by Olena

Thai Chicken Curry

Olena Osipov
5 from 37 votes

Make authentic Thai Chicken Curry in 30 minutes with simple ingredients from any grocery store.

Thai chicken curry garnished with basil and lime in a skillet

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry

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

Thai Chicken Curry {30 Minutes}

Make authentic Thai Chicken Curry in 30 minutes with simple ingredients from any grocery store.
5 from 37 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Thai
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 581kcal
Author: Olena Osipov


  • 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)


  • 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.
  • Add chicken sprinkled with a pinch of salt, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Doesn't have to be cooked through.
  • 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.
  • 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.


    Calories: 581kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 145mg | Sodium: 288mg | Potassium: 1109mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 15g | Vitamin A: 1249IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 3mg
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    olena osipov in the studio

    Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

    My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys, a wife to Alex and we reside on magical Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. This is our healthy family recipes blog. Originally from Ukraine, I grew up on real food. As an adult, I struggled with diets for years because none worked long-term. Now for over 10 years, I cook easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

    81 comments on “Thai Chicken Curry

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    1. 5 stars
      This was fantastic used dried basil as that is what I had and I added maybe two tbls of plain yogurt as has a bit to use up …. family pretty much licked their dishes
      Thank you

    2. This is such a delicious, easy, affordable, and quick recipe! I’ve been making a concerted effort to find healthy meals that taste good, are affordable, and stretch to have enough leftovers for lunch the next day. As a single mom of two working two jobs, fast, easy, and affordable are a must. Being from south Louisiana, I am used to big flavor, and this recipe delivered. I made it as stated; however, I didn’t have the lime leaves and used honey instead of maple syrup (maple syrup is RIDICULOUSLY priced here). I also chose to add 3 tbsp. of curry since I love spice. Even my VERY picky child liked the flavors. This is definitely on my new dinner rotation!

      1. Hi Tamatha! I am so happy that my recipes are enjoyed by your family. I love creating recipes that are healthy, but also affordable and easy to make. Take care!

    3. 5 stars
      I made this with the leftover turkey from thanksgiving, I added a half onion, and green beans almandine from thanksgiving leftovers also. Came out fantastic. Everyone loved it (wife and daughter and myself) and I had no leftovers. Than you for an easy recipe that was delicious. My oldest son put carrots in his and also said it was great. He is a few states away but we share recipes. His wife and kids loved it too. Will try the chick peas idea below next.

      1. Hi Mike! What a great idea to use leftover turkey. So happy this was a hit. I love that you share recipes with your family too. Thanks so much for your feedback!

    4. 5 stars
      This is amazing! My kids love it! I want to make it for my freezer club. One of the families is vegetarian. Ideas on substituting tofu? Also, I add a bag of frozen peas to up the nutrition!

      1. So happy everyone loved this Thai chicken curry, Julie! Great idea about the peas! Yes, tofu cubes or even canned chickpeas can be added to simmer in sauce for 10 mins or so.

    5. 5 stars
      This recipe is one that we make at least once a week! I’m making it tonight again 🙂 It is so good that I usually make a double batch. Sometimes (if we’re lucky) there’s even enough left for lunch the next day lol! I never have fresh ginger or kaffir lime leaves so I use ginger paste from the produce department and basil from our garden. So good!!

    6. 5 stars
      It was de-lish! The only thing is I made it with coconut cream (only thing I had in house), instead of coconut milk & it was very very rich. But…lol, I still ate 2 bowls!!

    7. 5 stars
      Olena, we had this for dinner tonight and loved it. Will certainly make this again and again! Thank you for all you wonderful recipes we have enjoyed.

      Have a lovely day,

    8. 5 stars
      Another winner, Olena! We had the Thai Chicken Curry for dinner last night and loved it. This easy recipe has your usual flair for reducing a dish to its essence using readily available ingredients. Although the curry may not have had all the subtle flavors of restaurant Thai food, it was nonetheless delicious! Next time I make it, I will cut the tomato paste in half in order to allow the other tastes to emerge even more.

    9. 5 stars
      If I could give this six stars, I would. It was packed with amazing flavor. I’m so glad I’m came across your blog. I love your recipes.

    10. 5 stars
      First time making a Thai dish. Love how easy this is and flavorful!! Going in the YES MAKE AGAIN recipe book!

    11. I havent tried this yet but I had a question what is the liquid you add before the spices and after the chicken is added? I might just not see it anywhere is it just water? or chicken broth?

    12. 5 stars
      This is my second recipe I have tried and both turned out amazing ! Her recipes are so simple and quick to prepare. I will probably make a new dish for the next 3 days ? do you have any crockpot recipes ?

    13. 5 stars
      Don’t know if I already rated this recipe but I make it so often, it deserves lots of love!! My non-curry loving family adores this and I usually make at least a double batch! I have never made it with basil and I am not sure how basil compares to the Keffir Lime leaves because they seem like very different flavors….. But, it is easy to stock up on the lime leaves and have them always ready – I found them in a little baggie frozen at my local Asian store and they keep for a long time in the freezer. Ditto shopping for the thai curry paste at Asian store and Amazon has it too. I have made a bunch of Olena’s recipes and not one has disappointed me – one of the only cooking blogs I actually follow!!! Thanks! Angi

    14. 5 stars
      I made this recipe tonight for dinner and it was such a huge success! Kids loved it and left me zero leftovers for lunch. I used cauliflower rice instead of brown rice, otherwise everything else was the same. Thank you:)

    15. 5 stars
      Delicious! Love the flavor and it was super easy.
      I’d love to sneak some veggies in next time. Any advice?

      1. You can add lots of different kinds of vegetables like red bell pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash or even sweet potato. I would just recommend slicing the veggies so they are all roughly the same size (and on the smaller side). Throw in a handful of spinach even!

    16. 5 stars
      I loved this recipe. It tasted sooo good. The only thing was it didn’t seem to thicken up very much so I used about a Tablespoon of corn starch.

    17. 5 stars
      I made this tonight for the family. It was beyond delicious! Not a drop left over! Thumbs up all around. Thanks for yet another fantastic recipe!!

    18. 5 stars
      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! 🙂

    19. 5 stars
      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!

    20. 5 stars
      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.

    21. 5 stars
      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.

    22. 5 stars
      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!

    23. 5 stars
      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. 5 stars
        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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