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! Originally published January 22, 2022.

easy curry recipe in a wooden bowl topped with red onion and jalapeno.
Table of Contents
  1. Yellow Curry Recipe
  2. What is curry? How many types of curry are there?
  3. Indian Inspired Chicken Curry ingredients
  4. How to make Chicken Curry
  5. Indian Curry recipe variations
  6. Easy Indian Chicken Curry Recipe FAQs
  7. What to serve with this Indian Chicken Curry Recipe
  8. How to store this Indian inspired Chicken Curry Recipe
  9. More amazing Indian Curry Recipes!
  10. Indian Chicken Curry Recipe Recipe

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.

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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.

Yellow Curry Recipe

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!

What is curry? 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:

Indian Inspired Chicken Curry ingredients

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 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
toasting spices in a pan, curry powder, garam masala, cayenne.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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!
  1. Once it’s all toasty and smells heavenly, add in your marinating chicken.
adding marinated chicken to a pan, completed curry.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.

Indian Curry recipe variations

This curry has the perfect blend of spices for amazing flavor. If you want to change it to your personal preferences, here are some ideas to get your started!

  • Don’t like spicy food? Leave out the jalapeno and cayenne pepper (or use less than the recipe calls for). 
  • LOVE spicy food? Sprinkle in a little more cayenne and leave the seeds in your jalapenos. 
  • Use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts if you prefer dark meat.
  • If you despise mincing garlic and peeling ginger, buy ginger garlic paste. It’s usually near the fresh herbs in the produce section. If you can’t find it, look for ginger paste and pre-minced, jarred garlic. Ain’t no shame in gettin’ her done.
  • If you want to pump up the veggies, toss a couple handfuls of spinach into the mix right after adding the cornstarch slurry. It might seem like a lot but it will quickly cook down.
overhead shot of chicken curry on rice garnished with red onion and jalapeno.

Easy Indian Chicken Curry Recipe FAQs

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.

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.

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 this Indian Chicken Curry Recipe

curry sauce recipe with chicken and cilantro and rice.

How to store this Indian inspired Chicken Curry Recipe

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!

How to reheat Chicken Curry

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.

How to freeze Chicken Curry

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 amazing Indian Curry Recipes!

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Indian Chicken Curry Recipe

4.91 from 106 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 6
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!


  • 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


  • 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!



*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.


Calories: 340kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 674mg | Potassium: 669mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 170IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Calories: 340
Keyword: chicken, curry, Indian
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. This recipe is so simple and was absolutely ready in 30 minutes start to finish.  The best part…it’s delicious!!!!  This will be my go to curry base from now on.  

  2. 5 stars
    First made this curry whilst staying with our Namibian friend who lives in Canada. She loved it, as did we. Made ahead of time and froze it which certainly enhances the flavours.

    Now back in Portugal, we are from the UK and moved here to central Portugal 4 years ago. So the second time making this fabulous tasty easy curry and a huge huge hit with our Portuguese neighbours. I added red pepper and sultanas. Served the finished curry with easy rice ala Jamie Oliver, and homemade flat breads and mango chutney made my glorious husband Richard.

    So happy to have found your site and will be trying many more recipes.
    Very best wishes Melanie

    1. I love that you’ve been able to enjoy this dish so much Melanie, and with so many friends! It sounds so good with the red pepper and sultanas, my husband would love that twist. And the mango chutney! Yum! Thank you so much for taking the time to review, that is so helpful for me!

    2. Melanie, your review made me smile. Your love for life is palpable. I’ll make this tonight in your honor. 😊

  3. 5 stars
    This recipe was so good! My kids loved it for dinner and wanted it for breakfast and to take to school the next day. For my picky eater to rave about this recipe makes it clear this recipe is a keeper.

  4. 5 stars
    I LOVED the Curry Recipe!!  But, even better, I LOVED the Narrative re. the 2-yr-old & what could be happening behind your back for just a few minutes.
    Reminded me of our 2-yr-old Twins (now 41) & what they came up with—
    just while U try to put away groceries.(And while 14,12,10,&4-yr-old Siblings were in school.)
    I’m sending your Article to my D.-in-law
    because their 6-mo-old is starting to crawl, & she’s putting away shoes, etc. now.  Even having had six kids, this Grandson fascinates me when I see him at least 2-3 times a week.
    U have MADE MY DAY!  Thanks!!
    *Marian May*

    1. These toddlers, Marian! You just never know what they are getting up to! 😂 good laughs. So happy you loved the curry recipe, thank you for the note!

    1. 5 stars
      Nothing more annoying than having to scroll through someones personal blog story before getting to the recipe.

      1. Hi Nathaniel! Thanks for the 5 star review on this recipe, I’m glad you liked it. This is a personal blog. Cookbooks, or places like NY Times or Food Network are good sites to go for recipes without chatter. This post represents MY experience with this recipe. My readers expect commentary and personal notes. It builds trust. I’m a real person, with real experiences to share. If that’s not your style, that’s okay! There’s room for everyone.

    1. Hi Rose! If you’d prefer not to use coconut milk, you can definitely use regular cow’s milk. I recommend one with higher fat content, like 2% or whole, to mimic the richness of coconut milk. Enjoy :-)

  5. 5 stars
    Chicken Curry was delicious. I add diced potatoes, carrots and green bell pepper.  Served with white rice. 

  6. 5 stars
    I followed this recipe to the letter. It’s delicious! I served it over coconut milk rice and my husband doesn’t like curry and loved this! Thank you.

    1. 5 stars
      Great quick and easy curry!  Dry toasting the spices did seem to enhance their flavor.   I used vegetarian chicken substitute (Fri Chik).  My husband and I really liked it!  Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much Jayma, you just made my Wednesday! Thanks for reading and thanks for letting me know 💕

  7. 4 stars
    This was good! Even picky husband liked it. Since I have to be gluten free and rice free, we didn’t have carbs with it. Next time, I think I might add a red bell pepper or a chopped sweet potato, just to add something with the chicken. We like spicy things, so I added a serrano pepper because that’s all I had. Thank you for a great and easy recipe!

  8. Hi Karen,

    I recently dug deep into your blog, and I’m in love! So many yummy recipes to try!

    My son loves curry, so I want to try this recipe, but my local store carries only lite coconut milk. Is that ok to sub in for the full-test coconut milk?

    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Heather! Yes, you can totally sub lite coconut milk! You might want to add a little more cornstarch at the end to thicken it up some more. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I’m so glad you’re here!!

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