Classic Chicken Vindaloo Curry

Classic Chicken Vindaloo Curry

The Spruce / Chelsea Ross

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Marinate Time: 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 4 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
435 Calories
17g Fat
11g Carbs
56g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 435
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 17g 22%
Saturated Fat 3g 14%
Cholesterol 146mg 49%
Sodium 614mg 27%
Total Carbohydrate 11g 4%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 5g
Protein 56g
Vitamin C 4mg 20%
Calcium 66mg 5%
Iron 4mg 21%
Potassium 697mg 15%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The classic vindaloo curry in Indian cooking is often thought to be a super-hot dish, but this is not always true. In British food, the plate changed substantially from the traditional Goan roots of this curry as a tangy, sweetly spiced dish into more of a tongue-searing culinary experience.

A blend of spices works to create a deep, pungent, and warmly spiced dish. Don't be overwhelmed by the number of spices in the ingredient list; it looks a lot, but they all join together to make a superb curry paste very quickly and easily.

Make it easier to cook the curry by measuring out all your spices and other ingredients before you begin; the rest will come together more logically if you do. Make the paste ahead to save a little time.


Click Play to See This Chicken Vindaloo Curry Come Together

"The chicken vindaloo was excellent. I was worried the chicken breast pieces would be overcooked, so I removed them after about 20 minutes then continued cooking the sauce for 10 minutes. The chicken was perfectly cooked and tender. The recipe was easy to follow, and it made a delicious meal with basmati rice and chutney." —Diana Rattray

Classic Chicken Vindaloo Curry Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds

  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns

  • 4 cardamom pods (seeds only)

  • 6 whole cloves

  • 1 teaspoon chili flakes (hot)

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste

  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste

  • 2 tablespoons tomato puree

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts (4 medium, cut into large bite-sized cubes)

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 medium onion (thinly sliced)

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)

  • 4 tablespoons cilantro leaves (chopped)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather your ingredients.

    Classic Chicken Vindaloo Curry

    The Spruce / Chelsea Ross

  2. Heat a heavy skillet to hot but not smoking, add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorn, cardamom seeds, and cloves. Toast the seeds for 30 to 45 seconds, constantly shaking the pan to prevent burning, until the spices give off a delicious fragrance. 

    add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds, peppercorn, cardamom seeds, and cloves to a skillet

    The Spruce / Chelsea Ross

  3. Tip the toasted seeds into a food processor or spice grinder and blitz to create a powder. Add the chili flakes, turmeric, sugar, ginger and garlic paste and whizz again. Finally, add the tomato puree and garam masala, and blitz again. You should now have a thick, pungent paste. 

    add the spices to a food processor

    The Spruce / Chelsea Ross

  4. Place the paste into a glass bowl, add the vinegar, and stir thoroughly. Add the cubed chicken and stir to coat all the pieces evenly. Cover and leave to marinate for 30 to 45 minutes. 

    Place the paste into a glass bowl, add the vinegar and the chicken

    The Spruce / Chelsea Ross

  5. Heat a skillet large enough to hold all the ingredients over medium heat, add the oil, and when hot, add the sliced onions and cook slowly to soften but not brown for 15 minutes. Add the chicken plus the marinade and the stock and stir well. Cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickened. Taste and add the salt and pepper. If the vindaloo is too vinegary, add soft dark brown sugar a little at a time to your taste. 

    chicken with spices cooking in a pot

    The Spruce / Chelsea Ross

  6. Serve immediately garnished with the cilantro, and with fluffy basmati rice, mango chutney, and plain yogurt on the side.

    Classic Chicken Vindaloo Curry served with rice

    The Spruce / Chelsea Ross


Even though the marinade is acidic, bacteria can grow when left at room temperature. Always refrigerate marinade preparations.

Alternatives to Chicken

  • This recipe calls for chicken, but there are alternatives that are just as delicious. In Goa, pork and fish vindaloo are both popular. For vegetarians, boiled eggs or vegetables are used.

How to Store and Freeze

  • Refrigerate chicken vindaloo in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze chicken vindaloo in airtight containers (whole meal or individual portions) for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.

Do I Have To Marinate in a Glass Container?

Glass is a non-reactive material, and a great choice for an acidic marinade, but there are alternatives. A zip-close plastic food storage bag is a good choice, or use a ceramic, enamel, plastic, or stainless steel container. Avoid other metals, such as iron, copper, and aluminum, as they will react with the acidic mixture.

Why Is It Called Vindaloo?

The word "vindaloo" is a garbled pronunciation of the Portuguese dish, carne de vinha d'alhos, which is a preparation of meat marinated in a mixture of wine, vinegar, and garlic.