An easy Thai curry made with shop-bought red curry paste, chicken and coconut milk. So fresh and aromatic! A great option when you’re short on time but don’t want to miss out on taste.

Thai red chicken curry with rice in a bowl with lime and coriander
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I’ve just done a quick count and I’ve found that we’ve got more than 20 curry recipes on Kitchen Sanctuary! I guess I just really like curry.

We make curry at home at least once, and usually twice, a week.

Quite often we’ll make our own curry paste, but sometimes we’ll use store-bought paste if we’re in a hurry (or just too hungry to wait!).

What do we need?

Ingredients for making Thai red chicken curry on a wooden table

Notes on Curry Paste:

Red curry paste can be very strong in flavour and heat level depending on the variety you buy. Here are the 2 that i use most often:

  • Mae Ploy and Thai Taste (<–affiliate links) are both relatively hot but nicely authentic in flavour.
  • If I want a milder red Thai curry that the kids will enjoy, I use Morrison’s own brand Thai red curry paste. It’s still got a great authentic flavour (very fragrant with lots of lemongrass in it), but is actually quite mild.

Notes on the other ingredients:

  • Coconut milk: Go for full fat coconut milk for the best creamy flavour, without worrying that your sauce might split (as can happen with low-fat coconut milk). See my notes in the recipe below for swaps of coconut milk if you want to make this without coconut milk.
  • Chicken: Chicken breast is great for this recipe as it cooks pretty quickly, so you don’t have to worry about the chicken being tough. However, you can use trimmed chicken thighs if you prefer.
  • Thai Basil: I love to add a little fresh Thai basil to the sauce and for garnish, but if you can’t get hold of any, leave it out (you’ll still have a lovely curry!) or add more fresh coriander (cilantro).

How to make this Thai red curry

Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post.

  • Soften onion in a little oil over a medium heat, then add the chicken and cook until sealed.
  • Add garlic, ginger, lemongrass paste and a crumbled stock cube and stir together to coat the chicken.
  • Add the curry paste and stir together.
6 image collage showing the initial stages of making Thai red chicken curry
  • Add coconut milk, fish sauce, sugar, bamboo shoots and Thai basil leaves. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 10 minutes.
4 image collage showing the end stages of making Thai red chicken curry
  • Stir in lime juice, then serve the curry with boiled rice.
  • I love to top the curry with fresh Thai basil leaves, coriander (cilantro), chilli slices and slices of lime.
Thai red chicken curry in a pan

More better-than-takeout curry recipes

Thai red chicken curry with rice in a bowl

Can I make a vegetarian version instead?

Yes! Ensure the curry paste is vegetarian. Replace the chicken with mushrooms, roasted sweet potato or quorn. Replace the fish sauce with a vegetarian fish sauce replacement (Thai Taste do one). You’ll also need to replace the stock cube with a vegetarian stock cube.

Can I make a lower fat/calorie Thai red curry?

Yes, here’s my low fat Thai red chicken curry that uses a homemade paste and half-fat coconut milk. It’s really delicious for a lighter option (267 cals per portion without the rice). 

Which Thai curry is the spiciest?

🌶️🌶️🌶️Green Thai curry is considered to be the spiciest – as green chillies (of the same variety) are usually hotter and sharper than red chillies.
🌶️🌶️Red Thai Curry comes next, and 🌶️ Yellow Thai curry is the least spicy.

More Thai Recipes

Love those Thai flavours? Why not try one of these recipes next:

Watch how to make it

YouTube video

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5 from 14 votes

Thai Red Chicken Curry

An easy Thai curry made with shop-bought red curry paste, chicken and coconut milk. So fresh and aromatic!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Thai


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion peeled and chopped
  • 3 chicken breasts about 720g / 1.5 lbs, chopped into bitesize pieces
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1 tsp lemongrass paste
  • 1 chicken stock cube crumbled
  • 4 tbsp red Thai curry paste
  • 1 red pepper sliced
  • 400 g (14 oz) tin coconut milk
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp palm sugar or light brown muscovado sugar
  • 225 g (8 oz) tin of bamboo shoots drained
  • 10 fresh Thai basil leaves
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice about half a lime

To serve:

