Coconut Curry Chicken

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Coconut curry chicken is a healthy dinner that’s packed with flavor. Just let the chicken simmer in curry spice and coconut milk. Then serve over a fluffy bed of rice to soak up the saucy goodness. It’s an easy, one-pan meal you and your guests will love. 

Coconut curry chicken in a pan.

With all of my travels, I’ve found that curry spice is a staple ingredient in so many countries. The recipes made with curry spice are unique and delicious in their own way, with some extra spicy and some sweet and tangy.

And you can’t beat the combination of a rich and flavorful sauce over freshly cooked rice. It’s another form of comfort food at its finest.  

If you’ve been avoiding curry because it sounds hard to make, think again. All you need are a few fresh ingredients and the perfect blend of spices. Not to mention, it’s all done in one pan and is great for feeding a large crowd or storing away for an easy meal prep, just like this chickpea curry!

Coconut Curry Chicken Recipe Video

While this recipe is easy, it always helps to watch a quick step-by-step video tutorial. Give it a watch below!

WHAT IS CURRY?

You’ve probably come across the word “curry” – whether it be on restaurant menus or packaged jars in the market. But before you associate it with only Indian cuisine, it goes far beyond that. 

Curry is a complex blend of spices and herbs that are made differently in various countries. It’s generally prepared in a rich sauce that’s cooked with veggies, meats, or fish. There’s Japanese katsu curry, Chinese chicken curry, Persian massaman curry, Afghan chicken korma – and the list goes on. But today, I’m going to show you how to make one of my all time favorites: Thai coconut curry chicken

Coconut curry chicken in a pan with cilantro.

COCONUT CURRY CHICKEN INGREDIENTS

This one-pan meal is so easy to make with the help of curry powders and a few fresh ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Veggies: Freshly diced onions, bell peppers, and garlic
  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Spices: Curry powder and ginger powder
  • Coconut Milk: a can of full-fat coconut milk
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, and lime juice
  • Herbs: Freshly chopped cilantro
  • Rice: White rice or cauliflower rice

A plate of coconut curry chicken on rice.

HOW TO MAKE COCONUT CURRY CHICKEN

In just 30 minutes, you’ll have one tasty meal ready to serve. 

  1. Dice up an onion, a sweet red pepper and finely chop some garlic. Saute everything with oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Cook for about 3-4 minutes. 
  2. Add the cubed chicken pieces, along with the curry spice, ground ginger and salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Pour in the coconut milk, juice from one lime and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Serve it up with some white rice or cauliflower rice and garnish with fresh cilantro. That’s it!

A serving of coconut curry chicken on a plate.

STORING OPTIONS

If you have leftovers (which you probably won’t), this can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, either in separate containers or mixed together.

You can also freeze curry for up to 2 months if stored properly in freezer safe containers. But if you’re planning to freeze the rice, make sure to place it in the freezer right while it’s still warm. You want to keep the moisture locked in so that when you re-heat, it’s still nice and soft. 

MORE HEALTHY AND EASY DINNER IDEAS

Need more easy dinner ideas for busy weeknights? Here’s a tried and trued list of recipes. 

Coconut curry chicken on a bed of rice on a plate.

Coconut Curry Chicken (Super Easy!)

4.65 from 87 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan

Description

This coconut curry chicken takes less than 30 minutes - it's easy, healthy and delicious. Watch the quick video above!

Video

Ingredients 
 

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp curry powder, or more as desired
  • 1 tsp ginger powder
  • 13.5 oz full-fat coconut milk, (1 can)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 cups cooked white rice or cauliflower rice
  • fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

Instructions 

  • Heat the oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. Add the onion, red bell pepper and garlic cloves and cook for 3-4 minutes. 
  • Add the cubed chicken and sprinkle the spices on top. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through, stirring frequently. 
  • Add the coconut milk and lime juice and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. 
  • Serve with rice and garnish with fresh cilantro. 

Lisa's Tips

  • To make this recipe paleo or low-carb, just use cauliflower rice. Super easy!

Nutrition

Calories: 598kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 119mg | Potassium: 768mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 988IU | Vitamin C: 48mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Main Meal
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Chicken Curry, Chicken Curry Recipe, Coconut Curry Chicken
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

Recipe originally published April 2017, but updated to include new information. 

