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Welcome to your new go-to chicken thigh curry! This easy Thai 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 a chicken satay curry – with hidden veggies – and you get the idea. It’s creamy, tomato-y, peanut-y. Make it on the stove top, in the slow cooker, or in the pressure cooker. Perfect!
Note: This post has been updated from its original version to include a few tweaks in the recipe after years of making it (!), new photos, step-by-step cooking instructions, an FAQ, similar recipes, and a how-to video. I hope you like it!
A ‘perfect’ Thai chicken and butternut squash curry? Really?
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. It’s become one of our family’s go-to recipes.
But back to this amazing easy Thai chicken curry.
So Mr. Scrummy and I have been licking our lips over this curry for literally YEARS, and here’s why…
Why this is a perfect Thai chicken curry recipe
- I’ve tweaked this chicken coconut curry recipe to our taste over the years, but I owe my inspiration to this squash coconut curry from the popular food blog Pinch of Yum. Any recipe from this site usually gets my vote!
- This isn’t JUST a chicken and butternut squash curry. It has the most delicious creamy coconut curry sauce made out of curry spices, coconut milk, tomatoes, and… peanut butter. So if you’re a fan of chicken satay, read on.
- It’s quick and easy. You need just 10 minutes to prep everything. The biggest job is chopping the butternut squash.
- Pat yourself on the back after eating this because… hidden veggies! The soft butternut squash gets squished into the curry to thicken the delicious coconut curry sauce. Wilt spinach into the sauce too for extra brownie points.
- It feeds a crowd! It makes 8 medium portions at least, or up to 10 small ones. Have it for dinner, then freeze the rest!
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.
Thai chicken butternut curry ingredients
- butternut squash, chopped into small(ish) pieces
- A few simple kitchen cupboard spices [curry powder, chili powder, turmeric]
- garlic (quite a lot) and ginger
- chicken thighs, chopped
- Thai curry paste
- coconut milk, canned tomatoes & peanut butter
- honey (adds a touch of sweetness to balance the sharper flavours)
- yummy garnishes: coriander, peanuts & (very optional) lime
- yummy sides: rice, poppadoms, yoghurt
How to make this Thai chicken and butternut squash curry
You’re only these 5 simple steps away from coconut 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 with poppadoms, peanuts and coriander. For extra yum, I also serve my curry with rice and Greek yogurt on the side.
How to serve your Thai chicken curry
I recommend serving this chicken butternut 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 yoghurt and a pile of poppadoms on the side to be obligatory!
Can you make this chicken butternut curry in a slow cooker?
To my delight… YES!
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!
How to make a butternut squash chicken curry in a pressure cooker
These days I often use a multi-cooker to make this curry (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!
Good quality meat!
Lately, I prefer to buy less meat, but of better quality. I often buy it at a farmer’s market, which has great quality local meat. But what if you don’t have a good farmer’s market, or you don’t have time to go?
Butcher Box (USA) [affiliate link] delivers free range organic chicken, 100% grass-fed beef, and heritage breed pork directly to your door for less than $6 per meal. They often offer seasonal deals for your first box. Or, Scrummy Lane readers can USE THE CODE AP10 to GET $10 OFF AND FREE BACON IN YOUR FIRST BOX! Oh, and shipping is free.
If you’re in the UK, you might like to check out the award-winning Riverford [affiliate link]. They have a wide selection of free range and organic meat, or you can order great value veggie, salad, dairy, and recipe boxes, and much more.
More delicious curries
- 20-minute coconut chickpea curry (it’s vegan, but loved by vegans and non vegans alike)
- Easy massaman chicken curry
- One pan spicy Thai peanut chicken (this is AMAZING and really good for entertaining!)
- 20-minute coconut fish curry
IF YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE, LET ME KNOW HOW YOU GET ON BY LEAVING A COMMENT AND RATING BELOW… OR TAKE A PHOTO AND TAG @scrummylane ON INSTAGRAM!
Perfect Thai chicken and butternut squash curry
Ingredients (UK/Australia? Click button 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.
- 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.
- Add the coconut milk, then stir in the peanut butter, Thai curry paste and honey. Then add the tomatoes and butternut squash/spices.
- 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).