Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry

Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry (Instant Pot)


Author: Lisa Childs

Comments: 34

Dairy Free Instant Pot Recipes

Published Date: March 24, 2019

Updated Date: November 16, 2022

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Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry is one of the best things I have ever made. It’s sweet, spicy, dairy free, and extremely satisfying — this Instant Pot chicken curry recipe is going to be my new staple.

Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry

Simply Thai Pineapple Curry Recipe

About a year ago, my team at work went to Simply Thai in Draper, Utah for lunch. I didn’t have super high expectations and ordered the pineapple curry — or Gang Khua Sub Pa Rod.

I’ve since returned many times just for this pineapple chicken curry. The base is perfectly coconutty and very sweet (not at all what I was expecting), with chunks of tender chicken and juicy pineapple.

My recipe is quite a bit spicier than Simply Thai’s due to personal preference.

To account for that, I’ve noted in my recipe that you should start with about 1/4-1/2 of the called-for curry paste, then add in more to taste after pressure cooking.

Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry

More Asian Recipes

PINEAPPLE CURRY INGREDIENTS

Simply Thai’s pineapple curry uses chicken or shrimp as its protein, then pairs that protein with a curry of coconut milk, pineapple, carrots, bell peppers, Thai basil, baby corn, tomatoes, onions and cashews.

For my Instant Pot chicken curry, I tailored the veggies to my taste, but kept the signature red curry base and pineapple chunks.

At its core, curry consists of four things: the curry base; the protein; the add-ins like veggies, potatoes, or (in this case!) pineapple; and the liquid.

This recipe is for a beautifully flavorful and easy chicken curry with coconut milk, so that liquid will be full-fat coconut milk.

You may also choose to use a thickener, like corn starch, to add a heartier consistency to your coconut pineapple curry.

Instant Pot Curry Recipe

CURRY BASE

The curry base is composed of five simple ingredients: red curry paste, fresh garlic, fresh ginger, onion and coconut oil.

Fresh garlic and ginger are the best by far, as they give the best flavor, but powders will do in a pinch.

Because the curry paste is the main flavoring agent, make sure you get a good one. Personally, I recommend Maesri red curry paste.

CURRY PASTE VS. CURRY POWDER

I do not recommend using curry powder in place of curry paste in this recipe.

There’s a lot of complexity to the realm of curry pastes and powders, but a general rule of thumb is that curry pastes go well with Thai curries (like this one), while curry powders lend themselves better to Indian curries. 

Technically, you can use curry powder as a substitute for red curry paste, but the end flavor of your curry will be noticeably different.

For this pineapple coconut chicken curry, I strongly recommend you use the Maesri red curry paste.

Instant Pot Curry Ingredients
I originally thought that I would use the curry powder and diced tomatoes, but then decided I wouldn’t need them. Please disregard in this photo!

What is Red Curry Paste Made of?

Red curry paste is made from dried red chilies, garlic, shallot, salt, lemongrass, sugar, kaffir lime, galangal, and spices (usually coriander seeds, cumin, and cardamom). 

The actual process of making your own red curry paste can be fairly time consuming, so I don’t recommend it unless you’re really passionate about curry!

The premade jars in the grocery store are bestsellers for a reason — you won’t go wrong using an off-the-shelf curry paste.

Maesri Curry Paste

When I picked out my Maesri red curry at the store, I did so because it was the smallest container at the best price.

Come to find out, it has 4.7 stars and over 100 raving reviews on Amazon!

Maesri curry paste IS spicy, so if you are sensitive to spice, please use HALF or less while cooking and then add in more after pressure cooking.

However, don’t use less than 1/3 as the curry paste is what gives the Instant Pot curry its flavor!

Red Thai Curry Paste Maesri brand

PROTEIN

For the protein, I like to use chicken breasts that’ve been thinly sliced about the grain. Simply Thai offered a shrimp option, which is definitely something that you can do at home as well. 

And note — if you’re vegetarian or just prefer to omit meat, this pineapple coconut chicken curry does not technically require a protein.

I like to add it to balance my meal, but it’s by no means necessary. Feel free to make your Instant Pot chicken coconut curry with just veggies!

