Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry

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Instant Pot Thai chicken curry made with pieces of chicken thighs simmered in a coconut sauce. Exotic flavors of red curry paste and coconut milk infuse wonderfully into the dish. A quick pressure cooker meal ready in less than 30 minutes!

Top down photo of a bowl of Thai chicken curry with chunks of pineapples and vegetables

Bold flavors of Thai cuisine is easy to recreate right at home using ingredients like fragrant red curry paste, coconut milk, and fish sauce. This Instant Pot Thai curry has tender chicken thighs, bell pepper, zucchini, onion, and pineapple to create an enticing dish.

Using electric high-pressure cooking technology with the Instant Pot only takes 6 minutes to cook the chicken. The more delicate squash, bell pepper, and pineapple are added at the end of cooking using the saute function to ensure they don’t overcook and become mushy. The pungent spices, fermented fish sauce, and sweetness from the pineapple provide the right balance of flavors to the curry.

Cooking Thai chicken curry inside the Instant Pot

How to make instant pot Thai chicken curry

  1. Use dark meat like chicken thighs to prevent the meat from drying out.
  2. Cut larger pieces of chicken consistent in size for even cooking.
  3. Use the saute function to lightly brown the chicken and bloom the curry spices for enhanced flavor.
  4. Cook the chicken and sauce on “High Pressure” for 6 minutes, followed by “Quick Release.”
  5. Simmer zucchini, bell pepper, and pineapple at the end of cooking using the saute function for better texture.

After practicing with different chicken parts and sizes, I was able to find the right timing. Chicken breast can be used; however, I recommend adding the whole breast, cooking on high for 10 minutes, and then cutting it after cooking so the lean meat stays moist.

Pre-portioned jars of ingredients to make curry

Thai curry sauce ingredients

  • Red curry paste (red chili pepper, garlic, lemongrass, galangal (Thai ginger), kaffir lime.
  • Unsweetened coconut milk
  • Fish Sauce
  • Maple syrup (or preferred sweetener)
  • Garlic and onion

Thai food is famous for its various curry dishes made with homemade spice blends. For convenience, red and green curry paste are the most commonly found in grocery stores. These intense spice and pepper mixtures pack a punch of flavor and heat which is the base of any good curry.

The combination of pungent, spicy, sweet, and savory flavors are transferred to the surface of the chicken as it cooks. I always look forward to spooning a generous amount of the curry sauce over the meat and rice, which gets absorbed into each grain. Yum!

Close up of Instant Pot Thai chicken curry in a bowl filled with white rice

After cooking the curry under pressure, I noticed that there’s extra moisture built-up in the pot from the steam. To help concentrate the sauce, the vegetables and fruit get cooked with the lid off on the saute function and a little more coconut milk is added for richness. The sauce isn’t very spicy, so feel free to add more curry paste or hot sauce like sriracha to increase the heat.

This is a great beginner’s chicken curry recipe and an exciting way to build a Thai pantry. The medley of protein, veggies, and fruit make for a complete meal solution. I like to serve this Instant Pot chicken curry with fluffy jasmine rice, or cauliflower rice for a low carb and grain-free option. I can’t wait to hear what you think about the recipe, make sure to leave a comment below!

More Instant Pot recipes

Bloom spices for more flavor impact

The red Thai curry paste contains a plethora of spices, aromatics, and peppers. To coax the flavors and aromas out of the pulp, saute it in some oil before adding in the coconut milk. The oil-soluble flavor compounds and capsaicin (what makes chili peppers hot) will be amplified. The result is a tastier dish, highlighting the unique ingredients in the curry.

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Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry

Instant Pot Thai chicken curry made in less than 30 minutes using chicken thighs simmered in a coconut sauce, red curry paste and coconut milk. 
Pin Print Review
4.48 from 17 votes
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Thai

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup white onion, ¼-inch thick slices
  • 2 tablespoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, optional
  • 16 ounces coconut milk, divided
  • 1 ½ cups red bell pepper, ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 cup zucchini, ¼-inch thick slices
  • 1 cup diced pineapple
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges

Instructions 

  • Trim excess fat from the chicken and cut into 1 ½-inch cubes.
  • Select "Saute" on the Instant Pot. Allow pot to heat, it will indicate "Hot" on the display when ready.
  • Add vegetable oil, once hot add the garlic and onions, saute until fragrant, 1 minute.
  • Add in cubed chicken, saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add in Thai curry paste, mix to combine with the chicken and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add in maple syrup and 1 ½ cups coconut milk, stir to combine. 
  • Press "Keep/Warm/Cancel" on the Instant Pot.
  • Make sure that the release valve is in the "Sealing" position, place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn and lock.
  • Press the "Manual" button on the Instant Pot on high pressure, and then set the timer to 6 minutes using the "+" or "-" buttons. It will take about 10 minutes for the pot to heat and build up pressure. You will see some steam release from the lid, and then the time will start on the display.
  • Once the display indicates "On" and begins the countdown at "6", then beeps when the cycle is complete.
  • Cover your hand with an oven mitt or towel to carefully quick-release the pressure, sliding the steam release handle to the "Venting" position, releasing all of the steam until the float valve drops down.
  • Remove the lid, opening the top away from you as steam will be released from the pot.
  • Select "Saute" on the Instant Pot, once the sauce begins to boil add in the bell pepper, zucchini, and pineapple.
  • Cook until the zucchini is tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Turn off the Instant Pot and stir in the fish sauce and ½ cup additional coconut milk.
  • Taste and season with more salt and pepper as desired.

Equipment

Notes

  • Serve chicken curry with rice, cauliflower rice, or broccoli rice and lime wedges. 

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Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Thai Chicken Curry
Amount Per Serving
Calories 472 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Fat 21g32%
Saturated Fat 13g65%
Cholesterol 161mg54%
Sodium 520mg22%
Potassium 1010mg29%
Carbohydrates 36g12%
Fiber 5g20%
Sugar 29g32%
Protein 36g72%
Vitamin A 2515IU50%
Vitamin C 98.4mg119%
Calcium 77mg8%
Iron 3.2mg18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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Reader Interactions

12 Comments Leave a comment or review

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thanks Sue! Use the thicker coconut milk sold in the can, you can add some coconut cream if you like it thicker.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Hi Eleanor- I think you can use dairy cream, it will taste slightly different without the coconut flavor, but still tasty.

  1. Sofia says

    I added extra veggies and 8 oz whole wheat thin spaghetti and instead of sautéing at the end, I cooked everything together for 10 minutes on high pressure. It came out very creamy and extra hearty. Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Andrew says

    I typically don’t ever comment on recipes, but wanted to make an exception for this one. I found this recipe early this year, and it quickly became a go-to meal for my wife and I! Flavors are fantastic, and I love that I can prepare everything in the instant pot for less cleanup afterwards. Thanks Jessica!

  3. Shosh says

    I only have chicken tenderloins on hand. I imagine I can still make this, but would you recommend changing the cook time?

  4. VIta Kadylak says

    This turned out so good! And the instructions were so thorough, I feel like it would be really easy for anyone to follow! I didnt have peppers so I just doubled the zucchini. I also added juice from half a lime which added some really good flavor.

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