Easy Thai Shrimp Curry

Tested & Perfected Recipes

In this quick shrimp curry, shrimp are simmered in a fragrant Thai coconut sauce infused with fresh herbs.

shrimp curry

This shrimp curry is my husband Michael’s favorite Thai dish. Plump shrimp are simmered in a rich and fragrant coconut sauce infused with green chilies and fresh herbs. It sounds exotic but it’s super easy to make. In fact, with just a few essentials in your pantry, you’re never more than 25 minutes away from this delicious meal, alive with the vibrant flavors of Thailand. Serve with jasmine rice, and be sure to put the rice on first so that everything is ready at the same time. 

What you’ll need to make shrimp curry

ingredients

Before we get to the recipe, a few words about the ingredients. First, you’ll need Thai green curry paste, which is made from a blend of lemongrass, galangal (a cousin of ginger), cumin, coriander root, Kaffir lime, and hot green chilies, to name just a few. I like the Thai Kitchen brand, which is readily available at most large supermarkets. If you don’t see it, ask — the bottles are very small and sometimes hard to spot.

Second, you’ll need coconut milk; any brand will do, as long as it’s not low fat. And, finally, you’ll need fish sauce, which is a dark, pungent liquid used in Southeast Asian cooking. Contrary to what you might expect, it doesn’t have a “fishy” taste, but rather a salty, savory flavor. If possible, buy a brand imported from Thailand or Vietnam (I use Tiparos), and don’t worry about buying a large bottle — it keeps forever.

thai-ingredients

How to make shrimp curry

Begin by stir-frying the onions until soft, about 3 minutes.

stir-frying-onions

Add the scallions, garlic and green curry paste.

adding-scallions-garlic-and-curry-paste

Stir-fry a few minutes more.

sauteing-scallions-garlic-curry-paste

Add the coconut milk, water, fish sauce and brown sugar, and bring to a gentle boil.

simmering-sauce

Add the shrimp.

adding-shrimp

Cook until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through.

cooked-shrimp

Stir in the chopped cilantro.

ready-to-serve

Spoon into shallow bowls and serve with jasmine rice and lime wedges. Fresh sliced pineapple makes a delicious and refreshing dessert.

Thai-Shrimp-Curry-1

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Thai Shrimp Curry

In this quick shrimp curry, shrimp are simmered in a fragrant Thai coconut sauce infused with fresh herbs.

Servings: 4 - 6
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 15 Minutes
Total Time: 25 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced onions, from one small onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, from 4-5 scallions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2-1/2 tablespoons Thai green curry paste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 pounds large, extra large (26/30) or jumbo (21/25) shrimp, peeled and deveined (see note), thawed if frozen
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, Thai basil or Italian basil (or a combination)
  • Lime wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 3 minutes. If the onions start to brown, reduce the heat to medium. Add the scallions, garlic and green curry paste, and stir-fry for 2 minutes more. Add the coconut milk, water, fish sauce and brown sugar and bring to a gentle boil. Add the shrimp and cook, stirring frequently, until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with the cilantro (or basil) and serve with jasmine rice and lime wedges.
  2. Note: For the shrimp, I recommend buying frozen shrimp labeled “shell split and deveined.” Most shrimp are cleaned and flash frozen shortly after being caught, so the “fresh” shrimp you see in the seafood case at the supermarket is typically thawed frozen shrimp. Who knows how long it’s been sitting there, so you’re better off buying frozen and defrosting it yourself. Come dinnertime, all you have to do is run it under warm water to defrost, then peel.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 299
  • Fat: 18 g
  • Saturated fat: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10 g
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 23 g
  • Sodium: 1372 mg
  • Cholesterol: 191 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.

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Reviews & Comments

  • I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious! Sadly my grocery store was out of fish sauce, so I subbed the fish sauce for some light soy sauce and it added the salty umami kick I was looking for. I had it with some brown basmati rice, and it was so comforting, warm, and flavorful. I’ll be making this one again and again.

