I’ve found a hack to making the most delicious Indian Chicken Curry in just 30 minutes! I love this recipe because it has all those warm spicy Indian flavors, but there are only two spice blends called for (yellow curry and garam masala). The curry sauce has a great depth of flavor, and it’s so easy to make. Perfect for a weeknight!

easy curry recipe in a wooden bowl topped with red onion and jalapeno

The other day it was quiet, much too quiet, and I knew I was in trouble. When you have a two-year-old, you don’t know where he is, you can’t remember exactly the last time you saw him, AND it’s quiet enough to hear a pin drop, you know only two things are possible: either your kid is dead, or he’s ABOUT to be dead when you find out whatever he’s been up to.

indian curry garnished with red onion and jalapeno on a plate with rice and roti

Those few moments that it takes you to search the house are filled with dread and anxiety. The eerie silence echoes in your brain as you berate yourself: “What was I THINKING leaving him alone this long??” What am I going to find, and how long will it take to clean up? Is it toothpaste smeared all over the girl’s hairbrushes again? An entire roll of toilet paper unraveled in the toilet? Legos on fire in the toaster? What is itttttt

chicken curry recipe in a pan topped with jalapeno and cilantro

I finally found him. He was sitting on the floor in the kid’s messy bedroom, toys everywhere, holding a bottle of Windex and continuously spraying his entire bottom half while gleefully squealing, “Feet! Feet! Feet!” And his feet were indeed soaked.

I saw a meme the other day that said having a 2-year-old is like having a blender without the top on running in your house at all times. It’s 100% accurate.

easy curry recipe placed on rice with roti in the background

Easy Chicken Curry

Welcome to your new favorite weeknight dinner! This chicken curry is done in 30 minutes, for real. That is, if you don’t notice your kids Windexing themselves. Or you don’t get sucked into meme land on Instagram. Or distracted by an episode of Kim’s Convenience. (Have you watched that show yet?? SO FUNNY.) But barring distractions, it should be about 30 minutes! Who wants to spend all day in the kitchen?

indian chicken curry recipe on top of rice with roti on a white plate

I love this recipe. Not just like, LOVE. There is a secret hack that amplifies those curry flavors we all love, and it takes 2 minutes: we’re going to toast the spices in a dry pan on the stove to wake up their flavors. It is so easy and makes this curry totally next level!! The sauce is rich from the coconut milk and the chicken is nice and tender. Perfect main dish to go with the Roti recipe I updated last week!

How many types of curry are there?

SO many! “Curry” is really just a sauce or gravy seasoned with a combination of dried spices. It’s so simple that it makes sense that tons of countries have their own version. We’ve got red green or yellow curry in Thailand, Japanese Curry, or Indonesian curry. There are famous curries from Jamaica, Trinidad, and various regional curries from all over Africa and the Middle East too. YOU get a curry, and YOU get a curry! Like Oprah style you know??

Indian chicken curry piled on top of rice on a plate with roti

I think the most well-known curries throughout the world are Indian curries though (hello can anyone say Chicken Tikka.) Today’s recipe takes inspiration from Indian spices. All you need is yellow curry powder and garam masala. And all this other stuff:

Ingredients for Easy Chicken Curry

Here’s everything you’re going to need! Super simple.

  • yellow curry powder
  • garam masala
  • chicken breast or thighs
  • kosher salt
  • coconut milk
  • olive oil
  • onion 
  • jalapeno
  • garlic
  • ginger
  • fresh lemon juice
  • chicken broth
  • cornstarch
  • cilantro
curry sauce with chicken and onion and jalapeno and cilantro

How to make Easy Chicken Curry

All you weeknight dinner makers (it me, it me) are going to love just how fast this curry comes together. Here is a quick overview! More details below.

  1. Toast spices
  2. Chop & season chicken breasts
  3. Cover chicken with coconut milk to marinate a few minutes
  4. Chop & cook onion, jalapeno, and ginger/garlic
  5. Add lemon juice, add chicken in coconut milk, add broth
  6. Thicken sauce & simmer. Then EAT!

See how easy this is?? We are talking 30 minutes max my friends. Let’s get into the details!

raw chicken breast, chopped chicken breasts on a cutting board

First things first, chop up your chicken. You can use chicken breast, chicken thigh, whatever your little heart desires. Breast is what I usually have lurking in the freezer so I picked that.

Next gather up your spices. We are using yellow curry, garam masala, and cayenne pepper for a lil kick. You can omit or adjust the cayenne. Match the amount you add to the decibel level of complaint you will get from children. At least that’s how I usually measure cayenne.

salt, cayenne, curry, and garam masala lined up in bottles on a counter

What is yellow curry powder?

