Coconut Curry Chicken (Instant Pot)

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This cozy coconut chicken curry is a simple pour and cook recipe that takes minutes to make!

instant pot coconut chicken curry

What is coconut chicken curry?

You need very few things to make this curried chicken dish: chicken thighs, canned coconut milk, and spices. That’s it.

And that is precisely why this meal should be on your weekly dinner menu this fall/winter. It’s cozy and comforting and delicious AND easy.

How to make coconut chicken curry:

When I say easy, I mean SILLY simple. Like, pour a few ingredients into the instant pot and cook for 5 minutes (with a natural pressure release).

I mean honestly, this recipe doesn’t even require a recipe. But I’ve written one up anyway because we’re friends and I’m willing to hold your hand through even the silliest of simple recipes. One day, when you’ve made this a few times, you’ll be likeMom Ash, I’ve got this. I don’t need you anymore.” And I’ll probably cry a little when that happens. But I want that for you… you know, to be able to do things on your own, without me.

Oh, did I forget to mention that my son is turning three this weekend? Feeling lots of feelings today… about life, about coconut chicken curry, the usual, etc.

Chicken Curry Ingredients:

  • Chicken Thighs
  • Coconut Milk: use full-fat canned coconut milk.
  • Curry Powder
  • Other Spices: salt, garlic powder, ground ginger, black pepper, cayenne
  • Cilantro: optional for garnish
instant pot coconut chicken curry

When to make this coconut curry chicken?

  • when you’ve lost track of time and need to put dinner on the table in like 15 minutes.
  • when you’re too exhausted to cook.
  • when you just want to be lazy and do literally nothing (no judgment).
  • when you want good food but don’t want to actually cook it.

It’ll take you more effort to find a place on a food delivery app than it will to make this dish. Seriously. You can have this coconut curry done in less time than it takes to decide what to order, let alone waiting for your food to actually arrive. You know the effort it takes you to get up from your couch to go and answer the door for the delivery? That’s the same amount of energy you’ll expend making this dish. Really.

instant pot coconut chicken curry

What’s the deal with curry powder? is it Indian? (no).

I have some feelings about curry powder (I mean, what don’t I have feelings about today…).

If you happen to ask your Indian mother where she keeps her curry powder, she will one hundred percent look at you like you’re crazy. Ask me how I know.

There’s no such thing as “curry powder” – at least not in Indian kitchens. Curry powder is a British invention but it is Indian inspired. You can read all about curry powder in this post that I wrote a while back.

So back to my feelings.

I think curry powder is an awesome spice blend. The flavors are familiar and it’s quite tasty. But I do kind of roll my eyes when I see/hear others calling an Indian recipe “authentic” while using curry powder in the ingredients. You just can’t do that, you guys. You cannot make butter chicken with curry powder. You cannot make tandoori chicken with curry powder. You can, however, share a super delicious recipe that tastes Indian but isn’t and use curry powder.

Gosh, curry powder is complicated. Bottom line: it’s a great spice blend, but you’re not going to find an authentic dish calling for curry powder in any Indian home/restaurant.

So this (obviously) isn’t an authentic Indian recipe. Not even close. But it’s tasty.

What to serve with coconut chicken curry:

Serve this coconut curry with basmati rice and maybe a side of roasted broccoli. You can also stir some leafy greens into it!

instant pot coconut chicken curry

Can I make curry with regular milk?

I’ve only made this recipe with canned coconut milk but I do not think regular milk will work well here. I’d suggest sticking to coconut milk for this curry.

How do you make chicken curry from scratch?

I’m guessing that you’re asking this question because you’re looking for authentic chicken curry. Well, this is not it. This coconut chicken curry is a dish that I made up – it’s extremely delicious, but not a dish you’d typically find in an Indian home. If you’re looking for authentic chicken curry, here’s my mom’s Punjabi chicken curry, and here’s my simplified instant pot version of her curry.

How can I thicken a curry without flour or cornflour?

