Coconut chicken curry is simply chicken in a delicious sauce of tomatoes, garlic, curry powder, and coconut milk. It’s a healthy, one-pot meal that tastes great and everyone in the family enjoys. I used my Instant Pot (which I love!) and had dinner on the table in less than an hour.
How to Make Coconut Chicken Curry (Dairy-Free & Paleo)
I’ve discovered in recent years that my family really likes the flavors in Indian food. And that’s more than okay with me. Indian food is pretty healthy, usually grain free, frequently dairy free, and more often than not can be made in one pot. Can it get any better? This recipe for coconut chicken curry checks all those boxes and is delicious and fast to make in the Instant Pot.
To make this I sauté the onions in coconut oil in the Instant Pot. Then I add all the remaining spices, the broth, the chicken, and the tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook it all for 10 minutes on high pressure. I let it release naturally and then stir in a can of coconut milk and it’s done!
When I’m really running short on time and don’t have any meat thawed I’ve made this coconut chicken curry with frozen chicken breasts and it’s turned out just as good. I just add a few extra minutes to the cook time.
If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you could easily modify this recipe to make it on the stove or in a slow cooker.
What’s in Curry Powder?
The precise ingredients and their amounts in curry powder vary greatly between sources. Usually they all contain turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, and chili peppers. Optional ingredients include cinnamon, fenugreek, ginger, fennel, and cloves, among others.
I prefer my curry powder to be warm and slightly sweet, and less spicy. And I use so much of it that I’ve found it cheaper and easier to just make my own. My curry powder recipe makes over 1½ cups and contains paprika, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, ground mustard, coriander, turmeric, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and red pepper flakes. I buy my spices in bulk and make many of my own spice blends including:
If you prefer to buy your curry powder though, you can usually look at the color and ingredients to determine how spicy it will be. Generally, the curry powders that are more yellow will be milder and sweeter, and the ones that are a little redder (especially if they say Madras or Vindaloo in the name) contain more peppers and will be spicier.
How to Serve Coconut Chicken Curry
When it’s done the chicken is swimming in a delicious sauce that is just begging to be served over white rice or cauliflower rice (which I use to make fried rice sometimes). To incorporate more vegetables you can serve this with a side salad or add diced bell pepper or summer squash when adding the coconut milk. Just use the sauté function of the Instant Pot on low until the vegetables are cooked.
I love this easy-to-follow tutorial for different ways to make cauliflower rice.
Curried Coconut Chicken Recipe (Instant Pot)
- 1 TBSP coconut oil
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 TBSP curry powder
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 4 oz tomato paste
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 2 TBSP maple syrup (or coconut sugar)
- 4 chicken breasts
- 14 oz can coconut milk
- Turn the Instant Pot on saute.
- Add the coconut oil and chopped onion and cook for 2 minutes until starting to soften.
- Pour in the chicken broth and scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
- Add the curry powder, garlic, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and maple syrup or coconut sugar and mix well.
- Add the chicken and stir to coat.
- Put the lid on the pot, set valve to seal, and select “Poultry” or use manual setting and set timer for 10 minutes.
- When finished, let pressure release naturally until the lid unlocks.
- Remove the chicken and shred with two forks before returning to the Instant Pot.
- Stir in the coconut milk until warmed through.
- Wait 5 minutes before serving, then serve over rice or cauliflower rice.
Have you ever made a curry? What kind is your favorite?
Discussion (8 Comments)
I was skeptical but this was sooooo delicious and so easy and quick to make! I couldn’t believe it, even on a busy school night! Easy flavorful dish, thanks!
This was amazing…I used chicken pieces with their bones instead of breasts and it still turned out amazing. Will definitely make again!
How might this be made in a slow cooker for someone who doesn’t (yet) have an Instant Pot?
Thanks for this great informative post, This recipe is perfect for me, and I like reading comments about all the options and additions that have worked well. can I use this to print and send it to our friend for coconut curry purposes?
Thank you for sharing this recipe, I love coconut curry! Do you happen to have a slow cooker version?
How would you modify for a slow cooker? Would I still add all ingredients in at the beginning?
Do you have an approx weight of the chicken? I have found chicken breasts to vary greatly in size…
The taste was decent, I used half the amount of curry for my young children to eat it. My main issue with it was that it was very liquidy even after adding cornstarch to try and thicken it. That could have been a muck up on my end though? I am going to use the left over sauce to make soup.