Coconut Curry Soup

Coconut and curry are flavors meant to be together. So why not marry them into a soup? Hm?

After seeing several variations of coconut chicken curry soup around, I decided to create my own based on the specific flavors we like in our family. The verdict? Well, this just may be my favorite coconut and curry combination to date! A healthy and hearty meal, thanks to layering a ladle of soup over hot, steamed rice, this soup has wonderful flavor. The light coconut milk and touch of brown sugar lend a slight sweetness that offsets the subtle salty fish sauce and slight hint of cayenne. Lime juice and fresh cilantro brighten up the entire concoction.

Mild enough (heat-wise) for my kids to devour and flavorful enough for my husband and I to ooh and aah over, this soup is unique and delicious. Perfect coconut curry fix for the winter weather. Oh, wait…and did I mention this comes together in a flash? Dreamy.

Coconut Curry Soup

What To Serve
Sliced, Whole Wheat Bread
Creamy 5-Cup Fruit Salad
Green salad

One Year Ago: BLT Pasta
Two Years Ago: Naan
Three Years Ago: My Mom’s Fabulous Lasagna

Coconut Curry Soup

Yield: Serves 4-6

Coconut Curry Soup

Note: the slight dash of cayenne pepper doesn’t make the soup spicy, instead, it just enhances the overall flavor. You can add more to taste, if you like things a bit spicier. Also, if you are worried about the fish sauce, don’t be! It is widely available in most grocery stores in the Asian foods section. It is relatively inexpensive and lasts a long time in the refrigerator. It adds an element of flavor you can’t get otherwise, but in a pinch, you could leave it out and sub in probably 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less to taste). If you don’t know what you would use the rest of the fish sauce in, here are a few of my other favorite dishes that call for it: Shrimp Stir Fry with Coconut Curry Sauce, Chiang Mai Noodles, Red Coconut Curry Noodles, Vietnamese Spring Rolls, Authentic Egg Rolls.)


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts, (about 3), cut into 1-inch pieces
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (14-ounces) unsweetened light coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more to taste
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ½ tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (about 1 medium lime)
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • 3-4 cups hot, cooked rice for serving


  1. In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat until it is hot and shimmering. Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Add them to the hot oil. Let the chicken cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the onions and red pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, until the onions and peppers are slightly softened. The chicken and vegetables don’t have to be fully cooked as they will simmer and cook further in the next step.
  2. Add the chicken broth, coconut milk, fish sauce, cayenne pepper, brown sugar and curry powder. Stir to combine. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook, gently, for 10-15 minutes. Stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve a ladle or two of the soup over a scoop of rice and garnish with more cilantro, if desired.


Make Ahead Instructions: Follow the recipe through the step through the first paragraph. Transfer the chicken/onions/peppers to a slow cooker. Add the remaining ingredients (except the lime juice, cilantro and rice). Cook on low for 6-8 hours. Stir in lime juice and cilantro. Serve over rice.

Recipe Source: Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

87 Responses to Coconut Curry Soup

  1. Natalie says:

    I absolutely LOVE this soup and tend to hoard it so no one else gets the leftovers. I was wondering though, do you think this could be done in the Instant Pot? Along with half the country, I got one on the Black Friday deal and now I’m wanting to try everything in it! I’ve heard mixed reviews on coconut milk in the IP. Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      I haven’t tried this yet in the IP, but I think it has the potential to work really well. I’ve used coconut milk in the IP with no issues…but I’ve always used light coconut milk (I’ve heard from others that full fat coconut milk can often be too thick to allow the IP to come to pressure).

  2. […] Roasted Chicken and Veggies – Thai Chicken Wraps – BBQ Chicken and Veggie Bowls – Coconut Curry Soup (or […]

  3. Lindy says:

    And by fish oil I mean fish sauce. Haha.

  4. Lindy says:

    I made this tonight and I wish I would have doubled it! It is amazing!!!! I have been a little nervous about using fish oil, but not anymore! I will make this over and over again! Thank you for yet another delicious recipe!

  5. Michelle says:

    I just have to say this was so quick and easy to make. My husband devoured it and told me at least a dozen times how much he liked it and then this morning said “is it sad that I’m so excited about lunchtime leftovers?” Haha. Anyways, wanted to comment that this was delish. We stuck the recipe and turned out great!

  6. Vicky says:

    So good! Thank you!

  7. Kate says:

    Yummy soup! Took the advice of some others by adding more veggies (carrots and peas) and serving it with steamed broccoli. Very delicious flavor!

  8. Linder says:

    Made this twice so far and it is DELICIOUS!!

    Even better with avacado!

