This Instant Pot Thai curry has a creamy, spicy and flavorful sauce, and comes together quickly for a weeknight dinner. Rich, fragrant, and absolutely delicious.
The Instant Pot has made it so easy to get my favorite dinner recipes on the table quickly: from Instant Pot Cajun rice and sausage to Instant Pot chicken tikka masala and more. One recipe that I come back to time and time again is this Instant Pot Thai chicken curry.
This Thai chicken curry recipe is so simple and does not require any sauteeing, yet delivers big on the complex flavors of Thai curry: sweet, sour, salty and spicy.
With positive reviews from readers, it seems that you guys love it as well!
Reasons you'll ♡ this Instant Pot Thai chicken curry
- it has a short ingredients list and requires no sauteeing
- you can have dinner on your table in under 30 minutes
- leftovers are great and you can make this into a freezer Instant Pot meal
Let's make Thai curry in the Instant Pot! Watch this 1-minute video for step by step instructions. You can find more recipe videos on my YouTube channel.
Don't forget to pin this recipe to save it for later!
What is Thai curry?
Thai curry is a popular dish originating in Thailand made from curry paste, coconut milk, meat or seafood, and vegetables. There are many different types of Thai curry including red, green, Panang and Massaman curry, and the exact method of cooking each varies by chef (1).
Whereas Indian curries are thicker and made with a mixture of tomatoes, onions and dry spices, Thai curry derives its flavor from a mixture of herbs including shallots, lemongrass, garlic, galangal and (of course) Thai chiles (2).
My goal with this recipe is to honor the traditional flavors of Thai red curry, while using ingredients which are easily found in North America. I hope that this recipe honors the roots and flavor of traditional Thai curry while introducing it to new home cooks.
Ingredients you'll need
- Thai red curry paste- my favorites are Thai Kitchen and Cock brand; Mae Ploy is another good one. You can also swap for green curry paste.
- Fish sauce- pungent, salty, and full of umami, this ingredient is absolutely essential in a good Thai curry. Don't be scared off by the smell! Find it in the international section of your grocery store
- Brown sugar- necessary to balance the saltiness of the fish sauce and curry paste, you can swap it for coconut sugar, maple syrup or honey
- Lime juice- stir this in at the end of the cook time to add acid and a slight sour taste that adds the necessary complexity to the curry
- Coconut milk- go for full fat coconut milk for a creamy, luxurious sauce
- Chicken breast- we are using 1 lb, roughly 2 large chicken breasts, but you can swap for chicken thighs.
- Vegetables- I've used sliced bell pepper, onion and snap peas. Feel free to use up your favorites!
Optional but delicious
- Kaffir lime leaves- occasionally found at the grocery store but you may need to visit an Asian grocery store. Adds citrussy lime flavor without sourness. You can freeze leftovers!
- Thai basil- this type of basil has a decidedly licoricey flavor about it and adds bright, fresh flavors to the curry. Note that regular basil is pictured here (also good)
Cooking Thai curry in the Instant Pot
For this recipe, we are using a three-step method that is simple, easy, and gets dinner on the table in under 30 minutes.
- First, we cook our chicken in the coconut milk with some red curry paste, fish sauce and brown sugar on high pressure for 8 minutes.
- Second, we remove our cooked chicken from the Instant Pot and allow it to rest. Turn the Instant Pot to sautee and we are now going to cook our veggies for 3-5 minutes. I used bell pepper and red onion slices, and snap peas in this recipe, and cooked them until they were slightly softened.
- Third, we slice the chicken and add it back to the pot. Squeeze some fresh lime juice and mix it all in. Serve with rice and spoon that delicious Thai coconut curry sauce over everything! You can add some fresh Thai basil or cilantro leaves if you'd like, or just enjoy it as is.
Does the coconut milk break in the Instant Pot?
I've made this recipe close to 10 times, and my coconut milk has never broken. With that being said, some readers have had this issue. I use a good quality, full fat coconut milk (Thai Kitchen is my fave), which I suspect has something to do with it.
Want to add extra flavor?
Sautee some aromatics in a bit of olive oil before adding the rest of the ingredients. Shallots, garlic and ginger would all be great additions. If you have lemongrass or lime leaves, these would also be a great way to add even more dimension to the Thai red curry sauce! Don't forget to saute the curry paste for 1-2 minutes.
Can I make this recipe in the slow cooker?
Sadly, no. I have tried many times to master this Thai red curry recipe in the slow cooker, but the coconut milk separates, making this not possible.
Which other vegetables can we use in Thai chicken curry?
You can go wild here. Bok choy, zucchini, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and many more would be great in this recipe. Note you will need to cut hardy veggies like carrots, broccoli and cauliflower quite small to get them to soften.
Meal prep tips
This is one of my favorite recipes to use for meal prep because it tastes even better on day two!
You can cook this recipe ahead, portion it out with rice, and store in the fridge for up to 4 days. You may also freeze for up to 3 months! Thaw completely, then heat up in the microwave.
Check out my favorite meal prep containers.
Freezer Instant Pot meals
Another way to meal prep this recipe is to assemble the chicken, coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce and brown sugar ahead and store in a freezer bag, reusable silicone bag or meal prep container. Freeze for up to 3 months, then thaw and cook in the Instant Pot as directed.
Find 6 more Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipes that can be assembled ahead and frozen like this!
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Chipotle Lime Chicken Breasts
- Instant Pot Creamy Lemon Chicken Breasts
- Instant Pot Chicken Breasts with Sun Dried Tomato Sauce
- Instant Pot Coconut Sweet Chili Chicken Stir Fry
- Instant Pot Soy Ginger Chicken
- Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
Spicy Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 4 cups vegetables sliced (bell peppers, red onion and snap peas pictured)
- Combine all ingredients not listed 'after cooking' into the stainless steel insert of a 6 quart Instant Pot (note 3).
- Put the lid on the Instant Pot, set the steam release handle to 'sealing', and select 'pressure cook' (or 'manual' on older models) for high pressure 8 minutes.
- Do a quick pressure release (release the pressure immediately after the Instant Pot beeps).
- Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot using a set of tongs and set aside to rest.
- Select the 'sautee' button, and add in the lime juice and vegetables. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes. Using oven mitts remove the stainless steel pot from the Instant Pot.
- Slice the chicken and add back to the Instant Pot.
- Serve with rice.
To Make Freezer Packs
- Combine all ingredients not listed 'after cooking' in a gallon size freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible.
- Freeze flat for up to 3 months.
- Thaw completely before cooking as directed above.