Welcome to your new go-to Thai chicken curry! This easy chicken and butternut squash curry truly deserves the spot it’s had on our dinner table (and in our freezer) for YEARS now. Imagine a cross between a Thai red curry and chicken satay – with hidden veggies – and you get the idea.
This is the best chicken curry recipe ever – creamy, comforting, truly delicious. Make it on the stove top, in the slow cooker, or in the pressure cooker in a little over 30 minutes. Perfect!
Why you’ll love it
I preface my recipe titles with bold words like ‘best’, ‘life-changing’ and ‘perfect’ very sparingly! But when I do, I really mean it, and it’s usually because the recipe has been tested a ridiculous amount of times.
Mr. Scrummy and I have been licking our lips over this for literally YEARS. Turns out butternut squash and chicken are a match made in heaven – especially when made into a tasty Thai satay curry!
In short, this has become one of our family’s go-to recipes. Here’s why.
- Tweaked over the years, but adapted from this squash coconut curry from the popular food blog Pinch of Yum. Any recipe from this site usually gets my vote!
- The dreamy, creamy coconut curry chicken sauce is divine. Fan of chicken satay? Read on.
- It’s quick and easy. You need just 10 minutes to prep everything and 30 minutes’ cook time. The biggest job is chopping the butternut squash.
- Hidden veggies! The soft butternut squash gets squished into the chicken curry to thicken the delicious sauce. Wilt spinach in too for extra brownie points.
- It feeds a crowd! It makes 8 medium portions at least, or up to 10 small ones.
- It’s the perfect freezer meal. Have it for dinner, then freeze the rest.
- Multiple cooking options. Cook it on the stove-top (my favorite), or in your slow cooker or pressure cooker.
Check out more Scrummy Lane ‘Best’ recipes: the best Greek potatoes (they really are the best, and go with almost anything), the best mee goreng (Indonesian noodles), the best crustless quiche, and these best halloumi fries or similar life-changing fried halloumi bites!
About the ingredients
- butternut squash, chopped into small(ish) pieces. Feel free to use pumpkin instead.
- A few simple kitchen cupboard spices [curry powder, chili powder, turmeric]
- garlic (quite a lot) and ginger
- chicken thighs, chopped
- Thai curry paste (try to use an authentic, good quality one)
- coconut milk, canned tomatoes & peanut butter (I like crunchy peanut butter but whatever you have is fine)
- honey (adds a touch of sweetness to balance the sharper flavours)
- yummy garnishes: coriander, peanuts & (very optional) lime
- yummy sides: rice, poppadoms, yoghurt (I don’t like to skip the yoghurt!)
Pro tips: 1. Use the best quality red curry paste you can find. An authentic Thai one is always a safe bet! 2. Chop extra butternut squash and freeze it for next time – if you like already mixed with the spices. 3. Try using ready chopped frozen butternut squash or pumpkin. This makes the recipe even easier!
How to make it
You’re only these 5 simple steps away from chicken butternut squash curry heaven!
(Photo 1) Sprinkle spices (curry, turmeric, chili powder) over chopped butternut squash.
(Photos 2-4) Soften garlic and ginger and brown chicken.
(Photos 5-6) Stir in peanut butter, red curry paste, and honey, then the tomatoes and butternut squash.
(Photos 7-8) Let the curry simmer until the butternut squash is soft (about 30 minutes), then squish most of the butternut squash into the curry. This will thicken it nicely!
(Photos 9-10) Serve!
How to serve it
I recommend serving this butternut chicken curry over rice and scattered with fresh coriander and crushed peanuts. A squeeze of lime is optional, but don’t skip the coriander or peanuts!
I also consider a huge splodge of natural yogurt (I prefer Greek yogurt) and a pile of poppadoms on the side to be obligatory!
Alternatively, serve with naan bread. Mmm!
Slow cooker instructions
To my delight… YES, you can make this Thai chicken satay curry in your slow cooker!
A reader helped me to figure out the best way to adapt this recipe for a slow cooker (thank you, Paula!). It worked perfectly.
- Follow the stove top cooking instructions up to step 4 in the recipe below (if you have a slow cooker that also sautes, just saute the spices/chicken etc in the bowl of the slow cooker).
- Reduce the amount of chopped tomatoes to just 1 can.