    • — Missy on January 12, 2021
    • Reply
  • Was missing the scallions, everything else was in my pantry/fridge ready to go. I also only had one pound of large shrimp. However, it turned out amazing. Easy to whip up and was delish. Lots of fresh cilantro and chopped peanuts to finish off. This one is a keeper.

    • — Christy on December 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, I want to add some
    vegetables to this (red pepper and sliced mushrooms probably). How and when should I do this? Steam first and add at the end? Thanks!

    • — Elizabeth on December 11, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure Elizabeth, that will work. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on December 11, 2020
      • Reply
  • Great recipe. Everyone loved it. Thank you for sharing.

    • — Francesca on December 7, 2020
    • Reply
  • I am very excited to find this recipe! One of my favorite local restaurants had a similar dish, with some charred/grilled pineapple bits, and I think some turmeric. I figure I could easily add those items to this version. Also, this dish just cries out for some lemongrass. This might be one of the highlights of my stuck at home cooking lifestyle.

    • — PaulainVA on December 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • Very tasty. Added snow peas and red peppers to the onions.

    • — Donna on October 29, 2020
    • Reply
  • Wow. This was restaurant quality. We made it as written but added pineapple and sliced bell pepper all served on sweet potato Asian noodles. Amazing. Thanks, Jenn. Would love to add a picture….gorgeous presentation!

    • — Patticakesdarien on October 23, 2020
    • Reply
  • First time I tried cooking Thai food. Sadly, I have a very poor sense of taste or smell, so I trusted the recipe and my wife and kids told me it was delicious. It’s a testament to Jenn’s ingenuity that she can make such wonderful, straightforward and tasty recipes that even I can’t mess up.

    • — Muhammad on October 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • The best Thai Green curry I ever made! And I have tried many recipes. Definitely bookmarking.

    • — Rb on August 12, 2020
    • Reply
    • I live in coastal NC and just bought 2 lbs of 10-15 of shrimp from a boat. Used red curry paste instead of green because that’s what I had in stock. Other than that I followed the recipe and it came out phenomenal! I don’t think a restaurant could do any better.

      • — Harriet McCarthy on November 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • Great recipe, easy, quick, came out restaurant quality. Used red Thai curry paste instead of green, and added shiitakes with the onions. Thank you!!

    • — Louis on August 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • Could you substitute Thai Red curry paste in this recipe?

    • — Jen G on June 21, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure! Hope you enjoy. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Does the brand of fish sauce used matter? I noticed a color difference from red boat Fish sauce to another Thai fish sauce that was much lighter in color? I also noticed you use different brands; is that on purpose or is that what’s on hand
    Thanks,
    I love your receipes , they are easy, delicious, and forgiving.

    • — jasmine on June 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Jasmine, I’ve learned that there is a decent amount of variability in fish sauce. My favorite is Red Boat if you can find it. Second choices would be Thai Kitchen or A Taste of Thai. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on June 15, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi,
    I needed input on a few points:
    1. The coconut milk added remained a bit ‘curdled’ in this dish… how does one eliminate this?
    2. It was too watery and without ‘body’ as a curry dish…
    thanks

    • — JooJoo on June 15, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi JooJoo, Based on what you’re describing I’m wondering if it was a problem with the coconut milk. Was it, by any chance, fat-free or reduced fat? Also, certain brands may be thinner than others or may have additives. The one that I really like is Thai Kitchen. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on June 15, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi, I used GOYA coconut milk and it was not nonfat …

        • — JooJoo on June 19, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Joojoo, I believe Goya might be a bit thinner than some other brands. Next time I’d suggest using a Thai brand. I really like Thai kitchen.

          • — Jenn on June 23, 2020
          • Reply
  • I made this with Maesri green curry paste. It was excellent, nice, and bright!

    • — Yvonne on May 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • Can it be served with Thai Noodles instead of rice?

    • — Deborah Tynes on May 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure!

