Pandan leaf chicken is one of the best specialty chicken dishes in Thailand. The chicken is moist, tender, infused with refreshing pandan aroma and encased in the leaf packets.

The Thai people wrap the marinated boneless chicken meat inside a large piece of pandan leaf and deep-fry it.  The amazing aroma of the leaves is infused into the chicken meat, giving the ordinary chicken a distinct flavor and unique presentation.

Pandan leaf is also called screwpine leaf. It is long and slim with the length reaching 50 cm. It is widely available for cooking in all South East Asia countries. The local people use pandan leaves to flavor the rice, to make drinks and preparing desserts.

Pandan leaves are not widely available in Western countries. Unfortunately, you need to wrap the chicken in pandan leaf.  Therefore it cannot be substituted with pandan extract. If you can get pandan leaves in Asian grocery stores, try this recipe that is so different from any chicken dishes. After all, it is a relatively easy recipe to follow. The flavor is neither too spicy nor exotic which is ideal for someone who wants to enjoy Thai food but is put off by the other hot and spicy Thai foods.

Thai pandan leaf chicken is served with a sweet and salty sesame dipping sauce which complements the subtle flavor of the chicken. The Thai people serve it as the main dish or appetizer that is ideal for party hors-d’oeuvre.

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Pandan leaf chicken is one of the best specialty chicken dishes in Thailand. The chicken is moist, tender, infused with refreshing pandan aroma and encased in the leaf packets. The Thai people wrap the marinated boneless chicken meat inside a large piece of pandan leaf and deep-fry it. The amazing aroma of the leaves is infused into the chicken meat, giving the ordinary chicken a distinct flavor and unique presentation.

It is challenging wrapping the chicken the first time, but it is a breeze after some practice. There are two ways to encase the chicken. You can fold the leaves to form a pocket to hold the chicken or simply roll the chicken inside the leaf and secure it with a toothpick. The best way to understand how to do it is by watching the embedded video.

There are many versions of pandan chicken recipes. Some recipes include typical Thai spices like lemongrass, turmeric, coconut, and shallot. Thai people also add curry powder and dry chili for an extra hot and spicy flavor. My recipe is more of the Malaysian style, which does not use chili.

I have improvised the pandan leaf chicken recipe by adding pandan extract as part of the marinade. The Thai people usually steam the chicken before deep frying. This process helps to keep the chicken moist after frying and infuse the pandan aroma into the chicken.  I blend some chopped pandan leaves with a small amount of water to form a concentrated paste to extract the juice. The juice is used as part of the marinade to increase the intensity of the pandan flavor. This improvisation yields pandan chicken that is moist, tender and packed with pandan flavor.

My pandan leaf chicken recipe:

Yield: 20 pieces

Pandan leaf chicken - easy Thai recipe

Pandan leaf chicken - easy Thai recipe

Pandan chicken is popular among the Asian countries, with a pleasant aroma of pandan (screwpine) leaf imbue into the meat.

Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes




For the dipping sauce


For the chicken

  1. Cut the chicken into 4cm chunks, skin on.
  2. Blend the pandan leaves with 3 tablespoons of water. Extract the juice through a sieve.
  3. Marinate the chicken with the pandan extract and ingredients in B for 2 hours.
  4. Wrap each piece of chicken with the leaves. (Refer to the video in this post)
  5. Steam the chicken tor 10 minutes.
  6. Deep fry the encased chicken for 4 minutes until the exposed area of the chicken become golden brown.
  7. Transfer the chicken pieces to a paper towel to absorb any excess oil.

For the sauce:

  1. Toast the white sesame seeds in a wok or pan without oil until they become light brown. Set them aside.
  2. Put the remaining ingredients into a saucepan and simmer over low heat until the sugar dissolves and the sauce thicken. Remove from heat.
  3. Add the toasted sesame seeds into the sauce and serve with the pandan chicken.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

20 pieces

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 81Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 37mgSodium: 377mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 8g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionix on 6/1/2019

10 Tips to cook a perfect pandan leaf chicken

  • Marinate the chicken. The marinade provides a slightly spicy and earthy flavor, while the pandan leaves impart the delicate, inviting aroma to the chicken.
  • The pandan leaves also help to keep the chicken moist during deep frying to guarantee each piece is succulent and tender.
  • The chicken should be wrapped securely in the pandan leaf, with a little tip peeking out through the top.
  • Use the broad and long pandan leaves for easy wrapping.
  • After wrapping, pull the leave tight so that the juice will not leak out and the chicken will remain juicy.
  • Do not add too much water to blend the pandan leaves. It should yield a thick extract so that it will not dilute the marinade.
  • Use the side of the leaves that is not as shiny as the inner part to wrap the chicken. There are two ways to do this. The first method is to fold the leaf forming a pocket to hold the chicken, and then fasten the pocket by inserting the tip of the leaves through the gap between the leaf and the chicken meat. The second method is to roll up each leaf with the chicken inside and fasten with a toothpick.
  • You can use chicken breast or chicken thigh meat for this recipe. I have tried both and are equally delectable.
  • Since the chicken is already steamed, you just need to deep fry it until it turns golden brown. Prolonged frying will result in hard and dry pandan chicken.
  • Fasten the pandan pocket tightly by pulling the ends of the pandan leaves as the chicken will shrink during deep frying.

    32 replies to "Pandan Leaf Chicken – Easy Thai Recipe"

    • KP Kwan

      Hi, this is KP Kwan. I am happy to see you in this comment section. I ‘m glad to reply any questions and comments as soon as possible.

