Spicy, rich, and creamy, this instant pot Thai red chicken curry is perfect for those busy weeknight dinners. Tender and juicy chicken flavored with colorful peppers and coconut milk, all you need is 30 minutes in the instant pot!
But why order takeout when it’s easy to make great tasting Thai food dishes at home? From all the Thai recipes with coconut milk that exist, this instant pot chicken curry is the best! Easy to make at home in 30 minutes, the aroma and flavor of the instant pot chicken curry are spot on!
What is Thai Curry?
Thai curry is a gravy-like dish that’s made using a curry paste base to which meat and vegetables are added. Meats used can include beef, chicken, shrimp, or fish.
The Thai curry paste is usually made using ingredients such as coconut milk, shrimp paste, lemongrass, chilies, onions, garlic, galangal, and coriander aka cilantro. These curries that we call Thai curries are called kaeng or gaeng in Thailand.
There are different types of Thai curries – red curry, green curry, yellow curry, panang curry, and massaman curry. Green curry has green chilies as the hero ingredient.
Red curry, like the one we’re cooking, is made with coconut milk and a red curry paste where dried phrik chi fa red chilies are the main ingredient. Yellow curry is a milder version of the red curry that also includes turmeric, lime, and mustard seeds. Panang curry is a thicker red curry that is salt, sweet and also includes kaffir lime leaves.
And Massaman curry, which has Indian, Malaysian, and Persian influences, uses spices not present in other Thai curries. These include cinnamon, cardamon, cloves, star anise, bay leaves, nutmeg, and more.
To make a traditionally flavored Thai red curry with chicken you’ll need a handful of ingredients that are popular in Asian cooking.
- Boneless Chicken Breast
- Light Olive Oil
- Thai Red Curry Paste
- Grated Garlic Cloves or Garlic Powder
- Ginger Paste
- Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth
- Red Rice Pad Thai Noodles
- Fresh Basil Leaves
- Sliced Onion
- Red Bell Pepper
- Unsweetened Coconut Milk
- Lime Juice
How to Make Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry
Cooking Thai curries sounds like a daunting task. But with an instant pot by your side, this instant pot Thai chicken curry will be ready in no time!
Step 1: Cook the Chicken
Add the chicken breast pieces, chicken broth, olive oil, red curry paste, garlic, ginger paste, salt, lemongrass, and cilantro to the instant pot. Mix everything together well and close the instant pot.
Let the ingredients in the instant pot cook at high pressure for 5 minutes. Once it’s done, do a manual release to fully release pressure.
After releasing, open the instant pot. Use tongs or a fork to remove all of the cilantro and lemongrass and discard them.
Step 2: Add the Veggies and Noodles
Add all of the chopped vegetables and Red Rice Pad Thai Noodles to the instant pot.
Set the instant pot on saute mode for 5 to 6 minutes to allow the veggies and noodles to cook.
This also helps the sauce to reduce and thicken.
Step 3: Serve
Transfer the instant pot Thai chicken curry with noodles to a bowl and serve. You can top this coconut milk flavored Thai chicken with lime juice, cilantro, or basil leaves before serving!
Optional Serving Suggestions and Tips
- Instead of olive oil, you can use coconut oil for a more authentic Thai flavor.
- You can use chicken broth that has been prepared beforehand on the same day or earlier in the week as long as it’s stored in the refrigerator.
- To make a spicier curry, add more red curry paste. (1 TBSP = mild, 2 TBSP = mild/medium, 3 TBSP – medium, 4 TBSP – medium/hot, 5 TBSP – hot)
- Do not add the coconut milk at the starting or it will split. It’s important to add it later with the vegetables.
- If you find kaffir lime leaves in your local Asian store, add that to your curry for a stronger citrus flavor.
- Top with lime juice, fresh cilantro leaves, or fresh basil leaves.
- This fruit salad or easy peach ice cream complement Thai food nicely.
FAQs About Instant Pot Chicken Curry
Thai curries cook for a shorter time than Indian curries, user fewer spices and almost always include coconut milk. Indian curries use a lot of tomatoes and are heavier on the dry spices. Thai curries also use wet herbs, lemongrass ad kaffir lime that Indian curries don’t.
Yes, you can make Thai red curry paste at home. Here’s a good recipe.
Yes, you can use chicken thighs too. Increase the pressure cooker time to 7 minutes to cook the chicken thighs.
You can store leftover chicken red curry in the fridge or freezer section of your refrigerator. Let the dish cool completely, transfer it to airtight containers, and freeze till you need it. If storing in the fridge, it will last for a few days. If storing in the freezer, it will last for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat the rest of it, thaw for an hour or so, then reheat and serve.
Instant Pot Thai Red Curry Recipe
You can print off the complete ingredients and instructions for this Instant Pot Thai Red Curry Recipe via the recipe card below.
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Instant Pot Thai Red Curry Chicken
- Instant Pot
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast cut in 1-inch pieces
- 1 TBSP light olive oil
- 1 TBSP thai red curry paste 1 TBSP = mild, 2 TBSP = mild/medium, 3 TBSP – medium, 4 TBSP – medium/hot, 5 TBSP – hot
- 2 cloves garlic grated or ground or 1/4 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ TBSP ginger paste
- 3 cups chicken broth or Vegetable Broth
- 1/2 TSP salt
- 1 stalk of lemongrass cut into 3 pieces
- 1/2 a bunch of cilantro
- 2 oz. Red Rice Pad Thai Noodles I used the Explore Cuisine brand
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 small onion sliced about 1/2 cup
- 1 small red bell pepper sliced about 1/2 cup
- 1 zucchini sliced in half-moons about 1/2 cup
- 1/2 cup carrots sliced
- 1/2 can Coconut Milk unsweetened
- 1 TBSP honey
- ½ TSP lime juice or ½ lime squeezed
- Add to your instant pot chicken, chicken broth, olive oil, red curry paste, garlic, ginger paste, salt, lemon grass, and cilantro.
- Give it a good mix together. Place your instant pot lid on and make sure your ceiling valve is closed.
- Set your instant pot to high-pressure for 5 minutes.
- Once it is finished cooking, do a manual release by bringing the valve toward you to release all of the pressure. It should take about 3 to 4 minutes to fully release pressure.
- Open your lid, and with tongues or a fork, remove all of the cilantro, and discard. Remove your lemon grass and discard.
- Press cancel on your instant pot, then select sauté mode. Add to your instant pot the noodles, basil leaves, onion, bell pepper, zucchini, carrots, coconut milk, honey, and lime juice.
- Sauté For about 5 to 6 minutes to allow your noodles to soften, as well as your vegetables to cook through. This will also help reduce your sauce and create a bit of thickness to the dish.
- Transfer to a bowl to enjoy. You can top with more lime juice, cilantro, basil leaves, and/or more salt to your liking! Enjoy!