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




206 Comments

  1. Such an amazing, quick meal for my busy partner and I. PLENTY of leftovers for lunches–we served it over coconut rice. This is definitely going in the meal rotation. Thanks Lisa! <35 stars

  2. This is one of my favorite recipes and my family of 7 loves it! I make it and share it often. One suggestion would be to put the chicken in pounds, since chicken breasts come in lots of different sizes.5 stars

    1. Or kilo’s, the only country in the world that still uses imperial is America…This recipe serves 4, so if you’re cooking for more just add one breast pr extra person, personally i always allow one breast/thigh per person.

  3. Very easy recipe to follow, so it gets an extra star for that. But the flavour is incredibly lacklustre, could use more spices.3 stars

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Parker. I’m going to tweak this recipe slightly to add a bit more spices and repost soon. :)

    2. When I first tasted it I thought so too, but then added a bit of salt and that brought out all the delicious flavors.

  4. I tried cauliflower rice in the Whole 30 in January and didn’t like it very much so I am going to make this recipe with cauliflower florets cooked in the sauce instead. I think it will be yummy. I also found this curry was very mild and will likely consult my curry cookbook for the spicing this time around.

  5. A whole lime is WAY too much lime. And overall, the flavors are pretty lacking.. thought I would follow a recipe this time instead of winging it like I usually do. Improvised is best5 stars

  6. Been looking for another curry recipe and this one did not disappoint. It was very easy to pull together and is great for lunch as leftovers. It gets a 5 out of 5 from me.5 stars

  7. Found this recipe and wanted to try it because it was simple, but I wish it would’ve included a sweetness to it. I decided to add Lakanto Monk Fruit, in the powdered sugar form. It added some sweetness, but I was hoping it would take like Saffron Roads’ Coconut Curry frozen dinner. That is so tasty! I don’t know if a traditional coconut curry is supposed to be sweet or not. I prefer sweetness myself, without sugar.

    Thank you for the recipe.

  8. I’d love to try making your chicken curry recipe, but would appreciate knowing how many pounds of chicken I should plan to use – ie: 3 breasts are called for. Would you please provide the appx. total weight you have in mind?

    Thank you.

  9. This is one of family favorites! It’s simple and so good. Sometimes I like to add potatoes and pineapple and water chestnuts. One thing that would be super helpful is for the chicken to be in pounds. Breasts vary so much in size and weight that it’s hard to know how much chicken to get. Thanks! 5 stars

    1. Yes! All the recipes on my website are gluten-free as I’m celiac. You can read more about my backstory in the about me section, and you can also filter recipes by dietary needs in the top navigation. Hope that helps :)

  10. It was a hit with my husband and son! And for the record, I thought it was great too, so it was unanimous. Super delicious with cauliflower rice.5 stars

  11. I made this for dinner last night. My husband really liked it and came for seconds! I did have 2 sweet potatoes I needed to use up so added them (peeled and cubed) to the recipe. We thought that was a really good addition. 2 tbsp of curry was plenty. Anymore for us and it would have been too much. Thanks for another fantastic recipe. Downshiftology is my go-to site for recipes!5 stars

  12. This recipe is delicious. I used Keens Traditional Curry powder and it was definitely full of spice and flavour.  My whole family enjoyed it and it has gone onto our meal rotation. 5 stars

  13. I am making this recipe this week! My husband and I love curry. For the chicken breasts, I have found that the sizes differ at the store we get our meat from. Around how many pounds of chicken should I get?

  14. Tried this last night, it was great. What curry powder do you use when you make this? I used Penzey’s Curry and it had a very mild curry flavor. I definitely used tablespoons, so I was wondering if I just need to put in more powder or if I should use a different curry powder? Thanks for all your wonderful recipes.

    1. Hi Leslie – I use Simply Organic curry powder. But it is a softer, more muted curry flavor in this recipe. If you’d like a stronger flavor you could also add curry paste, which tends to be stronger.

  15. This recipe looks delicious! Would using lite coconut milk vs full fat drastically change anything in the recipe? 
    Thanks!

