A Thai chicken and butternut squash curry in a blue bowl with peanuts, coriander, poppadoms and a lime wedge, with a spoon

Perfect Thai chicken and butternut squash curry

If you're looking for a go-to chicken curry, this Thai chicken and butternut squash curry just might be it. It's quick and easy to make with just chicken thighs, a few spices and curry paste, coconut milk, peanut butter, tomatoes and butternut squash. Top with plenty of peanuts and you get a delicious cross between a chicken satay curry and a Thai red curry. Choose to make it on the stove top, in the slow cooker, or in your pressure cooker!
Course Main meal
Cuisine Asian
Keyword curry, thai
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 8 (to 10)
Calories 445kcal
Author Helen



  • 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)

To serve

  • 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).



Adapted from Pinch of Yum’s 30-minute squash coconut curry

Butternut squash

If you can’t find butternut squash, any kind of pumpkin is fine. I’d use about half a small pumpkin instead of a butternut squash. I find different types of pumpkin/squash cook at slightly different rates, so you may want to shorten/lengthen the cooking time a little accordingly.
I have stated 500 grams in the recipe, but 500 to 700 grams is fine. 

If cooking on the stove top...

Put a lid on the pan for the first half of the cooking time, then take it off for the last half to allow the sauce to thicken up (then the sauce thickens even more when you squish the butternut squash in).

Peanut butter/coconut milk

When adding the coconut milk and peanut butter, I'd recommend pushing the chicken out of the way so that you can easily mix them together in the bottom of the pan.


This is a fairly spicy dish. You might like to go a little easier on the curry paste (and on the chili powder) the first time you make this curry. I find authentic Thai pastes tend to be the spiciest.
I find 3 level (not heaped) tablespoons of paste to be about right, for a pretty spicy but not set-your-mouth-on-fire-all-day result. Ultimately though it's down to personal taste. Good luck!

Making this curry in a slow cooker or pressure cooker

To adapt this curry for a slow cooker, simply reduce the tomatoes to just 1 can, then add a tablespoon of concentrated tomato puree/paste. 
Cook for 6 to 8 hours on low, then squish the pumpkin/butternut squash into the curry before serving. 
To make it in a pressure cooker/Instant Pot, follow the slow cooker instructions, but instead of cooking for hours, cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Use a quick auto release to release the pressure. 

Freezing instructions 

This 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. 


Calories: 445kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 111mg | Sodium: 271mg | Potassium: 788mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 7192IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 91mg | Iron: 4mg