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Today’s Thai Chicken Curry is a healthy, one-pan dinner that’s dead simple to prepare and outrageously tasty. Ready in under an hour, this easy Thai curry recipe is fast enough for a weeknight but special enough for company.

Easy ONE PAN Thai Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk recipe in a skillet

The first time I made this Thai chicken curry, I was worried I would find it lacking.

Having eaten copious amounts of authentic Thai curry (and Vegetarian Pad Thai) in Thailand, I know how fabulous a perfect chicken curry can be.

With a short and simple ingredient list, at least compared to many Thai recipes, I had to wonder how this easy Thai chicken curry could measure up.

Well, to put it simply, this Thai curry recipe BLEW ME AWAY.

Meet one of the best Thai curry recipes you will ever make at home!

It’s even better than some of the best authentic chicken curry I ate in Thailand—seriously, compared to a few popular places we tried in tourist Chiang Mai, I like this one more!

Tip!

Looking for a vegetarian Thai curry? Check out Coconut Curry.

quick Thai Curry chicken without fish sauce in a cast iron skillet

5 Star Review

“A winner! Put it into the rotation, asap. My kids are picky. My husband knows and loves Thai food. There was none left.”

— Ann —

About This Thai Curry

Aside from being downright delicious, I love this recipe for its short, approachable ingredient list (you can find everything you need at your local grocery store) and simple one-pan cooking method (like this Egg Roll in a Bowl).

  • Yes, I realize Thai curry purists will (correctly) point out that authentic Thai curry chicken has many more things added to it than this recipe does.
  • However, I love that this easy adaptation can quickly come to life in your kitchen regardless of where you are located and how much time.

In summary: If you can chop vegetables and stir coconut milk, you CAN make this easy Thai chicken curry recipe! (With those skills, this Chickpea Curry is also within reach.)

The Difference between Red Curry and Panang Curry

  • Panang Curry (also called Penang or Penaeng curry) is a red curry that originates from Penang, an island located off the west coast of Malaysia.
  • Panang curry is usually less spicy than traditional red curry because it uses fewer red chiles. Panang curry sauce includes coconut cream and peanuts and tastes sweeter.
  • While red curry (which does not have peanuts in the sauce) is more spicy, this particular recipe is not overly so. If you ask me, it’s the best of both worlds.
A skillet of the BEST thai curry chicken with coconut milk

How to Make Thai Chicken Curry

This Thai curry chicken recipe with coconut milk is a breeze to prep (like many of my other stir fry recipes).

The final effect is deeply rewarding: a rich, not-too-spicy, yet-oh-so-flavorful thick coconut sauce brimming with ginger, garlic, and authentic Thai curry flavor.

My dear friend, Jessica of How Sweet Eats, created this fantastic curry chicken skillet recipe. It originally appeared in her excellent cookbook, The Pretty Dish. Please support her and check it out!


The Ingredients

  • Chicken. You can make this Thai curry chicken with chicken breasts or swap it for chicken thighs.
  • Red Curry Paste. Thai red curry paste is the star flavor-maker in this Thai red chicken curry recipe. Curry paste is available in the Asian food section of most major grocery stores or online here.

Substitution Tip

If you’d like to make a green Thai chicken curry, you can swap the red curry paste for green. Note the flavor will be much more herbal. I suspect yellow curry paste could also be used with tasty results if you’re open to experimentation.

  • Coconut Milk. While I’m all for a healthy swap, for this curry you need full-fat (not light) coconut milk or the sauce will be too watery. (If you love recipes with coconut milk, try these other creamy, dreamy delights.)
  • Bell Pepper. Loaded with vitamin A and vitamin C, tender red bell peppers add lovely flavor and color to this rich and robustly flavored Thai curry sauce.

Market Swap

Feel free to swap (or add) other fresh vegetables to this easy curry chicken recipe. A few favorites:

  • Green peas
  • Green beans
  • Asparagus
  • Zucchini
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Pea Pods
  • Leek. Provides the sauce with a mild onion flavor that lets the flavors of the curry paste really shine.
  • Ginger + Garlic. Give this Thai curry sauce (and this Instant Pot Lentil Curry) so much life.
  • Cilantro. For a final herby finish that ties everything together.

Substitution Tip

Torn leaves of Thai basil or chopped scallions would be other lovely ways to garnish this one-pan curry recipe.