  9. Meg says:

    Oh, my gosh! I made this today just hoping it would be okay. Such a huge hit!! The only change I made was to poach the chicken breasts to get a chicken broth (can’t get it in Japan except as cubes). Then I shredded the chicken and added it in the end to just heat. The rest was the same. It was great! DH had seconds ( a rare occurrence). I’m definitely putting this in my recipe file. Thanks so much!!

  10. Ruth says:

    Oh and I like to add peas and potatoes to it!

  11. Ruth says:

    The first time I made this it was so flavorful and delicious! The second time it was runnier and the flavors a little more mellow. I realized that the first time I must have left out the broth so it came out as a more stew-like mixture and the flavors were much less diluted. I love how quick and easy it is and in the crock pot the chicken cooked amazingly tender! I did like how it came out with less liquid though it doesn’t go as far. Next time I might try it with just 2 cans of coconut milk or 1 can and 1 c broth…great receipe!

  12. Getting fit // Albion Fit Giveaway | The Girl In The Yellow Dress says:

    […] something quick and easy, yet healthy, for dinner. Here are some of my all-time favorite recipes here, here, here & here that I found on pinterest that are on "repeat" at our house all the time. I […]

  13. kristy says:

    Just stopping by to let you know I LOVE this dinner. One of my favorites and a big hit in my family, too. Tastes like comfort food and I can even serve it with Brown Rice and nobody bats an eye! 🙂

  14. I’ve been wanting to learn a coconut curry soup recipe, and made this for the family last night. It was delicious! Thanks so much.

  15. […] Coconut Curry Soup, homemade French bread & […]

  16. Sarah says:

    If I substitute honey for the brown sugar (which I admittedly often do), this is an excellent Paleo soup! Which I know wasn’t your intent, but I hope that works bc I’m so excited for these flavors and cold day soups!!! Thanks Mel! 🙂

  17. Sarah says:

    Made this tonight and it got an A+!! We love all of your recipes!

  18. Robin says:

    I made this and it is very good. I did not use as much chicken and instead added more vegetables. You could use whatever meat and vegetables and it would still taste good.

  19. Tabetha says:

    I made this tonight for dinner and both my husband and I agree that it hit the spot. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  20. Amy says:

    This recipe sounds so super duper yummy! I am planning my menu and this will be on it. I hate to admit I haven’t been on your site in a while, but I LOVE how you redesigned it! Every single recipe I have tried from here is delish! Thanks for spending the time to share your talent and recipes!!

  21. Chelsea says:

    Made this last night, Mel! It was delicious. We are spicy people so I double the curry powder, the cayenne, and only did 1 1/4 cups chicken broth. Can’t wait to eat it for lunch today. Thanks!

  22. Megan says:

    I made this soup with red Thai curry paste instead of curry powder and I loved it. I served it with a yummy Asian salad and some crusty whole grain bread.

  23. Tanyia says:

    Hello….I just had a quick question: I ‘m thinking of serving this soup for company…what do you suggest to serve with it? The only thing I could come up with was salad?? Any other ideas? Thank you so much!

  24. Tanyia says:

    I tried this soup tonight and it was absolutely delicious! I used the full fat coconut milk, so it definitely had more fat, but I didn’t care. It was so yummy! My whole family enjoyed it! Thank you so much for the recipe 🙂

  25. Mel says:

    Megan – I haven’t tried it with paste but I think it’s a great idea. You’ll have to judge the amount by taste but I think it would work fine.

  26. Megan says:

    Hi. Have you tried making this with Thai curry paste instead of curry powder? I tend to prefer the paste, so just wondering if the flavor would be dramatically different? Thanks.

  27. kristy w says:

    I love this soup! Just had to post to let you know I make it frequently and it has become a comfort food for me. Thanks for the great recipe!

  28. bonnie says:

    This was delicious!!

  29. Missy says:

    Made this tonight. So good! Added snap peas, shrimp, & about a tablespoon of Thai green curry paste just to give it some depth.

  30. One of the best recipes I’ve found through Pinterest yet! Wonderful!! I’m sending everyone to your recipe. Thanks for sharing.

  31. Samantha says:

    I made this in the fall and am just now getting around to commenting. I’m terrible! This soup was delicious. Fish sauce always makes me queasy so I always use less than it calls for, but the overall flavor is so good. Thanks for another great recipe!

  32. LT says:

    WOW! WOW! WOW!

    I made this tonight for dinner, and even my kindergartener wants to take leftovers for lunch tomorrow. The only modification I made was to use jalapeno garlic marinated chicken breasts (on a super sale at our local “fancy” supermarket), so I omitted the cayenne, and I used “full fat” coconut milk.

    I can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

  33. Hi there! I made a version of your soup the other day and posted it to my blog. I gave you complete credit of course! Terrific recipe. 🙂

  34. […] I was even more fortunate to come home to this warming curry soup from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe. […]

  35. Lorraine says:

    Another winner! Excellent soup. Nothing else to say…it’s just awesome!

