This Massaman Curry with Chicken tastes even better than what you get at your favorite Thai restaurant and is secretly so much healthier! It’s easily made by simmering the coconut milk sauce with store-bought red curry paste, chicken thighs, potatoes and carrots. This quick Thai recipe is a little spicy, super delicious, and also naturally gluten- and dairy-free.

Massaman curry is slightly spicy and super delicious with chicken, potatoes, and carrots.

Massaman Chicken Curry Recipe

Recreating restaurant favorites at home is kind of my jam. Especially when it comes to trickier flavor profiles like you’ll find in Asian cuisine. (This General Tso’s ChickenPad Thai, and Chicken Fried Rice are some of my go-tos!)

So when I found myself ordering Massaman Curry from my local Thai restaurant for the third time that month… (Who can resist that creamy sauce and subtle peanut flavor!)

… I decided it was time for me to give it a go.

I took the easier (i.e., lazier?!) route and used a store-bought red curry paste. But it saved so much time and had a ton of flavor! Add that to chicken thighs, potatoes, coconut milk, and a few other seasonings and you have a delicious dinner that’s super easy to make!

It may look like there are a lot of ingredients, but if you’ve made other curry or Thai food, you probably already have most on hand. (And it’s totally worth it for the explosion of flavor at the end!)

Serve this massaman curry over a bed of Basmati rice.

What is Massaman Curry?

Massaman curry is a creamy, somewhat sweet, and mildly spicy Thai dish that often consists of a meat base, like chicken, potatoes, onions, and peanuts in a red curry sauce.

Though it’s more commonly known to have originated in Thailand, it has both Southeast Asian and Indian influences. It combines the traditional foods of Persian, India, and the Malay Archipelago.

Chicken, red curry paste, seasonings, potatoes, carrots, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce are the ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

To make this Thai Massaman curry recipe you need:

  • Red curry paste. My go-to brand is from Thai Kitchen. It’s easy to find and tastes great. But you can choose whatever brand you prefer. Try different types of store-bought curry paste if you have access to an Asian market. But do be cautious that the spice level can vary drastically.
  • Coconut milk. For the absolute best flavor and texture, choose full fat coconut milk. You can go with a lite version, but you’ll sacrifice creaminess.
  • Ginger paste. Look for a jar of prepared ginger paste in the produce department or use finely minced fresh ginger.
  • Chicken. Chicken thighs or breasts will work. Be sure to get boneless and skinless, and cut them into pieces.
  • Peanut butter. Choose a creamy variety so it mixes well into the sauce.
  • Garlic. Minced garlic is essential. You can sub in garlic powder instead of fresh garlic, but it won’t be the same.
  • Soy sauce. Regular soy sauce or a gluten-free tamari both work. (Here’s more about tamari vs. soy sauce.)
  • Peanuts. Use roasted and salted peanuts, then coarsely chop them.
  • Sugar. Both white and brown sugar will work, but can also be left out if you’re avoiding processed sugar. You can also opt for coconut sugar or palm sugar.
  • Lime. Freshly squeezed lime juice adds so much to this dish. Lime zest is awesome, too. You can use a bottled type if necessary, but the flavor will be slightly different.
  • Vegetables. A sweet onion makes the base while gold potatoes and carrots are stirred in.
  • Seasoning. You’ll want a flavorful mix of ground cumin, coriander, and cinnamon or nutmeg to really bring out the notes of the sauce. Salt and black pepper are also needed.
  • Rice. Make a batch of Instant Pot Basmati Rice to serve this chicken over. Jasmine rice works, too.

How to Make Massaman Chicken Curry

These are the steps to follow to make this Chicken Massaman curry recipe:

Make the Base

First, chop up the carrots, potatoes, and chicken into bite-sized pieces using a sharp knife. Avoid large chunks or the ingredients won’t cook consistently.

Then, add the oil to a large saucepan or a large skillet. A large Dutch oven works, too. Over medium or medium-high heat, sauté the onion for 2 to 3 minutes.

When those becomes translucent, add the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes. You should really start to smell the aromas of the spices and garlic.

Add the Chicken and Veggies

Carefully pour the carrots, potatoes, and chicken into the pot. Sauté for an additional 3 minutes.

Then, add the coconut milk, curry paste, salt, and pepper. Bring everything to a full boil.

Finish Cooking the Curry

After the mixture is boiling, reduce it to medium-low heat.

Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes uncovered. When the chicken is cooked through and the veggies are fork-tender, carefully stir in the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar.

Serve the massaman curry over basmati rice with chopped, roasted peanuts and some fresh chopped cilantro, if desired.

Massaman curry is a one pot meal that is ready in under 30 minutes.

