Let me just say that this Panang Curry recipe could be my ultimate favorite kind of curry! It’s bursting with rich and creamy flavor from the curry paste and coconut milk and is made hearty with chicken, veggies and fresh basil.  

Recently I shared a new Yellow Curry and Massaman curry recipe, but if I had it my way, I’d serve these dishes together on the same night alongside some homemade naan and roasted vegetables! I’ve also included options for vegan and vegetarian panang curry, because this recipe is easily adaptable to any dietary restrictions.

Panang Curry in a bowl with white rice and naan bread.

My affinity for Thai food recipes is no secret–especially ones you can make at home, that taste just as good as take-out! You all have come to LOVE my Homemade Pad Thai just as much as I do, and I have too many other favorite Thai recipes to count. I just love the hugely bold flavors and freshness that comes with dishes, including this one!

I think the thought of making homemade curry can sound intimidating but it’s actually one of the EASIEST meals to make! Let’s walk through it, step by step!

Quick and Easy Panang Curry (and overview)

1. Sauté vegetables.  Heat oil over medium high heat in large non-stick skillet. Sauté onions for 2 minutes, then add bell peppers, garlic and ginger and sauté for 2 minutes more.

2. Add to make sauce:  Add curry paste and peanut butter and sauté for 1 minute. Add 1 ½ cans of coconut milk. Whisk cornstarch into remaining ½ can coconut milk then add to the pan. Stir well.

Slices of red and green bell pepper in a skillet and then coconut milk added.

3. Add chicken. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or just until chicken is no longer pink and sauce begins to thicken.

4. Final touches. Stir in sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and basil. Simmer for 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

A pot of panang curry with fresh basil leaves on top.

5. Serve curry over hot cooked rice, zoodles or spaghetti squash, with a side for naan.

Panang Curry Paste:

Which type?  You have the choice of buying this curry paste or making it homemade.  Personally, I prefer to buy panang curry paste and I am partial to the Mae Ploy Brand.  You can find it at your local Asian market, or on Amazon.

Spice level.  The spiciness of this dish will largely depend on the type and amount of curry paste you use.  I have found Mae Ploy to be a little spicier than other brands (2 tablespoons is medium spicy). That being said, I found when I used 1 tablespoon Mae Ploy Panang Curry paste it was lacking flavor for my taste.

If you want, you can always use less Panang curry paste and add additional Sriracha/Asian hot chili sauce to taste at the end of cooking.

Variations and Dietary Restrictions:

More vegetables: This is a great recipe to “clean out your veggie drawer”. Try adding mushrooms, zucchini, bean sprouts, spinach, bamboo shoots or carrots.

Chicken: You can substitute the chicken for shrimp or tofu.

Rice: Brown, white, or jasmine rice pair well with curry, or skip the rice and serve your curry over zoodles or spaghetti squash.

Vegetarian and vegan panang:  Use a vegetarian curry paste (one that doesn’t contain fish sauce or shrimp paste) like this one.  Also omit the chicken and fish sauce from the recipe and add additional vegetables of tofu!

The customization of this Panang Curry is endless, and so will be your love for it!

Panang curry with bell peppers, chicken and basil, in a pot with a wooden spoon.

Storing and Freezing Instructions:

This recipe will keep for 5-7 days in the refrigerator (and that makes it a fabulous MEAL PREP dish)!  For even quicker meal prep, you can cut the chicken and slice the red bell peppers in advance.

Panang curry can be frozen for 2-3 months.  Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.  Cook rice fresh for serving.

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Recipe

Panang Curry in a bowl with white rice and naan bread.
Prep 15 mins
Cook 25 mins
Total 40 mins
Add to Meal Plan

Video

Ingredients
 
 

  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 2 tablespoons Panang curry paste *
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 2 pounds chicken breasts , cut into pieces against the grain
  • 1 small onion , sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper , thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper , thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 2 14 oz cans coconut milk (Chaokoh brand is my favorite)
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar , packed
  • 1 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves , roughly chopped
  • Hot cooked rice white, brown or jasmine

Instructions
 

  • Heat oil over medium-high heat in large non-stick skillet. Saute onions for 2 minutes, then add bell peppers, garlic and ginger and saute for 2 minutes more.
  • Add curry paste and peanut butter and saute for 1 minute. Add 1 ½ cans of coconut milk. Whisk cornstarch into remaining ½ can coconut milk then add to the pan. Stir well.
  • Add chicken, stirring to coat. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or just until chicken is no longer pink and sauce begins to thicken.
  • Stir in sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and basil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Serve over hot cooked rice.