  36. TK says:

    Hi Mel, I made this soup last night and it was delish! I didn’t have the fish sauce but I will look for it at the market and try it next time I make this – I will definitely be making this again!

  37. SaeHee says:

    Found this recipe through Pinterest and I just made it tonight! I replaced chicken with tofu and put vegetable broth instead:) Thanks for sharing it was very yummy

  38. Betsy says:

    Excellent. Next time I would do a little less lime, more cayenne/curry.

  39. Chelai says:

    I made this last night. It was great. We love curry so I changed it to 1 tbsp.

  40. Brittany says:

    Seriously loved this!! Thank you so much! I love your recipes!!

  41. Deanna says:

    I made this over the weekend. AWESOME! I added 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, 1 tsp cumin and 1/2 c mushrooms and it looked so good I skipped the broth and made it a curry instead. Love it. We licked the plates clean! Thanks for the recipe!

  42. natalie says:

    I made this the other night for my family. I love this sort of thing and I thought it was fantastic and so easy. My husband and I ate it as soup, so good! And I used more rice and less broth for my boys who don’t do well with soups that aren’t really thick. We all loved it and had zero leftovers. Thanks for another great recipe!

  43. Kim says:

    Thai Coconut Chicken Curry is one of my most favorite foods ever, but this was awful. I’ve tried lots of your recipes and loved them all, and tried several of your curry/Thai dishes and they were great (Red Coconut noodles were amazing) but the chicken broth ruins the flavor of the curry. There is no coconut flavor at all, and I added an extra can of coconut milk trying to salvage it. Next time I make it I won’t use any chicken broth at all, just the coconut milk.

    • Mel says:

      Kim – I think the difference with this recipe is that it is a soup not a straight up curry-over-rice recipe. Because of that, the chicken broth is needed to make it, well, a soup. I understand where you are coming from about the coconut milk not being strong enough but I think if all coconut milk was used in place of the chicken broth it might make the soup lose some of the complexities of the flavor since too much coconut milk can hide the subtleties of the unique flavors. However if you ever try it again that way, you’ll have to let me know if it still works as a soup with the equivalent of coconut milk instead of broth. I’m sorry you didn’t love it but am glad you have found some other curry/Thai dishes to enjoy!

  44. Lindsay says:

    Mel – we had this tonight and LOVED it! I couldn’t find fish sauce at Winco though – we’ll have to try it with that when I find some! Thanks for the yummy recipe.

  45. Kelley says:

    Yum, yum, yum. This was so delish. I found myself debating on drinking the leftover yummy juice off the plate…and I did! My 16 month old gobbled this up as well. I always tey to add more veggies so I think next time I will add in some carrots, broccoli, and zuchini…but this was amazing. Love this blog Mel 🙂

  46. Shannon says:

    Just finished my bowl- it was perfect! When my 4 year old asked what was for dinner he said, “but I like chicken curry”…I had to show him there was chicken in the coconut curry soup. He and my 2 year old gobbled their whole bowl of it, btw.We have a favorite Thai place just down the street, but we may not even have to go there anymore thanks to you. We always keep coconut milk on hand for such times as this. Thanks for such a delicious and easy curry recipe! **One note- I didn’t have red pepper so I used green and I threw in a peeled and chopped sweet potato pre-simmering just for kicks – yum!

  47. Jen says:

    This is the first of your recipes that I have made although they all look delicious. It was really good! I added mushrooms as others had suggested and also added some chopped spinach to get more veggies in our dinner. I also used brown rice instead of basmati. Will definitely make again.

  48. This looks unbelievably delicious! Can’t wait to try it in my own kitchen!

  49. I made this tonight – wonderful! Anything with basmati rice and coconut milk is pretty much a MAJOR win in my book – and this one didn’t disappoint! Thanks again for another wonderful recipe.

  50. Anna says:

    Delicious! Thanks for the inspiration for dinner. 🙂

  51. Jess says:

    I may be wrong, but this recipe may not have the “soup” tag. I tried searching for it that way and it didn’t show up. Just a little fyi… Oh, and I’ve made this twice this week. So yummy!

  52. Brooke says:

    This looks delish – we love curry and thai food around here. I am always leery of buying fish sauce and hoisin sauce because I bought some hoisin sauce once that was nasty. Do you have any brand suggestions? Thanks for the great recipes – especially the easy ones!

  53. Keely says:

    I made this soup tonight and while only 1 of my kids really liked it both my husband and I loved it! The heat from the cayenne and curry were perfect while the lime and cilantro really brightened the soup. My husband has requested that I put this in my permanent recipe collection!

