If you have ever had curry in general, you know it’s all about flavor + spice! Embrace the heat with my Spicy Coconut Curry Chicken Bowl recipe which is guaranteed to make the entire family satisfied. With a fragrant blend of spices and tender chicken chunks simmered in a sauce of sweet peppers, chicken stock, garlic, ginger, onions, and coconut milk, this dish is sure to be the newest family staple. Completely Dairy-free + Gluten-free.
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I seriously can't get enough of curry and to be honest, curry anything always works in my house. There's just something about the nice kick of heat that curry sauce offers and this one-pot Spicy Coconut Curry Chicken Bowl with Basmati Rice doesn't disappoint! Whether you're looking for an easy weeknight meal or a savory bowl for lunch, this curry chicken recipe does the trick.
In essence, curry is a dish that offers earthy, spicy, warming, with a hint of sweet notes. Overall, it's well-balanced and richly-spiced with savory flavors from the curry powder, coriander, cumin, allspice, and other herbs + spices.
Like the traditional curry chicken, this curry bowl recipe contains easy to find spices like turmeric, salt, black pepper, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne peppers. However, I've added a few additional herbs + spices for added flavor like curry powder, allspice, and red pepper flakes.
Ingredients for Coconut Curry Chicken
Here’s what you need to make this Coconut Curry Chicken:
Chicken breasts. Choose organic whenever possible. Simply cut the chicken breasts into medium-sized cubes or chunks. If you don’t have chicken breasts, you can always use chicken tenderloins which are pre-cut and just cut those into chunks.
Dried herbs and spices. I love to season my dishes in "layers" which means that marinating your chicken overnight in seasoning is best! Generally, you'll need a combination of salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, red pepper flakes, allspice, and parsley.
Red onion. Substitute with yellow or white if that’s what you have.
Olive oil. You can also use avocado oil or Grapeseed oil, if you prefer.
Chicken stock. This adds great additional flavor. Use store-bought low-sodium broth or make your own! For added nutrition, add in half the amount in bone broth or substitute with vegetable stock if that's what you have handy.
Garlic + ginger. I prefer fresh, but you could substitute with 1 teaspoon garlic powder and ½ teaspoon ground ginger in a pinch.
Curry powder. You can use a quality curry powder or turmeric as a substitute, if desired.
Thyme. I recommend fresh, but if you only have dried, use a half teaspoon.
Bell pepper. I like to use mini sweet peppers, however, you can use bell peppers and chop them up!
Tomatoes. I like to add diced tomato for a bit of acidity and flavor to the curry sauce.
Potatoes. This is a nice thickening agent in your curry sauce and adds a hearty bite in this dish. Keep things traditional with russet, baby red, or yukon potatoes.
What is Curry Powder?
Basically, curry powder is a combination of dried spices often used in Indian cuisine, however, is rather popular amongst other cultures like Asian, Caribbean, etc.
How to Make Curry Chicken
Cooking Spicy Coconut Curry Chicken is generally an easy process---in total about 40-45 minutes:
You first start by cleaning and washing your chicken breasts to ensure that they are clean and ready to be seasoned. I like to wash my chicken with both vinegar and lemon to help keep things clean and sanitized.
Once your chicken is clean, then it's seasoning time! I'm all about seasoning every "layer" of my food, therefore, the chicken gets direct seasoning and so does the curry sauce. Let everything marinate for 5-10 minutes or overnight tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for the best results.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and once fully heated, add the chopped onions, ginger and garlic, sautéing until fragrant and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the marinated chicken and cook on each side until seared, about 3-4 minutes each side. Once brown on each side, add in the remaining herbs + seasonings along with the remaining ingredients, stirring everything together until combined.
Let everything boil for a minute or so before adding in the thyme sprigs and reducing the heat to simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until sauce thickens and the chicken + potatoes are cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat once done and assemble your bowl.
What You'll Love About this Curry Bowl
Hearty flavors and super easy to make
Absolutely delicious--bold curry flavors that you don't want to miss.
Makes for a great weeknight meal or a laidback weekend dinner.
So well seasoned and full of texture.
Great for meal prepping and make aheads for the week!
Super customizable with the protein and veggie options.
Irresistible flavors that will have you coming back for more!
Perfect ANY season vibes!
Did I mention, it’s just delicious? Both kids + adults approve!
What Can I Add to This Curry Bowl?
I like to add some extra texture to easy food bowls like this Spicy Coconut Curry Chicken Bowl. While the ingredients in this curry bowl is perfect as is, I wanted to share a few more ideas of ingredients that you can add incase you make this bowl more than once and want to switch things up!
Other ingredient ideas include:
Roasted broccolini or broccoli or poblano peppers or Brussels sprouts, asparagus, beets, etc.
Sweet potatoes or regular potatoes or butternut squash.
Raw veggies like red cabbage, rainbow carrots, etc.
