You’ll fall in love with my Turmeric Chicken Thighs and Leeks Casserole fast! With tender leeks, crispy chicken, creamy sauce, and a hint of turmeric, this dish is a dairy-free, gluten-free delight that’s sure to warm your heart.

Inspired by the vibrant flavors of Thai cuisine, I’ve tailored this recipe for simplicity and taste. It’s a dish that’s simple to make but oh-so-special. Follow my best tips for a meal that’s as beautiful as it is delicious!

Image shows baked turmeric chicken thighs with leeks in a white casserole dish with dairy-free cream sauce.
Chicken thighs with crispy skin and buttery leeks in a creamy sauce


Dive into our cozy leeks with turmeric chicken casserole! Each ingredient brings its unique flavor and texture to this comforting dish. Let’s explore what makes it so delicious!

Photo shows ingredients needed to make recipe with chicken and leeks.
  • Leek: Adds a mild, onion-like flavor with a hint of sweetness, and softens to a buttery texture when cooked. See the section below on how to select and clean leeks.
  • Red Fresno or Serrano Chili Pepper: Provides a vibrant heat and a pop of color, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
  • Turmeric Powder: Imparts a warm, earthy flavor and a golden hue, known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Garlic Powder: Adds a concentrated burst of savory flavor, complementing the other spices.
  • Coarse Salt: Enhances the natural flavors of the ingredients and helps to balance the dish.
  • Black Pepper: Adds a slight heat and pungency, bringing depth to the overall taste.
  • Chicken Thighs, Skin-on Bone-in: The skin crisps up beautifully for texture, while the dark meat stays juicy and flavorful.
  • Avocado Oil: A healthy cooking oil with a high smoke point, perfect for crisping the chicken skin.
  • Chopped Fresh Cilantro Leaves (optional): Offers a fresh, citrusy contrast to the rich flavors, adding a pop of color for garnish.
  • Full Fat Coconut Cream: Creates a rich, creamy sauce without dairy, contributing to the lush texture and tropical flavor.
  • Coconut Aminos: A soy sauce alternative, it adds a savory, umami flavor with a touch of sweetness. You can also use regular soy sauce.

Substitutions and variations

  • If using chicken breasts: Opt for skin-on, bone-in varieties to maintain tenderness in the chicken breasts.
  • Leeks substitute: Consider sweet onions, Maui or Vidalia onions, Japanese green onion (Negi), scallions, or shallots for different but complementary flavors.
  • Vegetables: Enhance the casserole with diced carrots, shiitake mushrooms, zucchini, or yellow squash for added nutrition and color.
  • Seasonings: Season the chicken with fresh thyme or a sprinkle of chili powder to diversify the flavors.

How to cook leeks with chicken

Get ready to cozy up with a hearty serving of our chicken and leek casserole! This recipe for chicken and leek is not just about tantalizing your taste buds; it’s about bringing comfort and joy to every bite. Follow along as we create a leek chicken recipe that’s bound to become a favorite in your home!

Person demos how to make recipe leeks chicken.
  1. Preheat Oven: Set your oven to 375F (191C).
  2. Prepare Leeks: Slice off the roots of the leeks and make a second slice to separate the dark green stems from the pale green section. Slice the pale green parts a little larger than ¼ inch rounds and the dark green stems slightly thinner. Thoroughly rinse both parts in cold water to remove dirt and sand, then pat dry.
  3. Prepare Chili Peppers: Trim off the ends of the red chili peppers, remove the seeds, and slice them lengthwise into long strips.
  4. Season Chicken: Combine turmeric, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub this spice mix all over the chicken thighs, ensuring a good coat.
  5. Crisp the Chicken: Heat a skillet over medium with avocado oil or use an air fryer at 400F. Cook the chicken skin-side down first until crispy, then flip and cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Prepare Cream Sauce: In a bowl, whisk together coconut cream, turmeric, and coconut aminos until well combined. Warm slightly if the coconut cream is too solid.
  7. Assemble Casserole: Place the dark green leek pieces at the bottom of your casserole dish. Pour the cream sauce over the leeks evenly. Arrange the chicken thighs skin side up on top, followed by the pale green leek parts and chili strips.
  8. Bake: Place in the oven for 40 minutes at 375F, then increase the temperature to 400F and bake for an additional 8-10 minutes. Chicken should be thoroughly cooked.
  9. Rest and Serve: Let the casserole sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. This allows the sauce to thicken. Garnish with cilantro if using, and enjoy your deliciously comforting dish!

Delicious Tip: For an extra burst of flavor and a delightful texture contrast, sear the chicken until the skin is crispy before baking. This technique ensures your chicken and leeks dish has the perfect combination of crispy skin and succulent meat inside.

