This Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry is packed with juicy chicken coated in a creamy, mildly spicy, and flavorful coconut milk sauce. Serve over rice for a quick and easy, nutritious dinner!
This recipe has been highly requested (if you’ve made my Crockpot Thai Chicken Curry, then you know what I mean) and it took me FAR too long to actually make this, so for that, I apologize.
My friends, the moment you’ve all been waiting for: Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry! It’s just as good as the original slow cooker version, but it’s made in a fraction of the time!
Ingredients and substitutions
- Chicken – the original recipe calls for frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs, but fresh, frozen, boneless, bone-in, chicken thighs or chicken breasts will work. Basically, any uncooked chicken you have on hand will be fine. Cook time will vary.
- Chicken Broth – placed in the Instant Pot with the chicken. This helps add moisture and flavor to the chicken as it cooks and helps avoid a BURN notice. Any flavor of broth you have on hand (vegetable, beef) will work as a substitute. Water may be used as a last resort, but you’ll likely need to add additional seasonings.
- Coconut Milk – full fat or light canned coconut milk is fine. I don’t recommend the carton variety, it’s much less creamy and often has added ingredients. Canned coconut cream may be used for an extra creamy curry.
- Peanut Butter – processed peanut butter (the kind with sugar and oil) such as Jiff or the all natural varieties (the kind with only nuts) can be used. Another nut butter may also be used. Nut allergy? Try sunflower seed butter.
- Red Curry Paste – different brands have different spice levels, but this recipe was tested using Thai Kitchen. I’ve heard Mae Ploy is much spicier, so maybe start with 1 tablespoon and add more from there. Yellow, green, or panang curry paste may be used, if preferred.
- Fish Sauce – provides that classic amazing funky flavor! It’s savory, salty, and full of umami and fishy flavors. If it’s absolutely, feel free to omit and replace with additional soy sauce or oyster sauce.
- Soy Sauce – adds an umami, savory, salty flavor. Use a gluten free tamari or coconut aminos if you need this dish to be gluten free.
- Lime Juice – balances out the richness of the coconut milk with a bright, tangy flavor.
- Brown Sugar – provides a subtle sweetness to enhance the coconut milk flavor and to balance out the spiciness from the red curry paste. Granulated sugar, coconut sugar, honey, agave, or pure maple syrup may be used to replace the brown sugar, if necessary.
- Garlic – I used 1 tablespoon jarred pre-minced garlic to save time, but fresh garlic or even garlic powder may be used. If using garlic powder, use 1 teaspoon.
- Ginger – 1/2 teaspoon dried, ground ginger is used, but feel free to use freshly minced ginger, if desired; use 1/2 tablespoon freshly minced ginger to replace the ground ginger.
- Red Pepper Flakes – adds an additional hint of spice. Omit if you’re sensitive to heat or add more as a garnish if you’re a spice lover!
Will coconut cream curdle in an instant pot?
It can if you’re using it while pressure cooking, but this recipe stirs in the coconut milk/cream AFTER pressure cooking. The chicken is cooked on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes, then the coconut milk is whisked together with the other sauce ingredients and is then cooked using the SAUTE function on the Instant Pot. This way, the coconut milk will definitely not curdle.
Can i double the recipe?
If you’re using a 6 quart Instant Pot, this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled. There’s no need to adjust the cook time unless you’re using a different variety of chicken.
- Make it spicy. Add more red curry paste and/or red pepper flakes.
- Add vegetables. My favorite, easy way to add in vegetables is using a frozen bag of Asian-style vegetables (cooked according to bag directions, then seasoned with salt). I also love serving this curry with sautéed red bell peppers and onions, or next to roasted broccoli or these chilled green beans!
- Make it lighter. Use chicken breasts and lite canned coconut milk to cut a few calories. It won’t be as juicy and creamy though!
- Make it on the stove. Try my stovetop Red Curry!
- Make it in the slow cooker. Make my Crockpot Thai Chicken Curry!
What to serve with instant pot thai chicken curry?
This curry absolutely must be served next to your favorite rice and topped with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and green onions! I also love serving this next to some veggies and maybe an appetizer or two.
How to store
Leftovers will last in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, thaw in the fridge, if frozen, then microwave or heat on the stove until warm.
Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry
Equipment for this recipe
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 pounds frozen boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- 1 (14 oz) can full fat coconut milk could also use lite
- 1/4 cup peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons red curry paste
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or gluten free alternative
- 3 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Salt to taste, if necessary
- Stir fry veggies for serving
- Instant Pot Rice for serving
- Cilantro for topping
- Peanuts for topping
- Sliced green onions for topping
- Pour chicken broth into your 6 quart Instant Pot, then place the frozen chicken thighs on top.
- Cover and lock the lid - make sure the pressure valve is pointed toward SEALING, then cook on HIGH pressure for 15 minutes.
- Once the IP is finished cooking, allow the IP to naturally release for 15 minutes before flipping the pressure valve to release any remaining pressure.
- Remove the chicken (leave the broth) and set aside for 10 minutes before shredding or cubing into chunks.
- To the chicken broth in the IP, whisk in the coconut milk, peanut butter, red curry paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, minced garlic, ground ginger, and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Hit SAUTE on the IP, bring to a simmer, then simmer for 5 minutes, whisking occasionally to prevent burning.
- Stir in the shredded or cubed chicken, then taste and re-season, if necessary.
- Serve with optional sides and toppings and enjoy!
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.