These easy creamy curry chicken thighs comes together fast. You can have Indian-inspired chicken curry on the dinner table in about under 30 minutes. Seriously, who needs take out when you can do this? This is fast (and healthy) food.
These creamy curry chicken thighs are really is easy and fast using a few simple ingredients from your pantry.
Why You'll Like This Recipe
- The colors and the flavors are terrific.
- It's a fast and easy recipe for a busy weeknight.
- Keep most ingredients (except the chicken) in your pantry.
- Chicken: Use bone-in chicken thighs, more budget friendly than chicken breasts
- Oil: The flavor profile of coconut oil works perfectly with this recipe
- Coconut milk: Use the thick canned coconut milk for a rich, creamy sauce.
- Chicken broth: Buy low sodium so you control the salt flavor.
- Garlic: Buy a head of garlic and use fresh cloves.
- Curry powder: Choose from mild to hot at the store. It's easy to buy mild and add heat with cayenne pepper or hot sauce.
- Ginger: Here is one place I use a jarred product (for speed), but you can use fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated.
- Limes: For the tart, bright, acidity it adds to the dish.
- Saffron: Use a pinch of saffron threads if you have it for more flavor and color. Just a few threads will do, as saffron is the most expensive spice in the world. (optional).
- Thickener: Use either cornstarch or arrowroot starch to thicken the pan sauce at the end (optional).
- Cilantro: Fresh chopped for a nice visual counterpart to the golden sauce and adds fresh flavor.
Please see the recipe card for all ingredients and measurements.
If your family doesn't like dark meat thighs, use bone-in chicken breasts and cut them in half cross wise. Bones add flavor and moisture to chicken.
Swap fresh Italian parsley for the cilantro.
Pull the chicken out of the fridge and unwrap for 45 minutes if you can (I know it takes more time). This gets the chill off and helps the chicken cook more quickly with better results.
Choose a pan that holds the chicken skin side down in a single layer. Sear chicken skin side down in oil until golden.
Pour off the extra fat in the pan, turn chicken over and pour the coconut curry mixture in the pan around the chicken. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes until chicken reaches 165°F.
Serving and Sauce
If you want to thicken the pan juices, remove the chicken to a warm plate and cover to keep warm. Whisk together the arrowroot starch and a tablespoon of water until smooth.
Add to the juice in the pan and cook stirring one minute. If the sauce chunks up on you and you want it smoother, pulse for a few seconds in a blender.
Serve with a green vegetable and rice is nice, either brown or white. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley for color and flavor.
Make Ahead and Reheat
A great way to streamline meal preparation during the busy week is to make a few dishes ahead on Sunday afternoon, cool, wrap well, date and refrigerate. This chicken curry reheats well.
To reheat, place chicken and sauce in a sauté pan in a flat layer and cover with a lid. Turn heat to low. Allow the chicken to heat up slowly and get back to 165°. It will take awhile cold out of the fridge but you can be off doing other things while dinner warms up or making side dishes.
Alternatively re-heat the chicken in a 350°F oven covered for about 30 minutes. Timing depends on how cold it is to start.
Chef's Note: Curry powder is a blend of spices, usually turmeric (where it gets it's color), ginger, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, anise, fenugreek, dry mustard and others. You can buy it at any grocery store. Different brands vary in their taste and blend, so if you like curry, experiment to find your favorite. They also vary from mild to hot.
While you can roast, bake, saute or grill chicken thighs, braising is a delicious, easy and fast way to cook chicken thighs, which is basically what this recipe is. Started with searing, turn, then finish with a broth or gravy, simmering until done.
It depends on where the recipe hails from. Indian curries use cream and yogurt for creaminess, and Thai curries usually use coconut milk for the creamy texture.
More Recipe Ideas
For another terrific chicken recipe try my braised chicken with cashew gravy.
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Easy Creamy Curry Chicken Thighs
- 8 bone-in chicken thighs about 2 ½-3 pounds
- ⅛ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon granulated garlic
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil
- ¾ cup canned coconut milk
- ½ cup chicken broth
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2-3 teaspoons jarred ginger puree or finely grated fresh ginger
- Juice of ½ a lime
- Pinch of saffron threads optional if you have it
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot starch optional to thicken pan juices
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro for garnish optional
- Turn thighs skin side down and trim chicken thighs of extra skin and fat. See post photo for help.Turn over, skin side up and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and garlic.
Make curry sauce
- In a medium bowl stir or whisk together coconut milk, broth, garlic, curry powder, ginger, lime juice, and saffron. Set it near the stove as you cook the chicken.
- Place a medium saute or fry pan large enough to hold chicken in a single layer over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add the oil, then add the chicken thighs skin side down. Turn heat down to medium low. Cook chicken until the skin side is golden, 5-7 minutes. Remove chicken to a plate or rimmed baking sheet and pour off fat. Add chicken back to the pan top side up.
Add curry sauce
- Pour the milk-broth mixture around the pieces. Bring the pan to a simmer, cover and turn to heat to low. Cook the chicken for approximately another 7-10 minutes, or until they reach 165°F internally. They cook pretty quickly. You can serve the chicken right away or thicken the sauce.
Optional step: thickening the sauce
- If you want to thicken the juices into more of a sauce, remove the thighs to a plate and keep warm covered with foil. Whisk the arrowroot starch with 1 tablespoon of water until smooth and add to the pan, stirring until smooth and thickened, about 1 minute. Put the chicken back into the pan and serve family style sprinkled with cilantro.