Crockpot Coconut Chicken Curry

chicken coconut curry Sometimes this is real life:

baby room Real life is planning to incur a library fine because the book you’re reading – the book you’ve been waiting  6 weeks for – is still on a waiting list and can’t be renewed, so therefore you’ve decided to just finish reading it and pay the fine rather than return it on its due date.

Real life is waking up at 3 a.m. and thinking about baby room paint colors and wondering if the baby’s going to come a month early, catching you and your house totally off guard.


Real life is high-fiving in Home Depot after finding welcome mats that actually fit under your door and are big enough to accommodate you AND your salt-laden boots.(Real life also includes hitting yourself in the face with the corner of a mat that you’re trying to put back on the highest shelf and having a small but noticeable rugburn on your cheek as a result).

Real life is wearing a pair of socks at least 3 times before washing it.

Real life is repeatedly poking your growing belly when you haven’t felt the baby in a long time and having your husband kindly but firmly ask you to stop punching his child.

dry ingredients

Real life needs crockpots.

We probably use our crockpot once a week at least in the winter. Eric’s work schedule this past year has given him really flexible mornings, and he’s been a total champ at crockpot cooking. He even cooked a whole chicken in one last week; I was so impressed (whole birds still sort of intimidate me). Major crockpot cred. ingredients Probably our favorite crockpot meal is this coconut chicken curry. It comes together so easily and quickly…you cut up some chicken and (in our version) carrots; food process together a few other veggies, cans, and spices; mix it all together in the crockery (best word ever); and leave it to cook you an irresistible Indian meal all day. Seriously, when you come home, you will smell this from outside your house. It’s beautiful.

In the last hour, you add some cornstarch and water to thicken the sauce, which is a perfect time to cook up a batch of rice. We like to eat this with long grain brown rice (basmati if we’re splurging) and some of this garlic naan if we’ve been home all day, or just some toasted pita wedges if we’re coming home after a long day of work. It’s great with lots of chopped cilantro on it, which we went without since it is February, but I won’t tell if you indulge…

We’re always looking for great crockpot recipes. What’s your favorite?

chicken coconut curry

Crockpot Coconut Chicken Curry

Crockpot Coconut Chicken Curry

(recipe adapted from the Tasty Kitchen Blog)

(yields 6-8 servings)

This recipe originally calls for about 2 lbs. of chicken, which is not only expensive but is also just a lot of meat. Instead, I use 1 lb. of chicken and 1 lb. of carrots. We don't really miss the meat and the carrots add a nice subtle sweetness to the dish. Making this in the winter, we use frozen bell peppers instead of fresh, and I either substitute frozen jalapenos or a tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes for the dry red chili peppers that the original recipe calls for.


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into large cubes

1 lb. (about 5 large) carrots, peeled and cut into similar-sized cubes as chicken

1 whole onion, peeled and quartered

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 bell pepper, seeded and quartered

1 small can (5 oz.) tomato paste

1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk

1-½ tsp. salt

1 tbsp. curry powder

1 tbsp. garam masala (Indian spice mix)

1 jalapeno, seeded and halved OR 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional for heat)


2 tbsp. water

1-½ tbsp. cornstarch


For Serving:

1 bunch cilantro (optional but so, so good)


naan bread or pitas (optional)


Grease the crockpot. I spray a little bit of Pam in there and spread it around with a paper towel.

Place the chicken and carrot cubes inside the crockpot.


Place the rest of the ingredients (except cornstarch and water) in a food processor and process together until the mix is mostly smooth. Pour sauce mix on top of the chicken and carrots. Mix well, then close the lid. Cook on low for 6 hours.


An hour before serving (so after 5-6 hours), mix together the water and cornstarch in a small bowl until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Add to the crockpot and mix well. Place the lid back on for an additional hour. Turn crockpot to the warm setting when you feel the sauce is thick enough if you're not quite ready to serve it yet.


Serve on top of rice, topped with the cilantro if using, and with pieces of naan or pitas if you've got them around.

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68 thoughts on “Crockpot Coconut Chicken Curry

  1. This post made me smile…in particular you standing in the middle of that room surrounded by baby stuff. THAT took me back. You’ll get it all done, don’t you fret. Your chicken curry looked delicious and I bet it’s just the sort of meal that is perfect to open the front door to. Take care!

    • After doing some reading on the interwebs, sounds like you could try a couple of things:
      1. evaporated milk
      2. almond milk
      3. you could try blending up cashews with a little milk until it’ s a thick creamy consistency

      Let me know if you try it and which route you go!

  2. Okay, so…you guys are awesome and I love this blog. The part about you poking your belly made me laugh out loud–so great :) Also, I can’t wait to make this for my family someday soon. It looks incredible, and the pictures made my mouth water!

    • I completely think you can leave it for longer than 6 hours…especially if you put the crockpot on its lowest setting. For me, Instead of doing the “low 4-6 hours” setting, I’d do my “low 8-10 hours” setting – I bet it would be just fine. I don’t think your sauce will start to burn or anything. The important thing is just to add that cornstarch and water app. an hour before you want to eat it. Good luck!

    • I think you could definitely try it in the dutch oven…just keep an eye on the sauce becoming too thick, but if you kept it at a really low simmer, I think you could totally pull this off!

  3. Liz – another fantastic post – I love reading your writing, it always makes me smile – so real – so funny! Also this recipe is wonderful – I love the carrot addition!

