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

4.63 from 252 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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  • 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.

Video

Notes

*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.)

Nutrition

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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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Hi Karen, Such a wonderfully flavor packed recipe! We enjoyed it so much, the richness and spices of this recipe is amazing. This is such a keeper, what a treasure.

  2. 5 stars
    I LOVE this recipe! The negative comments are interesting because I feel like this dish has the foundation of everything delicious. When I first made it, when I felt like it lacked something, I just added more of whatever I felt like it could use. We’ve made our rendition of this several times since discovering the original recipe, and now we always add in extra curry, ginger, and salt. We also love everything spicy, so cayenne pepper is an amazing addition! Definitely make it your own, it’s so yummy!

  3. 2 stars
    Great concept, no flavor. I had high hopes for this one especially after smelling it all afternoon but alas I should’ve listened to the other reviews. The flavors were so dull. Overall it just felt flat. I’ve loved other recipes on this site so not running away just yet. Can’t win them all!

    1. Kirsten, your faith is inspiring! I’m so sorry this recipe wasn’t for you, but thank you for your kind words. This recipe has baffled me for years because it seems to be very love/hate! Thanks so much for chiming in.

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve been making this curry for years and it’s a fall/winter staple in our household! All I have to do is ask my wife if she wants me to make “the curry” and she knows exactly what I’m talking about. I just made it yet again tonight and it is such great winter comfort food.

    I love how flexible the recipe is and I’ve definitely made this my own. I always add more spices than the original recipe: garam masala is now a *must* for me in this curry and also like to throw in paprika, nutmeg, bay leaves, and other seasoning. Adding potatoes is also a choice move.

    Thanks for sharing this recipe that’s beloved in my household!

  5. 5 stars
    I just wanted to share how much I love this recipe! I’ve made it a few times now, and it is so delicious! I know there’s a few comments out there about the recipe being bland, but just add more salt and pepper to your own preference and taste, everything else is so savory and delicious. This has become a staple meal in my home! I love eating it with naan.

  6. 5 stars
    I made this today while decorating for Christmas! This was my 2nd or 3rd time making it so I knew it would be good. My entire house smelled amazing and then we had the best dinner afterwards. Thank you!

  7. 3 stars
    I have to agree with most others. This recipe smelled AMAZING cooking but then the flavor was bland and lacking. It definitely needs something. I will try it again though and add some acidity to it.
    Don’t knock it till you try it but maybe play around with it a little. Regardless, still a good recipe!

  8. 3 stars
    As many have stated this recipe looks and smells delicious as it’s cooking but unfortunately really lacks flavor. I tasted the sauce before adding the cornstarch mixture and I’m glad I did. It needed a lot of doctoring and I still wasn’t crazy about it after all was said and done. It did not need to be thickened as it was a consistency of a typical curry without the cornstarch. Wouldn’t make again though, recipe needs work.

    1. I’ve found with soups a few tbsp or couple big TSP of red wine vinegar adds a little acidity and sweetness where you can’t quite figure out what it is. Maybe try that 🤷🏻‍♀️?

  9. 3 stars
    First off… curry is not an American dish. Secondly. I modified with twice the ginger, kept seeds in jalapeños, 1/2 t more curry spice, fresh basil, and lemongrass. Then cooked in instapot for 6 minutes after sautéing the chicken on both sides. Still, not a lot of flavor, but it had the ingredients I needed to un-stuff my nose!

  10. 5 stars
    I saw some mixed reviews on this recipe, but we absolutely loved it! I did add some additional spices (namely, garlic and onion powder and a bit of chicken boullion) as well as about 1 TBSP of brown sugar for a hint of sweetness and it turned out great. My fiance said its definitely amongst the best dishes I’ve made and we try A LOT of different/new recipes. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and pan fried them up in the same spices mentioned above and in the recipe. Thanks so much for the inspiration on this one – I will put it into our rotation of faves!

  11. Excited to try this curry dish. What brand do you use for the curry powder. I’m new to curry powder. Thanks

    1. Hi Enna! I usually use McCormick brand! You can experiment with different brands to see what you like. Curry powder is a combination of spices, so every brand will be different.

  12. 3 stars
    I felt like this was a good recipe to start with, but it overall lacked flavor. I’m not sure what needed to be added to it, but it just tasted like something was missing.

    1. Hi Steph! We haven’t tried this one in the instant pot yet. I recommend using the sauté feature to brown the thighs, then add the other ingredients and pressure cook for about 10 minutes (assuming your chicken thighs are not frozen). If you try it, come back and let us know how long you cooked it and how it turned out!

    1. Hi there! We haven’t tried this in the instant pot yet, but that’s a great idea! If you try it, come back and let us know how it turns out.

  13. 3 stars
    We made this yesterday for me, my husband, and 4 boys ages 13-6. The consensus of everyone after eating it is we all thought it was going to have more flavor based on the smell from it cooking all day. It was sort of bland. Not a favorite for any of us sadly.

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