How to prepare leeks

  • Cutting Leeks: Begin by trimming off the very bottom of the leek and the toughest part of the dark green ends. Slice the remainder of the leek into small cross-sections. This includes both the tender white and light green parts as well as the darker green parts which can be sliced thinner.
  • Cleaning Leeks: After cutting, split the leeks in half lengthwise, then rinse under cold water to remove any dirt and sand trapped between the layers. You can also slice them into half-moons for easier cleaning.
  • Roasting for Sweetness: To bring out the natural sweetness of leeks, roast or bake them until they are tender and sweet. Place the tougher, thinly sliced green sections at the bottom of the casserole dish and the paler sections around and between the chicken thighs for a melt-in-the-mouth texture.

Selecting Leeks:

  • Look for Long and Thin: Choose leeks with a long, thin body for uniform cooking. The longer and paler the light green section, the better, as this is the tenderest part.
  • Short Dark Greens: The fan-out dark green end leaves should be the shortest part of your leek. These are generally tougher and used less but can still be delicious when prepared properly.

Remember, using almost the entire leek, not just the white parts, can add a variety of textures and flavors to your dish. The key is to properly prepare and clean them to ensure every bite is as delicious as it can be!

How to make-ahead, store, and reheat

Whether you’re planning a cozy dinner or prepping for the week, our recipe chicken and leeks is perfect for making ahead, storing, and reheating. Let’s ensure your meal is just as delicious the next day!


  • Leeks: You can slice, clean, and pat dry the leeks ahead of time. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Chicken: Season the chicken thighs ahead and keep them refrigerated. Alternatively, you can bake the entire chicken leek recipe a day in advance and simply reheat it when ready to serve.
  • Storage: Once the turmeric chicken with leeks casserole is baked and cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate. It’s best enjoyed within 3 days for optimal freshness and flavor.
  • Reheat: To warm up your chicken recipes with leeks, place the desired portion in a microwave-safe dish and cover loosely. Heat on high for 1 minute, stir, and then continue heating in short intervals until thoroughly warmed through. This ensures even reheating and retains the dish’s delightful texture and taste.

What to serve with chicken thighs with leeks

Complement your leek chicken recipes with the perfect sides and beverages! Whether you’re looking for a full meal, delightful sides, or a warming drink, we’ve got suggestions to round out your dining experience.

Expert tips

  • Selecting Chicken: Opt for skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs for their flavor and tenderness. The skin becomes deliciously crispy, providing a delightful texture contrast.
  • Preparing Leeks: Utilize both the white and dark green parts of the leeks for a full range of flavors and textures. Slice the darker parts thinner and clean thoroughly to remove any dirt.
  • Crisping Chicken Skin: Achieve perfect texture by crisping the chicken skin side down first in a skillet or air fryer until golden. This step enriches the overall flavor of the chicken leek recipe.
  • Seasoning Well: Generously season with spices, especially turmeric and garlic, to give the dish its characteristic color and rich flavor.
  • Cream Sauce Consistency: Use full-fat coconut cream from a can for the right thickness and richness. Warm it slightly if too solid, but avoid coconut milk, which could thin the sauce excessively.
  • Casserole Dish Size: I recommend using a casserole dish that snugly fits all 4-5 chicken thighs. This ensures even cooking and proper sauce coverage. The ideal dish size allows for just enough cream to touch the bottom of the chicken without spilling over or covering the crispy skin.
  • Sauce Quantity: Adjust the amount of coconut cream based on your dish size. The sauce should just reach the meaty bottom of the chicken, avoiding the crispy skin top. Use more cream for larger dishes and less for smaller ones, always aiming for a snug fit with a little space between the thighs.
  • Layering in Casserole: Strategically place the tougher, thinly sliced green leek sections at the bottom of the dish. Arrange the chicken and paler leek sections on top to ensure even cooking.
  • Baking to Perfection: Carefully monitor the oven temperature and timing. A higher finishing temperature ensures the skin crisps up nicely while the inside remains juicy.
  • Resting Before Serving: Allow the casserole to sit for a few minutes after baking for flavors to meld and the sauce to thicken slightly, enhancing the dish’s taste and texture.


What does leeks taste like?

Leeks taste mild and slightly sweet, similar to onions but less intense, with a tender texture when cooked and a delicate, slightly herbal flavor.

What part of a leek do you use?

You can use both the white and light green parts of a leek for cooking. They’re tender and flavorful, while the darker green ends are typically tougher and less used.

What goes well with leeks?

Leeks pair well with potatoes, chicken, cheese, cream, garlic, butter, herbs, and other root vegetables, enhancing dishes with their mild, sweet onion-like flavor.

What is the best way to eat leeks?

Leeks are best enjoyed baked, braised, grilled in chicken yakitori skewers, or roasted, bringing out their sweetness and tenderness. They also add depth and a buttery soft texture to soups and casseroles like vegan hot pot or brisket pho.