      • — Jenn on May 3, 2020
      • Reply
  • Just did it today and was fantastic! Great flavors and super easy to do! My husband loved it

    • — Ana on April 25, 2020
    • Reply
  • I just realized I only have a can of coconut cream (unsweetened brand) I must have grabbed it by mistake instead of coconut milk when at Whole Foods. I also only have green peppers not red …is there something I should do differently if using the cream instead of the milk? I assume the green peppers will be ok:)? Thanks!

    • — Marsha on April 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Marsha, I’ve never tried this with coconut cream — while I think it will work, you’ll need to thin it out a bit with some milk or water. And a green bell pepper is fine to use. Please LMK how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on April 7, 2020
      • Reply
  • Simple, quick and delicious. I browned the shrimp and set it aside. At the same time I steamed my veges (snap peas carrots, red pepper, some minced garlic and shallot. Meanwhile I sauted the green onion, garlic, curry paste; added coconut milk, fish sauce and brown sugar(2tsp only) and no water (as sauce will be too thin) brought sauce to a gentle boil then added the steamed veges and shrimp and cooked a little longer until shrimp were done. Sprinkled each serving with cilantro.

    • — Barbs on February 2, 2020
    • Reply
  • Great easy recipe. Grocery store only had red curry paste so used that. Turned out great! My family loved it! Served with siracha. I’m so happy I found your website!

    • — Sandra on January 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • I made this tonight and while easy it lacked flavor in my opinion. I’ve made many of your other recipes which were excellent.

      • — Pamela on May 19, 2020
      • Reply
  • This is a really good base recipe. We added double the green curry paste, Thai chili paste, fresh basil and some red pepper flakes. Still mild but flavorful. Will try the red curry paste next time.
    My family loved it.

    • — Beth George Schulberg on January 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • Wow! I just made the Easy Thai Curry and it was delicious! Soooo easy and flavorful! I don’t like a lot of heat, but my husband does. I just put Siracha and red pepper flakes on the table. He loved it! Thanks, Jenn! I love your website – it is my go to site. I love your cookbook too! Beautiful!

    • — Colette Dryden on January 7, 2020
    • Reply
    • 💗

      • — Jenn on January 7, 2020
      • Reply
  • Like others, I modified the recipe a bit. I added one each yellow, red and green bell pepper, mushroom and fresh ginger. I exchanged the water for some chicken stock. And since I increased the volume with veggies, I doubled the curry and fish sauce and increased the garlic. This was my first time making a Thai dish. It was absolutely delicious! I will definitely make it again. Maybe try chicken.

    • — Denise on October 29, 2019
    • Reply
    • An easy and satisfying dish!

      • — Olga on April 1, 2020
      • Reply
  • So…ummm…where’s the lemongrass and ginger? It’s missing from the ingredients yet mentioned in the recipe description!!

    • — Faith on October 6, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Faith, Sorry for the confusion — the recipe doesn’t actually have ginger or lemongrass, but the green curry paste that the recipe calls for has that. Hope that clarifies! 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 7, 2019
      • Reply
  • This was very good! Thank you for sharing.

    • — Chad Langille on October 6, 2019
    • Reply
  • Regarding your description of the recipe….. no mention of Lemongrass in the recipe?

    • — Glenn on August 16, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Glenn, Sorry for any confusion — I don’t actually use lemongrass in the recipe, but the green curry paste that the recipe calls for has that. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on August 16, 2019
      • Reply
  • This was really good. I used some info from Thai Shrimp Curry on Epicurious that I made before. Here are my changes: Epi wanted 1 C chicken broth, this called for 1/4 C water – I used 1/2C chicken broth. Next time, no water or broth. Found the green curry too mild so I added some red curry -still mild so maybe all red curry next time. Added red bell pepper strips and frozen peas & corn (always in the curry at the Thai restaurant) for more vegs. Since I am growing Thai basil I added a bunch of leaves to the curry & also chopped some for a garnish. All in all, a very good base recipe.
    PS Loved the Thai Chicken Curry recipe on this site.

