Pressure cooker, Weeknight dinner
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Pressure Cooker Thai Red Beef Curry

Pressure Cooker Thai Red Beef Curry

Pressure Cooker Thai Red Beef Curry

I loved the Thai green chicken curry you did the other day – but I couldn’t find green curry paste at my grocery store. They had red curry paste – is that OK?

Of course it is! My pressure cooker curry recipes are a basic technique3 the interesting parts of the recipe is the variations – what curry paste, meat, and vegetable combination do you want to use?

Next up on my Thai Curry tour is red beef curry. I love to use a flat iron steak from my friends at Certified Angus Beef for this curry. A flat iron steak is cut from the chuck blade roast, and is a thin, relatively fat free cut. It is as tender as steak, but has enough connective tissue to hold up in the high heat of the pressure cooker. It’s also the perfect thickness to make bite sized beef strips – I cut it in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1/2 inch thick pieces. 4

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Thai Red Beef Curry


  • 6 quart or larger pressure cooker (I love my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker)


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Pressure Cooker Thai Red Beef Curry

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 1x


Pressure Cooker Thai Red Beef Curry recipe – spicy Thai beef in a thick curry sauce, in a hurry thanks to the pressure cooker.


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced into 1/2 inch wedges
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, stemmed, and sliced into 1/2 inch strips
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger, peeled and crushed
  • Cream from the top of a (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup red curry paste (a whole 4-ounce can)
  • 8-ounce can bamboo shoots, drained
  • 2 pounds flat iron steak (or chuck blade steak, or boneless chuck roast), cut into 2-inch by 1/2-inch strips
  • 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt or 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce (plus more to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (plus more to taste)
  • Juice of 1 lime

Garnish and Sides

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


Sauté the aromatics: Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in the pressure cooker pot until shimmering. (Use Sauté mode in an electric pressure cooker.) Stir in the onion, red bell pepper, garlic, and ginger, and sauté until the onion starts to soften, about 3 minutes.

Fry the curry paste: Scoop the cream from the top of the can of coconut milk and add it to the pot, then stir in the curry paste. Cook, stirring often, until the curry paste darkens, about 5 minutes.

Pressure cook the curry: Sprinkle the beef with the kosher salt. Add the beef to the pot, and stir to coat with curry paste. Stir in the rest of the can of coconut milk, bamboo shoots, chicken stock, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Lock the lid and pressure cook on high pressure for 12 minutes in an electric PC or 10 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 20 minutes.

Finish the curry: Remove the lid from the pressure cooker. Stir in the lime juice, then taste the curry for seasoning, adding more soy sauce or fish sauce as needed. Ladle the curry into bowls, sprinkle with minced cilantro and basil, and serve with Jasmine rice.

  • Category: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Thai


Stockpiling ingredients

Stockpiling ingredients


Thin-slicing the beef

Thin-slicing the beef


Sauteing the aromatics

Sauteing the aromatics


Frying the curry paste and coconut cream

Frying the curry paste and coconut cream


Pressure Cooker Thai Red Beef Curry

Pressure Cooker Thai Red Beef Curry



  • Don’t shake the can of coconut milk – you want the solid layer of cream on the top to stay separate from the liquid underneath. That lets you fry the coconut cream with the curry paste, then add the liquid later. (If you forget, or your coconut milk is mixed, skip the cream in the “fry the curry paste” step and stir the whole can into the pot in the “pressure cook the curry” step.)
  • I like my curry hot, so I use 1/2 cup of curry paste – in other words, the entire 4 ounce can. If you want to cut back on the heat, only use 1/4 cup of curry paste, about half the can.
  • If you look carefully at the picture, you can see two different brands of curry paste. I prefer Maesri, but I have to make a special trip to my local Asian grocer to find it. Thai Kitchen is available in regular grocery stores, and it is good enough when I don’t feel like making an extra stop.

What do you think?

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

Pressure Cooker White Rice
Pressure Cooker Thai Green Chicken Curry
Pressure Cooker Massaman Beef Curry
My list of 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. Katherine says

    the whole family loved it, thanks. I added the capsicum after pressure cooking along with carrots, beans and diced potato. Even without lime/lemon or bamboo shoots (none on hand!) it was still delicious.

  2. Phil says

    Just found your recipe. Curious, why use chicken broth instead of beef broth if you’re cooking beef? Does it overpower the intended curry flavor to much?

  3. Kathy_S says

    I don’t see brown sugar listed in the ingredients list, nor do I see it in the instructions besides where it states to add more as needed. Regardless we really enjoyed this recipe – next time I will add the peppers after pressure cooking and saute for a minute or two as we found that they turned to mush.

  4. Debbie says

    Could you make the Thai Red Curry with sliced chuck roast? Would I need to adjust the cook time?

    • Yes, you can used chuck roast – that’s actually what a flat iron steak is, a piece of the chuck. It won’t change the cooking time.

  5. Susan says

    We made this for the first time tonight and LOVED it so much! I found 3 Tbsp of curry paste perfect for our taste (I love Mae Ploy brand). The only change I made was to add 2 Tbsp of coconut sugar, which we liked but it didn’t make it sweet overall. Thank you so much for the recipe – the green curry is next! 🙂

  6. Mike says

    How strong is the taste of the Coconut milk in the final result? I love curry dishes but my wife dislikes the strong milky coconut flavor that comes from many of the Thai dishes. Any possibility to lessen, remove or replace the Coconut milk? Maybe use half coconut milk and half regular or maybe half almond milk>

  7. DaWn Edwards says

    Thank you! One more question, do you have a recipe for a Pnang curry? You got me on a roll now! 😉

  8. DaWn Edwards says

    Am I able to substitute chicken for the beef? Not a big beef eater but this sounds ds delish.

  9. Katie says

    Just contemplating taking the plunge on the Instant Pot and looking at recipes. By the time the natural pressure release is taken into account the cooking time is not that disimilar to cooking on a stove top in a conventional pan (depending on the type and cut of meat obviously). What would you say are the advantages of the Instant Pot method? Thanks

    • I have to disagree with your basic statement – this recipe would take 2 hours of simmering on the stovetop, instead of 10 minutes under pressure plus a 20 minute natural pressure release.

      Now, there are some pressure cooker recipes that take about the same amount of time – those I usually make on the stovetop, or use the pressure cooker because it’s convenient to have the hands-off, timed cooking. The pressure cooker really shines with any recipe that would require an hour or more of stovetop simmering; it cuts that down to minutes.

    • You can, and it will be good – but it will come out just a little tougher. Flank steak is a leaner cut of meat than flat iron or chuck.

  10. Aaron Friedman says

    So why do you not use the extra cup of water/broth and the Tbs of brown sugar in this version? Also, have you tried the Chaudoc coconut milk (the can looks very similar) that has 350 calories per can instead of 750?

    • > Why not 1 cup chicken broth in this recipe?
      Um…because I wasn’t paying attention? It worked with 1/2 cup, so if you want to cut back in the chicken curry, that’s OK. (The extra 1/2 cup of liquid didn’t seem to make much of a difference in the final product.)

      I’ve never tried the low-cal coconut milk. I assume that means the cream wouldn’t be as thick (lowfat = low cream), so don’t bother frying the curry paste with the cream. Dry fry the curry paste in the pot (or add a tablespoon of vegetable oil), and add the whole can of coconut milk where the recipe says to add “the rest of the can.”

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