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Thai-Style Red Chicken Curry

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This fragrant Thai chicken curry is a one-pan dish that comes together in just 30 minutes.

Thai Red Curry Chicken

I love cooking Thai-style food at home because there are so many recipes that you can create with just a few staples from the Asian food aisle of your neighborhood supermarket. This red chicken curry is case in point: a one-pan dish of tender chicken simmered in a rich, red curry-infused coconut milk sauce, it comes together in just 30 minutes with minimal prep work.

In developing the recipe, the biggest challenge was determining the best way to cook the chicken. Most recipes call for sautéing the chicken first and then warming it in the finished sauce. But the problem with that method, if you’re using white meat, is that the chicken tends to dry out quickly. I found that gently poaching the chicken in the coconut sauce is not only easier but also foolproof. You’ll be so pleased with how tender the chicken turns out when cooked this way!

What you’ll need to make Thai-Style red Chicken Curry

how to make thai red curry chicken

Before we get to the step-by-step instructions, a few words about the ingredients:

  • Red curry paste is a blend of lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger), fresh red chilis, and fragrant spices. The spice level will vary depending on the brand of curry paste you use. The brand I use above (Thai Kitchen) makes for a mild, family-friendly dish. For more heat, you can always add a drizzle of Sriracha, some of the seeds of the jalapeño, or some crushed red pepper flakes.
  • Be sure to use full-fat coconut milk. The sauce won’t have the same smooth, thick consistency with the reduced-fat variety.
  • Fish sauce is a salty, savory condiment often used in East Asian cuisine. It adds a rich umami flavor to sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.

Step-by-Step Instructions

how to make thai red curry chicken

Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a large nonstick pan. Add the light scallions, garlic, and jalapeño. (The dark green scallions are used as a garnish at the end, as they are mild in flavor and pretty, too.)

how to make thai red curry chicken

Cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not brown.

how to make thai red curry chicken

Add the coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce, and brown sugar.

how to make thai red curry chicken

Bring to a gentle boil and simmer until thickened, a few minutes.

how to make thai red curry chicken

Add the chicken pieces.

how to make thai red curry chicken

Simmer, stirring occasionally to promote even cooking, until the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes.

how to make thai red curry chicken

Stir in the lime juice, dark scallion greens, and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning with more lime, if necessary.

how to make thai red curry chicken

Serve with jasmine rice.

thai red curry chicken

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Thai Red Curry Chicken

This fragrant Thai chicken curry is a one-pan dish that comes together in just 30 minutes.

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 small bunch scallions, thinly sliced, light and dark green parts divided
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced (see note)
  • 1 (14-oz) can coconut milk (unsweetened)
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2½ tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1½ pounds chicken tenderloins, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice, from 1 lime
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil over medium-low heat in a large nonstick pan. Add the light scallions, garlic, and jalapeño and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 3 to 4 minutes. Do not brown.
  2. Add the coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce, and brown sugar and whisk together. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat and simmer until thickened, a few minutes. Add the chicken and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally to promote even cooking, until the chicken is cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes. (Do not let the sauce boil; the idea is to cook the chicken gently so that it's tender.) Stir in the lime juice, dark scallion greens, and cilantro. Taste and adjust seasoning with more lime, if necessary. Serve with jasmine rice.
  3. Note: As always, take care when working with jalapeño peppers. If you touch the seeds or ribs, be sure to wash your hands well and avoid touching your eyes.
  4. Note: It's important to wait until you're ready to eat to cook the chicken. If you want to get a head start, prepare the sauce up until the point when the chicken is added. Take it off the heat and then poach the chicken right before serving. If the chicken sits in the hot curry sauce for too long before serving, it will overcook.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (4 servings)
  • Calories: 649
  • Fat: 51 g
  • Saturated fat: 26 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16 g
  • Sugar: 10 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 35 g
  • Sodium: 886 mg
  • Cholesterol: 128 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Gluten-Free Adaptable Note

To the best of my knowledge, all of the ingredients used in this recipe are gluten-free or widely available in gluten-free versions. There is hidden gluten in many foods; if you're following a gluten-free diet or cooking for someone with gluten allergies, always read the labels of your ingredients to verify that they are gluten-free.

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Comments

  • My family and I loved this recipe. The sauce was delicious and the perfect amount of heat. The chicken was incredibly tender. My only question is if there is something I could do to make the sauce a bit thicker? Could I try adding a bit of corn starch to thicken it a bit?

