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 in bowl with jasmine rice

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

Curry ingredients including coconut milk, fish sauce, and lime.

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

Chopped vegetables and herbs on a cutting board.

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.)

Light scallions, garlic, and jalapeno in a skillet.

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

Cooked light scallions, garlic, and jalapeno in a skillet.

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

Coconut milk and seasonings in a skillet.

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

Skillet of simmering coconut milk mixture.

Add the chicken pieces.

Chicken in a skillet of coconut milk mixture.

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

Cooked chicken in a skillet with a coconut milk mixture.

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

Herbs over a skillet of chicken and coconut milk mixture.

Serve with jasmine rice.

Thai red curry chicken in bowl with jasmine rice

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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


  • 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


  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

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  • 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, 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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  • This recipe is amazing. I make it ant least once per month. I always add a bunch of veggies and cook them before I add the meat.

    • — Dani on June 13, 2024
    • Reply
  • Just made this for the first time and it was delicious! Frankly have loved every recipe I’ve tried on this site! Thank you so much for sharing your talents!

    • — Teri Spencer on June 9, 2024
    • Reply
  • This dish is wonderful!! I have made it with chicken and also with shrimp. Follow the recipe exactly as written except for having a heavy hand with the curry paste. It is so simple to make but yet, so flavorful and elegant! I have made it for guests on two different occasions and both times it was a hit!!

    • — Lynn Mathews on June 6, 2024
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  • Really really good! It is so nice to have curry recipes that don’t have some kind of nuts as my husband is allergic to nuts. Made this as directed except used lemon juice (didn’t have limes) and parsley (didn’t have cilantro). I see some have popped some veggies in the pan and I might do that another time.

    • — Cindy Swoveland on May 25, 2024
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  • Amazing and so easy!
    Definitely a do over

    • — Kathleen Gartelmann on May 10, 2024
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  • This was so delicious!! I used unsweetened coconut cream instead of milk.

    • — Kelly Baker on March 24, 2024
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  • Absolutely delicious and so easy to make. Followed the recipe exactly and my husband loved it!
    I used a package of already cooked rotisserie chicken from Shaw’s and it turned out to be great.
    Thanks Jenn for another excellent dish!

    • — Celia on March 16, 2024
    • Reply
  • After you throw that fish sauce in the mix and it starts to warm, your house is going to smell like the fish counter!

    • — Rich on March 11, 2024
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  • This is a really good curry recipe. My only criticism is that it is very sweet. I suggest cutting the sugar in half, at least.

    • — Jessica on March 4, 2024
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  • Super delic 😋 !! As is almost everything on this site.Thank you for helping me to be a better cook!

    • — Stephanie on February 12, 2024
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    I’m having a hard time finding fish sauce. Is there a replacement?
    Thank you,

    • — Theresa on February 3, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Theresa, you can use soy sauce in place of the fish sauce. The dish won’t have that authentic Thai flavor, but will still be delicious.

      • — Jenn on February 5, 2024
      • Reply
      • Thank you, Jenn! The dish was delicious and I look forward to making it again when I can find the fish sauce.

        • — Theresa on February 7, 2024
        • Reply
  • This dish is absolutely delicious! And so easy to make! I sliced up asparagus, very thin, and added it at the last minute, along with peas! So delicious and yummy

    • — Rhiannon Bonnick on February 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • could this recipe be made with dark meat?

    • — irene kadjar on January 28, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Irene, if you’d to go with dark meat, I’d suggest thighs. Since thighs take longer to cook, you’d go about it a bit differently: Sauté the chicken pieces in 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat first for 6 to 8 minutes (they will be almost cooked but not fully), then transfer them to a plate while you make the sauce. Add the chicken pieces to the sauce once it’s thickened, and then simmer until cooked through, a few minutes more. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • — Jenn on January 29, 2024
      • Reply
  • Love it! I added lots of veggies to make it a one dish complete meal: sliced zucchini, mushrooms, and red bell peppers, plus a tsp. of chopped fresh ginger root. I’ll add more next time, perhaps carrots, bamboo shoots, asparagus. Thank you!

    • — Nancy R on January 24, 2024
    • Reply
  • My husband and toddlers LOVE this meal. Great over white rice, also great over udon noodles. Quick and easy meal that is so delicious on a weeknight! Easy to add vegetables into the recipe too. Thank you!

    • — Lisa on January 18, 2024
    • Reply
  • I made this and it was WONDERFUL! I served it with jasmine rice and steamed green beans. Next time I make it, I would rather not have to dirty my steamer. Is there a way that I could incorporate the green beans directly into the recipe?

    • — Victoria Ansell on January 16, 2024
    • Reply
    • Glad you liked it! Yes, I’d add the green beans along with the scallions, garlic, and jalapeño.

      • — Jenn on January 17, 2024
      • Reply
  • Thanks for this recipe, Jenn. I love red curry, but my wife and daughter are kind of chicken-adverse and skeptical of curry. They both cleaned their plates and said they’d eat this again. That’s quite a home run!

    • — BrianH. on January 6, 2024
    • Reply
  • Wow!! I wish I had taken a picture… but this amazing dish did not last long enough to queue up a photo! Seriously. I found you accidentally on Pintrest and am so very glad I did. This dish was super easy and the flavor was FANTASTIC! The chicken breast was so tender just as was described. I have shared this recipe with my family and friends. You rock, Jenn!

    • — Kimberly on January 1, 2024
    • Reply
  • Jenn,
    This was Soo delicious!
    So easy and an outstanding flavor.
    Hubby loved it!
    I didn’t have a jalapeno so I used 1/2 tsp of Sriracha sauce. Just the right amount of kick

    • — Annamarie on December 13, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is the best red curry chicken we’ve ever made. I loved the taste of lime juice. I’m looking forward to trying more of Jenn Segal’s “once upon a chef” recipes.

    • — Michael McKeon on November 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • Omg. So delicious and so easy! I could have put a straw in that sauce and drank the whole thing.

    • — pmc on November 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • This is the first recipe I tried from Once Upon a Chef and this curry dish was very good. Looking forward to trying more recipes. Thank you, Jenn.

    • — Debbie on October 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this recipe but I added sliced carrots and red pepper. It came out delicious. I will definitely make this again. Thank you Jenn

    • — Sharon on October 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn,
    Both my daughter and I love the recipes. We tell each other what we are making and then give each other results. Thank you for sharing, you are a great chef.

    • — Sharon Silfies on September 29, 2023
    • Reply
  • “Delicious”; “Really delicious” “So good”…The first words from my husband after I served this! We both really loved this. I did substitute green curry paste for the red because I didn’t have the red but it didn’t matter.

    • — Cindy on September 14, 2023
    • Reply
  • I made this for dinner last night and it was amazing. My husband loved it and wants me make it again soon! Thank you for sharing your recipes.

    • — Janet on July 18, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have boneless skinless chicken breasts in the freezer. Can I use this chicken instead of chicken tenders?

    • — Laurie on July 10, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on July 10, 2023
      • Reply
      • Have made this recipe many times before and it’s delicious! I’m wondering though, could I add or sub prawns instead of the chicken?

        • — Tanisha on June 4, 2024
        • Reply
        • Glad you like it! Yes, prawns will work here but will cook more quickly than the chicken. Please LMK how it comes out!

          • — Jenn on June 5, 2024
          • Reply

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