  16. I think my curry powder may have gone off as there was practically no taste. After adding cayenne and Garam Masala the whole thing came together beautifully. Thanks for an easy dinner.4 stars

  17. I made the coconut curry chicken last night and my family couldn’t get enough! Thanks Lisa for another fabulous dish!5 stars

  18. Made twice so far. Used leftover cooked chicken extra veggies and cooked down with chicken stock. Once over jasmine rice, once over riced cauliflower. A keeper! Trying meatless next go. Thank you for this!5 stars

  19. I want to make the recipe but cannot find how many portions the recipe will yield. is the information hidden somewhere?

    1. Hi Gita – you can always find the serving amount listed in the recipe card towards the bottom :)

  20. Great recipe.. I used 2 TBSP and 1 tsp of spicy red Thai curry powder. The sauce also didn’t thicken as much as I wanted it to so I added a cornstarch slurry which thickened it beautifully. Next time I might marinate the chicken with tumeric to give it more color and another flavor element. This recipe is amazing thank you for sharing! 5 stars

  21. Easy, quick and absolutely delicious. Thanks for creating such a yummy meal that is quick to make. We had rice and cauliflower rice to appease all the diets in my house.5 stars

  22. This is on regular rotation at my house. My 18-year old son devours it! It is a fast meal that is super delicious! I cannot imagine that someone could say it doesn’t have enough flavor. Maybe they used teaspoons instead of tablespoons of the curry powder or something, but this is perfect to us. I make it exactly as written. 5 stars

    1. Happy to hear you and your family love this curry chicken! The flavor can always depend on personal preference though, so if one feels it is lacking flavor, the spice amounts just need to be bumped up a bit :)

  23. Great recipe, all your recipes are great
    I have food sensitivities and your recipes are awesome for me
    I don’t have a gallbladder and therefore need to eat very little fat
    What can I use in place of high fat coconut milk for this recipe?

    1. Hi Camille – I’m happy you’re enjoying my recipes! Unfortunately, most of my other recommendations would be other high-fat items to maintain that level of creaminess. But for you, I’d swap in a low-fat coconut milk or fat-free milk. It won’t be as creamy, but the flavor will still be amazing. :)

  24. I usually love coconut curry – but unfortunately this recipe didn’t work for me because it did not carry enough flavor.3 stars

  25. Made this recipe but halved it because I had less than a can of coconut milk left. There’s only 2 of us so it worked well. We love highly spiced foods but this was a creamy delicious curry, with a high note of lime. I added dried fenugeek leaves to give it a bit of zing. Very tasty and would definitely make it again with just a touch more garlic.

      1. I like to use full-fat coconut milk to keep a creamier curry consistency. But you can use a lite one if you don’t mind it being a bit thinner.

  26. We absolutely love this dish. I have 3 young kids all under the age of 5 and there is so excitement at the dinner table when I make this. It has got to be the easiest curry to make. I make this at least once a week.5 stars

  27. Made this tonight and was delicious. I actually cut the curry in half for my non spice loving Portuguese husband.  (I know…) It was still very flavourful but definitely will increase next time. I did add two tablespoons of fresh ginger as I didn’t have powder. Substituted well. Will be making this again. 5 stars

  28. This recipe is delicious! I’ve made this dish twice now and planning on making it again tonight. I use a little more curry and ginger powder (to taste), a little less lime juice and swap the cilantro for parsley! Couldn’t recommend this dish enough.5 stars

  29. Nice simple tasty coconut curry! I did use fresh ginger instead of dried (trust me it will make it so much more flavorful) also I didn’t add the garlic at the beginning as instructed (this will kill your garlic) after the onion and peppers had cooked for a few minutes I added the garlic and ginger and let them cook for about 30 seconds then added the curry powder and allowed it to get aromatic (about one minute) then added the chicken. I let it simmer about ten minutes longer than the recipe as I like a thicker curry. For anyone looking for a vegetarian option you could substitute with chickpeas, cauliflower and sweet potato.5 stars

  30. Excellent and super easy. I have added broccoli and it all works out well. A new main staple in our house and the kids love it too.5 stars

  31. I want to be as constructively critical as I can. For those who eat more ethnic foods (Indian, Thai, etc) and you are expecting a deep rich flavor, this is not the recipe for you. I used more than double the amount of curry powder, from a reputable brand , used fresh ginger and lots of salt. Still after over an hour of trying to make this dish more flavorful, I was disappointed. Also it will be very watery and thin if you use the whole can of coconut milk. Mine was ok because I added a whole head of cauliflower so it could soak up some of the water. 1 star