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

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.

Video

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. Lauren, I thought I would let you know that there is a vegan “fish” sauce available on Amazon that is amazing. My son who is not vegetarian but who grew up as one cooks for me quite often and he says it is a dead ringer. It adds that flavor that you miss when it is taken out.

  2. A restaurant worthy dish! I was a little shy on adding all of the brown sugar, but added about 2/3 the amount. Added carrots and mushrooms. What a lovely base that can be played with. Coming from a small town with limited dining options, this was a perfect and delicious meal. I love Thai food and will use this as a “go to”. Great way to clean out the fridge. Yum!!!!!!!

    1. Do you want a beef version of this recipe? You could simply substitute beef for chicken in this recipe. For beef curry, you could follow a beef curry recipe and compare it with the aspects you liked about this dish :). It’s pretty forgiving so i’m sure you can experiment and find a version you like.

  3. 5 stars
    Lauren,
    I’m a recently (March 2020) retired engineer, I’ve transitioned from loving to eat Thai food to loving to make it. You and your recipes have been a true inspiration. So far I’ve made the Thai Basil Beef (with venison), the Panang Curry (with shrimp), and the Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Each dish came out better than I hoped. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful recipes. The Massaman curry is the next dish on my list.

    1. I’m so happy to hear that, thanks so much Randy! What a fun way to cook with your free time now!

  4. 5 stars
    I LOVE curry. This one was DELICIOUS and my first experience with Panang curry. I loved the depth of flavor added with the additional sauce ingredients (ginger, garlic, peanut butter, lime juice, sugar). I’m excited to eat the leftovers. My veggies were a little over cooked by starting them first. (But I am admittedly a little slow in the kitchen.) I used onion, red bell pepper, broccoli and sliced carrots. I will make notes on my recipe to perhaps make sauce and simmer chicken and add veggies after as appropriate for veggie cooking time.

  5. 5 stars
    Panang Curry and Pad Thai are two of our favorite go-to take out options. I love making them at home! Thanks for sharing your recipes!

  6. 5 stars
    Absolutely amazing! I did this with broccoli, peppers, green beans, and onions. Super yummy. Will definitely make again!

  7. it tastes better from scratch, but apparently the sponsor’s pre-made paste also works lol

  8. 5 stars
    I made this curry and my whole family loved it!! I’ve passed the recipe onto my mom and sisters and now my neighbors have made it and everyone just keeps raving about it. Such a dynamic flavor and better than what I’ve had at restaurants!

  9. 5 stars
    This is a super easy and super yummy curry! We love the different flavors that this meal offers and just how simple and quick it is easy to make

  10. 5 stars
    One of the yummiest curries I’ve ever made…and I’ve made plenty. Great balance of flavors and puts our basil garden to good use too. 🙂

    1. I linked to a homemade curry paste within the post (just for people like you 😉 ). See the section above titled “Panang Curry Paste”.

  11. 5 stars
    This was easy and delicious! This is my favorite curry but I never imagined I could make it myself. I substituted purple basil, added a couple of thinly sliced kaffir lime leaves and some blanched green beans to the recipe and it was wonderful. My husband loved it! I plan on making this a staple dish in our household this winter. Thank you for the inspiration!

  12. 5 stars
    Ok I really have to say…. you are my favorite person on the planet right now. Not only was this recipe 5 stars but all of your recipes are amazing. I created my own meal plan for this week and I can create the shopping list for the needed items on your website and print. You make everything so easy AND delicious!

    1. Thanks Kristy, that really is the best compliment I could get! I’m so happy you’ve enjoyed the meal plan options and some of my recipes!

  13. Great recipe but I added red pepper flakes at end when I was cooking the chicken Because my curry paste wasn’t very hot. Great recipe easy just as good as Thai takeout

  14. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! We love panang curry so much and this recipe hit the spot. Subbed one can of coconut milk with chicken broth to cut down on calories and it was delish! Nice work on this!

  15. 5 stars
    This was awesome!! I’ve tried other recipes from others and they were ok but never got that restaurant feel. This got that flavor! I added string beans (pre-steamed), mushrooms, and carrots. I’d say the coconut milk brand the the curry brand is very important! I’d say it may be a little thicker than restaurants so I guess you could maybe not do the corn starch if that’s a must for you.

  16. 5 stars
    I can’t begin to tell you how outstanding this recipe was! I originally was going to use a recipe I had found for my Instant Pot, but decided I wanted to use my cast iron skillet and cook it on the stovetop instead. I’m so glad I did.! In my opinion, nothing beats the FLAVOR that comes from cooking in your cast iron skillets and pots, and certainly this one delivered!
    We have a favorite Thai place we go to and I order the red curry chicken while he orders the panang. But the last two times, he was disappointed, as they did not cook the veggies right. So, being that I found this recipe and had all but the peanut butter on hand, I decided to make it. He said it tasted FAR better than the one at our favorite Thai restaurant! I agreed! It was fantastic! I added asparagus to it also, but as she stated, including any veggie will work. This will be a favorite and a regular of ours from now on as it was so easy to make. THAN YOU!

