This Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken is one of the best curries I’ve ever had! The sauce starts with the coconut milk with jalapeño and red onion. It’s not too spicy, but has tons of flavor! Originally posted February 16, 2016.

slow cooker basil chicken coconut curry in the crockpot.
Table of Contents
  1. You’ll absolutely love this Crockpot Curry Chicken
  2. Chicken Coconut Curry Recipe Ingredients
  3. How to Make Coconut Curry Crock Pot Version
  4. How to serve Chicken Coconut Curry
  5. Storing Coconut Curry Chicken
  6. Chicken Coconut Curry Recipe FAQ
  7. Coconut Curry Chicken Crock Pot Recipe

We ripped out our carpet this week and are in the middle of getting new (laminate) wood floors. Originally I wanted to put the wood in our kitchen, dining, and family room, because they are all connected.

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a serving spoon lifting chicken coconut curry from the crockpot.

But then we ripped out the OLD laminate in the kitchen to reveal this awesome linoleum underneath. I love it so much! I think I’m going to keep it and do the new wood everywhere else. What do you think? Isn’t it super cute?

Flooring project to install hardwood with underlying dated, ugly vinyl.

Oh my gosh, calm down, I’M JOKING. I texted this to my brother Nathan earlier today and he politely texted back, “I love the wood! Are you doing linoleum in the kitchen, or wood?”  And then I told him I was joking and he said, “I was very careful how I phrased that.”

This gross linoleum kind of makes me nostalgic though. We had a VERY similar pattern in my kitchen growing up, only ours was, no joke, BRIGHT yellow and orange. Classic. (my parents bought their house in 1980 I think.) Did you grow up with linoleum like this??

Two men laying down new hardwood flooring.

Here’s how it’s going. Eric’s parents came all the way from Montana to help us. (And by help us, I mean basically do most of it…we owe you big time!) Also you will notice who won the great Should We Paint Our Fireplace White debate…at least for now.)

chicken coconut curry served with rice, naan, cilantro, and fresh sliced jalapenos on a white plate.

You’ll absolutely love this Crockpot Curry Chicken

This recipe is a classic from the blog that I changed up to go in the slow cooker. It worked out beautifully! The original is here: Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce. It’s a huge crowd pleaser. The sweetness from the coconut and the earthy tones from the yellow curry balance each other perfectly. But you have to marinate it and stand over the stove for a while, and lately I have been all about the setting-and-forgetting-it. Enter our trusty slow cooker!

basil chicken coconut curry in the slow cooker with fresh cilantro.
Seared chicken thighs in the slow cooker, slow cooked chicken thighs with meat falling off the bone.
See how it’s just falling apart?

Chicken Coconut Curry Recipe Ingredients

This recipe uses bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs that you sear on the stove before slow cooking. By the time they are done cooking, they are falling off the bone, and the caramelized flavor from the searing step has transformed the meat into something simply amazing. You could absolutely use chicken breasts in this recipe, but the meat won’t be quite as flavorful. You just can’t replace that dark meat.

Here’s a quick shopping list to help you gather your ingredients. See the recipe card below for the full ingredients and instructions!

  • Chicken thighs (bone-in and skin-on)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Oil
  • Coconut milk (canned, regular or lite)
  • Dried basil leaves
  • Yellow curry powder
  • Chili powder
  • Red onion
  • Garlic
  • Jalapeños
  • Cornstarch
  • Fresh ginger
  • Fresh cilantro

How to Make Coconut Curry Crock Pot Version

This delicious crockpot curry chicken takes just 15 minutes to prep! Here’s a basic overview (full instructions in the recipe card below). 

  1. Prep the chicken by removing the skin using your fingers or a serrated knife. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat, then add in oil. Once hot, add half of the chicken thighs. Let the chicken brown for a couple of minutes on each side, then transfer to a plate and repeat with the remaining chicken thighs.
  3. Combine coconut milk, basil, salt, pepper, yellow curry, chili powder, red onion, garlic, and jalapeño in the crockpot. Add in the chicken.
  4. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
  5. Remove the chicken and add the ginger to the sauce. In a separate bowl, combine the cornstarch and water, then stir into the crockpot. 
  6. Shred the chicken, then return it to the crock pot and stir. Cover and cook again for 10 minutes, then serve.

How to serve Chicken Coconut Curry

One more thing: No curry is complete without naan. Bring on the naan! Here’s my favorite recipe for Homemade Naan Bread. You can’t go wrong. Make this soon! Crockpot curry ftw! If you’re really feeling the coconut mood, you could always serve the most amazing Coconut Cream Pie (with a caramel layer) for dessert afterwards!!

dipping naan in slow cooker basil chicken coconut curry served with rice and cilantro.

If you make this curry, snap a photo and share on Instagram using #TheFoodCharlatan! I’d love to see it!

P.S. Here’s a trusty Crock Pot if you don’t have one. And this is the brand of skillet I use.

