Thai Green Chicken Curry

Thai green curry with chicken cubes and whole Thai basil leaves in a serving bowl

The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 25 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
765 Calories
30g Fat
62g Carbs
61g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 765
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 21g 105%
Cholesterol 147mg 49%
Sodium 568mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 23%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 61g
Vitamin C 55mg 275%
Calcium 110mg 8%
Iron 10mg 53%
Potassium 1070mg 23%
*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.)

Curries are an essential part of Thai cuisine. Colorful, fragrant, and powered with an army of fresh flavors, curries have many versions, but they all follow some basics and they all rely on some vital ingredients to achieve the classic depth of flavor. Green curry is thick, creamy, filling, and bright. Between red, yellow, or green, the latter is one of the most famous and sought-after dishes—beautifully vibrant thanks to the addition of Thai basil, cilantro, and makrut lime leaf and peel.

Although green curry is usually made with chicken or beef, there are also versions with fish dumplings and others that replace the animal protein for extra firm tofu. A perfect balance of salty, spicy, sweet, and sour, this aromatic Thai green curry is beautiful over jasmine rice, or for a fiber-rich dish, use steamed quinoa instead.

Our recipe uses the classic protein of chicken and has all the easy instructions to make the curry paste from scratch by combining an assortment of fresh and dried herbs with fish sauce and coconut milk in a food processor. For a perfect dish, be mindful of cutting the chicken into smaller pieces so the meat can be cooked thoroughly and soak up all of the flavors, and to always use full-fat canned coconut milk.


Click Play to See This Thai Green Curry Chicken Recipe Come Together

"I always thought making Thai curry from scratch would be really time-consuming, but this recipe proves otherwise, and the results were far more fresh and flavorful than the stuff from the jar. I found the basil and makrut lime leaves were essential to the fresh, complex, super-aromatic success of the finished dish." —Danielle Centoni

Thai Green Chicken Curry Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


For the Green Curry Paste:

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 stalk lemongrass, minced

  • 1 thumb-sized piece ginger, grated

  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 loosely packed cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, coarsely chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper

  • 1/4 cup diced shallot, or purple onion

  • 1/2 to 1 green chile, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon shrimp paste, or 1 tablespoon fish sauce

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1/4 can coconut milk

For the Chicken Curry:

  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil

  • 3/4 can coconut milk

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast, or chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces

  • 1 handful green beans, or 1 small zucchini, or other vegetable of choice

  • 1 medium red or green bell pepper, coarsely chopped

  • 4 makrut lime leaves, or 1 teaspoon grated lime zest

  • 1 generous handful fresh Thai basil, or sweet basil, optional

For Serving:

  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice

Steps to Make It

Make the Green Curry Paste

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for the green curry paste recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Place all of the ingredients for the curry paste in a food processor. Use only half of the green chile. Process until all ingredients are blended and have a smooth consistency. Taste. If you'd like it spicier, add the remaining half of the green chile. Reserve.

    Curry paste ingredients added to a food processor

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

Make the Chicken Curry

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for chicken curry recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  2. Warm a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peanut oil and swirl around. Add the green curry paste. Briefly sauté the mixture to release the fragrance, about 30 seconds to 1 minute.

    Green curry paste being stirred with a wooden spoon in a wok

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  3. Add the coconut milk to the wok. Stir well to combine.

    Coconut milk being stirred into the curry paste in the wok

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  4. Add the chicken pieces, stirring to incorporate. When the curry sauce comes to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Stir occasionally.

    Chicken pieces being coated with the curry mixture in the wok

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  5. Add the green beans, pepper, and makrut lime leaves to the wok. Stir well to incorporate. Simmer until the vegetables are cooked to your liking. Taste for seasoning and adjust accordingly, either adding more fish sauce for salt or more lime juice if too salty for your taste.

    Green beans, chopped red pepper, and makrut leaves added to curry in the wok

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  6. If using, add the Thai basil to the pan and stir well. Serve with the Thai jasmine rice on the side.

    Thai green curry in a serving bowl topped with whole Thai basil leaves, with rice in a serving bowl on the side

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Chistruga

  7. Enjoy.

Can I Use Packaged Curry Paste?

Store-bough curry paste is convenient when you're pressed for time, but doesn't pack the same punch as freshly made paste. It is, however, a decent shortcut for achieving a tasty curry. To improve on the flavors of the jarred paste, we recommend blending it with fresh garlic, ginger, and lemongrass. Start with a clove of garlic, a teaspoon of grated ginger, and a teaspoon of lemongrass. Taste test and add fish sauce, if you have, or salt, to achieve a better balance of flavors.

A Flawless Balance of the 4 S's

Green curry showcases the perfect balance of sweet, savory, sour, and salty. Here are a few notes on how to achieve such perfection:

  • Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of fish sauce if the curry is not salty or flavorful enough.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of sugar at a time for a sweeter curry.
  • Add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice if the dish is too salty.
  • Add 1/4 cup of coconut milk if too spicy. Using more or less coconut milk also changes the consistency of the sauce.

Vegan Green Curry

If you want to make this tasty dish vegan-friendly, simply skip the shrimp paste and fish sauce and use salt or tamari for flavor instead. In lieu of the chicken, use a cubed block of pressed extra firm tofu and add it at the same time you'd have added the chicken. Another option is to use 1 1/2 pints of halved white mushrooms, as their meaty texture make them an ideal replacement for meat.