Lodge Blogger Network, this pan was provided to me free of charge. All opinions are my own.
Cook chicken thighs skin side down for 10-15 minutes, until the skin is brown and crispy. Flip over and cook for another 5 - 7 minutes until cooked through.
Step 3: Cut the corn off the cob
While the chicken is cooking, slice the corn kernels off the cob.
Stand the ear upright over a kitchen towel. Start at the end of the knife closest to your hand and use the full length of the blade as it slides down the cob. If you try to go straight down you'll get a lot of resistance. Pick up the towel and tip the corn kernels into a bowl.
Now we are going to get more of that delicious corn liquid out of the cobs for maximum creamed corn flavor! Hold the cobs over a bowl and using the back of your knife, scrape down the cob to release the juices and get the last bits of corn kernel out!
Yes! Corn goodness! It's like making corn stock without making corn stock.
Step 4: Make the creamed corn
When the chicken has cooked through, remove it to a plate. If there's a LOT of fat in the pan, remove from heat and carefully remove a tablespoon or two, but leave most of it there.
Over medium high heat, add the ginger, garlic and chiles and stir into the fat until they release their aromas, about 1 minute.
Add the sweet corn kernels to the pan, and cook for about 3 - 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt.
Add the coconut milk to the pan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes until the mixture reduces slightly.
Step 5: Finish cooking the chicken
Turn the heat down to medium, add the chicken thighs back to the pan with the coconut milk and corn mixture and cook for about 5 - 7 minutes until the thighs are heated through.
Transfer chicken thighs to four serving plates. Squeeze the juice of one lime into the coconut milk creamed corn and stir, taste it and season with more salt if needed. Divide the corn among the plates with the chicken.
Serve topped with cilantro and extra lime wedges on the side.
Tips for coconut creamed corn chicken
- The amount of spice you put in this dish is up to you. I used two Serrano chiles, and removed the ribs and seeds before chopping them. The sweetness of the coconut milk can handle the spice, and might even tone it down. So if you like it really spicy, leave the ribs and stems, and maybe add even more chiles.
- There's no need to peel the ginger before grating. It tastes great, cooks down just fine, and you'll have less food waste!
- Both coconut milk and coconut cream are derived from boiling coconut in water. The difference is the concentration. Coconut milk is the same consistency as cow's milk. Coconut cream is made with four times the amount of coconut, resulting in a much thicker, fattier liquid.
More recipes with fresh corn
Here are some more recipes that use corn sliced fresh off the cob to sweeten up your summer.
- Butter and lemon are great, but why not turn tradition on its head and add a few more things? Make Shrimp Scampi with Tomatoes, Corn and Fresh Basil. More is better.
- Cornbread is fun, but corn cakes are funner. Try Corn Cakes with Guasacaca Sauce - an avocado-based sauce that will change your life forever.
More recipes with crispy chicken thighs
Or maybe you were here for the creative ways to cook chicken thighs of it all?
- Chicken Escabeche with Jalapeños, Golden Raisins, and Mint is packed with bright flavors and will surprise everyone!
- You can't beat Crispy Chicken Thighs with Burst Cherry Tomatoes and Goat Cheese for a simple dinner using fresh summer produce.
Chicken Thighs with Coconut Milk Creamed Corn, Green Chiles, and Cilantro
- 8 Bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 6 ears corn on the cob
- 13.5 oz full-fat coconut milk (one can)
- 2 Serrano chiles
- 2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 lime plus more for serving
- fresh cilantro
- kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- Remove the ribs and seeds from the chiles, (If desired. Leave them in if you want it spicier) then finely dice them and set aside. Grate the fresh ginger and garlic cloves and set aside.
- Season the chicken thighs on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a large deep non-stick skillet or casserole pan over medium high and add all 8 chicken thighs, skin side down. Cook chicken thighs skin side down for 10-15 minutes, until the skin is brown and crispy. Flip over and cook for another 5 - 7 minutes until cooked through. (You can do this in two batches if you prefer. The thighs may be crowded at first, but they will cook down.)
- While the chicken cooks, slice the kernels off the corn cobs. To do this, stand the ear upright over a kitchen towel. Start at the end of the knife closest to your hand and let the full length of the blade slide down the cob moving toward the point. If you try to go straight down you'll get a lot of resistance. Pick up the towel and tip the corn kernels into a bowl.
- Now hold the cobs over the bowl and using the back of your knife, scrape down the cob to release the juices and get the last bits of corn kernel out.
- When the chicken has cooked through, remove it to a plate. Over medium high heat, add the ginger, garlic and chiles and stir into the fat until they release their aromas, about 1 minute.
- Add the corn kernels to the pan, and cook for about 3 - 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt.
- Add the coconut milk to the pan and bring to a boil for 5 minutes until the mixture reduces slightly.
- Turn the heat down to medium, add the chicken thighs back to the pan and cook for about 5 - 7 minutes until the thighs are heated through. Transfer chicken thighs to four serving plates.
- Squeeze the juice of one lime into the coconut milk creamed corn and stir, then taste and season with more salt if needed. Divide the corn among the serving plates with the chicken and top with cilantro. Serve with extra lime wedges.
- I tested this recipe in both my Lodge enamel cast iron casserole pan, and my Anolon 12-inch non-stick skillet. Both worked well. I preferred the wider casserole pan because the coconut milk cooked down more quickly. Just be aware when cooking on enamel surfaces, the chicken skin can stick more easily, so keep an eye on this so you don't lose all of that crispy skin to the surface of the pan.
- Scraping down the cobs with the back of a chef's knife gets all of the juices remaining in the cobs into your coconut milk liquid for maximum creamed corn flavor. It's like you're making corn stock without making corn stock!
- Finely grating the ginger and garlic with a Microplane grater ensures that they just melt into and permeate the sauce. Otherwise you'll end up having little chunks of them in there which takes away from the sauce's creamy texture.