Easy Homemade Thai Curry Powder

Thai Curry Powder Recipe

The Spruce

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Yield: 1/2 cup
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
165 Calories
7g Fat
29g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Amount per serving
Calories 165
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 7g 9%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 38mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 29g 11%
Dietary Fiber 13g 48%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 6g
Vitamin C 9mg 46%
Calcium 278mg 21%
Iron 18mg 99%
Potassium 792mg 17%
*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.)

Curry powder is easier to make than you think, and the taste is so much better than store-bought powders. Unless you're lucky enough to find an organic blend, store-bought curry powder usually contains bulking ingredients as well as preservatives which you won't find listed on the package. This recipe shows you how to make your own so you can be sure it's fresh-tasting as well as healthy.

This curry powder recipe makes a yellow curry. The ground turmeric gives the spice blend its signature color and will color whatever dish you add it to. It's a nice, mild curry, but can be made milder or hotter depending on how much chili you add.

Most Thai curries are made from a spice paste rather than curry powder, but this isn't to say Thai cooks don't use curry powder—they do. Using a curry powder rather than a paste means the curry is quick and easy to make—many of the roadside curries in Thailand are made this way. The following recipe creates one of the best curry powders you'll ever try and makes for superior tasting curries or curry-flavored dishes such as easy classic curry chicken.

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Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons coriander, whole or ground

  • 2 tablespoons cumin seed, whole or ground

  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric

  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger

  • 1 to 3 teaspoons chili flakes (or cayenne pepper ), depending on how spicy you want it

  • 1 teaspoon white pepper, whole or ground

  • 3 bay leaves, lower stem removed

  • 1 whole clove (or a pinch of ground)

Steps to Make It

If Using Whole Spices

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Thai Curry Powder Recipe ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir continuously for 1 minute, or until pan is very hot. Then reduce heat to medium and continue stirring 6 to 10 minutes. This will lightly toast the spices, leaving them even more fragrant and tasty.

    Thai Curry Powder spices in a pan
    The Spruce
  3. Remove pan from heat and tip the spices into a bowl to cool. Meanwhile, prepare your grinder. If using a coffee grinder, you will need to wipe it out very well with a damp cloth or paper towel to remove all traces of coffee.

    clean spice grinder
    The Spruce
  4. Place the toasted spices in the grinder and grind well to make your curry powder. 

    Thai Curry Powder spices in a grinder
    The Spruce
  5. Use to season your favorite dish and enjoy!

If Using Ground Spices

  1. Stir together all of the ground spices—omitting the bay leaf until you cook your curry. Toast in a pan using the same method—for several minutes over medium heat, or until fragrant but not burnt.

    Thai Curry Powder ingredients in a bowl
    The Spruce
  2. When cooking with this curry powder, be sure to add 1 to 2 bay leaves to your curry pot.

    Thai Curry Powder in a jar
    The Spruce
  3. Enjoy!

Tip

  • Feel free to adjust the spiciness of the curry powder according to your preference.

Is Turmeric the Same as Curry Powder?

While ground turmeric is the main ingredient in Indian and Thai yellow curry powder, curry powders are a blend of several spices. You will not get the same depth of flavor from simply adding turmeric.