Easy Thai Coconut Curry Chicken

Thai Coconut Chicken Curry Recipe

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska 

Prep: 12 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 52 mins
Servings: 4 to 5 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
825 Calories
46g Fat
44g Carbs
63g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 5
Amount per serving
Calories 825
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 46g 59%
Saturated Fat 19g 96%
Cholesterol 179mg 60%
Sodium 1189mg 52%
Total Carbohydrate 44g 16%
Dietary Fiber 9g 30%
Protein 63g
Calcium 310mg 24%
*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.)

This wonderful-tasting Thai coconut curry chicken is quick and easy to make with the substitution of lime or lemon juice for lemongrass, cutting the prep time in half. Don't be put off by the long ingredients list—this is simply because I prefer to make my own paste from scratch rather than using store-bought curry pastes, making for a fresher, superior-tasting curry. This recipe includes potatoes, a common ingredient in street curries, but other vegetables can be added as well according to your preference (zucchini and green beans are 2 good ones).

Try the less well-known-but-delicious Vietnamese Coconut Chicken Curry.


Click Play to See This Easy Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Recipe Come Together


  • For the Curry Paste
  • 1/3 cup onion (chopped)
  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-sized piece galangal (or ginger)
  • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground turmeric (or 1 teaspoon minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 to 2 fresh red chilies (minced, or 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoons dried crushed chili)
  • 1/8 teaspoon white pepper (or black)
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (or lemon juice)
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon shrimp paste
  • For the Curry
  • 1 can good-quality coconut milk (divided)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds chicken drumsticks (or thighs)
  • 1/2 cup good-tasting chicken stock
  • 2 medium potatoes (chopped into small chunks)
  • 2 makrut lime leaves (or 2 bay leaves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed
  • 2 medium tomatoes (chopped small chunks)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons dry shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Thai Coconut Chicken Curry
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  2. Place all curry paste ingredients in your food processor or blender.

    Curry paste ingredients in a blender.
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  3. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of the coconut milk to help blend ingredients and blitz to create a fragrant Thai curry paste.

    Milk added to curry paste in blender.
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  4. Heat a wok or deep frying pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle in the oil and swirl around, then add the curry paste. Stir-fry 1 minute to release the fragrance.

    Wok with curry paste and wooden spoon.
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  5. Then add the chicken pieces, and turn pieces to coat.

    Chicken added to wok.
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  6. Then add the stock and remaining coconut milk.

    Pouring milk into wok with chicken.
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  7. Next add the potatoes, lime or bay leaves, and whole cumin seed. Stir and bring to a gentle boil.

    Potatoes and bay leaves added to wok.
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  8. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low, gently simmering 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.

    Wok lid added to chicken dish.
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  9. Add the tomatoes and stir. Then continue cooking another 15 minutes, or until chicken has achieved desired tenderness.

    Tomatoes added to wok.
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  10. While curry is cooking, prepare the topping. Place shredded coconut in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat. Stir until coconut turns light golden brown. Transfer to a bowl and set aside to cool.

    Cooked coconut in a bowl.
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  11. When chicken and potatoes are tender, remove from heat. Add 3/4 of the toasted coconut and stir in. Taste the curry, adding more fish sauce for more salt/flavor. If you find it too salty or sweet, add more lime or lemon juice. Add more chili for more intense spiciness.

    Chicken and curry sauce in wok with wooden spoon.
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  12. Portion out curry into bowls or plates. Top each one with fresh basil and a generous sprinkling of the toasted coconut. Serve with plenty of steamed jasmine rice on the side.

    Thai Coconut Curry dish in a bowl with a side or rice.
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  13. Enjoy!

    Thai Coconut Chicken Curry with side of rice.
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  • For a thicker curry sauce, use a cup to measure 2 teaspoons of cornstarch into 3 to 4 tablespoons cool water, stirring to dissolve. Pour this into the hot (finished) curry while stirring over medium heat until sauce thickens.