VEGETABLES & CREAM

I filled my recipe with simple vegetables. We skipped the tomato and the baby corn that Simply Thai used because we don’t love them, but feel free to include them in your own Instant Pot curry!

Here’s a quick breakdown of the veggies: 

  • Red bell pepper
  • Sliced bamboo shoots
  • Carrots 
  • (Diced tomato)
  • (Baby corn)

The fruit:

  • Pineapple chunks or tidbits in heavy syrup, NOT DRAINED

Other: 

  • Canned coconut milk
  • Cream of coconut
  • Whole cashews

You’ll want to be sure that you buy canned coconut milk — not the refrigerated kind! It should come in a regular 12 oz can, and if possible, it should be full-fat as well. The curry does not work as well if you use the carton coconut milk — that kind of coconut milk is a completely different product, and its flavor is nowhere near as strong. 

You can omit the cashews if you don’t love them. Personally, I find that they have such a lovely, meaty bite to them in soups and stews, which I adore.

Vegetables for coconut curry

What is Cream of Coconut?

Curry recipes typically call for some amount of white or brown sugar, but I used Cream of Coconut instead to add intense coconut flavor plus that sweetness.

And please note: I mean Cream of Coconut, not coconut cream — they’re two different things

If you don’t use Cream of Coconut, the curry will not have as potent of a coconut flavor — so don’t substitute it!

And note as well that Cream of Coconut is a dairy-free sweetener, so we can keep this a dairy-free curry recipe.

You can also use Cream of Coconut in Coconut Rice Pudding, Instant Pot Oatmeal, Orange Coconut Cream Soda, hot chocolate, drinks, frosting, desserts, or as syrup!

Cream of Coconut and Coconut Milk for Rice Pudding

HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT CURRY

As I explained earlier, the first vital step to making curry is to fry the curry paste, garlic, ginger, and onions in some oil. Sauteing the curry paste brings out those intense flavors and aromas.

Turn your Instant Pot on to High Saute for about 3-5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is incredibly fragrant and the onions are soft. 

Next, add in the chicken. Let that cook for a couple of minutes until the chicken is mostly cooked. Then, dump in the vegetables, pineapple, cashews, and coconut milk.

Lock the lid, and it’s time to pressure cook — all you’ll need is five minutes.

After it’s done pressure cooking, the chicken is cooked through so you can safely taste the broth and add the Cream of Coconut to sweeten everything to taste.

At this point, if you like, you can thicken the curry with some cornstarch.

Mix together the cornstarch and cold water to make a slurry. Then, while stirring, add in the slurry to the simmering curry to thicken. 

Start with one tablespoon of cornstarch slurry and stir it in, then slowly add more one tablespoon at a time until the pineapple chicken curry has reached your ideal consistency. 

Turn off heat and serve immediately over fresh, fluffy Jasmine rice.

STOVETOP PINEAPPLE COCONUT CHICKEN CURRY INSTRUCTIONS

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you can still make this amazing curry on your stove! I prefer to use the Instant Pot as it cuts down on a lot of that simmering time, but the conventional stovetop method certainly works — and the process is quite similar.

To cook, saute the curry paste, aromatics, and onion in a large pot until very fragrant, about 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly.

Add the chicken and cook until 90% cooked. Add the rest of the ingredients besides the cornstarch and stir. Cover with a lid, and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Taste, then add more Cream of Coconut or curry paste to taste. Thicken with a cornstarch slurry, if desired. Serve over Jasmine rice.

HOW DO YOU THICKEN A CURRY?

I use a quick cornstarch slurry to thicken the curry ever so slightly. All I do is whisk some cornstarch into some cold water and then mix it into the curry. We spooned it over Jasmine rice and it was delectable! 

While it’s not technically necessary to add a thickener to your curry, I feel that it adds a nice heartiness to the end product. 

HOW TO MAKE RICE IN THE INSTANT POT

It’s super easy to make rice in the Instant Pot. The most popular varieties of rice are Instant Pot Long Grain White Rice, Perfect Instant Pot Basmati Rice, and Instant Pot Jasmine Rice.

