Thai Yellow Curry is easy to make at home in only 20 minutes! This recipe is made with chicken, but extra vegetables can be swapped in for a vegetarian curry. The authentic Thai curry sauce is so delicious, you’ll feel like you’re eating at your favorite Thai restaurant!

chicken and vegetables in yellow curry sauce in skillet

Are you constantly dreaming that Thai food takeout will magically appear in your kitchen for dinner? No, just me? Either way, this recipe for Thai Yellow Curry will give you that delicious, straight-from-your-favorite-Thai-restaurant taste without ever leaving your kitchen! The best news is, you can make it in just 20 minutes!

For a few years now, I’ve been working on perfecting my favorite Thai recipes at home. I successfully created amazing versions of my favorite noodle dishes, Spicy Vegetable Pad Thai and Drunken Noodles. Now it was time to recreate my favorite curry dish!

I spent years testing and perfecting this recipe, trying different brands of curry paste, until I found the perfect one. This recipe has the perfect balance of sweet, salty and creamy flavors and textures. It tastes just like an authentic Thai curry and it’s so easy to make!

ingredients for Thai yellow curry


Create the best yellow curry recipe with a simple combination of ingredients! See the recipe card at the bottom of this post for all of the detailed measurements.

  • Coconut oil – I like to use this oil because it adds just a slight sweetness to the curry, that pairs perfectly with the mild, sweet flavor of the yellow curry. You could also use olive oil, or another vegetable oil, if you prefer.
  • Onion – for this recipe, I used a yellow onion, as it is the best for cooking. But you can definitely substitute in a white or red onion, if that’s what you have on hand.
  • Yellow curry paste – now this is the secret ingredient that will make or break your yellow curry. You can definitely make your own curry paste at home, but since we’re making this recipe in 20 minutes, I like to skip that step and use a pre-made curry paste, that’s just as delicious as homemade! One of my friends, who is from Laos and makes the most amazing homemade Thai food, turned me on to Mae Ploy curry pastes years ago, and I haven’t turned back. You can find Mae Ploy Yellow Curry Paste online or in most large Asian markets. It’s naturally vegan, gluten free and contains no MSG or artificial colors.
  • Coconut milk – for this recipe, you’ll want two cans of unsweetened coconut milk. You do not want to use coconut milk that comes in a carton. It’s extremely watered down and will not give you the creamy texture that you want in a curry sauce. If you want an extra creamy sauce, you can use cans of unsweetened coconut cream, instead of coconut milk.
  • Red bell pepper – you can also use green, yellow or orange bell peppers in this recipe.
  • Carrots – you’ll want to slice the carrots about 1/4 inch thick, so that they will soften in the curry sauce in just about 10 minutes.
  • Chicken – for this recipe, I use boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but you can also use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. The key is to slice the chicken very thin so that it cooks in the curry sauce in less than 10 minutes.
  • Brown sugar – to add sweetness to the sauce.
  • Fish sauce – to add salt and umami flavor to the sauce. Substitute in soy sauce if you want to make a vegetarian or vegan curry. You can also use coconut aminos, if you have a gluten or soy allergy, but still want to make the recipe vegetarian.
  • Lime juice – you always want to use fresh-squeezed when possible. This adds a delicious zest of flavor and acidity to the curry.
collage of images showing how to make yellow curry


  1. Add coconut oil to a large pot on the stove over medium high heat. Once the oil has melted, add diced onions and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add yellow curry paste and cook for 2 minutes.
  2. Pour two cans of coconut milk into the pot and bring to a simmer.
  3. Add diced bell peppers and carrots to the pot and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add thinly sliced chicken to the sauce and simmer for an additional 6-8 minutes.
    • Note: For a vegetarian curry, add more veggies with the bell peppers and carrots, and skip the step of adding in the chicken. Eggplant, zucchini, red potatoes and broccoli are all great additions to this dish.
  5. Stir brown sugar, fish sauce and lime juice into the curry. If making this recipe vegetarian, omit the fish sauce and instead add one teaspoon of soy sauce or coconut aminos.
  6. Remove the curry from the heat and spoon it over cooked white jasmine rice, brown rice, rice noodles, cooked quinoa or for a low carb option, use cauliflower rice.
vegetables and chicken in yellow curry sauce in bowl with cooked white rice

What yellow curry paste to use

Yellow Thai Curry is slightly sweet and mild in flavor, but you can kick it up to your desired spice level with the addition of Thai chilies. I use Mae Ploy Yellow Curry Paste, which can be found at some grocery stores, Asian markets or online. I purchase a large container of it, as it will keep in the fridge sealed and covered for up to 2 years.