  • boiled rice
  • 5-6 fresh Thai basil leaves
  • 4 sprigs fresh coriander cilantro
  • 2 Thai chillies thinly sliced
  • 1 lime sliced into wedges
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  • Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat.
    1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Add the onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally until softened.
    1 onion
  • Add the chicken and cook for 2-3 minutes until sealed.
    3 chicken breasts
  • Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass paste, and crumbled stock cube and stir together to coat the chicken.
    2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp minced ginger, 1 tsp lemongrass paste, 1 chicken stock cube
  • Add the curry paste and stir together. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4 tbsp red Thai curry paste
  • Add the sliced red pepper, stir together and cook for a minute.
    1 red pepper
  • Add the coconut milk, fish sauce, palm sugar, bamboo shoots, and Thai basil leaves. Bring to the boil, then gently simmer for 10 minutes until thickened.
    400 g (14 oz) tin coconut milk, 2 tsp fish sauce, 1 tbsp palm sugar or light brown muscovado sugar, 225 g (8 oz) tin of bamboo shoots, 10 fresh Thai basil leaves
  • Stir in the lime juice, then serve the curry with boiled rice.
    1 tbsp fresh lime juice, boiled rice
  • Top with fresh Thai basil leaves, coriander, chilli slices, and lime wedges before serving.
    5-6 fresh Thai basil leaves, 4 sprigs fresh coriander, 2 Thai chillies, 1 lime


YouTube video


Can I make this curry ahead?

Yes! you can make this curry, then cool, cover and refrigerate for up to two days. Reheat in a pan until piping hot throughout.

Can I freeze this curry?

Yes, any leftovers of this curry can be cooled, covered and frozen. Then defrost overnight in the refrigerator and reheat in a pan (stirring often) or microwave until piping hot throughout.

Can I replace the coconut milk?

The coconut milk is quite important for a more authentic Thai flavour, but you can replace the coconut milk with 250ml (about 1 cup) of stock and 150ml (about 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp) of double/heavy cream. You may need to thicken the sauce slightly with a cornstarch slurry made of 2 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch, mixed with 5 tbsp of cold water. Stir it in slowly to the hot curry before serving – until you achieve the desired thickness.
Nutritional information is per serving NOT including rice.


Calories: 509kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 706mg | Potassium: 1096mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3643IU | Vitamin C: 68mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post are affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Mrs Stacey says:

    5 stars
    Not often I rate a recipe, but this was easy, and the result was delicious, it didn’t have any heat personally but it didn’t need it with that flavour! Texture was silky and the chicken was tender. Great recipe.

  2. Marie says:

    5 stars
    Hubby made this recipe last week and it was fantastic. Easy and incredibly tasty%

  3. Caron Lyons says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and so easy to make. This recipe is going to be yet another of my go to recipes from Nick

  4. Janice says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely fantastic, thank you .
    Easy to follow instructions, with plenty of alternative ingredients if some are not easily available.
    Will try more recipes from your site.

  5. Chanique says:

    5 stars
    I made this today, after longing for a bowl of red thai curry from the time I was in the States. After finding this recipe I decided to try it. It completely satisfied my tastebuds and exceeded my expectations. This is what I’ve been looking for! Thank you so much!

  6. Lizzy says:

    Could you halve the amount of curry paste so it wasn’t as spicy?

    1. Nicky Corbishley says:

      Hi Lizzy, you can, but it will make it taste a little less flavourful. You could replace half of the curry paste with a different mild paste – such as tikka masala or korma paste. Or if you’re in the UK, Morrisons own Red Thai paste is mild and very tasty.

  7. gary says:

    I assume the red pepper goes in with onion?

    1. Chris Corbishley says:

      Hi Gary,

      Good catch we forgot to add the step in the recipe card. I have updated the recipe with the right instruction. You add it in just before the curry paste.

      If it helps Nicky takes you through the recipe step by step in this video


      Chris & Nicky

  8. Christine says:

    5 stars
    Love this quick curry recipe. Yes I have more time at the moment, but sometimes you just want a quick easy tasty curry. Definitely one to keep.

  9. mohan kumar says:

    This look so fresh and delicious.Thank you so much for the recipe!

  10. Chloe Edges | Feast Glorious Feast says:

    5 stars
    Looks lush. I bought a pot of Mae Ploy recently and its become a challenge meal rather than tasty and enjoyable. I’ll def have to check out your Morrisons recommendation instead. I don’t mind a decent hit of spice but it’s become a bit overpowering.

    1. Nicky Corbishley says:

      Totally agree – there seems to be a lot of variation between different pastes. The Morrison’s one is more of a thick sauce than a paste, it’s really good though.