  • Rice or Sourdough Bread. A bed of freshly steamed brown or jasmine rice is the perfect foundation for a healthy scoop of this creamy coconut Thai chicken curry recipe. A fresh sourdough baguette is also divine for soaking up every last drop of the heavenly sauce.

Dietary Note

As written, this recipe is Whole30 compliant! It’s also Paleo. (For more Whole30 chicken recipes, check out my Harvest Chicken Skillet, Whole30 Chicken Salad, or many of these Whole30 recipes).

Easy Thai Chicken Curry made with bell peppers, cilantro, and chicken breasts

The Directions

searing chicken for thai curry
  1. Season the chicken and sear on both sides until golden. Transfer to a plate.
pouring coconut milk in with thai curry
  1. Sauté the vegetables and aromatics, then stir in the curry paste and let it bloom. Pour in the coconut milk.
coconut Thai curry sauce with chicken in a pan
  1. Return the chicken to the skillet, then bake the Thai curry at 375 degree F oven for 25 minutes, until cooked through. Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice and/or fresh sourdough bread. ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Leftovers may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • To Reheat. Warm gently on the stovetop in a saucepan or wok until steaming. Alternatively, you can also microwave until heated through in a microwave-safe container.
  • To Freeze. I do not recommend freezing, as I have not had the best luck freezing sauces with a coconut milk base.

What to Serve with Thai Curry

  • Skillet. All you really need is a quality skillet. I used this one; this brand is also excellent. For an affordable, quality option, check out this one.
  • Knife. A sharp chef’s knife will make chopping up the bell peppers and herbs a breeze.
  • The Pretty DishI hope you check out more of the tasty recipes from Jessica’s cookbook. It has brought so many yummy recipes into my life.

Far quicker than ordering takeout (and definitely faster than a flight to Thailand), this is simply the BEST easy Thai curry recipe you’ll find.

Thai Chicken Curry

4.69 from 194 votes
This easy Thai chicken curry uses simple ingredients and fast prep to create a one pan Thai curry meal with oodles of flavor!

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 50 minutes

Servings: 4 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, or a mix!
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 red bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 leek thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (14 ounces) (do not use light, or the sauce won't thicken properly)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro torn
  • Prepared brown rice for serving

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 375°F. Season the chicken with salt and black pepper.
  • Melt the coconut oil over medium-high heat in a large, ovenproof skillet. Add the chicken and sear on both sides until deeply golden brown. Transfer to a plate.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the bell pepper, leek, garlic, and ginger, and stir to combine. Cook for 2 minutes, until slightly softened.
  • Stir in the curry paste. Cook for 5 additional minutes, stirring often. Slowly pour in the coconut milk while stirring to combine. Return the reserved chicken to the skillet.
  • Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. The chicken will be fully cooked when a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 165°F, and the juices run clear. (Note: Smaller chicken breasts may be done closer to the 15-minute mark.)
  • Top with cilantro. Serve with rice, spooning lots of the yummy curry coconut milk sauce over the top.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Leftovers may be kept in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Warm gently on the stovetop in a saucepan or wok until steaming. Alternatively, you can also microwave until heated through in a microwave-safe container.
  • TO FREEZE: I do not recommend freezing, as I have not had the best luck freezing sauces with a coconut milk base.

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 4), without rice or sourdoughCalories: 473kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 39gFat: 32gSaturated Fat: 25gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 109mgPotassium: 954mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 2556IUVitamin C: 45mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 5mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Can’t Thai Chicken Curry Be Frozen?

Unfortunately, in my experience, sauces made with coconut milk simply do not hold up well to freezing. They tend to separate upon reheating (even when done gently) and lose some of their silky, creamy texture. If that does not bother you, however, feel free to experiment.

Is Thai Chicken Curry Gluten Free?

Yes! So long as you skip the sourdough bread and check the label of your curry paste, this recipe can be made entirely gluten free.

Can You Make Thai Curry Without Coconut Milk?

If you have a coconut allergy or want to omit the coconut milk for any reason, you could experiment with swapping it for half and half. The taste will be a little different, but the half and half would keep the sauce nice and creamy.

Can I Make Chicken Curry with Bone-In Chicken?

I have not experimented with making this curry chicken recipe with bone-in chicken, but I think that would work nicely. The cooking times to both sear and bake the chicken will need to increase to ensure the chicken gets fully cooked. For suggested cooking times, see Baked Bone In Chicken Breast and Baked Chicken Thighs.

