Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner
comments 10

Instant Pot Massaman Chicken Curry

A yellow bowl of massaman chicken curry with a serving of rice, on a gray table with basil, cilantro, and an Instant Pot visible in the background
Instant Pot Massaman Chicken Curry

Instant Pot Massaman Chicken Curry. A quick weeknight curry, using store-bought curry paste, from my pressure cooker.

My son came back from a Toronto vacation a Massaman Curry addict. It was a fluke; he wanted Korean BBQ, but the line was too long, so he tried the Thai place around the corner. Ever since, he’s been nagging me to make him Massaman curry. Of course, I’ve made it for him before, but he claims he doesn’t remember that.

Why am I making this traditionally beef curry with chicken? Our local Thai restaurants let you choose your protein, and he picks chicken more often than not. So, here’s a remake of my beef version of Massaman curry, this time with chicken.

My trick to Thai cooking is store-bought curry paste. Maesri brand is my favorite, because the can is the right size for my pot of curry. I also like the taste of Mae Ploy brand, sold in larger tubs, but I don’t make curry often enough, so I wind up throwing away most of the tub. And that bothers me.

My pressure cooker chicken trick is to use chicken thighs. Thighs can handle the pressure, unlike that delicate flower, chicken breast, which will overcook if you look at it funny. Join us on the Dark Side of the Chicken!

Recipe: Instant Pot Massaman Chicken Curry

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A yellow bowl of massaman chicken curry with a serving of rice, on a gray table with basil, cilantro, and an Instant Pot visible in the background

Instant Pot Massaman Chicken Curry

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 3 quarts of curry 1x


Instant Pot Massaman Chicken Curry. A quick weeknight curry, using store-bought curry paste, from my pressure cooker.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, trimmed, seeded, and cut into thin strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ inch piece of ginger, peeled and crushed
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Cream from the top of a 13.5-ounce can of coconut milk
  • ½ cup massaman curry paste (a whole 4 oz can)
  • 2 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • pounds baby potatoes
  • The liquid from a 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime

Garnish and Sides

  • Minced cilantro
  • Minced basil (preferably Thai basil)
  • Lime wedges
  • Crushed peanuts
  • Jasmine rice


  1. Sauté the aromatics: Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pot until shimmering. (Use Sauté mode adjusted to high in an Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.) Stir in the onion, red pepper, garlic, and ginger, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of salt, and sauté until the onion starts to soften, about 3 minutes.
  2. Fry the curry paste: Scoop the solid cream from the top of the can of coconut milk and add it to the pot. (Stop when you hit the thin coconut liquid, and save it for later in the recipe.) Stir in the curry paste and cook, stirring often, until the curry paste darkens and the fat starts to separate, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pressure cook the curry for 10 minutes, with a quick pressure release: Sprinkle the cubed chicken with the fine sea salt. Stir the chicken into the pot, coating it with curry paste. Stir in the potatoes, and then the rest of the can of coconut milk. Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, and brown sugar. Lock the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 10 minutes in an electric PC or stovetop PC. Quick release the pressure in the pot.
  4. Finish the curry: When the pressure valve drops, remove the lid from the pressure cooker, tilting it away from you – the steam is scalding hot. Stir in the lime juice. Ladle the curry into bowls, sprinkle with minced cilantro, basil, and crushed peanuts, and serve with Jasmine rice.


  • OK, OK, if you insist on using boneless skinless chicken breasts, go ahead. Cut them into 1-inch cubes and use them in the recipe; It doesn’t change the cooking time.


  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Thai

Keywords: Instant Pot Massaman Chicken Curry, Pressure Cooker Massaman Chicken Curry

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts

Pressure Cooker Thai Green Chicken Curry
Instant Pot Short Ribs with Coconut Milk and Thai Curry
Pressure Cooker Thai Panang Beef Curry
My other Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Recipes

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Filed under: Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Kim says

    Delicious! Everything was cooked perfectly, and there was plenty of leftovers for another midweek meal. I ended up adding about 1/4 of water due to a burn signal, but I regularly receive that warning whenever I cook with coconut milk. Thank you for sharing your awesome recipes!!!

  2. Thanks, Dave, another great recipe! I used one small potato, sliced mushrooms and carrots. (Next time, I’m going to try turnip and maybe yam.) Very good! I also used a pot-in-pot method to cook rice at the same time. We appreciate you!

  3. Mike, a challenge. I have one vegetarian and 4 non-vegetarians in the family.

    I am thinking of making the full 3-quart recipe through Step 1 to get the base sauce recipe, and then setting aside enough of the sauce (say 1/4 of the base) to make a vegetarian version with tofu or with vegetables or something else that would fill out the dish to make it acceptable for a vegetarian.

    How to handle the tofu if I use that? Press it, fry it, freeze it first?…..I wouldn’t want it to fall apart in the dish. Maybe an extra vegetable or two would be more forgiving?

    Your recipes are so good that I don’t want to pass this one up!

    Thank you,
    I wouldn’t mind making the base for the recipe and setting aside some of the sauce to

    • I would cook it as written, without the chicken. While the IP is running, pan-sear the chicken and tofu separately on the stovetop, and serve them on the side to be mixed in at the table. (I don’t know enough about Tofu to recommend pressing or freezing – but my gut tells me it will fall apart under pressure.)

  4. Gary Dahl says

    We made this last night, but noticed along the way that unlike your other curry recipes (including the beef version of this one), no chicken stock is on the list. I went ahead and added some (8 oz) just to be on the safe side, and it came out great. Perhaps the chicken gives off enough water already…do you make it without any added liquid?

    • Yes, my testing of this recipe showed the coconut milk and chicken itself provide enough liquid – no extra broth required.

  5. Spencer says

    Have you tried making tamales using your Pressure Cooker?
    Hope so! Enjoy your work. Gracias

  6. This is a great technique that I have used many times. However, I use medium size potatoes (usually Yukon gold), cook them whole on a trivet above the rest of the curry, then slice them after and add them back in. It makes the sauce taste less “potatoey”.

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