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, etc.
Beans like kidney beans, black beans, white beans, etc.
Proteins like lentil, tofu, tempeh, mushrooms, etc.
Other seeds + nuts like sesame seeds, walnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds, etc.
How to Make Curry Sauce Thicker?
If you find that your sauce isn't thick enough, I definitely recommend covering the pot and allowing it to simmer a bit more. Usually, with a slow simmer over time, the sauce will automatically thicken. However, if it's truly not doing that, add 1 tablespoon of flour with 3-4 Tbsps warm water to a small cup or bowl, stir until smooth and "milky" and add to the sauce to help aide it.
What Meats or Meat Alternatives are Best with Curry?
If you aren't a fan of chicken, want to switch things up, or just try something else entirely--no worries! The following meats + meat alternatives are perfect with curry and can easily be substituted for chicken:
Beans & Legumes
Vegetables (i.e. peas, carrots, potatoes, etc.)
Common Q + A's for this Curry Chicken
How do you store + reheat leftovers?
Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days. To gently reheat the leftovers, use a Dutch oven on the stovetop over medium-low heat. Alternatively, you can also use the microwave to reheat the dish as well.
Can I use only turmeric for the curry sauce?
Absolutely! You can actually use only turmeric instead of curry powder for the curry sauce, if desired. While using just turmeric is optional, it definitely has benefits: powerful medicinal properties, natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, increases antioxidant activity in the body, and more.
What color curry is the sweetest?
Surprisingly, yellow curry is the mildest of all. It is often made with coriander, cumin, lemongrass ginger, garlic, and yellow or red chili. In addition to coconut milk, it'll give curry a rich taste with sweet and mild flavors.
Is this curry chicken bowl dairy-free?
Yes, it uses coconut milk for the creaminess so if you are dairy-free this recipe has you covered!
What is the ideal chicken cut to use?
For this curry bowl, I prefer using boneless chicken breasts and then cutting them into chunks. However, if you prefer bone-in chicken, you can use it by cutting it into pieces and removing the skin like in my Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken recipe. It's best to chop larger chicken pieces into smaller ones. I advise against using only chicken breast for this recipe as it contains less fat and can quickly become dry during cooking.
Can I make this ahead of time?
Of course! To make this recipe ahead of time, simply cook the chicken in the sauce and let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Then once ready to serve, add the curry to simmer, and cook the rice and veggies (if using) and assemble your bowl.
What makes the best curry?
Other than the herbs + spices, the ingredients that add a bold, savory flavor are garlic and ginger which are sautéed in the beginning.
Should curry be thick or thin?
The best consistency for curry should be where it's thick enough to coat all of the ingredients in the dish, but liquid-y enough to be drizzled atop your rice or veggies or to be dipped with flatbread, pita, or naan bread.
Is this curry chicken bowl gluten-free?
Yes, once you use all gluten-free friendly ingredients like coconut milk, GF chicken stock (or bone broth which is GF-friendly), and any other ingredients that you might add!
Delicious Flavorful Recipes to Try Next!
Now that you're on a curry kick with this coconut curry chicken bowl recipe, give these recipes that your entire family will love a try next:
If you tried this Spicy Coconut Curry Chicken Bowl recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.
In a bowl, add your freshly cleaned + rinsed chicken chunks along with salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, and parsley. Add coated chicken to a securely sealed ziplock bag and place in the refrigerator for 3 hours (minimum). Best if marinated overnight. When ready to use, let chicken sit at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before cooking.
SEAR THE CHICKEN:
In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and once fully heated, add the chopped onions, minced ginger, and garlic, sautéing until fragrant and translucent, about 2-3 minutes.
Add the marinated chicken and cook on each side until seared, about 3-4 minutes each side. Once brown on each side, add in the curry powder, salt, black pepper, coriander, turmeric, red pepper flakes, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, chopped peppers, diced tomatoes, and chopped potatoes, stirring everything together until combined.
COOK EVERYTHING TOGETHER:
Pour in the coconut milk, chicken stock, and hot sauce, stirring until combined. Let the mixture boil for a minute or so before adding in the thyme sprigs and reduce heat to simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until sauce thickens and the chicken + potatoes are cooked through and tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat once done.
To serve, enjoy the curry chicken with basmati rice and your favorite side of veggies. Garnish with a bit of dried parsley and sprinkles of red pepper flakes, if desired.
Tips & Tricks
STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
TURMERIC: You can actually use only turmeric for the curry sauce, if desired. While using just turmeric is optional, it definitely has benefits: powerful medicinal properties, natural anti-inflammatory ingredient, increases antioxidant activity in the body, and more.
OIL: If you'd like to use an alternative to olive oil, you can also use melted vegan butter, coconut oil, or grapeseed oil.
HERB ROASTED TOMATOES: To make this, see my recipe here.