This Thai Red Curry recipe is bursting with authentic Thai flavor and can be made in 30 minutes on the stove or in your Instant Pot!  A quick and easy dinner recipe the whole family will love. Serve it with jasmine rice and save the amazing leftovers for lunch! Vegetarian-adaptable. Video.

Thai red curry in a bowl with jasmine rice, bean sprouts, lime and Thai Basil.

You can be deeply involved with everything but still not be identified with it anymore.~Sadhguru 

Thai Red Curry is full of bold and vibrant Thai flavors we all crave and love, while being incredibly easy to make. It’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner when time is short.  The creamy coconut red curry sauce is the perfect vehicle for veggies and protein! Here you can choose chicken, shrimp, tofu- or use all veggies!

Thai Red Curry Video

Why You’ll Love this Red Curry Recipe!

  1. It’s fast and easy– and can be made in an Instant pot or on the stovetop! My preference is on the stove top- but you do you!
  2. It’s adaptable! Use what veggies or protein you like! Chicken, shrimp, tofu, or all veggies- your choice.
  3. Authentic Thai flavor!  Use our favorite brand of store-bought red curry paste or make your own! Here’s our Thai Red Curry Paste Recipe
  4. The leftovers make for a delicious lunch and get more even delicious with time.
Red curry in a pot

Thai Red Curry Ingredient Notes

  • Protein: most typically made with chicken breast, this recipe can be adapted and made with crispy tofu, shrimp, or all veggies.
  • Red Curry Paste: This store-bought red curry paste is easy and convenient to have on hand, but you can also make your own homemade Thai Red Curry Paste from scratch!
  • Garlic, Shallots, Ginger and Lemongrass: We bump up the flavor when using store-bought curry paste, with these fresh ingredients.
  • Veggies: Mot veggies work in this recipe but just keep in mind, some veggies take longer to cook, than others. Here are some suggestions: potatoes, carrots, broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, snow peas, green beans, asparagus, and bell pepper.
  • Coconut milk: I use a full fat coconut milk here for a thicker sauce, coconut cream also works well.
  • Fish Sauce, Lime Juice, and Brown Sugar all work together to season and balance the curry, creating a savory, bright curry sauce!
  • Kaffir lime leaves and Thai Basil– both elevate the Red Curry. I buy fresh kaffir lime leaves from out Asian market and then freeze them for quick meals like this.

*See the recipe card below for detailed measurements!

Best brands of Red curry paste

What is the Best Thai Red Curry Paste?

Not all brands of red curry paste are the same! We love making a big batch of our homemade Thai red curry paste and freezing the extras. Or use store-bought for the fastest preparation.

By far, the Best brand of red curry paste I’ve had is this Maesri Thai Red Curry Paste.

Mae Ploy Red Curry Paste comes in a close second.  Thai Kitchen’s Red curry paste is probably my least favorite but works in a pinch if doctored up quite a bit.

How to make Red Curry (Step-by-step)

In a Dutch Oven or heavy bottom pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute the shallot, garlic, lemongrass, and ginger until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. See recipe notes for Instant Pot Version.

Add the red curry paste (starting light, you can always add more to taste at the end) and fry it in the pan for a minute to enhance its flavor.

Add the coconut milk,  bouillon cube, fish sauce and brown sugar. Stir to incorporate and bring to a gentle simmer. 

Add the chicken. Thinly slice the chicken and season with salt. Add to the pot with the lime leaves.

Simmer gently on low, add veggies and cook until chicken is cooked through, roughly 5 minutes.

Season with lime juice. Adjust salt to taste. Add more curry paste if you like!  Find a happy balance.

This Thai Red Curry recipe is bursting with authentic Thai flavor and can be made in 30 minutes on the stove or in your Instant Pot!  A quick and easy dinner recipe the whole family will love. Serve it with jasmine rice and save the amazing leftovers for lunch! Vegetarian-adaptable.

What to serve with Thai Red Curry?