More baked chicken and leeks recipes you might like

Craving more cozy chicken dishes? Explore our variety of baked chicken recipes, perfect for diversifying your dinner menu. Here are some flavorful favorites to try next:

  • Paleo Chicken Mushroom Casserole: A comforting blend of tender chicken and earthy mushrooms baked in a creamy sauce, perfect for a hearty meal.
  • Baked Sesame Chicken: Crispy, golden chicken pieces coated in a sweet and savory sesame sauce, bringing a delightful Asian twist to your table.
  • Paleo Orange Chicken: Enjoy the tangy and sweet flavors of orange chicken in this baked version, offering a healthier alternative to the classic takeout dish.
  • Ham and potato leek soup: With buttery soft leeks, potatoes, and ham, this big pot of soup is perfect for colder months.
Photo shows chicken with leeks served in an individual serving bowl.
A recipe image shows leeks and chicken thighs baked in a white casserole dish.
4.95 from 34 votes

Turmeric chicken thighs and leeks recipe

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4 pieces
Author: ChihYu Smith
This baked Turmeric chicken thighs and leeks with juicy chicken, buttery leeks, and dairy-free cream sauce. Gluten-free, dairy-free, yummy!
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Chicken and leeks:

  • 1 large leek
  • 1-2 whole red Fresno or serrano chili pepper, seeds removed, slice lengthwise into long strips
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp coarse salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1.75 lb chicken thighs, skin-on bone-in, about 4-5 pieces.
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil, for stovetop
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped, garnish, optional

Cream sauce for casserole:


  • Casserole baking dish, 13 inch (33cm) x 8.5 inch (21.6cm)



  • Preheat the oven to 375F/191C.
  • Leeks: Cut off of the roots. Make a second slice to separate the dark green stems from the pale green section. If the outer layer is dry and very dirty, remove it and discard.
  • Dice the leek into rounds: Slice the pale green parts into a little larger than ¼ inch (0.6 cm) rounds and slice the dark green stems into a little less than ¼ inch (0.6 cm) rounds. Separate the stems from the pale green sections and try to keep them in rounds.
  • To clean: Rinse the stems and the pale green parts separately in a large bowl of cold water until all the dirt and sand are rinsed clean. Drain, pat dry, and set aside.
  • Red chili pepper: Trim off the tip end. Halve the chili peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds then slice them lengthwise into long strips.
  • Chicken: Gather the turmeric, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Season the spices all over the chicken on all sides. Use your hands to gently press the spices in so that the chicken will be more flavorful.

Crisp up the chicken skin:

  • Stovetop: Preheat a large skillet over medium heat until it feels warm. Add the oil and place the chicken skin side down. Crisp up the skin-side without disturbing for about 6-7 mins. Take care not to burn the chicken. Once the skin is crispy, sear the flip side for 3 more minutes.
  • Air fryer: Crisp up the skin by placing them into an air fryer basket with skin side up. Air fry at 400F for 6 minutes. The chicken won’t be cooked through. We are only adding more crisp to the skin before baking.
  • Cream sauce: In the meantime, in a large glass measuring cup, combine the sauce with coconut cream, turmeric, and coconut aminos in a medium bowl. Stir well. If the coconut cream is harden, you can also warm it up in a microwave on low for 1 minute then stir to melt the cream.

Assemble the casserole:

  • Assemble in order: Place the dark green (tougher parts) of the leeks at the bottom of a casserole dish, then Pour in the cream sauce mixture and distribute it evenly over the casserole dish.
  • Place the chicken thighs (skin side up) on top of the leeks. Pour-in any extra chicken pan juice in the skillet, if any.
  • Gently wiggle/push the chicken down a bit so that the meaty bottom parts are in touch with the cream and the skin sides are above the cream (i.e. not touching the cream). Place palace green parts of the leeks around & in-between the chicken thighs. Finally, place thin sliced chilies on top of and around the chicken.

Bake and serve:

  • Bake at 375F (191C), middle rack, for 40 minutes then raise the temperature to 400F (204C) for 8 to 10 additional minutes. The chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165F (74C) at the thickest part.
  • Remove the dish from the oven. Let cool for 10-15 minutes. The sauce will thicken further once the dish cools down a bit. Garnish with cilantro, if using. Serve warm.


  • I recommend using a casserole baking dish that’s just big enough to fit snuggly with all 4-5 chicken thighs.
  • How much milk cream should you add to the dish? If your casserole dish size is different from mine, a good rule of thumb: you want to have just enough milk cream that touches the bottom meaty side of the chicken yet not too much that will spill over or cover the top portion of the crispy skin. If your casserole dish is smaller than mine, use less cream sauce and vice versa. Find a dish that’s just about the right size to fit snuggly with all chicken thighs, plus a little space between them.


Serving: 303g, Calories: 739kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 35g, Fat: 63g, Saturated Fat: 32g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 8g, Monounsaturated Fat: 17g, Trans Fat: 0.2g, Cholesterol: 194mg, Sodium: 587mg, Potassium: 723mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 529IU, Vitamin C: 5mg, Calcium: 40mg, Iron: 4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Thai
Keyword: Chicken and leeks, Chicken with leeks, Turmeric chicken thighs and leeks
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