  4. Just found your blog through a Stumble thingie, and it took me only a few minutes to subscribe to your feed… ;-)

    nice to “meet” you, loved the coconut chicken, and all your facts about real life – but the picture of the little guy you teach English to (on your flickr About page), made me melt. Beyond recovery….

  5. Wow! That looks delicious! I think we’ll try it this weekend. No crockpot in the kitchen either, but I recon a normal pot set on a reeeeeally low simmer should do it. I don’t favor chicken to much; do you think one could substitute the bird with a slice of cow?
    The belly poking story made me laugh as well, especially that part about not punching HIS baby. :)

  6. I just made this last night. It was DELICIOUS! Crock pot recipes tend to be a little bit bland, but not this one. The flavors just go together perfectly. Thank you, thank you for this one! It will be a staple at home.

  7. I made this recipe last night, it was great! I couldn’t find any garam masala, but I was ready to improvise. Thanks a lot for sharing, I blogged about this recipe, I hope you don’t mind. (Let me know if you do mind)

  8. Okay… after carefully looking over the blog (at Eric’s recommendation) for a good recipe to try, I think I’ve found the winner! Although my girfriend and I love just about anything that can be “crockeried” we’ve generally shied away from trying Indian cuisine as it is often seems too much of a hassle. This however looks both simple and delicious — can’t wait to try it!

  9. I’m so very, very happy you posted this. :-) Juggling work, our goat farm, and Australian visa paperwork has me living out of my crockpot. I was in dire need of something new and inspiring and you just provided it. Thank you. :-) And yes, the word crockery rocks. :-)

  10. I just wanted to tell you I discovered your blog a couple days ago and made the curry tonight. So good!! It’s made it into the regular rotation. Thank you! And I’m loving the blog!

    • No cornstarch? No problem. Your sauce will be just a little thinner.
      You could also mix equal parts flour and water in a small bowl, and then pour that mixture into your sauce…it would probably serve to thicken your sauce, though it may taste a tad floury. Could be worth it if you’re really hoping to thicken the sauce.
      Hope you like it!

  11. Holy wow! My boyfriend, who is a CIA-trained chef, was tasting this all afternoon as it cooked. He usually wanders in once or twice when I am cooking for him in order to give me “constructive criticism”…but not with this this dish! By the third or fourth time he just happened to pass by the crockpot with an empty spoon in his hand, it was clear that he was falling in love the developing flavors. He never changed one thing and his only suggestion was that I start it earlier in the day next time I make it!! Thank you very much and Happy New Year!

    • What a happy comment! Thanks for letting me know how much you & your boyfriend enjoyed this! Also…the CIA has trained chefs? That seems intense :)

  12. We just had this for dinner and it was phenomenal, great recipe! And congrats on your little one, my baby girl was born Feb 18, 2012. :O)

  13. Going to have this cooking while I decorate a cake for my little guy. It is his first birthday. I can relate to your photos.

    • Oh fun! I can’t wait for Owen’s first birthday, and I sure am glad all that “get the house ready before this baby flies out of me” preparing is over! Happy Birthday to your little one!

  14. Wow. So glad I found your site (via Heavy Table). I had always thought crockpots required dark meat but this and the mole have convinced me otherwise. I think next time I’ll double the meat and keep the carrots for leftovers; there was plenty of curry sauce to do that! With a toddler and a new baby, slow cooker recipes that can be thrown together in advance are awesome. We make a lot of America’s Test Kitchen brisket and usually freeze half of it.

    • Thanks! We love doing chicken in the crockpot because I never overcook it / dry it out that way…and you’re right, this recipe does make a ton – yet another reason to like it!
      I just got an America’s Test Kitchen cookbook from someone moving and paring down their book collection; you’ve inspired me to open it up and start post-it-noting recipes that stand out.
      Congrats on the new babe!

  15. How important is the cornstarch? I would rather not use it or hear a suggestion for a substitute. I also doubled the recipe and threw in some addition vegetables. I think it will work in this kind of recipe. Lovely site.

    • It’s definitely not necessary…you’ll just end up with a thinner sauce. If you’re looking for a substitute, you could try a flour/water combination…might give your sauce a slight floury flavor, but would help to thicken it without the cornstarch. Way to add some veggies; this recipe is totally flexible like that!

  16. This is great! It’s simmering now and the family that I’m boarding with is itching to try it!

    Added a few more chili peppers so I’m thinking it’ll be extra spicy, but I like that.

    Thanks for this!

  17. Pingback: Crockpot Coconut Chicken Curry | Berries & Bears

  18. Just wanted to drop a line to say that I’ve had this page bookmarked for about a year because this recipe is delicious. It is a regular on my family’s dinner rotation, though the leftovers inspire food wars because we each fight to get to them first. Thanks for sharing!

  19. So as I was looking through my favorite recipes today I could not find what I wanted … a whole curry chicken made in the crockpot. After turning to Google your post came up and I am eager to get cooking with your recipe. I’ll be using my own homemade coconut milk and will thicken it up with my homemade coconut powder since I don’t use anything canned any more. Your pics are indeed GREAT! Thanks for turning us all on to this one :)

    • Oh, one more thing, I’ll be using the entire bird instead of pieces which your recipe recommends. Being a Farmers Market chicken, I was told to watch the cooking time as it is somewhat shorter than a commercial bird. I’ll report back …

        • Yes! It was quite delish, thank you. I only had a few bites since I decided to start a detox the next day. The rest of the meal got zip-locked in batches and into the freezer until ready for use over the next few months.

  20. Pingback: Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Chicken

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