 Thai red curry in a bowl.

Serve the fragrant Thai Red Curry in bowls over rice with bean sprouts, lime and fresh basil.

Red Curry Faqs

What is Red Curry made from?

Red Curry is a popular Thai dish made with a flavorful red curry paste that consists of red chilies, garlic, shallots, ginger, lemongrass and galangal.

Is Red Curry the hottest Curry?

Not necessarily. Red curry, green curry and yellow curry can each vary in levels of heat. Each can be made mild, and each can be made spicy.

What is the difference between red curry, green curry and yellow curry?

The color of the chilies for starters. Red curry is made with red chilies, and green curry is made with green chilies. The spices vary as well. Yellow curry is made with yellow or red chilies with the addition of turmeric root for that vibrant golden color.

More Thai Recipes you may like

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Thai Red Curry

Thai Red Curry (Stovetop or Instant Pot)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.8 from 42 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at home
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: dinner, easy dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot, stovetop
  • Cuisine: Thai


A simple delicious recipe for Thai Red Curry that can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stovetop!  Make this with chicken, tofu or shrimp. Fast, healthy and full of incredible Thai flavor!


Units Scale
  • 1 tablespoon oil- olive, coconut oil
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons lemongrass, finely chopped (or use lemongrass paste)
  • 26 tablespoons Red curry paste or make homemade Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 1 lb protein: chicken breast or thigh, thinly sliced, or shrimp, or cubed tofu (or sub 2 1/2 cups more veggies)
  • 2 cups veggies: bell pepper, zucchini, eggplant, snow peas, green beans, asparagus, etc.
  • 14 ounce can full fat coconut milk, or coconut cream- do not use light coconut milk
  • 1 cube chicken bouillon or veggie bouillon (or sub 1/4 teaspoon salt, or more fish sauce)
  • 12 tablespoons fish sauce (I like 2)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar, coconut sugar or alternative sweetener
  • 68 kaffir lime leaves
  • 12 tablespoons lime juice to taste.
  • Salt to taste.
  • Optional Garnishes – lime wedge, bean sprouts, The basil or regular basil, Thai chili flakes


  1. If making jasmine rice, start it cooking it now.
  2. Prep the protein. Thinly slice the chicken and season with salt. Or make crispy tofu and set aside.

  3. In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottom pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute the shallot, garlic, lemongrass until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add the red curry paste (start light, you can always add more to taste at the end) and fry for 1 minute. Add the coconut milk,  bouillon cube, fish sauce, sugar and kaffir lime leaves. Stir to incorporate and bring to a gentle simmer.

  4. Add the sliced chicken and veggies. Simmer on low until veggies are tender and chicken is cooked through, roughly 5 minutes.  Add the lime juice. Adjust salt to taste adding more fish sauce as needed. Add more curry paste if you like!  Keep in mind, the flavors will mellow substantially when served over the rice. You want this punchy and flavorful! 

  5. Ladle over the rice, top with bean sprouts, Thai Basil and lime wedge. Serve with Thai Chili flakes. 


Instant Pot Instructions: 

  1. Set Instant Pot to saute function. Heat oil and add shallot, ginger, lemongrass and garlic, and saute until fragrant and golden, about 2-3 minutes. Add red curry paste ( I like about 3 tablespoons for medium spicy), cook one minute, then add coconut milk, chicken bouillon cube, fish sauce, brown sugar and lime leaves. Give a stir to combine. Add chicken. (If using tofu, or shrimp, add after pressure cooking.) Pressure cook on high pressure for 6 minutes ( breast) or 8 mins (thigh). Manually release. Set back to saute function. Add chopped veggies (or shrimp or tofu) snow peas, bell peppers, and asparagus, and simmer for 3-4 minutes until veggies are tender, yet still bright and snappy. Add the lime juice. Taste, adjust salt, lime, sugar and heat to taste (add more curry paste for more spicy) keeping in mind that rice will mute the flavors a bit. You want it “punchy”! Serve over rice, topping with fresh basil, lime wedge and bean sprouts.