Yellow curry is a spice blend that usually has cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek, garlic, and several other spices. Since it is a spice blend, every brand is going to be different! They are usually not super spicy. Yellow curry pulls in all those delicious Indian spices that are not-so-common, so that you don’t have to buy 14 bottles in the spice aisle.

What is garam masala?

Garam masala is another blend of Indian spices that is a little more sweet than curry powder. It is warm and earthy, with spices like cinnamon, pepper, cardamom, and mace (which is kind of like nutmeg.) It does a great job deepening and sweetening the flavor of our curry, and balances out the yellow curry perfectly.

toasting spices in a pan, curry powder, garam masala, cayenne

And here is where the real magic happens. Dump all those spices straight into the DRY pan you are using for your curry, and toast them for a couple minutes on medium heat. I’m telling you, this step is a game changer!! I got this idea from a Jamie Oliver book I have, his recipe was for veggie curry and this was his hack for bringing out lots of flavor for a meatless dish. Well guess what, we are bringing out the flavor AND using chicken, so boom flavor there you go. Not only does it amp up the flavor, toasting increases the spices ability to permeate the other ingredients in the dish.

salted raw chicken in a bowl, chicken with spices on it

Add HALF of the spice mixture to your chopped chicken and stir it all together. Don’t forget to salt it first. There is no need to toast the salt, by the way. Salt ain’t no spice! It’s a mineral! Who ever heard of toasting minerals! ;)

adding coconut milk to a bowl of raw spiced chicken, marinating chicken in a bowl

Next up, add a can of coconut milk to your chicken and set aside. We’re going to let that sit and marinate for a hot minute while we prep and cook our veggies.

Garlic and ginger are best friends forever and absolutely made for curry. I would argue that you can’t even have a decent curry without ginger and garlic. We should just call it Gingarlic. Garlinger. They were meant to be.

smashing garlic with a knife, peeling ginger with a spoon

Smash your garlic, peel, mince. You know about peeling ginger with a spoon right? PUT THE VEGETABLE PEELER DOWN. (Random side note, anyone still listen to Fiona Apple? She has a song called “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” except I thought the lyrics said, “Vegetable cutters.” Yeah. I’m a genius.)

onions, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, chopped on a cutting board

Chop up that onion and jalapeno and heat up your pan. Don’t add the seeds unless you like a lot of spice!

adding spices to sauteing onions, adding ginger and garlic

Saute the onion and jalapeno, and add in the rest of the toasted spices. Add in the ginger and garlic after a few minutes, then a squeeze of lemon to brighten up those flavors!

Once it’s all toasty and smells heavenly, add in your marinating chicken.

adding marinated chicken to a pan, completed curry

Add in some chicken broth too, and then after simmering a while, thicken the whole thing with a quick cornstarch slurry. This just means dissolving some cornstarch in a minimal amount of cold water and adding to the curry. It thickens up right away.

Then add in fistfuls of cilantro (if you know what’s good for you) and FEAST! Make Roti Bread or Homemade Naan to go with it, heavennnnn!!!

close up of Indian chicken curry recipe in a pan with jalapeno

What is curry sauce made of?

As you can see from the how-to, basically curry is spices mixed with liquid and thickened. The ingredients are about as varied and unique as the many different places they come from. This one is just coconut milk and spices thickened with a cornstarch slurry, similar to an Indian Korma. Other curry types combine yogurt and tomatoes, various stewed greens or vegetables, and many involve some type of red or green chile or chili paste to amp up the spice level. We’re keeping things simple for this recipe.

overhead shot of chicken curry on rice garnished with red onion and jalapeno

Is Chicken Curry healthy?

That’s the golden question isn’t it? And the answer? Maybe. Ha! Chicken curry can be as healthy or unhealthy as you like, depending on the ingredients used! Today’s Chicken Curry recipe is pretty healthy: mostly lean chicken breast protein with some healthy fats from the coconut milk. As with most foods, portion size is key. Serve this curry over some rice (or try Cauliflower Rice for a low carb option!) and with some vegetable sides, and you have yourself a totally healthy dinner! Here are some other ideas:

indian curry recipe on a white plate with rice, roti, and garnishes

What to serve with Chicken Curry

curry sauce recipe with chicken and cilantro and rice

How to store Chicken Curry (How long can Chicken curry be refrigerated?)