    • — Liz Leverson on September 20, 2022
    • Reply
    • Glad it was a hit with your family! The sauce in this dish won’t thicken a lot. If you want it a little thicker, mix 1 teaspoon of cornstarch with 1 teaspoon of cold water. After the cornstarch is dissolved, add the mixture to the sauce and stir until the sauce has thickened a bit. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 20, 2022
      • Reply
  • This was very good. From the previous advice, I added red pepper and snow peas for the extra veggies.

    • — Suzie on August 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • So delicious!! I removed the seeds and ribs from the jalapeno, which resulted in a wonderfully flavorful sauce without the kick- which is what we were looking for!

    I liked being able to make the sauce ahead of time and add the chicken, which came out was perfect and tender , at the end.

    I have tried many of your recipes, and they are always something special. You must spend a tremendous amount of time until you get the perfect spices/ingredients combinations – I appreciate you for that!!!

    • — Janet P. on August 23, 2022
    • Reply
  • This was absolutely amazing. I followed the recipe (but without cilantro). My family loved it. It’s better than any restaurant curry.

    • — Janey on August 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Easy and tasty. I added some peppers with the scallions as I had some in the refrigerator.

    • — Keith Dowling on August 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • Awesome! Family doesn’t have tolerance for spice so left out jalapeño.

    • — Michael on August 21, 2022
    • Reply
  • I made this last night for dinner and it was a big hit with my husband and (adult) grandson. I added some matchstick carrots when I put the chicken into the sauce for extra veggies and that was a good addition. Will definitely make this again!

    • — Cindy Swoveland on August 9, 2022
    • Reply
  • Jen, I love your recipes, but it is absolutely infuriating to have the podcast I’m listening to interrupted a whopping five times in the space of 3 minutes by the video ads you have on your site. I know the site is free and I sincerely appreciate it, but PLEASE, for the love of God, find a way to monetize other than super-intrusive ads that interrupt one’s audio. This doesn’t just apply to your site. It’s almost universal among recipe sites. But that doesn’t make it good. Thank you for reading and again for your great recipes.

    • — Robert on August 2, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Robert, I’m so sorry! It sounds like a bad ad came through – we automatically block any ads that autoplay sound, so that shouldn’t be happening 99% of the time (the other 1% is when they slip through the filters in place). I will let the ad team know so we can troubleshoot and block any that we find.

      • — Jenn on August 3, 2022
      • Reply
  • Can I use green curry paste in place of the red? Will I need to adjust any of the other ingredients? Thank you and I can’t wait to make this!

    • — Roseann on July 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Roseann, Green curry paste is fine — depending on the brand you use, the dish may have a little bit of heat. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 26, 2022
      • Reply
  • Just made this tonight and used a Serrano pepper as I didn’t have a jalapeño so spiced it up a bit more than I expected. It usually is, but we love spicy food and this didn’t disappoint – fantastic recipe thank you

    • — Lisa T on July 25, 2022
    • Reply
  • Fabulous. We loved this. I was surprised how easily the sauce thickened. I kept my eyes on it and it was perfect. Only had a brand of grocery store fish sauce so I needed to add more. I order a real Thai brand online for next time. My husband requested I make this with sea scallops. I think I should briefly saute the scallops and add them at the last minute. What do you think?

    • — Kathie on July 17, 2022
    • Reply
  • Just wondering how spicy this is? What brand of red curry is best?

    • — Ann J on July 10, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Ann, it has a tiny bit of heat, but I wouldn’t call it spicy. And different brands of curry paste can have different levels of heat. The one that I use is Thai Kitchen and I don’t find it to be overly spicy. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 11, 2022
      • Reply
  • This Thai-style Red Chicken Curry is first class, easy & delicious!

    • — Steph on July 4, 2022
    • Reply
  • This was delicious! I accidentally let my sauce come to a boil when the chicken was cooking and the sauce ended up being really runny. I’m wondering if the boiling caused whatever thickening had happened to break down? Totally my fault – I’ll make it again any way because it was lick-the-bowl delicious!

    • — Miranda on June 30, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Miranda, Glad you liked it! I don’t think having it come to a boil would’ve caused the sauce to thin out. Did you use full-fat coconut milk?

      • — Jenn on June 30, 2022
      • Reply
  • I made this for dinner tonight and it was fantastic! I also liked that you could prepare the sauce ahead of time and then saute the chicken in the last few minutes. I tossed in some chopped asparagus in the last few minutes as at least one other reviewer had done. Served over white rice, the entire meal was delicious. This one definitely goes into our rotation of winner recipes by Jenn- thank you!!

    • — Jen on June 28, 2022
    • Reply
  • Can I substitute ground chicken?

    • — Jill on June 26, 2022
    • Reply
    • Hi Jill, I’d stick with the chicken tenderloins for this. Sorry!

      • — Jenn on June 27, 2022
      • Reply

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