  17. 5 stars
    I’ve been making yellow and red curry for awhile now, but never Panang Curry. I wanted to try it because it has peanut butter in it and I LOVE anything wth peanut butter. I made this today, and the only change I made was adding some carrots and yellow squash with the bell pepper and onion. And I used pre-minced ginger and garlic to save some time. It came out really thick! I think this is the first curry I’ve made that is so rich and creamy. I can see that I may need to add some broth to thin it out a bit if needed, but I love it! I will be making this again and again.

  18. 5 stars
    OMGOSH! This is my new most favorite recipe!!! I have been searching for a recipe like this as this is my favorite dish at a restaurant we would go to but they took it off their menu. This is sooooooooo delicious with layers of decadent flavors and just the right amount of spice. Seriously I could eat this for the rest of my life! Thank you so much for creating and sharing this recipe!

  19. I did love this recipe like most of your recipes. However, not sure if you know this, but the Chaokoh coconut milk is a very, very bad product to purchase. This company uses captured baby monkeys and chain them to crawl up the trees to get the coconuts. They are terribly abused, do not get veterinary care and are fed little. These types of acts should not be happening in this world to any living being. It is so sad that you would use such a product. Perhaps it’s time to use another reputable coconut milk.

    1. That’s good to know Monica and certainly a reason to avoid the brand you talk about. It would probably be better understood if you included a link to your source for that information. That way, people could read about it first-hand. Thank you for bringing this injustice to our attention.

  20. 4 stars
    Very good, just right for me but I’m taking away a star because it was too spicy for my family! I’m glad I only used 1 tablespoon of the Mae Ploy curry paste. I added carrots, mushrooms and broccoli and used almond butter. I didn’t have any basil or lime, but that would have made it even better! I didn’t thicken with cornstarch and the consistency was perfect for rice noodles. This will be going into my rotation for quick meals.

  21. 5 stars
    outstanding!! I am pregnant and one of my cravings has been curry- and instead of spending all my money eating out at Thai restaurants I searched for a recipe online. This tastes just like my favorite curry dish! Feeling super thankful I found this! 🙂 I am one happy mama to be! SOO quick and easy too! I added sweet peas to mine since that is what is in the Panang curry dish at my fav Thai restaurant. LOVE

  22. 2 stars
    This recipe was just ok. I tasted sugar mostly. Next time, I would omit brown sugar all together to get the coconut milk and red curry sauce flavor.

  23. 5 stars
    I made my own panang curry paste by adding cumin and coriander to red curry paste since panang isn’t available near me. I also subbed almond butter for peanut butter because of allergies. I added a little more corn starch and brown sugar and it ended up tasting just like the panang curry I’ve had in restaurants. So good!!!

  24. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious and very authentic. I followed the recipe exactly except I used coconut cream dissolved in water, dark brown sugar and substituted the meat for cod. After sautéing I threw it all in the one-pot pressure cooker for 8 mins. It tasted exactly how I remember when travelling through Thailand.

  25. 5 stars
    I’m about to make this, it looks great but the calorie count is definitely misleading or something doesn’t add up right. For 5 servings you’re looking at over 500 calories not counting rice (2 cans of coconut milk and also 2 lbs of chicken and I stopped there). Not sure where the 327 comes from. Is it supposed to be 1 can of coconut milk? Want to know before I make this incorrectly thanks!

  26. 5 stars
    This is a very good recipe. I didn’t change anything. Served with hot rice. This is restaurant-quality food! Excellent!

  27. 5 stars
    This is an easy-to-make recipe. Once I had all the ingredients I could follow the instructions step by step.
    The flavors are very close to one at our favorite Thai place!

  28. 5 stars
    This is a great recipe and super easy to ketofy! I swapped out corn starch for Konjac root (very little needed), Swerve Brown Sugar for the brown sugar, and I had some Thai Peanut Butter that I had received in my Keto Krate awhile ago. I only use Mae Ploy Curry Paste (I have Yellow, Red, Green and Panang) and full fat coconut milk. I had Thai basil on hand too. I served over cauliflower rice for a delicious dinner. This is my new go-to Panang recipe! Fool proof! A+++++

  29. 5 stars
    I have made this recipe at least 5 times. It’s great and it is just like tha Panang curry that I get from my favorite Thai restaurant

  30. 5 stars
    This was so amazing!!! This is going to be a staple for me whenever I want to use all my leftover vegetables! Thank you for sharing this. 🙂

  31. 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.

  32. 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

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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!

  37. 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.