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 45 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

Description

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!


Ingredients

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

Instructions

  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. 

Notes

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. 

Nutrition

  • 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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Comments

  1. This is excellent and I am now making it once a week. My husband and I both love it – hits all the right flavor notes. Thank you!!

  2. We love this recipe! I’ve made it twice now and it works well even if you leave out the lemongrass or use different veggies. I used broccoli, sugar snap peas, carrots, and green onions and I also used Quorn fake chicken bits. Last time I used leeks too and it was delicious






  3. Honestly one of my favorite meals from this site. I was near licking the bowl after every serving. Such a great recipe.






  4. This recipe is delicious and so simple . One time I did not have the lemongrass and it did not compromise the flavor too much .






  5. This one was interesting. Mine came out a bit sour, I think from too many lime leaves (this was my first time using those). The recipe is probably fine, I think I just got really fresh pungent leaves and used a heavy hand with them. I’ll be more careful next time and taste as I go so the focus is on the curry flavor.






  6. We made this for dinner tonight in our Instant Pot with chicken thigh and it was DELICIOUS! Restaurant-quality. Next time, we’ll use snow peas and carrots instead of bell pepper – that extra crunch and sweetness would be so good. We had very minor mods – 1.5 tbsp fish sauce, 5 tsp brown sugar, and .5 lime were perfect to our taste. We love all your recipes!






  7. I made this recipe a while back and wanted to make it again, but the recipe seems different than I remember. I think there was ginger instead of lemongrass. Also, I think it had a lot more veggies, like 4 cups. Can I replace the lemongrass with ginger? I guess I could just add more veggies. Other than those 2 things, I think it’s the same.






    1. Hey Sasha- You can always add more veggies, of course! There has always been lemongrass, but feel free to add ginger!

  8. This was so good. Made this 2 days before having dinner guests w/o the chicken. I made turkey meatballs ahead and froze them, added defrosted meatballs and just had to warm and add lime juice. Everyone raved! So glad I took your advice and tasted curry paste before adding as I had to get a different brand which is about 5 times as spicy as the one I usually use. Question on the lemongrass. I have bought the pre-packaged stuff in the “herb” section at grocery store and never found any moist inner section so I went to Asian grocery and got 5 whole sticks. By the time I removed all the outer leaves I was left with about a tablespoon of soft center. Does this sound right or did I throw out more than I should have? Thanks!






    1. You can use the outer white edges by the root end (just not green parts), just chop very very finely. It will soften up in the curry.

  9. So delicious & really simple. I can’t wait to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Thanks again for another great recipe. Love your site!






  10. I’m looking forward to making this! I was in Thailand earlier this year and bought some spices. Can I use dried kafir lime leaves in this dish?

      1. We really enjoyed it. Even better the next day. I love how quickly it comes together! I partially froze the chicken breasts to be able to slice it super thin. Everything was delicious!

  11. Instant pot method review: Against my better judgment, I added the coconut milk before pressure cooking. When I opened it up after manual release, the milk was broken and not creamy. Next time I’m going to cook with water and add the coconut milk in after pressure cooking. Overall flavor was pleasant, but the texture wasn’t the creamy coconut curry I was looking for.






    1. Oh shoot! What brand of coconut milk did you use? Just curious. Also, did you add lime juice before pressure cooking? I personally hate pressure-cooking coconut milk- but wasn’t sure there was enough liquid to leave it out til after. I usually make this on the stove, But I’ll remake this in the instant pot. Sorry about that Ana.

  12. I absolutely ❤️ all of your recipes and this was another win! If you do know of a way to preserve thai basil please share. 🙂






    1. Hi Lyse, you know, funny, I was just wondering the same thing as I have some in my fridge. I was just about to try drying it (bunching it together, hanging it upside down). Freezing it, turns it black. I usually try to buy a plant at the farmer’s market, and keep it alive through summer.

      1. How about freezing basil in a small amount of oil? I put it in ice cube trays to portion it out.

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