One nice thing about Chicken Curry is that the flavors are even better the next day! (Which means it’s a great make ahead meal if you’re short on time.) Toss it in a storage container with a lid that seals and wait til it cools completely before putting it in the refrigerator. Eat within 2-4 days! Zap it in the microwave to reheat. Or to reheat the whole dish, add the entire amount to a saucepan on the stove, cover with a lid and warm on low heat, stirring often.

chicken curry on top of rice garnished with jalapenos and red onions and roti

More good news about this chicken curry: it freezes beautifully! Simply add the curry to a freezer friendly container or ziplock bag, wait til it is completely cooled, and then pop it in the freezer where it will stay good for up to two months. Thaw it in the fridge for 24 hours and then follow the same reheating instructions above. Or live life on the edge like me and add the whole frozen mass to a pan with a few tablespoons of water and heat super low and slow.

roti being dipped into a wooden bowl full of chicken curry

That’s a wrap! I hope you get to try this warm curry recipe soon! There is seriously nothing better. Here are some more dinner ideas!

More curry recipes you are going to love!

Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram

easy curry recipe placed on rice with roti in the background
Print Recipe
4.77 from 21 votes
Rate this Recipe

Easy Chicken Curry Recipe

I’ve found a hack to making the most delicious Indian Chicken Curry in just 30 minutes! I love this recipe because it has all those warm spicy Indian flavors, but there are only two spice blends called for (yellow curry and garam masala). The curry sauce has a great depth of flavor, and it’s so easy to make. Perfect for a weeknight!

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 1 & 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
  • 1 & 1/2 pounds chicken breast, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 13-ounce can coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, smashed and minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and then minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, about half a lemon
  • 1 cup chicken broth*
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  • In a large saute 12-inch skillet, toast the spices in a dry pan. This 2 minute process wakes up their flavor so much! Add 2 tablespoons curry powder, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons garam masala, and 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper to the dry pan and set over medium heat. Let toast for 1-2 minutes, keeping a careful eye on it. Don't walk away and let it burn. Continually stir the dry spices so they don't scorch. After about 90-120 seconds, remove from heat and scrape into a small bowl.
  • Chop 1 and 1/2 pounds chicken breast into bite size chunks, 1-2 inch pieces. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Add the raw chicken pieces to a medium bowl.
  • Sprinkle the chicken in the bowl with HALF of the toasted spices. Stir to mix it together and get all the chicken coated.
  • Open the can of coconut milk and dump it on the chicken. We're going to let it marinate for a hot minute while we chop our veggies.
  • Chop the onion and jalapeno. Make sure you get all the seeds and membranes out of the jalapeno unless you like it really spicy!
  • Smash, peel, and mince the garlic, you will need 3-4 cloves to get 1 tablespoon. (Or you can use the jarred garlic if you're in a rush) Peel the ginger with a spoon (it's the best way!) and mince up 1 tablespoon (save the rest of your ginger in the freezer for next time!)
  • Add 3 tablespoons olive oil to the same large skillet from before. Set over medium high heat.
  • When the oil is hot and shimmery, add the chopped onion and jalapeno. Add all the remaining toasted spices to the onions. Let saute for 4-6 minutes, until the onions are translucent. If the spices are starting to stick to the pan, add a little more oil.
  • Add the minced garlic and ginger and saute for 1 minute until fragrant. Do not let it brown, turn down the heat if necessary, or add a bit more oil.
  • Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice to the pan (about half a lemon).
  • Add the coconut milk and chicken to the pan. Add 1 cup chicken broth and stir. Turn the heat back up to medium high if you moved it down.
  • Let the mixture come to a gentle boil over medium high heat, then reduce the heat to a simmer over medium low heat. Make sure there is a slow bubble happening.
  • In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons water and 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Stir it together until there are no lumps (add a bit more cold water if necessary). Add the cornstarch slurry to the chicken curry and stir.
  • Let the curry simmer on the lowest heat you can while still maintaining a slow bubble. The curry is done when the chicken is cooked through, it should take about 5-8 minutes depending on how large your chicken pieces are. Test the chicken by splitting a piece with your wooden spoon to see if it's cooked. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from heat immediately so that it doesn't get overcooked and tough.
  • Chop about 1/2 cup of cilantro and stir into the curry.
  • Serve hot with Jasmine rice or Basmati rice, Homemade Naan, or Buttery Roti!

Notes

*I used 1 cup water and 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base. I love that stuff. So easy to keep on hand in the fridge.

Nutrition

Calories: 340 kcal, Carbohydrates: 7 g, Protein: 26 g, Fat: 24 g, Saturated Fat: 13 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7 g, Trans Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 73 mg, Sodium: 674 mg, Potassium: 669 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 170 IU, Vitamin C: 11 mg, Calcium: 37 mg, Iron: 3 mg