VEGGIES: Not all veggies cook in the same about of time, so just be intentional about when to add. For example, potatoes and carrots cook slower, so allow them to cook longer with the chicken. Quick-cooking veggies like snow peas, asparagus, and bell pepper can cook within minutes, so add towards the end.

Tofu: you can add cubes of raw firm tofu to the simmering curry sauce, or make this crispy tofu for a little more texture. I like the crispy tofu

Shrimp: Use peeled, deveined shrimp. The bigger the shrimp, the longer they will take to cook, but even large ones cook within minutes. Look for the pink color and the “C” shape. If they curl into an “O” they are most likely overcooked. 


  • Serving Size: with chicken breast
  • Calories: 398
  • Sugar: 7.1 g
  • Sodium: 703.9 mg
  • Fat: 24.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 17.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 16.4 g
  • Fiber: 3 g
  • Protein: 29.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 82.7 mg

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  1. I appreciate the details and explanations (slow vs fast cooking vegetables, need to steam certain vegetables). These are details most other recipe sites leave out the meal ends up bad if a n00b like me doesn’t know these details.

  2. Very happy with this recipe, great go-to for a great mid-week dinner.
    Could also substitute chicken for aubergine

    1. Hi Nathan, that is a great question- I have not tried tofu in the instant pot. Has anyone else out there tried? I may do this on the stove top.

  3. I gave it 5 stars for flavor. Having said that it always takes me longer to prep vegetables and cube meat. I’m new with the instapot, but between the time it takes to prep, heat up and natural pressure release, it took me two hours. The natural pressure release alone was 15 minutes and at that point I quick released.

  4. It was delicious. I cooked it on the stove top and used potatoes, cauliflower and red bell peppers. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

  5. This recipe looks great! I intend on making this Friday or Saturday. What can we use as a replacement for the Kefir lime leaves if we can find them?


    1. I can’t think of a good replacement, so just leave them out. Maybe more lime to taste at the end? If you have an Asian Market, check their freezer section…they usually have some hiding in there. 🙂

  6. A friend’s son is getting married in the fall and they want the wedding and reception at his mom’s lakehouse. My friend (the mom) hates cooking but is hosting a couple of dinners including the rehersal dinner. She has to work around vegans, keto and gluten free people. I’m thinking of suggesting this recipe to her for one of the meals with the following changes: 1/2 to 1 t salt to replace the fish sauce, 1 1/2 cans or 3 cups of chick peas to replace the chicken (tofu haters in this group) and Better than Bouillon Organic Vegetable Paste to replace the chicken cube. I think with these changes she will have a main course that everyone can eat. I’m thinking if she serves this with some gluten free rice or quinoa and rice cauliflower this will ‘hit’ all the groups. Do you think this will work? Can you suggest a side or two that will go with this from your recipes? Thanks for your help Sylvia.

    1. Hi Leslie, it is worth testing out. Make sure to try this first…the fish sauce adds a lot of depth here. And not everyone likes chickpeas… especially keto people.

      1. Thanks for your input Sylvia. Forgot that chickpeas aren’t keto :-(. I’m going to make this up later this week and see what I think. If I like it, I’ll give some to my friend to try. At least we have almost 6 months to come up with the menu!

  7. Ok, full disclosure: I’m eating seconds right now. lol. It’s good.

    I used chicken breasts. Carrots, brocolli, Napa cabbage, onion. Served over brown rice cause I’m trying to be healthy.

    I used instant pot. Followed recipe including letting chicken “reabsorb”. I let it sit on warm for 15 min while I sipped my cocktail. Then turned pot on simmer and the concoction lept to a boil. Carrots went in before pressure cooking, so added brocolli and cabbage at this point.

    Results: over cooked my cabbage in an effort to reduce sauce. That’s my mistake. Cooling it outside the instant pot was enough.

