20-Minute Thai Green Curry

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A true, restaurant-quality Thai green curry is a thing of beauty. Its coconut cream base makes it a luscious and rich dish but never overly heavy thanks to a bright flavor profile complete with umami-packed fish sauce and zippy lime leaves. It’s the perfect dish for when you’re looking for something cozy but a long simmer time just isn’t in the books – Thai green curry naturally comes together in under a half hour. And, thanks to readily available green curry paste, a home-cooked version of your favorite restaurant curry is actually more doable in your own kitchen than you may have thought.

We love this weeknight-friendly Thai green curry for so many reasons. With a focus on a few flavor-packed ingredients, you can achieve a delicious 20-minute dinner that tastes like it simmered for hours. This curry is also customizable in seemingly endless ways by switching up proteins and veg, or heck, even using red curry paste instead of green. It’s a great way to use up whatever quick-cooking vegetables have been shoved to the back of the produce drawer and are halfway to the compost bin (we’re looking at you, half a head of broccoli). We love that Thai green curry has all the components of a great meal built-in (starch + protein + veg). Let’s be honest, figuring out what to serve with dinner is half the battle. Also, an overnight hang-out in the fridge to let the flavors meddle and develop makes this a rare dish that’s even better on the second day. Actually tasty leftovers? You’re welcome.

Ingredients for Thai Green Curry

  • Coconut cream is different than coconut milk. While both are made from shredded coconut, coconut cream is much thicker and more concentrated than coconut milk. Not having to simmer off the extra liquid found in coconut milk is what helps this curry deliver with such a brief cook time.
  • About that green curry paste. The ingredient that literally carries this dish, Thai green curry paste is a finely ground paste made with spices, peppercorns, Thai basil leaves, makrut limes, lemongrass, cilantro, garlic, and sometimes even shrimp paste. Store-bought curry pastes vary widely in potency from brand to brand, so start with two tablespoons and work up from there.
  • Lime leaves and Thai basil. Speaking of powerhouse ingredients, lime leaves and Thai basil help deliver that distinctly Thai flavor to this curry. They can be super tricky to find if you don’t have access to an Asian market, though. Regular basil and a squeeze of lime stirred in right before serving are great in a pinch.
  • Pick a protein. We used boneless, skinless chicken thighs here, but any other protein that cooks in 10 minutes or less also works. Think shrimp, thinly sliced steak, cubed tofu, or chickpeas.
  • Great vegetable swaps. If bell peppers aren’t your thing or you’re looking to clean out the fridge, almost any quick-cooking vegetable is great here: broccoli, peas, asparagus, bok choy, green beans, and bamboo shoots are favorites.



20-Minute Thai Green Curry

Thanks to readily available green curry paste, a home-cooked version of your favorite restaurant Thai green curry is 100% doable.
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 servings


  • 3-4 cups cooked rice
  • 2 13.5-oz. cans coconut cream
  • 2-3 Tablespoons green curry paste*
  • 1 lb. uncooked boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 lime leaves, torn in half
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup loosely packed thai basil leaves plus more for garnish


  • In a large dutch oven, warm the coconut cream and curry paste over medium heat. When the mixture reaches a gentle simmer, add the chicken, fish sauce, sugar, lime leaves, and continue to cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the red and green bell peppers, and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and peppers have softened slightly. Taste and add salt if needed. Remove from heat and discard lime leaves. Tear the thai basil leaves in half by hand and stir all but a few into the curry. Garnish with remaining leaves and serve the curry hot with rice.


*Each brand of green curry will vary in depth of flavor and spiciness. Start with 2 Tablespoons and add one or even two more as desired.
– Lime leaves and thai basil can be difficult to find at generic grocery stores. They are easily found at Asian grocery stores, or in a pinch you can make this recipe without them.
– You may substitute the chicken thighs with any other protein of your choice including chicken breast, tofu, steak, or shrimp.

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