Storing Coconut Curry Chicken

Leftover chicken coconut curry will last in the fridge for 3-4 days. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

When you’re ready to use it, thaw it overnight in the fridge (if frozen), then warm it on low on the stove until heated through. Microwaving is also totally fine and you will get no judgment from me.

Chicken Coconut Curry Recipe FAQ

Why should I add coconut milk to a curry?

Coconut milk is the perfect addition to curry. It creates a rich and creamy sauce and its mild sweetness contrasts beautifully with the spices. 

What is coconut curry sauce made of?

Coconut curry sauce is made of a base of canned coconut milk that’s seasoned basil, chili powder, yellow curry powder, garlic, and ginger. This recipe also includes red onion and jalapeño for even more flavor and spice.

How do you thicken coconut curry?

Meet my friend the cornstarch slurry. He’s not a looker, and at first glance he may remind you of Oobleck,  but this humble mixture of cornstarch and water works perfectly to create a thick, creamy sauce. 

What does coconut curry sauce taste like?

Coconut curry is an amazing blend of flavors. It has the classic spices of many other Indian or Thai curries, but with a slightly sweeter and milder flavor thanks to the coconut milk. It’s mostly savory and is only made more complex and creamy with the coconut milk, not overpoweringly sweet at all.

Is curry with coconut milk healthy?

Coconut curry is definitely a healthier alternative to curries made with heavy cream (lots fewer calories, for starters). This recipe is also packed with lean protein from the chicken and some tasty veggies. 

What does coconut milk do to curry?

Coconut milk adds a subtle sweetness to spicy curry, tempering the heat while adding a creamy, complex flavor of its own. If you’ve never tried it, let me share this whole new world with you. (I’ve come so far! I can’t go back to where I used to be!) 

At what stage do you add coconut milk to a curry?

In stovetop coconut curry recipes, the coconut milk is added later in the process so it doesn’t separate. Since we’re making this recipe in the crock pot, there’s no real need to worry about it. The milk heats up at a slow enough rate that the texture stays just right. Just mix everything in, cover it up, and let the crock pot work its magic.

More great curry recipes!

Here’s the original Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala << This is another old recipe from the blog that I recently adapted for the slow cooker. It’s a classic Indian dish and it tastes sooo good!

6 Ingredient One Pot Vegetable Curry << this cheater recipe is so easy!

Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls << another super easy weeknight meal made in the slow cooker.

Thai Red Chicken with Cherry Tomatoes << this is an oldie but a goodie.

Easy Chicken Curry Recipe (30 Minutes!) << all the warm spicy Indian flavors you’re craving, even faster than takeout.

Slow Cooker Beef Curry << Slow-cooked, tender beef, in a rich and thick curry sauce just waiting to be scooped up with some naan. 

Thai Red Curry with Vegetables << from Cookie and Kate

Authentic Thai Yellow Curry with Beef and Potatoes << from Hot Thai Kitchen

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Coconut Curry Chicken Crock Pot

4.64 from 250 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 hours
Total: 5 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 Servings
This Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken is one of the best curries I've ever had! It's not too spicy, but has tons of flavor!


  • 6 bone-in skin-on chicken thighs, skin removed* (about 2 and 1/2 pounds)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 2 13.5-oz cans coconut milk , (lite coconut milk is great too)
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 & 1/2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, or 3/4 teaspoon
  • 1 large red onion, chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water, COLD
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated or minced
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped


  • Remove the skin from the chicken using your fingers and a serrated knife. Salt and pepper each thigh.
  • Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 teaspoon oil (or you can use nonstick spray).
  • When the oil is hot, add 3 chicken thighs. Don’t put them too close together, you want to avoid steaming.
  • Cook for about 2 minutes, until nicely browned on the bottom. Then flip the chicken over to brown the other side for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken to a plate.
  • Repeat searing process with the other 3 chicken thighs. If there is still enough grease in the pan then you don’t need to add more oil.
  • Meanwhile, in a crock pot combine coconut milk, basil, 2 teaspoons salt, 3/4 teaspoon pepper, yellow curry, and chili powder (to taste). Stir to combine.
  • Add the chopped red onions, garlic, and jalapenos.
  • Add the browned chicken and stir to combine.
  • Cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Remove the chicken from the slow cooker and transfer to a plate or cutting board. Let cool for a couple minutes.
  • Add the ginger to the slow cooker.
  • In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and 1 tablespoon COLD water. Stir until it’s not lumpy. Add this to the crock pot and stir.
  • Shred the chicken, removing the bones and any tough bits. It should just be falling apart.
  • Return the meat to the slow cooker and stir. Return the lid and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir in the cilantro.
  • Serve with rice, cauliflower rice, or naan.



*I know the photos show that I seared the meat with the skin on. I tried it both ways and liked it better with the skin removed, but only got photos with the skin on.
You can replace the thighs in this recipe with chicken breasts. Use about 1 and 1/2 to 2 pounds. (Chicken breasts are less fatty and won’t reduce as much while cooking, so you need less meat to start with.)