    So here’s my conundrum: honestly, this would be much easier to control on the stove. No instant pot. My carrots almost (and in some cases did) disentegrate. I’m ok with that. But really I’ve made this type of recipe on the stove many times. It’s prolly the way to go.

    BUT. The chicken is incredibly tender. Falling apart. Can’t ignore that! So, let that be your guide. Crazy tender chicken? Instant pot. Fine tuned control over veggies and sauce thickness? Stove.

    Giving this five stars cause it’s a great recipe either way and really illustrates the advantages of cooking styles. Great job!

  8. Were vegetarian but this looks so delicious I have to try it. Do you think tofu would be good as a sub for the chicken or what might you recommend?

  9. This was a hit in our house, we added baby bok choi among other greens very tasty dinner. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. A friend suggested I try this recipe so I made it for dinner tonight. OMG was it ever great! Made it in my IP mini with an assortment of peppers, mushrooms and sweet potato, cooking it for 6 minutes. My only comment is if you make this in your mini, do not attempt a QR. I was getting hungry so after 15 minutes of NPR, I decided to QR. My first experience with spewing – thankfully I was right there and was able to close the vent. Thanks for a great recipe.

  11. I’m planning to make this for my husband’s birthday tomorrow night! My two-year-old rejected the last curry I made, so I hope she likes red curry better! If I want to use frozen broccoli florets and frozen green beans, should I put them in with the chicken? If I used fresh broccoli, maybe I should put in at the end and let simmer? Thoughts? I can’t wait to try this!

  12. This recipe turned out fantastic! I used yellow Mae Ploy curry paste, as that is what I always have at home. I put cauliflower in with the chicken, and it ended up pulverized (no indication of cauliflower pieces), but what this resulted in is a great thick sauce. I added snap peas and a head of chopped kale after the pressure cooking. Other variation: some Braggs aminos and one lime’s juice in place of the fish sauce and bouillon, and I stirred a big spoonful of peanut butter in at the end. So many variations this recipe can take!

    1. Yay! So glad you enjoyed it and thanks for your recipe notes. I will adjust the recipe a bit to reflect mushy cauliflower. 🙂

  13. This was ridiculously good! I had a friend pop over while we were eating and she asked for seconds, not because she was hungry, but because it was delicious. I am still new with the Instant Pot and always wonder if I’m being patient enough with the natural release. So I kinda cheated a bit at the end and just let the steam out. The flavors are so amazing in this dish.

  14. this was delicious! so flavorful and not too spicy (used 2 heaping tbsp of red curry paste). I made it with farro as well. definitely adding it to the list of repeats. the chicken breast was a little dried out- any suggestions? maybe 5 mins instead of 8 mins in the IP? I have a 3 qt pot, if that makes a difference. thank you!

    1. Hi Lisa, when using chicken breast, I find that giving the chicken a little time the end to “re-absorb” the sauce really helps it be more moist and flavorful. The pressure cooker squeezes every ounce of moisture out of the chicken ( like wringing out a sponge) so letting it “rest” on the warm setting after pressure cooking will help greatly, or even making it the day before! I adjusted the recipe to make this clearer ( it was not!) so thanks for the heads up, and sorry about that!

  15. What would you recommend substituting for a soy free fish sauce? My son is allergic to the entire top 8, but indian curry is one of his favorites. I’d love to try to make him a thai curry too!

  16. Just made it last night and it was a great hit in our family. I used some okras from our garden and it was great. Will make it again soon.

  17. Couldn’t find “notes.”. What could you use for red curry paste? I have annato paste. Please advise.

    1. Because Thai Curry Paste is such a flavorful mix of so many things- ginger, lemongrass, onion, galanga, chilies- it’s not easily substituted, unless of course you make the paste from scratch. It is really what gives the recipe its flavor, so I would advise waiting until you can buy some at the store.The good thing is it’s readily available at most grocery stores in the Asian section.

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