Out of all the pre-made curry pastes I’ve tried, this one definitely has the best flavor and the most similar taste to what you’d get at a Thai restaurant. It contains garlic, lemongrass, shallot, dried red chile, salt, galanga, cumin, cinnamon, star anise, turmeric, kaffir lime peel and coriander seed.

It does not contain shrimp paste, which makes it vegan and great for making vegetarian and vegan curries. Using a pre-made curry paste makes this recipe so simple and easy to toss together. Plus you get the authentic taste of a Thai restaurant Curry without searching the grocery store for galanga and kaffir lime peel!

yellow curry chicken in skillet

Frequently asked questions

How spicy is yellow curry?

Yellow curry is not spicy, it’s mild and slightly sweet. If you like a little heat in your curry, add 1-2 diced Thai chilies with the onions. This will take the curry to about a 5 on the 1-10 Thai restaurant spice level.

If you like a lot of heat in your curry, add 3-4 diced Thai chilies. This will take the curry to about an 8 on the 1-10 spice level.

What is the difference between red curry and yellow curry?

Red curry is spicier than yellow curry. Red curry paste gets it’s color from the ground red chilies used in the sauce. Yellow curry gets it’s golden color from the spice turmeric, which is found in the yellow curry paste.

Is yellow curry good for you?

Yellow curry is high in vitamins A and C and iron. But it is also high in fat from the coconut milk. To reduce the fat and calories by two-thirds, use lite coconut milk. It won’t have quite the creaminess of full-fat coconut milk, but is a great way to cut calories and fat.

How long will leftovers last in the refrigerator?

You can store leftover yellow chicken curry in airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat the curry, I recommend adding it back to a pot on the stove over medium-high heat. Simmer the curry for 8-10 minutes, or until it’s heated through.

Is this recipe gluten free?

Yes, using the ingredients pictured in this post, the recipe is naturally gluten free. Always make sure that the fish sauce and curry paste used in the recipe are gluten free. Mae Ploy curry paste and Thai Kitchen fish sauce are both gluten free.

yellow chicken curry in bowl with vegetables and rice

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chicken and vegetables in yellow curry sauce in skillet
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Thai Yellow Curry

Thai Yellow Curry is easy to make at home in only 20 minutes! This recipe is made with chicken, but extra vegetables can be swapped in for a vegetarian curry. The authentic Thai curry sauce is so delicious, you'll feel like you're eating at your favorite Thai restaurant!



  • Add the coconut oil to a large pot over medium high heat.
  • Add the onion and saute 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the yellow curry paste and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the bell pepper and carrots, simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the chicken and continue simmering for 6-8 minutes.
  • Stir in the brown sugar, fish sauce and lime juice.
  • Remove from the heat and serve.



  • Coconut cream can be used in place of coconut milk to make a thicker sauce.
  • For a vegetarian curry, replace the pound of chicken with 1 pound of sliced or diced vegetables, like eggplant, zucchini, red potatoes or broccoli.
  • My favorite brand of yellow curry paste is Mae Ploy Yellow Curry Paste. It’s easy to find online, at some major grocery stores and in Asian markets.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 767kcal (38%)Carbohydrates 19g (6%)Protein 26g (52%)Fat 67g (103%)Saturated Fat 48g (240%)Cholesterol 85mg (28%)Sodium 251mg (10%)Potassium 921mg (26%)Fiber 3g (12%)Sugar 9g (10%)Vitamin A 9775mg (196%)Vitamin C 58.4mg (71%)Calcium 101mg (10%)Iron 8.9mg (49%)
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