  54. Stacie Aho says:

    Made this last night. The flavor was very yummy. My broth was also more clear… not sure why I was expecting more of a creamy broth. I think next time I’ll use full fat coconut milk to give it a richer flavor. Thanks for the tasty recipe!

  55. Jamie says:

    So so so good!! We never eat curry stuff and this was amazing. 🙂 And so easy! Thank you.

  56. Jena says:

    Second time making this soup in a week! Its that good! (well your recipes are always that good!) Thanks again for this wonderful recipe!

  57. Christina says:

    This was really good, we made it for supper tonight. Our son asked for leftovers for dessert!

  58. […] from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe This entry was posted in Chicken, Soups and tagged Chicken, Curry, Soups. Bookmark the […]

  59. Kelly says:

    just made this tonight for dinner – DEEEElicious with 2xs the cayenne! Next time I’ll add mushrooms also

  60. BROOKE BAGLEY says:

    Making mine right now and it looks nothing like yours. Mine looks more like a clear broth than a creamy broth. What did I do wrong??

  61. Jena says:

    Made this with Red curry powder since thats what i had on hand. I also added mushrooms, and little red dried chilies. This soup turned out soooooo good! I’m making it again this week!

  62. Meredith says:

    I’m reporting back. This was delicious!!! My son has requested that I make it again next weekend. Two thumbs up!

  63. Amy says:

    I am definitely making this tomorrow night, but I’m going to throw it in the slow cooker (because I am slightly obsessed with my slow cooker).

  64. grace says:

    sad news–even catching a whiff of curry powder turns my stomach–i just have a violent reaction to it. don’t think any less of me for it, mmmkay? 🙂

  65. Cammee says:

    I made this today and it’s simmering, waiting for all of my snowboarders to get home. I always like to greet them with a soup to warm them up. I’ll tell you what though, they better hurry because I keep “tasting” it every time I walk by. So delicious, but I’m in love with all of your curry recipes.

  66. chris says:

    Hey Chris I thought this sounded pretty good sans the chicken. connie

  67. Shana Grugan says:

    Made this one last night, and it was delicious. We doubled the cayenne for an extra kick. I think we’ll make it with shrimp next time!

  68. Rachel says:

    I just started to follow your blog so this is our first recipe I’ve made. I adore curry but my husband does not care for. But after making this tonight for dinner and after his second helping I think we have a favorite! Yay!

  69. This looks fantastic and coconut milk is really good fat, so I always use full fat! I make a stir fry very similar.

  70. Monica says:

    These pictures are gorgeous!

  71. Detje Bea says:

    I love curry & I never made this soup before. I need to try new recipes & this one looks delicious. Thanks

  72. Tomi Ann says:

    Oh Yum yum Yum yum Yum yum Yum. This is going on the menu this coming week for sure!

  73. Juli says:

    Sounds delish! I love curry! This I will try! Thanks!

  74. Alisha says:

    I want to eat this. My husband does not eat curry anything. I’ll have to tell him to eat a PB&J or something.

  75. Jena says:

    This looks so good! I think i will add some lemongrass, mushrooms and some thai chilies! (i like mine really spicy!) Does Red curry powder taste different than yellow?

  76. Jessica says:

    I love how you stand behind your spice combinations. Also, thanks for sharing the links, I always love to know which blogs peak your interest. Assuming its the well-rounded, high quality ones…or its the pictures.

  77. Meredith says:

    You must have been reading my mind! I was craving a soup like this a couple of days ago at 5 a.m. while I pondered what to have for breakfast before I went to work. (Reyna will attest to the fact that our family was never big on traditional breakfast foods.) I had a carton of pre-made coconut curry broth, bok choy, rice noodles and grilled chicken on hand and put that together with a splash of Siracha. It quelled the craving, but reading your recipe has got my tummy grumbling for more. I can’t wait to try yours!

  78. Christina says:

    Sounds delicious! I love the combo of coconut and curry. Can’t wait to try it.

  79. Bruce The Low Carb King says:

    I will make this fit into my diet. It looks so good. This low carb diet has left me with a dangerous curry deficiency.

  80. Linda says:

    Wait… tell me what curry powder you used… there’s lots of kinds out there!

    • Mel says:

      Linda – you are right! There are so many different brands/types of curry. I’m glad you asked me what kind I used because I meant to mention it. I currently have the Spice Islands brand of Curry Powder. It is a golden orange/yellow color. It is mild and flavorful!

  81. Linda says:

    Now THIS….I cannot wait to make… I am in love with curry and Thai food, especially if it has cilantro and lime. MMMMMMMMMMM… Thank you Mel!

  82. briarrose says:

    I love coconut and curry mixed together….putting it all in a soup is an idea made of win! Nom!

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