    • — Ellen in Charlotte on August 6, 2019
    • Reply
  • Why is your page set up without an easy option to print the recipe?

    • — etienne perret on June 14, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Etienne, There is an option to print the recipe — when you’re viewing the full recipe, look in the upper righthand corner of that box – you’ll see an icon there that looks like a printer. Select that and it will print the recipe. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on June 14, 2019
      • Reply
  • Flavors are spot on and just like the dish we order at our favorite Thai restaurant. If we wanted to add some spice to it – what would you recommend? Thanks for another terrific meal.

    • — LisaR on May 5, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Lisa, Glad you enjoyed! You could add Sriracha or red pepper flakes for more heat.

      • — Jenn on May 6, 2019
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,
    Your recipes are WONDERFUL!
    We are planning a cookout at a park for a friend’s birthday and she wants curry shrimp on the barbie. Is there a way to do that with this recipe? Should I make it at home and just wrap it in foil to “reheat” on the grill at the park? Thanks in advance for your help!

    • — Karen on May 4, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Karen, So happy you like the recipes! I think this will be hard to reheat on the grill, as it’s very saucy. I wonder if this recipe from Food & Wine might be easier for a cookout?

      • — Jenn on May 6, 2019
      • Reply
  • This is the first review I’ve ever given on any cooking site and I just felt I had to because this was so easy and delicious. I really had doubts after adding the fish sauce because of the odd smell —
    I’ve never used it before — but it really added a lot of flavor. It tastes as good as any Thai I’ve had in a restaurant.

    • — Yasmine on April 6, 2019
    • Reply
  • I love this recipe! Usually, I substitute the shrimp with cod or sole fillets and add bell peppers and eggplant – absolutely amazing. Can’t go wrong with coconut curry and thai curry paste!

    • — Anu on April 1, 2019
    • Reply
  • Very excited to make this! Before I do, however, I need to ensure I am buying the right ingredients. Am I using sweetened or unseeetened coconut milk? Thanks, in advance!

    • — Heather D on February 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Heather, It’s unsweetened coconut milk. Hope you enjoy it!

      • — Jenn on February 3, 2019
      • Reply
    • This is a great dish that even my fickle eaters (kids) love! I made this for guests and they raved about it. I followed the recipe as is and served it with rice and it was perfecto!

      • — Megan on April 11, 2019
      • Reply
  • I assume that chicken breasts are an easy substitution, right? Any guidance on that?

    • — Mary on January 29, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Mary, Chicken would work, but I’d go about it a bit differently. First, stir-fry the chicken pieces in a little hot oil until they’re slightly browned on the outside but still pink in the middle. Set the chicken pieces aside and proceed with the onions and rest of recipe. When you add the chicken to the sauce, it should only need 1 – 2 minutes to cook through. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on January 30, 2019
      • Reply
  • This dish is absolutely amazing. My husband and I make this quite often, sometimes with chicken, red peppers and mushroom. Thanks for sharing it! Love it!!!

  • I’m new to Thai food, and I was hesitant – thinking it might be too spicy. Sadly, it didn’t have enough spice, and it was far too sweet.

  • I have made this several times with several variations – red or green curry paste (Thai Kitchen, at Walmart), shrimp or chicken. I only use 1/2 tsp fish sauce (2T is too strong for us). I also generally use 1 – 1.5 lbs chicken or shrimp, and make up the rest w/ vegetables (sliced bell pepper, water chestnuts, carrots, whatever) which I cook w/ the onions. And I’ve added “Start rice” as my first instruction (because otherwise I forget until I’m setting the meal on the table, lol). Thank you!

  • Delicious! I might purée the sauce next time, as I like it super smooth with no onion chunks.

  • Fantastic! Fast and very easy. My husband LOVES this dish.

  • This is the best recipe ever! I have made it at least a dozen times…NEVER fails, and super easy. 5 stars!

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