    • asian nut

      very very good. easy to make

      • KP Kwan

        Glad to know your like Pandan Chicken.

    • Queenie

      Come across your blog today for pandan chicken, in the marinade ingredients, can I omit the coriander powder because it’s not easily available at the place I stay?

      • KP Kwan

        Sure! You can omit coriander. The impact to the overall flavor is minimal.

    • Lim Kian Hin

      Dear Mr Kwan.
      I have tried this recipe twice. My wrap was not uniform among ea piece. On my 2nd attempt my wrapping much improved was happy.
      Taste direction was Okay right direction. Only a bit dry on my chicken.
      I did follow 10 minutes steam n 4 minutes deep fry.
      Cannot be overcooked.
      What can be the cause reason.

      Please advise.

      Thanks and Best Rgss Lim.

      • KP Kwan

        Dear Lim,
        There are few reasons if the chicken is dry:
        1. Chicken that has been frozen before.
        2. Frying temperature is too high.
        3. Fried for too long.

        Four minutes of frying won’t be too long. So it can be for other reasons. Try to check out if it is number one of two.

        Hope this help.

        KP Kwan

        • Lim Kian Hin

          Dear Mr Kwan.

          Yes my chicken breast cut was frozen.

          The cut was from the supermarket not frozen. Chiller . But since I don’t use it immediately it was in my freezer for few days.

          Next time I will use it immediately to test result.

          Thanks for your directions.

          B Rgds Sunny Kim.

          • KP Kwan

            Hi Sunny Kim,

            Glad that I can help.
            You may also try chicken thigh meat. It is more tender than chicken breast meat.

            KP Kwan

            • Lim Kian Hin

              Hi Mr Kwan.

              Will try thigh cut for my next attempt.
              Thanks for the direction.

            • KP Kwan

              Gook luck!

    • Alison Wong

      Hi Mr. Kwan,

      May I know why the chicken need to be steamed before frying? Thanks!

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Alison,
        The purpose of steaming is to infuse the pandan flavor into the chicken. Although I have added the pandan extract to the chicken, steaming with chicken wrapped in the leave is a way to let more flavor penetrate the chicken. Deep-fried is not very useful to get the flavor into the chicken.
        Hope this helps, and enjoy the pandan chicken.

        KP Kwan

    • Penny

      Hi Mr. Kwan, I really would like to try this recipe as I’m looking for a way to use my pandan leaves. Is it possible to bake the chicken after steaming it instead of deep-frying it? I do not deep-fry. Thank you.

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Penny,
        I never tried to bake instead of deep-fried, so I cannot give you an answer based on my experience. However, I can see that there is a high chance to succeed because both methods are using high heat to brown the chicken. The only difference is one is used dry heat (oven), and the other is wet heat (oil). The result should be slightly different but who knows it will be better 🙂
        Let’s give it a try 🙂
        KP Kwan

    • Jane

      Hi KP Kwan,

      Just want to know how many pandan leaves is needed to make pandan extract. Thanks.

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Jane,
        I use 6 pandan leaves, about 25g for making pandan extract. Please refer to the ingredients list in the recipe.
        KP Kwan

    • Pat Sia-Robey

      Hi Mr Kwan,
      I have tried your recipe. I didn’t steam the chicken first and baked it in the oven for 25 minutes. I brushed the wrapped chicken with oil before putting them into the oven and turned them over at half time.
      It turned out very well, all my friends and family enjoyed it very much. Will definitely be making this again.

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Pat,
        Thank you for sharing your experience of the alternative method. I will keep in mind that there is another way of doing it.
        KP Kwan

    • aura jewel

      I will try this recipe! Thank you

    • K

      This looks great-I cannot seem to find the video associated with this?

      • KP Kwan

        Hi K,
        Thanks for informing the wrong video is displayed. I have placed the pandan chicken video in the article now. 🙂
        KP Kwan

    • Annette

      Made this last week. Super good and considered moderately easy for such a challenging recipe. But make you have enough time for chopping and marinating and wrapping. 2 hours marinating is important.

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Annette,
        That is a good point. Marinating the chicken makes all the difference!
        KP Kwan

    • Patricia

      Hi Mr Kwan, I just made it. I didn’t steam, but marinate it overnight. Taste delicious and meat is succulent! My family love it.

      Note: I use thigh meat

      Thank you!

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Patricia,
        I prefer thigh meat too, actually. It has more flavor than breast meat.
        KP Kwan

    • Louise

      Hello. I just made this wondering dish. I have one question though. When I fry it, the oil kept flying out because of the liquid in the pandan chicken. How to prevent this? Thank you.

      • KP Kwan

        Hi Louise,
        We can’t prevent the liquid from coming out from the chicken if it is too wet. If you marinate the chicken for a long time, the flavor will absorb into the chicken, and the excess marinade will become unnecessary. Drain away any excess marinade before wrapping and frying to prevent the oil from splattering.
        KP Kwan

    • Dianne

      I just made this today for dinner! The plate was finished so fast! It’s soooo good! My dad who is a food critic said it’s very delicious, much better than in the restaurant! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

      • KP Kwan

        Thank you so much for trying this recipe, and glad to know that your dad likes it.

    • Natasha Osmanbhoy

      Can I use frozen pandan leaves to wrap? I can’t find fresh ones where I live. Thank you!

      • KP Kwan

        I never try because it’s readily available here. However, I don’t see any reason it can not be done.

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