How Can I Make Slow Cooker Thai Curry Chicken?

I have not made this recipe in a slow cooker before. For best results, I would suggest starting the chicken on the stovetop to get a nice sear and then finishing the recipe in a crockpot. Cook until the chicken registers an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Alternatively, you could also try my Slow Cooker Chicken Curry.

Related Recipes

For more flavorful Thai-inspired recipes, try one of these other healthy stir fry recipes.

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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Recipe Rating




204 Comments

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  1. Quick and easy for sure, we found it didn’t have the flavor we were looking for as written so we added lime zest, cayenne and Thai basil leaves. That gave it the wow we were looking for!! Thank you for the inspiration and the easy basic recipe!!! Can’t wait to try it with shrimp and tofu!4 stars

  2. This was such a delicious recipe. Thanks so much. Will definitely make this again. It was grrreat. Lol. Scottish!!!5 stars

    1. Hi Isabel, I’m sorry, we don’t review comments over the weekend, typically. Thanks for leaving a review!

  3. I added green beans and Brocolli. But this was not edible. I am not sure what I may have done but yuck2 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear that this recipe wasn’t to your tastes, Holly. I (and many other readers) have really enjoyed the flavors in this dish, so I wish it would’ve been a hit for you too!

  4. Used green curry for my dish – unfortunately and sadly ran out of coconut milk so used regular 2%. I also added carrots and zucchini to mine, along with cilantro, Thai basil, fish sauce and chicken broth. Next time will have to keep more coconut milk handy – they don’t last long in the kitchen!

  5. Very oily, bland, thin and not much flavor (we have many great Thai restaurants in the San Francisco Bay area, so our bar is set high). My son and I rated this maybe a 4 or 5 out of 10.

    Coconut oil is unbelievably expensive these days, too.

    I would only make this again with a lot of adjustments and additions. I found another recipe that is similar but uses 1 T minced fresh ginger root, 1 T fish sauce, ½ tsp Thai red chile paste, 2 T Thai yellow curry paste, ⅓ tsp ground coriander, 2 red potatoes (peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes), 2 carrots (sliced). I’m going to try to salvage our leftovers by adding these other ingredients and reheating. This other recipe used sesame oil instead of coconut oil.1 star

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  6. Tried this with yellow curry paste and 5 chicken thighs in a mid-size cast iron dutch oven. Used basil instead of cilantro to garnish (because it’s what I had handy).

    Fantastic result, and quite a different flavour and spice level than when I tried this earlier with red curry.

  7. Followed the recipe exactly but sadly it was very bland. There are definitely a few ingredients missing here to really give it a flavour closer to a real red Thai curry. Only positive I can say is that it looks nice but taste very disappointing1 star

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, MF. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  8. I found this recipe to be too bland. Do not use leek, it dissolves. Instead use half a large sweet vidalia onion chopped finely. Add additionally a quarter of a green bell pepper chopped finely. Double the amount of red curry paste. Add two additional large cloves of garlic, make sure all of them are the largest available or substitute as many others as will produce a decent amount of it. Do not bake, simmer only. Additionally add about, I’m guessing here, 1/2 tbsp of italian cayenne pepper, after setting said pepper in a few tbsp of olive oil in the fridge to dredge the essence out of it. Add all these additional components in the first stage and cook them together on medium heat, excepting the curry paste which add as directed. The coconut oil is a must, even with the added olive oil.

    Note the oil does not combine with the coconut milk, but produces a perfectly flavored sauce. Again, do not bake, but simmer after adding the coconut milk and chicken for about 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked. The green bell peppers, not being as ripe as the red bell, will add an extra layer to the flavor. This recipe otherwise is far too bland and flavorless. Do not add the cilantro at all, it messes with the taste. The final result will remind a person more of a blend between indian and thai curry, and will add a few beads of sweat to your forehead. I didn’t really measure the amount of red cayenne pepper I added, I just gave a good healthy dash to the oil, tasted the mixture while it was cooking and added a little more at the final stage when the chicken was cooking. The end result is delicious and flavorful.

    Be careful with the cayenne, as I stated before I didn’t so much measure as pour what seemed a healthy proportion into the olive oil, adjust for the level of heat desired. One way or another this recipe kind of messes up the principle which is proper Thai food is supposed to be hot. This recipe will not produce the creamy sauce one would see in a professional restaurant either, it will produce the same kind of meddley as I described.

