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This Thai chicken curry recipe is simple to make, has bold flavors in a rich and creamy coconut broth, and comes together in about 30 minutes, so it’s perfect for busy weeknights.

The best Thai chicken curry (in two beige bowls)

The sauce is everything in this Thai-inspired recipe. It’s not spicy as written, but it is definitely flavorful. Thai red curry paste is loaded with ginger and lemongrass, and we add garlic, onions, a bit of lime juice, a little brown sugar, and fish sauce (optional but recommended).

For vegetables, I chose red bell peppers and thinly sliced carrots that cook quickly. I love the balance between sweet/sour/savory in Thai cooking! 

If you’re ever curious about how I come up with my blog content, I have a massive spreadsheet of recipe ideas, and I ideally like to work in batches and group similar recipes together because it’s more efficient from a testing/recipe development point of view. It works best when the same ingredients can be used for multiple recipes and my mental space is focused on similar flavors and techniques. It doesn’t always happen that way (some weeks I’ll be cooking totally unrelated recipes), but that’s what I aim for. My Thai-inspired Coconut Lime Chicken was well received, so I set to work on this Thai chicken curry! 

Easy Thai chicken curry (in a skillet)

Making Thai coconut curry chicken is straightforward, but be sure to check out the tips below for best results. 

Recipe notes & tips:

  • I find that the brand of coconut milk you buy really matters. Some are thin and watery. I’ve had the best luck with Thai Kitchen full-fat coconut milk. It’s thicker and more luxurious. If you use light coconut milk, expect a thinner sauce. That’s ok too since the rice will soak it up. 
  • You can omit the sugar if you wish, but I do like to add it to build more complex flavor. You will find a bit of sugar in many Thai dishes.
  • Fish sauce adds an amazing umami taste to Thai dishes. If you’ve never used it, I do recommend giving it a try, but you can leave it out if you need to. The dish won’t taste quite as authentic without it. Use soy sauce instead if you’re in a pinch. 
  • The coconut milk, red curry paste, and fish sauce can all be found in the Asian section of most large grocery stores.
  • This recipe freezes well, but if you’re planning on freezing the whole batch, I would add the fresh herbs after thawing it. Reheat leftovers on a low heat.
  • You could try adding/swapping vegetables depending on your preferences/what you have on hand. Try broccoli florets instead of the carrot if you prefer. 
  • Want to make it spicy? Try adding some chopped fresh Thai chilis or some dried red pepper flakes.
  • If you’re one of those people who can’t stand cilantro, feel free to leave it out. I’d add more basil and scallions to compensate. 
  • This is one of those recipes where I suggest making it as directed the first time around, and then if needed, you can tweak the ingredients. You may want to add a little more/less sugar or more fish sauce or curry paste, for example. 

What to serve with Thai red chicken curry?

Try rice! My favorite is jasmine. You could also serve it with quinoa or even noodles (try vermicelli/rice noodles).

Thai coconut curry chicken with rice close-up

More Thai-inspired recipes to try:

close-up of Thai red chicken curry

Do you enjoy Thai food? Questions about this Thai red chicken curry recipe? Let me know in the comments below.

The best Thai chicken curry (in two beige bowls)
5 from 15 votes

Easy Thai Chicken Curry

This Thai chicken curry recipe is simple to make, has bold flavors in a rich and creamy coconut broth, and comes together in about 30 minutes.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 1/2 medium onion chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large chicken breasts cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon fish sauce optional (see note)
  • 1 (13.5 fluid ounces) can full-fat coconut milk (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 small carrot peeled & sliced thin
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice or to taste
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 small handful fresh cilantro chopped or torn
  • 1 small handful fresh basil chopped or torn
  • Scallions chopped, to taste

Instructions 

  • Prep the onion, carrots (slice them very thin so they cook fast), and bell pepper.
  • Add the oil and onion to a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cut up the chicken into bite size (about 1") pieces and season them with salt & pepper (just doing this on the cutting board is fine).
  • Add in the chicken and cook it, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
  • Stir in the garlic and curry paste and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Add the fish sauce, coconut milk, sugar, sliced carrot, and peppers to the skillet. Let it come to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes or so.
  • Add the chicken back to the skillet and cook it for a few more minutes, letting it heat through (but don't overcook).
  • Add the lime juice (start with my suggestion and add more to taste if you like) and salt & pepper as needed.
  • Stir in the cilantro, basil, and scallions just prior to serving (use a clean cutting board to chop them!). Serve immediately over cooked rice or noodles.

Notes

  • I used Thai Kitchen brand coconut milk (I recommend using this one or a brand you trust because it tends to be thicker/less watery than others I've tried). I also used Thai Kitchen red curry paste.
  • You don't need to go out and buy a whole bottle of fish sauce if you never cook with it, but it really adds an authentic Thai flavor to recipes, so I recommend trying it if you haven't. It smells strong in the bottle, but it mellows out and adds amazing umami flavor to dishes. You could add soy sauce if you need a quick substitute (not the same but it adds some saltiness).
  • See blog post for more recipe tips!
  • Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.

Nutrition

Calories: 417kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 31g, Saturated Fat: 20g, Cholesterol: 72mg, Sodium: 332mg, Potassium: 760mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 4331IU, Vitamin C: 44mg, Calcium: 45mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Hi! I’m Natasha.

Salt & Lavender is a recipe blog with a focus on delicious comfort food using everyday ingredients. Beat the weekday grind with hundreds of easy-to-follow and hassle-free recipes!

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42 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was delicious! I omitted the sugar but added snow peas and bean sprouts. I added chili crisp to my bowl, but it was perfectly spiced for my husband. I’ll make this again!

  2. 5 stars
    Absolute go to recipe, I’ve sometimes used soya instead of fish sauce if I don’t have one, and it still tastes great. I’ve made this few times now and like to add different vegetables after what I’m in the mood for.

    Easy and quick to make

  3. Question! I could only find hot red curry paste at the grocery store. Is there other levels of heat? Or is it not that hot?

    1. Hi! I think some places do sell hot versions, but here in Canada the Thai Kitchen brand I buy is fairly mild. It has a little kick, but it definitely isn’t too spicy in my experience. You may want to give yours a taste and perhaps add less if it’s very spicy.

  4. We just made this dish for 150 people and everyone was raving about it!
    Pretty much stuck to the recipe and indeed the fish sauce was key.
    A truly great recipe and a real ‘go to’ for authentic Thai curry!
    Thank you very much!
    Jo Metingoff

    1. 5 stars
      This was an amazing recipe. It is very similar to something my family loves at our favorite Thai restaurant. I added some fresh spinach and a tablespoon of peanut butter(sounds weird) because the restaurants has a bit of a peanut taste. Everyone loved it. Thanks for sharing!!

  5. 5 stars
    Great recipe! Whole family loved! Gathered up all the ingredients. Made rice in the instant pot while preparing the curry sauce. Very versatile easy to add more vegetables or different protein. I tossed in more veggies since had them in the fridge – zucchini and mushrooms with the peppers and carrots. Delicious! Had to thin out sauce with some chicken broth since simmered for longer time while waiting for everyone to get home. Served with some frozen naan bread from Trader Joes. All the boys cleaned their plates. YUM!