Today’s Thai Chicken Curry is a healthy, one-pan dinner that’s dead simple to prepare and outrageously tasty. Ready in under an hour, this easy Thai curry recipe is fast enough for a weeknight but special enough for company.
The first time I made this Thai chicken curry, I was worried I would find it lacking.
Having eaten copious amounts of authentic Thai curry (and Vegetarian Pad Thai) in Thailand, I know how fabulous a perfect chicken curry can be.
With a short and simple ingredient list, at least compared to many Thai recipes, I had to wonder how this easy Thai chicken curry could measure up.
Well, to put it simply, this Thai curry recipe BLEW ME AWAY.
Meet one of the best Thai chicken curry recipes you will ever make at home.
It’s even better than some of the best authentic chicken curry I ate in Thailand—seriously, compared to a few popular places we tried in tourist Chiang Mai, I like this one more!
Looking for a vegetarian Thai curry? Check out Coconut Curry.
5 Star Review
“A winner! Put it into the rotation, asap. My kids are picky. My husband knows and loves Thai food. There was none left.”
— Ann —
Aside from being downright delicious, I love this recipe for its short, approachable ingredient list (you can find everything you need at your local grocery store) and simple one-pan cooking method (like this Egg Roll in a Bowl).
- Yes, I realize Thai curry purists will (correctly) point out that authentic Thai curry chicken has many more things added to it than this recipe does.
- However, I love that this easy adaptation can quickly come to life in your kitchen regardless of where you are located and how much time.
In summary: If you can chop vegetables and stir coconut milk, you CAN make this easy Thai chicken curry recipe! (With those skills, this Chickpea Curry is also within reach.)
The Difference between Red Curry and Panang Curry
- Panang Curry (also called Penang or Penaeng curry) is a red curry that originates from Penang, an island located off the west coast of Malaysia.
- Panang curry is usually less spicy than traditional red curry because it uses fewer red chiles. Panang curry sauce includes coconut cream and peanuts and tastes sweeter.
- While red curry (which does not have peanuts in the sauce) is more spicy, this particular recipe is not overly so. If you ask me, it’s the best of both worlds.
How to Make Thai Chicken Curry
This Thai curry chicken recipe with coconut milk is a breeze to prep (like many of my other stir fry recipes).
The final effect is deeply rewarding: a rich, not-too-spicy, yet-oh-so-flavorful thick coconut sauce brimming with ginger, garlic, and authentic Thai curry flavor.
My dear friend, Jessica of How Sweet Eats, created this fantastic curry chicken skillet recipe. It originally appeared in her excellent cookbook, The Pretty Dish. Please support her and check it out!
- Chicken. You can make this Thai curry chicken with chicken breasts or swap it for chicken thighs.
- Red Curry Paste. Thai red curry paste is the star flavor-maker in this Thai red chicken curry recipe. Curry paste is available in the Asian food section of most major grocery stores or online here.
- Coconut Milk. While I’m all for a healthy swap, for this curry you need full-fat (not light) coconut milk or the sauce will be too watery. (If you love recipes with coconut milk, try these other creamy, dreamy delights.)
- Bell Pepper. Loaded with vitamin A and vitamin C, tender red bell peppers add lovely flavor and color to this rich and robustly flavored Thai curry sauce.
- Leek. Provides the sauce with a mild onion flavor that lets the flavors of the curry paste really shine.
- Ginger + Garlic. Give this Thai curry sauce (and this Instant Pot Lentil Curry) so much life.
- Cilantro. For a final herby finish that ties everything together.
- Rice or Sourdough Bread. A bed of freshly steamed brown or jasmine rice is the perfect foundation for a healthy scoop of this creamy coconut Thai chicken curry recipe. A fresh sourdough baguette is also divine for soaking up every last drop of the heavenly sauce.
- Season the chicken and sear on both sides until golden. Transfer to a plate.
- Sauté the vegetables and aromatics, then stir in the curry paste and let it bloom. Pour in the coconut milk.
- Return the chicken to the skillet, then bake the Thai curry at 375 degree F oven for 25 minutes, until cooked through. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice and/or fresh sourdough bread. ENJOY!
Storage Tips for Thai Curry
- To Store. Leftovers may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- To Reheat. Warm gently on the stovetop in a saucepan or wok until steaming. Alternatively, you can also microwave until heated through in a microwave-safe container.
- To Freeze. I do not recommend freezing, as I have not had the best luck freezing sauces with a coconut milk base.
Recommended Tools to Make this Curry Chicken
- Skillet. All you really need is a quality skillet. I used this one; this brand is also excellent. For an affordable, quality option, check out this one.
- Knife. A sharp chef’s knife will make chopping up the bell peppers and herbs a breeze.
- The Pretty Dish. I hope you check out more of the tasty recipes from Jessica’s cookbook. It has brought so many yummy recipes into my life.
The Best Cast Iron Skillet
I’ve always been beyond impressed with Staub cast iron skillets. It’s enamel coating works on all types of stovetops, and results in exceptional browning.
Far quicker than ordering takeout (and definitely faster than a flight to Thailand), this is simply the BEST easy Thai curry recipe you’ll find.
Frequently Asked Questions
Unfortunately, in my experience, sauces made with coconut milk simply do not hold up well to freezing. They tend to separate upon reheating (even when done gently) and lose some of their silky, creamy texture. If that does not bother you, however, feel free to experiment.
Yes! So long as you skip the sourdough bread and check the label of your curry paste, this recipe can be made entirely gluten free.
If you have a coconut allergy or want to omit the coconut milk for any reason, you could experiment with swapping it for half and half. The taste will be a little different, but the half and half would keep the sauce nice and creamy.
I have not experimented with making this curry chicken recipe with bone-in chicken, but I think that would work nicely. The cooking times to both sear and bake the chicken will need to increase to ensure the chicken gets fully cooked. For suggested cooking times, see Baked Bone In Chicken Breast and Baked Chicken Thighs.
I have not made this recipe in a slow cooker before. For best results, I would suggest starting the chicken on the stovetop to get a nice sear and then finishing the recipe in a crockpot. Cook until the chicken registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Alternatively, you could also try my Slow Cooker Chicken Curry.
- 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, or a mix!
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
- 1 leek thinly sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk (14 ounces) (do not use light, or the sauce won’t thicken properly)
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro torn
- Prepared brown rice or sourdough for serving
Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper.
Melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large, ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken and sear on both sides until deeply golden brown. Transfer to a plate.
Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the bell pepper, leek, garlic, and ginger, and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, until slightly softened.
Stir in the curry paste. Cook for 5 additional minutes, stirring often. Slowly pour in the coconut milk while stirring to combine. Return the reserved chicken to the skillet.
Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. The chicken will be fully cooked when a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 165 degrees F, and the juices run clear. (Note: Smaller chicken breasts may be done closer to the 15-minute mark.)
Top with cilantro. Serve with rice and fresh sourdough bread for mopping up the sauce if desired.
- TO STORE: Leftovers may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- TO REHEAT: Warm gently on the stovetop in a saucepan or wok until steaming. Alternatively, you can also microwave until heated through in a microwave-safe container.
- TO FREEZE: I do not recommend freezing, as I have not had the best luck freezing sauces with a coconut milk base.
Serving: 1(of 4), without rice or sourdoughCalories: 473kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 39gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 25gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgPotassium: 954mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2556IUVitamin C: 45mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 5mg
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