Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Thighs

$10.29 recipe / $2.06 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.41 from 80 votes
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Remember that Thai Curry Vegetable Soup that I made a while back that was like, “GAH! THIS IS SO GOOD!”? Well, yesterday I had a craving for those flavors again, but decided to do them up a little differently. I used the same concept to make these tender and juicy Braised Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Thighs. I made the coconut curry broth a little more concentrated and and braised the chicken thighs, then served the whole lot over a scoop of jasmine rice. The flavors are bold, rich, and complex, yet the dish is ridiculously simple to make. Just my style.

Overhead view of a bowl full of Thai Curry Chicken Thighs with jasmine rice and cilantro. Chopsticks on the side.

What Thai Curry Paste Did You Use?

The red Thai curry paste that I used is a store bought mix purchased in a small jar (see photos below). The brand is Thai Kitchen, which can be found in most major grocery stores in the U.S. I’ve even seen it in Walmart. They also make a green curry paste, which I think would be just as awesome.

Are Curry Paste and Curry Powder the Same?

Take note: Thai curry paste is not at all the same as the curry powder used in Indian cuisine. Totally different set of ingredients, despite the fact that they are both called curry. That being said, Indian curry goes great with coconut milk and chicken, too, so I bet it wouldn’t be so bad in this dish! Totally different, but still good. :)

Is this Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Spicy?

This dish is only somewhat spicy. Thai curry paste can vary quite a bit in heat level from brand to brand, so you may get a different result if using a different brand.

Side view of the Thai Coconut Curry Braised Chicken Thighs in the skillet, garnished with cilantro
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Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Thighs

4.41 from 80 votes
Thai Coconut Curry Braised Chicken Thighs are rich and bold in flavor, with spicy Thai curry paste and creamy coconut milk, but crazy simple to prepare.
Servings 5
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 35 minutes


  • 1 Tbsp cooking oil ($0.04)
  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs ($5.30)
  • 2 Tbsp red Thai curry paste ($0.62)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced ($0.16)
  • 1 Tbsp grated ginger ($0.05)
  • 1 13oz. can coconut milk ($2.17)
  • 1 cup chicken broth* ($0.13)
  • 1/4 tsp fish sauce ($0.02)
  • 5 cups cooked jasmine or basmati rice ($1.10)
  • 1/4 bunch fresh cilantro ($0.20)
  • 2-3 green onions** ($0.17)
  • 1 lime ($0.33)


  • Heat a large deep skillet or soup pot over medium heat. Add the cooking oil, then swirl to cover the surface of the skillet. Add the chicken thighs to the skillet and cook until browned on each side (about 3-5 minutes each side). Remove the chicken from the skillet.
  • Add the Thai curry paste, minced garlic, and grated ginger to the skillet. Stir and sauté the aromatics for about one minute.
  • Add the coconut milk, chicken broth, and fish sauce to the skillet. Stir to combine and dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Add the chicken back to the skillet, place a lid on top, and allow the skillet come to a simmer. Turn the heat down to low or medium-low and let the thighs simmer in the coconut sauce for 15 minutes.
  • To serve, scoop about 1 cup of cooked rice into the bottom of each bowl. Add one of the braised chicken thighs, then top with a ladle or two of the coconut broth. Add fresh cilantro leaves, sliced green onion, and a wedge or two of fresh lime to each bowl.

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*I use Better Than Bouillon to make my chicken broth.
**I usually use red onion for these curries, but I already had green onion on hand.


Serving: 1ServingCalories: 461.46kcalCarbohydrates: 50.84gProtein: 29.58gFat: 15.22gSodium: 1112.38mgFiber: 1.44g
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Scroll down for the step by step photos!

Front view of a bowl full of Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Thighs with jasmine rice and cilantro

How to Make Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Thighs – Step by Step Photos

Browned Chicken Thighs in a deep skillet

Start by heating a large deep skillet, or soup pot, over a medium flame. Once hot, add 1 Tbsp cooking oil (or coconut oil, if you prefer). Tilt the skillet to distribute the oil over the surface, then add five boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5 lbs.). Cook the thighs on each side until browned (about 3-5 minutes each side), then remove them from the skillet. They won’t be cook through at this point. They will finish cooking when they simmer in the coconut curry broth.

Thai Curry Paste Ginger and Garlic in a deep skillet

Add 2 Tbsp red Thai curry paste, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and about 1 Tbsp grated ginger to the skillet.

Sautéed Aromatics in the skillet with a wooden spoon

Sauté these aromatics for about a minute.

Jar of Red Thai Curry Paste, Thai Kitchen brand

BTW, this is the curry paste I’m using. It can be found in most major grocery stores in the U.S. They also make a green curry paste, which would probably also be awesome in this.