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead: You can chop the veggies and leave in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • How to store: After the curry is at room temperature, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • How to freeze: You can freeze your leftover curry for up to 3-4 months. Let it come to room temperature, and then place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before transferring to the freezer.
  • How to reheat: If refrigerated, you can reheat the curry on the stovetop (this is the recommended method) or quickly reheat it in the microwave. If stored in the freezer, let it thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

Massaman curry vs. Panang curry?

While similar, massaman and panang curry differ in their spice level and typical meats. Panang curry often contains pork, and it has a spicy sauce. Massaman curry is less spicy, sweeter, and rarely contains pork. Both are super delicious!

Is Massaman curry spicy? Healthy?

Massaman curry is a somewhat-spicy dish, and generally considered healthy. It is full of good-for-you veggies and is a great way to enjoy lean chicken.

Can you freeze Massaman curry?

Massaman curry freezes well and is a great dish to meal prep. Just be sure to let it chill in the fridge for a few hours before transferring to the freezer.

A spoon is used to serve Massaman curry and rice from a white bowl.

Dietary Modifications

The recipe you’ll find below is already gluten-free and dairy-free as written. Here are some adjustments and substitutions you can make to help it fit your other dietary requirements:

  • Whole30: Simply leave out the sugar.
  • Low Fat: Use a lite coconut milk instead of the full-fat option.
  • Vegetarian: Opt for tofu and chickpeas, or increase the veggies in place of the chicken.

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • Change it up. Chicken is the most common protein, but others work just as well. Try shrimp, pork, beef, or even tofu!
  • Up the benefits. Feel free to include additional vegetables, like snow peas, red bell peppers, celery, broccoli, sweet potatoes, green beans, or even cabbage.
  • Be fancy. Take some extra time to cut your veggies at a diagonal for a nice look.
  • Go low-carb. Serve over a bed of cauliflower rice for extra nutrition.
  • Save time. While you can make your own curry paste, you can easily buy a jar at the store.

What to Serve with Massaman Curry?

Just like many curry dishes, you can serve this with a few different side dishes.

 Instant Pot Basmati Rice is quick and easy to make.

Or, keep it low-carb with Cauliflower Rice.

Add some flavor with Coconut Rice or Mango Coconut Rice.

More Thai-Inspired Recipes

Thai dishes are surprisingly easy to make and so flavorful. Try any of these recipes next.

If you love curry, try Yellow Chicken CurryGreen Chicken CurrySlow Cooker Chicken Curry, Pumpkin Curry, or Instant Pot Yellow Curry. (Or this Chana Masala Recipe for a vegan version!)

You can expand your options even more with Ground Chicken Thai Lettuce WrapsPad Thai Quinoa Salad, or Thai Zucchini Noodle Salad.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Massaman Chicken Curry Recipe

Skip the takeout and make the best Massaman Curry at home that's also easy and healthy. A red curry paste is used to make the base of the coconut milk sauce, then chicken and veggies round it out.
Yield 6 servings
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 30 minutes
Total 45 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 2 Tbsp. oil olive or avocado
  • 1 small sweet onion finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 2 tsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 2 cups Yukon gold potatoes cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 cup carrots peeled and cut into ¼-½-inch slices
  • 1 ¼ -1 ½ lbs. chicken thighs or breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 cans coconut milk full-fat
  • 4 oz. jar red curry paste mild or medium
  • 1 tsp. salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp. peanut butter creamy
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce or Tamari
  • 1 Tbsp. lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar or brown sugar
  • ½ cup peanuts roasted, salted, coarsely chopped
  • Cilantro finely chopped, for serving
  • Basmati rice for serving

Instructions 

  • Add the oil to a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Saute the onion for 2-3 minutes. Mix in the garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, and cinnamon. Cook for another 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
  • Add the carrots, potatoes, chicken thighs and saute another 3 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk, and add the curry paste, salt, and black pepper. Bring everything to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
  • Stir in the peanut butter, soy sauce, lime juice, and sugar. Serve over basmati rice with a sprinkle of finely chopped cilantro.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 4 votes

Video

Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • How to prep ahead: You can chop the veggies and leave in the fridge for up to 2 days.
  • How to store: After the curry is at room temperature, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
  • How to freeze: You can freeze your leftover curry for up to 3-4 months. Let it come to room temperature, and then place it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours before transferring to the freezer.
  • How to reheat: If refrigerated, you can reheat the curry on the stovetop (this is the recommended method) or quickly reheat it in the microwave. If stored in the freezer, let it thaw in the refrigerator and then reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

Nutrition

Calories: 682kcal, Carbohydrates: 33g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 52g, Saturated Fat: 33g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0.04g, Cholesterol: 90mg, Sodium: 747mg, Potassium: 1227mg, Fiber: 8g, Sugar: 10g, Vitamin A: 3651IU, Vitamin C: 28mg, Calcium: 95mg, Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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