- Add a tablespoon of tomato paste/puree to make sure you still get the same hit of tomato-y flavour.
- If you don’t have a saute function, it’s fine to just throw everything in the pot without any pre-cooking. You’ll still get a delicious curry.
- Slow cook for 6 to 8 hours on low.
- Squish some of the pumpkin into the curry as you would if making it on the stove top and… enjoy!
You can use whichever slow cooker you have. Just don’t use a tiny one because this recipe makes quite a lot of curry!
Pressure cooker instructions
These days I often use a multi-cooker to make this. I have a Breville, but the most popular one is the Instant Pot (affiliate link). I either use the slow cooker setting, or the pressure cooker setting, depending on how organised I am that day.
If you’d like to try making this in your pressure cooker, simply follow the slow cooker instructions, but cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Choose a quick steam release setting (I use auto quick release on my Breville pressure cooker).
Don’t forget to squish the squash into the curry at the end, as with the other cooking methods!
More things to know (FAQs)
Yes, definitely! The curry will still look red due to the tomato paste and can of tomatoes, but it may be a slightly duller red. The taste will be just as delicious!
I’ve made this chicken butternut curry all three ways. If I’m honest, I prefer it made on the stove-top. However, sometimes I make it in my electric pressure cooker, just because it’s very hands-off this way.
It’s still very delicious made in the pressure cooker or slow cooker, but the chicken falls apart a little more. I also find the flavours slightly more enhanced when made on the stove top. But honestly, make it in the way that’s most convenient for you. It’s a top class meal whichever way you choose to make it!
Yes! Use about half a small pumpkin. I find different types of squash/pumpkin cook at different rates so just keep checking if the pumpkin is soft before squishing it into the curry a little!
This will keep well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply microwave on high power for 4-5 minutes until piping hot. Alternatively, reheat gently in a saucepan.
Absolutely! Chicken and butternut squash curry is perfect for freezing. Simply freeze in glass containers for up to 3 months, then defrost and reheat either in a saucepan or a microwave.
I find the recipe makes at least 6 portions. It can even stretch to 7 or 8 portions, especially if you add rice and/or naan bread and poppadoms on the side!
More delicious curries
- 20-minute coconut chickpea curry (it’s vegan, but loved by vegans and non vegans alike)
- Easy massaman chicken curry (Another delicious and easy Thai chicken curry recipe!)
- One-pan peanut butter chicken (Thai style) (this is another AMAZING Thai-style recipe that’s great for entertaining!)
- 20-minute coconut fish curry (If you’re in more of a fish dinner kind of mood)
Perfect Thai Chicken And Butternut Squash Curry
Equipment (affiliate links)
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click below for grams/ml)
- 1 pound butternut squash peeled and chopped into smallish cubes
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 6 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 inches fresh ginger peeled and chopped finely
- 2 pounds chicken thighs chopped into small pieces
- 14 ounces coconut milk (1 can)
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter crunchy or smooth
- 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste good quality – authentic Thai brands are good
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 28 ounces chopped tomatoes (2 x 14 ounce / 400 gram cans)
- fresh coriander / cilantro, crushed peanuts & natural yogurt (I use Greek yogurt)
- rice & poppadoms
- Toss the butternut squash in a large bowl with the chili powder, curry powder, and turmeric, and set aside.1 pound butternut squash, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon curry powder, ½ teaspoon turmeric
- Heat up a big drizzle of oil in a large cast iron pan or saucepan, then cook the garlic and ginger together for a couple of minutes. Add the chicken and cook for another two minutes or so or until white.6 cloves garlic, 2 inches fresh ginger, 2 pounds chicken thighs
- Add the coconut milk, then stir in the peanut butter, Thai curry paste and honey. Then add the tomatoes and butternut squash/spices.14 ounces coconut milk, 3 tablespoons peanut butter, 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste, 1 tablespoon honey, 28 ounces chopped tomatoes, 1 pound butternut squash
- Simmer for about 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the squash is tender. Squish about half of the squash into the curry to thicken it.
- Serve over rice, garnished with the coriander and peanuts, and with yoghurt and poppadoms on the side (if you like).rice & poppadoms, fresh coriander / cilantro, crushed peanuts & natural yogurt