Thai food is my ultimate comfort food and this Peanut Thai Curry checks every box in what I look for in a perfect Thai recipe. Warm spices and coconut make this creamy sauce absolutely delicious, and the peanut butter adds a depth and richness that is a great balance! Best of all, it is super easy and ready in under 30 minutes!
This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, I may receive a small commission when you click through and make a purchase.
How to Cook the Chicken
I recommend browning the chicken before making your sauce. Searing the chicken produces a deeper flavor that I love. Browning also creates a nice texture as it crusts the outside of the chicken.
But in traditional Indian cooking, the meat is put into the sauce raw. If you are looking to make this easy dish even more simple you can skip the browning step and cook your chicken once the sauce is blended.
If you go this route, you will need to add some cooking time in the end. It will take 20-30 minutes in the sauce for the chicken to cook through. Use a cooking thermometer to check that your chicken is at least 165°F.
This sauce is so simple!
Garlic and Ginger - The foundation to any great Thai dish are these two flavorful root vegetables! They are sauteed for just a minute before adding the red curry paste.
Red Curry Paste - Red curry paste is a medium heat curry, with less spice than green curry, but more than yellow.
Peanut Butter - The magical ingredient in this curry, peanut butter adds a creaminess and richness that makes this curry sauce delectable!
Spices - Chili powder and cayenne pepper add just the right amount of warmth.
Fish Sauce - Don't be afraid of fish sauce! It won't make your curry taste like fish! It adds saltiness and boosts flavor.
Sesame Oil - Sesame oil helps to draw out the nutty flavor of the peanut butter, and rounds out the flavors in this dish.
Coconut Milk - There is lots of coconut milk in this recipe! 3 cans! It makes it so creamy and delicious!
This makes a lot of sauce! You could cut the sauce recipe in half to get less sauce, but then you would have to use 1 ½ cans of coconut milk, and what a waste that would be.
Instead, I like to pull out any remaining chicken, along with some sauce, to have as leftovers the next day. Then freeze the remaining sauce!
The next time you need a super-fast dinner, just cook up some chicken, heat the sauce, and you have dinner with no effort!
If you love Thai food as much as I do, you'll want to try my Thai Cashew Chicken recipe too! It's another really fast dinner that is big on flavor!
Peanut Thai Chicken
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- 2 lbs chicken, cubed
- salt and pepper
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 inch fresh ginger, finely chopped or grated
- 3 tbsp red curry paste (I use Thai Kitchen. If using a spicier red curry, reduce to 2 tablespoons, if desired.)
- ¾ cup creamy peanut butter
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ tbsp fish sauce
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 3 cans coconut milk (13.5 oz each)
- roasted peanuts & cilantro for garnish
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Season chicken cubes with salt and pepper. (I just sprinkle lightly with both and toss the chicken.) Once the olive oil is shimmering, add chicken in an even layer (may need to do multiple batches) and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove onto plate and set aside. Chicken will finish cooking in the sauce.
- Add remaining oil to skillet over medium heat. Stir in garlic and ginger and cook for one minute, stirring to prevent burning. Add red curry paste and stir an additional minute. Add in remaining ingredients and whisk until smooth, then add the chicken that you previously browned. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is fully cooked.
- Serve over rice or noodles. Top with roasted peanuts and cilantro.