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 348kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 890mg | Potassium: 399mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 239IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 348
Keyword: Basil, chicken, Coconut, curry sauce, slow cooker
Did you make this? I’d love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

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  1. 1 star
    I’m not sure what I did wrong, I followed the sauce recipe exactly but this was really not good. I’m thankful I tasted the sauce before adding the chicken in. Hopefully everyone else has better luck, the recipe picture looks really yummy!

  2. 2 stars
    2 stars instead of 1 because it wasn’t *bad* so to speak. But it had so little flavor. I’ve had coconut curry chicken in restaurants and while I don’t expect to find a recipe that good online, this recipe fell terribly flat, my family was disappointed as well. I followed this recipe exactly.. It’s very obvious that the flavor, the soul of this dish has been toned back to fit the tastes of people who like very bland food and cannot tolerate a richer flavor. I don’t even know how to begin fixing the recipe – more basil, more cilantro, more chili (I used 3/4 teaspoon), more curry powder? I don’t know. But this recipe is no good if you like noticeable flavor and are trying to make dishes that impress.

  3. 5 stars
    My whole family loves this meal! I omit the jalapeños because I have small children, and I never brown the meat because it works great not to! So easy, so delicious, and a great crockpot meal for busy days with kid activities in the evenings.

  4. 5 stars
    We loved this so easy to make and great flavor. To add spice what would be a good option? I need more than the extra chili powder but the flavor is so good I don’t want to overwhelm it.
    Also that linoleum is so similar to what we once had in our childhood home. Thanks

    1. Hi Stefanie! I recommend adding cayenne pepper to taste (a little goes a long way!). It won’t overwhelm the other flavors but it will definitely add some heat. Thanks for commenting, enjoy!

  5. I’d like to make this with my curry paste. Do you have a suggestion as to how I should go about that? Just replace the powder with the paste?

    1. Hi Rosie! This recipe hasn’t been tested with curry paste, so I can’t guarantee that the flavors will be the same. If you try it, I recommend substituting about 3-4 tablespoons of curry paste for the 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder. If you try it, come back and let us know how it turns out!

  6. If you double this would you just double the ingredients above? Have 3 to pounds of chicken breasts I need to use! Thanks! 🥰

    1. Hello Anne! This recipe calls for 2 1/2 pounds of chicken thighs, so if you’re only using 3 pounds of chicken breasts, I wouldn’t double it–just use regular amount of other ingredients. If you meant to say 5 pounds of chicken breasts, then yes, you could double it as you suggest. Enjoy!

  7. Love this recipe! I substituted green curry paste and added eggplant. So easy and delicious! Family favorite!

  8. 5 stars
    Love love love this recipe!! I only made one change …. I substituted 2 cans of chopped green chiles in place of the jalapeños due to my guests personal taste. It’s even more flavorful the next day. Served with naan. AHHHHMAAZZZING 🤩

  9. I made this this week and it was delicious and so easy! I want to make it for the freezer for a friend having a baby. Would you recommend mixing the sauce ingredients with the chicken and then freezing or cooking it and freezing? I know coconut milk can sometimes be funny when freezing. Thank you for the delicious recipe!

    1. Hi Kirsty! I’m so glad you enjoyed this. It’s so thoughtful of you to make it for your friend! Here’s how I’d suggest preparing it for the freezer. Go through steps 1-9, except DON’T include the coconut milk, then put the browned chicken and other ingredients, uncooked, into a ziplock or other airtight container. Put the grated or minced ginger in a separate small ziplock. Have your friend put the bag of chicken and other ingredients in the freezer, along with the small bag of ginger. Give her a can of coconut milk for the pantry. Give her the instructions for steps 10-17 and she can put it in the slow cooker and complete the final steps herself. I hope she loves it!

  10. Should I still brown the chicken breasts or can I put those straight into the crock pot? Not sure how well chicken breasts brown?! Thank you! Looking forward to trying. 

    1. Hi Terri-Lynn! If your chicken breasts are skin-on, then you can still brown them before putting them in the crockpot. If they are skinless, then no, there’s no need to brown them before you put them in. While white meat is less flavorful in this recipe (and in general) than dark meat, chicken breasts will still work. Enjoy!

  11. 5 stars
    This is such a flavorful recipe. It’s become a big hit and highly requested in my house. I always use chicken breast and lite coconut milk for a lighter version. 

    1. Hi Thao! I haven’t personally tried this in the instant pot, but other commenters have had great success with 20-30 minutes on high pressure. If you try it too, let us know how it turned out :-) Enjoy!

  12. This looks amazing! I want to try it out tonight. 
    I have boneless thighs on hand, and coconut cream. Any suggestions on using the coconut cream in place of the coconut milk? 

    1. Hi Savannah! This will work out great! Use what you have. Coconut cream just means it’s going to be extra rich. NOT a problem! 😂 Enjoy!

  13. 5 stars
    So very delicious. Used light coconut milk and added carrots. Also cooked mine on the stove because I was getting started later in the day. It was wonderful. Served with quinoa, naan, and roasted asparagus. Thank you!

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