Skip the takeout. Make Thai red chicken curry better at home.
This Thai red curry recipe with chicken, coconut milk, and vegetables makes a flavorful, nourishing dinner and is ready in 30 minutes. Authentic and delicious.
Why This Thai Red Curry Recipe Should Be Dinner Tonight
For whatever reason, it never occurred to me to cook my own Thai red curry. I think because I like it so much. That sounds strange, but I assumed that because it was such a perfect curry, chicken, coconut stew, it must be a complicated, intimidating recipe — and even then, homemade would not taste as good as I’ve had at my favorite Thai restaurants.
I was wrong! Making my own bowl of Thai red chicken curry, rich with layers of bright flavor from ginger, coconut milk, chicken, and curry paste, requires only a few ingredients, and even less time.
A big thanks goes to Jenn Segal of Once Upon a Chef for recipe inspiration. This is adapted from two of her recipes: Thai Red Chicken Curry and Thai Chicken Soup with Rice Noodles. I couldn’t decide which sounded better, so I did a mash up. The result was absolutely delicious.
A Note on This Thai Red Curry’s Authenticity
This recipe is my easy, at-home version of Thai red curry. This recipe should more accurately be called Thai-style because I am not Thai, but have deep appreciation for the integrity of a more authentic version made with homemade curry paste.
Consider this my homage, my perfected version, inspired by the actual Thai cooks out there deserving all our respect!
The Best Thai Red Curry: Recipe Notes
- Do not skip the fish sauce. Do not substitute it with salt. Fish sauce is an essential flavor in this, with an umami, salty funk that really lends the right flavor to the final dish. I prefer Red Boat brand, available most everywhere.
- Adding one cup of chicken broth makes it slightly more liquid than other Thai curries, almost like a thicker soup. If you’d prefer a saucier version that can be served on a plate with rice — or do not have chicken broth on hand — just eliminate it.
- Be flexible with the vegetables. I used a sliced bell pepper, but lots of vegetables could work here, like carrots, green beans, even cauliflower or broccoli.
- If you need to cook chicken, just throw a pound of chicken breasts on a sheet pan, sprinkle with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 to 25 minutes, until they are not pink the center. To shred the chicken, pull pieces of the meat off with the grain, using a fork or your fingers.
- You can easily substitute green curry paste for red. Note that the spice level may change.
Welcome to your new favorite 30-minute dinner.
Love Thai Chicken Coconut Curry? You’ll also love:
- Tropical Coconut Rice With Fresh Ginger
- The Best Homemade Chicken Soup
- Pad See Ew With Chicken (Thai Chicken and Rice Noodles)
Thai Red Curry
For the Curry
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola
- 1/2 cup thinly-sliced shallots, from 1 or 2 large shallots
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, from a 1-inch knob (peeled)
- 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (I used Thai Kitchen brand)
- 1 cup no-sodium chicken stock
- 1 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon packed brown sugar, dark or light
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, from one lime
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered turmeric
- 1 bell pepper, sliced thin
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken, from a rotisserie chicken or 1 pound of chicken breasts
To Finish and to Serve
- 4 cups cooked rice, white or brown
- 1 large handful fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems, roughly chopped
- 3 scallions, green and light green parts, sliced thin on an angle
- fresh lime wedges from 1 or 2 limes
- Heat the oil in a medium soup pot over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and bell pepper slices and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the ginger and curry paste and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 more minute. TIP: If you are making rice, get that started before anything else.
- Add the chicken broth (if using), coconut milk, fish sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and turmeric. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.TIP: Shake your coconut milk before opening. It tends to separate. At the same time, don't worry if it comes out in separated chunks. It will all melt together as the curry heats.
- Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning. Divide the rice and chicken into serving bowls. Ladle the broth over top. Generously top with the chopped cilantro and scallions. Serve with fresh lime wedges.
Hello from Athens, Greece! I made it with leftover roasted chicken and it was great! Do you think I could also make it with shrimp instead of chicken?? I really like your blog!
Hello! Wow–I love that you’re writing from Greece! Wish I was there. So glad you liked this, and I do think that shrimp would work very well. You could just add it to the simmering (not boiling) broth a couple of minutes before serving and just let it quickly poach directly in the soup. Let me know if you try it! Great idea and thanks again.
Peter Lloyd Woodward
Awesome meal, I made enough for 8 serves I just doubled everything, I also put the zest of two limes as well as the juice, it was so nice my two teenage boys and wife loved it, thanks so much, kindest regards Peter.
Fantastic! I am so glad you enjoyed, and zest is such a good idea. Thanks for writing.
Great recipe. Used green beans as well as bell pepper.
Yum! I made the Thai Coconut Curry last night and my family LOVED it. I used a rotisserie chicken and it was the perfect way to make a basic Costco chicken taste amazing (and save time, as I didn’t have to cook chicken!)
🙂 My partner said that this is one of the best dinners I have made in a while. hahaha! Great recipe.
This recipe is FABULOUS! I have been craving it since I made it for my husband and I last week. We both loved it. The bright flavors were exactly what we’ve been craving. Can’t wait to make it again.
Thanks, Molly! It’s one of my favorites.
This is DELICIOUS. Made exactly as written.
Lisa another winner “ Thai coconut curry chicken with vegetables … delicious I love the taste of ginger, coconut milk, and turmeric .. all so good for you too … thanks so much …. may 2 Saturday afternoon … as always carol
Thanks, Carol!! I am so glad you liked it. xo
So good. I’m going to make this a lot. Can I use light coconut milk? I love your blog.
Thanks so much, Michelle! Yes, you can use light coconut milk, but honestly, it isn’t that much “healthier” in terms of the amount of fat, so it might not be worth it. But yes, light will work. Thanks again for the kind words, and I’m glad you liked the recipe.