Chicken Broth, Coconut Milk, and Fish Sauce added to the skillet

Add a 13oz. can of coconut milk, 1 cup chicken broth, and 1/4 tsp fish sauce. Stir to combine and dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet.

Add Chicken Thighs Back to Skillet with Thai curry broth

Now add the partially cooked chicken thighs back to the skillet and place a lid on top. Let it come up to a simmer, then turn the heat down to low or medium-low and let the chicken simmer in the coconut broth for 15 minutes.

Simmered Thighs with Cilantro added on top

And then you’ll have this deliciousness! Squeeze a little lime juice over top and add a few fresh cilantro leaves and sliced green onion.

A bowl of Thai Coconut Curry Braised Chicken Thighs served with jasmine rice and cilantro

Serve the Thai Coconut Curry Braised Chicken Thighs over a scoop of cooked jasmine or basmati rice, with a little more fresh cilantro, sliced green onion, and a wedge or two of lime. Does it get any better than this??

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  1. I frequently slice my chicken into bite size pieces before cooking. I also add a variety of vegetables, most frequently baby corn, baby bok choi, red bell pepper, fresh mung bean sprouts, kale/chard if I have it. Very versatile, and I make it a lot.

  2. Add a few keyfir lime leaves and thai basil leaves and a pinch of palm sugar. Thanks for the post – I think Ill make it tonight.

  3. Y’all this recipe is incredible. Budget Bytes does a lot of good stuff, but we really REALLY loved this one.

  4. Have to agree with others who said this severely lacked flavour – it’s there, a hint of it, but even after doubling everything except the chicken, oil, coconut milk, and broth – it still remained a hint. If you’re used to ethnic food and flavour this will be a big miss.

  5. Wow this was delicious. I didn’t change a thing. It’s packed with flavor and depth. The cilantro and green onions with lime at the end are the absolutely crucial in this delicious dish. I will be making it again for certain.

    1. I haven’t tried that, but it might be a good candidate for the slow cooker!

  6. I wanted to love this, but like another commenter I found it so lacking in flavor. I didn’t have fresh ginger so had to use ground, and only had low sodium chicken broth. Wondering if those were my issues? It smelled so good when it was cooking I was surprised when I took a bite and found it bland. 

    1. Yes, unfortunately, not having fresh ginger and reducing the sodium will definitely impact the flavor. :(

  7. I tried this after falling in love with your Thai Curry Vegetable Soup. I made it with homemade seitan (meat substitute) instead of chicken and it worked perfectly. Thank you so much! <3

  8. I made this for dinner and it was so delicious. Everyone loved it. Loved that it was so easy.

  9. Delicious dish, I would only suggest some palm sugar/brown sugar (a table spoon or two) depending on your curry paste, and some more fish sauce. Makes me miss my home country. Thank you for this recipe! 

  10. Really simple but delish. I go kinda crazy with the toppings when I got the munchies (black garlic seasoning, fried shallots, red onions, chopped peanuts, green onions, sliced hardboiled egg). Sometimes I add 2 tablespoons of peanut butter to make a very lazy mussamun curry.

  11. I tried this recipe and liked it enough to cook it again. Next time however I’m going to marinate the meat and maybe even use a seasoned panko to give sear it and make nice tasty crust. I thought the sauce was delicious but the meat was a little bland. Fresh basil picked from my garden added a just the right aroma.

  12. Have made this before but I’ve got some tilapia filets that I dont know what to do with. How might that work in this soup? Could I cook it in the soup or should I spoon it over the cooked filets?

    1. I’ve wanted to try a fish version of this, but I haven’t yet, so I can’t say for sure what the best method would be. I think I’d probably add the fish to the sauce and let it simmer until the fish is cooked through.

  13. hi Beth! This is an all-time favorite recipe that I have made with chicken but also tofus of pulses – you absolutely can’t go wrong with it, and it feels so exotic, rich, and has a depth of flavor for just a small amount of effort.

    I just wanted to add that I did actually try it with green curry paste, and didn’t like it as much. I love green curry, but I feel like the heat overpowers some of the other aromas going on in this recipe like ginger, fish sauce, lime, cilantro, and even the coconut! It was still a big bowl of warm delicious curry, but the red paste is so beautifully complementary to those flavors and works much better in my view. My two cents only!

  14. The comments here are really helpful. I did a dry rub on the chicken thighs first (salt, freshly cracked pepper, paprika, thyme, and garlic powder as someone suggested) and let them marinate for about 30 min before cooking.

    I used a big 12 inch stainless steel pan so I could unfold the thighs and get everything crispy. I added an extra tbsp of the same brand curry sauce as Beth and added a bay leaf to the rice when cooking. I forgot to add the sugar as many others suggested but thought it was delicious as is.