Notes

Panang Curry Paste: Although you can make it from scratch, I never have those ingredients so prefer to buy it from Amazon or a local Asian market. I like the Mae Ploy Brand. 
Spice level:  The spiciness of this dish will largely depend on the type and amount of curry paste you use.  I have found Mae Ploy to be a little spicier than other brands (2 tablespoons is medium spicy).
Veggies: This is a great recipe to “clean out your veggie drawer”. Try adding mushrooms, zucchini, bean sprouts, spinach, bamboo shoots or carrots.
Chicken: You can substitute the chicken for shrimp or tofu.
Rice: White, brown, or jasmine rice are best, or serve curry over zoodles or spaghetti squash. 
Vegetarian and vegan panang:  Use a vegetarian curry paste (one that doesn't contain fish sauce or shrimp paste) like this one.  Also omit the chicken and fish sauce from the recipe and add  additional vegetables of tofu!
Make ahead and Storing: This recipe will keep for 5-7 days in the refrigerator (and that makes it a fabulous MEAL PREP dish)!  For even quicker meal prep, you can cut the chicken and slice the red bell peppers in advance.
Freezing Instructions: Panang curry can be frozen for 2-3 months.  Allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.  Cook rice fresh for serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 327kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 41gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 116mgSodium: 519mgPotassium: 842mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 1833IUVitamin C: 55mgCalcium: 37mgIron: 1mg

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Lauren Allen

Welcome! I’m Lauren, a mom of four and lover of good food. Here you’ll find easy recipes and weeknight meal ideas made with real ingredients, with step-by-step photos and videos.

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Comments

  1. Very good recipe! Divided into 5 meal prep containers and reheated one each day with a Hot Logi Mini (great alternative to a microwave for cooking and reheating). Its still good without the rice for a healthier option. Thank you for the awesome recipe. Here are the changes/variations to the recipe we made the last couple times we made this:

    No onion, but added a 3rd bell pepper
    Full can of panang curry paste and still wasn’t too spicy but added extra flavor
    Doubled the basil
    Added a touch extra cornstarch for a little thicker sauce since we were eating it without rice.

  2. 4 stars
    Much easier then I thought it would be very good I expected the curry paste to be hotter since the bottle said hot, ended up using much more

  3. 5 stars
    About 20 years ago, I had my first chicken panang at Golden Thai in Florida. My boss bought dinner and recommended it – also Thai Hot. I had no idea what to expect nor did I know it was curry. The waitress said ‘you crazy American’ with a smile. It was amazing. Spicy but not painful. Chicken was good but I pushed away everything and let my rice soak up that sauce. Since then, Ive tried to make it and order it elsewhere when I traveled. Ive never had the same experience. Ive even been to Thai places that dont have it on their menu and are amazed that I know what Chicken Panang is. They’ve made it for me though not on the menu. Good – but not what I remembered. Ive been back t o Golden Thai several times over the years. I followed this recipe to a T tonight minus the basil. By far, the most delicious Ive ever had. This was spot on Golden Thai to me only better. I dont know what fish sauce brings to the party but I special ordered that and the Mae Ploy Panang Curry paste. Ive used store bought before and have never been happy with the end results. I suppose both are store bought but not in my area. Lime and Ginger were fresh though garlic was squeeze bottle. I will be making this again – a lot. I also used tofu instead of chicken. Im not a tofu person but my love for panang was the rice soaking up the sauce (curry?) and this sauce was amazing. Im not against chicken but I wanted something to last a few days and I dont like leftover chicken. It either starts to taste funny to me or gets a weird texture after reheat. Im one of those that temp probes everything so as to not overcook and its always best the day of. Chicken and Tofu both just take on the flavor of whatever so thats what I used. Even the Mrs said it was the best shed every tried. She already packed up a bowl for work tomorrow which she rarely ever does. Shes not a fan of tofu either but now wants to do tofu enchiladas for some reason. My only complaint and I dont want to call it a complaint was mouth feel. I could tell it was thickened. To be fair, I dont use cornstarch for anything and what we had was probably expired. It may also have been the rice we used without washing first in a rice cooker. When I make this next, Ill leave that out. It was the perfect consistency but, I could tell it was thickened. Cant really explain it. Also, I did use 2 maybe 3 times the curry paste. I wasnt Thai hot, but it was spicy. Not painful to eat. Just right for us. Thanks for this recipe – its going into the ‘keeper’ slot.

  4. 5 stars
    This was great. I used two heaping tablespoons of Thai Kitchen ted curry paste. Wasnt spicy at all, so i added another. Still not spicy. And I am a weakling when it comes to thai food. Im like “1 out of 10, ill take 1 please”. And its still toospicy for me. This was delicious, i just miss that kick of spice. Maybe ill add chili oil.

  5. 5 stars
    Cut this delicious recipe in half. Fed two of us at dinner plus lunch the next day. One of the best Thai recipes I’ve tried.

  6. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight. Doubled the recipe, subbed chicken with seafood (2 lbs of 8-12 count shrimp, 1 lb sea scallops, 1 lb lump crabmeat), added fresh mango, sadly had no basil. Definitely added way more curry paste (😂). Listen, we crushed it. Family loved it. I normally order from the neighborhood Thai restaurant, but this is my new fave. Thank you for the recipe. Oh, left out the peanut butter. Delish!

  7. 4 stars
    Hi, I thought this was a good recipe, thank you for the inspiration. I did adjust the recipe slightly to make it a more authentic way of Thai cooking, so I added roasted peanuts instead of peanut butter, used palm sugar over brown sugar and use kaffir lime leaves instead of lime juice and basil. I used to cook with Mae Ploy, but I’ve now found an even better brand called Mae Jum. I found them on Amazon, worth checking out.

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