Guess what! There’s no flour or cornflour in this recipe! But to answer this question, to thicken a curry, you can always just saute to boil and reduce the sauce until it reaches your desired consistency.

Chef’s Tips for Chicken Curry Recipe

Honestly, if you can follow the simplest of directions, then you’ve got this. But here are a few tips.

  • Use the ingredients listed and don’t make substitutions. For example, this recipe calls for canned coconut milk – do not use another type of milk.
  • I prefer this dish with chicken thighs but if you want to use chicken breast, do a full natural release.
  • I get a lot of questions about adding potatoes, if you want to do this, add them in whole. I’ve made this many times using small potatoes and it turns out great.
  • You can always stir in some leafy greens at the end if you’d like.
  • Serve with my plain basmati rice – it’s perfect with this curry.

Instant Pot Coconut Chicken Curry

instant pot coconut chicken curry

Instant Pot Coconut Chicken Curry

4.95 from 56 reviews
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Ingredients
 

  • 1 ½ pounds skinless and boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 14 ounce can full-fat coconut milk
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt adjust to taste
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ⅛ – ¼ teaspoon cayenne adjust to taste
  • Cilantro optional

Instructions
 

  • Add all of the ingredients to an instant pot, secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 5 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure (or NPR for 10 minutes, then release pressure).
  • Using two forks, shred the chicken right into the curry (or you can remove the chicken and cut it into chunks if you prefer)
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve with basmati rice if desired.

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instant pot coconut chicken curry

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Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.

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Comments

  1. Jeanell says

    5 stars
    I want to thank you for sharing this wonderful recipe. I’m currently 8 months pregnant and found this recipe during my first trimester when I was battling extreme exhaustion. I never eat out and make all my meals from scratch, and it was so nice to find such a flavorful recipe that required minimal effort. I add frozen peas at the end and use the saute mode to finish cooking them. Otherwise, I follow this recipe exactly as written and it never fails. Thank you!

  2. Saskia De Quaasteniet says

    5 stars
    Oh my, this was delicious, flavorful and with just that tiny amount of heat that I like. I used fresh ginger, fresh pressed garlic and added minced onion. Definitely fresh cilantro! So simple and easy. It’s a keeper for sure. Thank you.
    I recently used a beet recipe of yours and it was nice too. So now you are saved in my online recipes 😊

  3. Anjali says

    Ashley, there are a lot of Indians too- well, at least one- who’d like to try your recipes. But Instant Pots aren’t common here, pressure cookers are. Want to try yr chicken pulao and this recipe, so: 1. How do I modify the cooking for a PC vs an IP? 2. What can I sub for curry powder (we only get imported brands here – as you say, no Indian home uses curry powder, though we all have versions of masala powders – goda masala, punjabi garam masala, ‘,saaru pudi’ etc. Thanks!

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Hi Anjali! I don’t know the times for a regular pressure cooker but I’m hoping another reader will be able to help! As for curry powder, I think an imported brand would be fine – I believe 24 Mantra is an Indian brand, do you have access to that there? Simply Organic is also a good brand.

  4. Anita says

    This is one of our most favourite recipes!! It is so easy, yet incredibly flavorful!! Even better the next day! This is my definite go to recipe after a busy day! Thank you so much Ashley for yet another great recipe!!

  5. Yamini says

    5 stars
    Wow!! This is surprisingly good… I like my authentic Indian food so I was shocked that curry powder could taste so good. I wouldn’t say this tastes like Indian food, more like Thai food, but either way YUMMY!!!
    Have you ever made this with fish, like Salmon? And if so, how would you adjust the cook time?

    • Ashley - My Heart Beets says

      Thanks, Yamini! I’m glad you gave this a try and liked it! And completely agree – it’s by no means authentic with the curry powder in there, but it is good lol. I haven’t tried this with fish but I bet it would be good 🙂

  6. Carla D Laskey says

    5 stars
    Made this for our family tonight and it was a hit! Very flavorful, delicious and so stinkin’ easy to make:-D! I’m definitely adding this recipe to my go to list. Thanks for sharing!

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