by Olena

Thai Chicken Curry

by Olena

5 from 12 reviews

Thai chicken curry garnished with basil and lime in a skillet

Authentic but basic Thai chicken curry in 25 minutes. I have eaten a fair share of curries at Canadian restaurants and I can assure you don’t have to leave the house to enjoy a good curry served over the most perfect Instant Pot brown rice.

This silky smooth Thai coconut chicken curry with warm spices and a bit of a kick is so simple to make at home. And healthy with a taste of most indulgent comfort food!

All my 3 boys raved about it for days!

Ingredients You Can Find Anywhere:

I promise no specialty Asian stores but you can if you like to keep busy.:)

  • Chicken breasts or thighs
  • Canned coconut milk
  • Curry paste
  • Tomato paste (forgot to photograph)
  • Ginger and garlic
  • Salt and pepper

thai chicken curry recipe ingredients include chicken breast, coconut milk, red curry paste, ginger, garlic, salt and pepper

Best Coconut Milk for Thai Coconut Chicken Curry:

Not all canned coconut milk is the same. Trust me! The biggest challenge is not smooth with small lumps coconut milk.

Make the best Thai chicken curry with coconut milk that is:

  • Full fat and not low fat (diluted with water) coconut milk. Healthy fats are good for us (Harvard University).
  • Not from cheap brands found in Asian section (sorry!). They contain a lot of preservatives and chemicals.
  • Smooth creamy consistency without small lumps.
  • In BPA free cans and organic are a bonus.
  • From brands that I tried and like are 365, Thai kitchen, Trader Joe’s and Compliments.

Tip: It is normal to see cream on top and liquid on a bottom when you open the can during colder months. Add everything to the pan and coconut milk will melt.

best coconut milk for Thai chicken curry with coconut milk

Kaffir Lime Leaves Substitution:

Kaffir lime leaves are a specialty item from Asian supermarket. They add citrus flavor and sweetness. But you don’t need them and can easily replace with fresh basil at the end.

And even if you don’t have basil, you can still make this OMG good Thai red chicken curry.

And I skipped fresh lemongrass on purpose. To see if curry turns out tasty. And it did! If I never have it on hand, neither do you. But you can add it with garlic and ginger, if you are familiar how to bruise and chop it. It is a nice bonus.

kaffir lime leaves and basil for thai red chicken curry

How Much and Which Curry Paste?

For any Thai cooking, I usually use curry paste in a small glass jar. Not powder. And usually it ends up being Thai kitchen brand. You can find it in any grocery store. Even little grocery store on my island carries it.:)

A million $ question. How much?

  • Very mild curry – 1 tbsp.
  • Mild-medium curry aka kid friendly but still with a kick – 2 tbsp (I usually add this much).
  • Spicy curry – 4 tbsp.

Tip: Substitute with yellow or green curry paste if that’s what you have on hand. No need to drive to the store.

red curry paste for authentic Thai chicken curry

How to Make Thai Chicken Curry

how to make Thai chicken curry

  1. Saute garlic and ginger for 30 seconds stirring constantly. It burns fast.
  2. Add cubed chicken and cook for 5 minutes. Doesn’t have to be cooked through.
  3. Add coconut milk, curry paste, tomato paste, maple syrup, kaffir lime leaves (if using), salt and pepper and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  4. Garnish with fresh basil or cilantro, a bit of lime juice and serve over brown rice.

OMG, just look at this 25 minute Thai coconut chicken curry! Who needs takeout?!

Thai chicken curry served on a bed of brown rice and garnished with basil

Leftover Tomato Paste?

You want to transfer leftover tomato paste to a glass jar. Sitting in a metal jar acidic tomatoes will oxidize. Refrigerate for up to 10 days and add to borscht or butter chicken. In addition to a 6 oz can that recipes call for. It’s OK to add a bit more.:)

More Curry Recipes to Try:


Thai Chicken Curry

5 from 12 reviews

Make authentic Thai coconut chicken curry in 30 minutes with simple ingredients from any grocery store.

  • Author: Olena of
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: Thai


  • 2 lbs chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1.5” cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inch ginger knob, minced
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil
  • 14 oz can coconut milk, full fat
  • 2 tbsp red curry paste
  • 3 oz tomato paste, low sodium
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves or basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt + more
  • Ground black pepper, to taste
  • Cilantro and lime, for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat large deep skillet or wok on medium heat and swirl oil to coat. Add garlic and ginger and saute for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. It burns fast.
  2. Add chicken sprinkled with a pinch of salt, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Doesn’t have to be cooked through.
  3. Add coconut milk, curry paste, tomato paste, maple syrup, kaffir lime leaves (if using), salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for 15 minutes.
  4. Garnish with fresh basil or cilantro, a bit of lime juice and serve over brown rice.

Storage Instructions: Refrigerate in an airtight container for 2-3 days or freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.


If you don’t use kaffir lime leaves, add fresh basil leaves at the end.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.


olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

22 comments on “Thai Chicken Curry

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  1. I love Thai food!!! And I agree with Judy – chickpeas can go instead of part of the meat, tried it many times in different curries :). Thanks, Olena, this one is the keeper! 🙂

  2. OMG this was so good!! I only had one chicken breast in the freezer so I added a can of chick peas and it was delicious! This recipe could easily be vegan by just using chick peas and no chicken. Flavours are amazing!

  3. Thanks to you and this recipe I’ll try making a curry recipe. I don’t like coconut but I just googled substitute for that after seeing your recipe and all I need is yogurt. All I have to get is the curry paste. Can’t wait to try something new.

  4. WOW! The recipe was easy, and the food was great. I didn’t know if I would like curry. This is now a new favorite recipe. I’m so happy I discovered this website.

  5. Who knew you could have delicious thai food on the table so quickly? This recipe was so easy and the food so good. Plenty of sauce to flavor the brown rice I served it with. I am excited to have some of the leftovers for lunch and even had some to freeze for my future self. Win-win!

  6. I made this recipe for my family last night…WE LOVED IT! I doubled the batch so we would have leftovers for lunch but I ended up Turing the leftovers into soup for dinner tonight. This has been a huge hit – Thank you. Will definitely make again.

    ** for soup, I sautéed onion, celery, fennel, carrots in olive oil. Diced potato, turnip, rutabaga (I know sounds weird but worked); then added 4 C chicken broth. Cooked the veg in simmering broth then added left over Thai Chicken Curry. Added a knob of ginger, 1 t of curry paste to bump of flavor and left over brown rice. So good!

    1. So happy to hear, Jill! You are smarter than me because you doubled the recipe. We had no leftovers. And your soup sounds amazing and something I would totally do!

    2. Olena, I love all your recipes. Thankyou! And this one was super quick and delicious… Definitely making it again.

      1. Yay! So happy to hear you loved my Ukrainian Thai chicken curry, Simone! SO do you mean you have an Instant Pot too? LOL Cause I post a lot of those recipes. I’m still obsessed with mine years later.

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