    Also use thinly cut chicken breasts, no greater than a 1/4 inch thick. These can be purchased pre-cut at places like Wegmans, and are perfect for this recipe. Baking I found just reduces the sauce to a rather crusted over state whereas simmering it on medium to medium-low heat depending on the stove causes all the various spices to be absorbed into the oil and coconut milk. Very important. Remember that these people really don’t know how to cook and put starting points rather than recipes up.3 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, John. The amounts, flavorings and timing have worked well for myself (and others) so I wished it would have been a hit for you too! I know it can be so disappointing to try a new recipe and it does not turn out for you.

    2. Your comment is beyond ridiculous. If you didn’t like the recipe, simply say so. If you want to post a different recipe that you think is better, go ahead and post it. But to give this kind of response, clearly just offering a whole different recipe, is quite ridiculous in my mind.

  9. Pretty bland and not spicy. This is an easy recipe to make, but the flavor is really lacking. It is just unsalted coconut milk juice. Disappointing.2 stars

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, Birdy. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  10. Whom ever posted this recipe is over zealous. The spice quantity was way off. It needed more salt and a ton more spice. With out it, it was coconut milk forward. I had to tweet it a bunch. Go back to the drawing board.1 star

    1. I’m sorry to hear the recipe wasn’t to your taste, John. I know it’s disappointing to try a new recipe and not enjoy it. I (and many other readers) have enjoyed it, so I really wish they would’ve been a hit for you too!

  11. It’s a starter recipe so thank you for that but for others if you are like this whole family.. You need more spices etc. You need to add more to make it 100%. My husband and I listened to all the commenters before making it combining it with your recipe. We added leeks, carrots, chicken, red pepper (diced not big chunks). First my husband cut the chicken raw in pieces to adsorb the sauce and cook more evenly. Just when before the chicken is almost done (with some salt a pepper) we took it out and placed in a bowl. We made the sauce. We used a little olive oil for the chicken, and as well before making the sauce. We first added diced carrots, then we added thai coconut CREAM (2 cans) (NOT MILK) let that simmer a bit, added the red peppers, leeks, and fresh garlic in a garlic masher (A WHOLE ONE). Once cooked for about 10-15mins added the chicken back in then added the spices. Garlic powder (yes more garlic), black pepper, chili powder, sea salt, thyme, basil, onion powder, cayenne pepper, paprika. It was a hit for everyone but we did in fact miss one key ingredient and that’s turmeric, which we have but forgot to add but they all loved it as is. I would say that should not be missed next time.

  12. It’s a starter recipe so thank you for that but for others if you are like this whole family.. You need more spices etc. You need to add more to make it 100%. My husband and I listened to all the commenters before making it combining it with your recipe. We added leeks, carrots, chicken, red pepper (diced not big chunks). First my husband cut the chicken raw in pieces to adsorb the sauce and cook more evenly. Just when before the chicken is almost done (with some salt a pepper) we took it out and placed in a bowl. We made the sauce. We used a little olive oil for the chicken, and as well before making the sauce. We first added diced carrots, then we added thai coconut CREAM (2 cans) (NOT MILK) let that simmer a bit, added the red peppers, leeks, and fresh garlic in a garlic masher (A WHOLE ONE) then the curry paste. Once cooked for about 10-15mins added the chicken back in then added the spices. Garlic powder (yes more garlic), black pepper, chili powder, sea salt, thyme, basil, onion powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, topped with cilantro. It was a very colorful dish. It was a hit for everyone but we did in fact miss one key ingredient and that’s turmeric, which we have but forgot to add but they all loved it as is. I would say that should not be missed next time.3 stars

  13. This recipe seemed to provide a good healthy base… though it needed more flavour. We added lime and salt and it improved. Perhaps a bit of broth and basil?3 stars

  14. Made this tonight and it was so good! Loved by everyone in the family. I had more chicken than the recipe called for, so I added in some chicken broth to have some extra sauce, and some cauliflower for a bit more veg. I think I probably added 3 Tablespoons of curry paste, based on other reviews. But all in all it was great and I would make it again. Thanks!5 stars

  15. I tripled this recipe for our family gathering and everyone loved it. The fact it is only mildly spicy makes it a winner for many pallets. I also enjoyed reading the whole article. Thank you.5 stars

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