If you like brown rice or a different kind of rice, I have an article on Instant Pot Rice 7 Ways.

For this recipe, I recommend using Jasmine rice.

Instant Pot rice pin

Instant Pot Soup Recipes

Graphic of Pineapple Coconut Curry with a picture of a bowl of rice with curry on top garnished with cilantro
Pineapple Coconut Chicken Curry

Instant Pot Pineapple Chicken Curry

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

This Instant Pot Curry recipe has creamy coconut, tender chicken, spicy curry, and sweet pineapple that is a restaurant copycat!

Ingredients

  • 1, 4 oz Maesri Red Curry Paste (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Ginger, grated
  • 1/2 medium Onion, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons Oil (Coconut, vegetable, canola, etc.)
  • 1 large Chicken Breast, thinly sliced against the grain
  • 1 large Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 cup Sliced Bamboo Shoots
  • 1 cup Carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1, 20 oz can Pineapple Chunks or Tidbits in Heavy Syrup, NOT DRAINED
  • 2, 13.5 oz cans Coconut Milk, Shaken
  • 1/2 cup Cream of Coconut
  • 1/2 cup Whole Cashews
  • 3 tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons Cold Water

Instructions

  1. Press the Saute button on the Instant Pot and adjust to High. When it reads HOT, add the oil and wait 1 minute, or until shiny.
  2.  Fry the curry paste, garlic, ginger, and onions in the hot oil until fragrant and onions are tender (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add chicken, the rest of the vegetables, pineapples and juice, coconut milk, and cashews. Stir to coat everything in the paste and onion mixture.
  4. Turn OFF saute mode. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn the knob to SEALING, and pressure cook on Manual High Pressure for 5 minutes.
  5. Carefully perform a quick release in short bursts until the pin drops on the lid.
  6. Open the lid and stir.
  7. Turn on High Saute to return the curry to a simmer (adjust to low if it boils too rapidly).
  8. Add 1/4 cup Cream of Coconut, then taste again. If you'd like it sweeter, add the remaining 1/4 cup. I used 1/2 cup with the entire can of curry paste.
  9. Mix together cornstarch and cold water to make a slurry. While stirring, add in the slurry to the simmering curry to thicken. Add an additional tablespoon of cornstarch slurry at a time to make it as thick as you’d like.
  10. Turn off heat and serve immediately over rice.

Notes

    • Use 1/4-1/2 of the can of curry paste for less spice, and the whole can for a medium spiciness level. I use the whole can.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 569Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 24gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 39mgSodium: 587mgCarbohydrates: 52gFiber: 4gSugar: 29gProtein: 12g

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Leave a Reply

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Heather! Cream of Coconut is what gives the sweetness and the flavor, so I wouldn’t recommend making this recipe without it. You can always order it on Amazon (there are links in the post!) but you can try finding it in any grocery store or asian grocery store in the mixed drinks aisle. It is not alcoholic, but it’s used in pina coladas usually.

  1. Hi Lisa!!! I love your website! I’m crazy about Thai food and I’m wanting to give this recipe a try. Can you find the curry paste at most grocery stores?

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Denali! Sorry it’s taken so long to get back to you. I haven’t seen it at a regular grocery store. if you’re not near an asian market, I suggest buying it off Amazon! thanks for visiting! – Lisa

  2. Tried this and really liked it. I thought it could use more seasoning flavor. I was afraid of the heat in the red curry paste so used VERY sparingly. It was in no way too spicy. Do you think if I add more red curry paste next time it would “season” it up more?
    Thanks!!

    1. Post
      Author

      Hi Linde! The Curry paste is the main flavor in this soup and I don’t think it is very spicy. If you did not add very much of the paste (the flavor), then it would make sense that you wouldn’t find it very flavorful. I would use the full amount as listed in the recipe to get the results I did next time! I hope you’ll try again 🙂

  3. Hi I have a big family how do I adjust the cooking time if I double or triple the recipe? Very new to instapot cooking here!! Thank you

    1. Post
      Author
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      Author
  4. Is coconut cream in a can the same as cream of coconut? I know that seems like a silly question , but slight wording differences have bit me in the butt with recipes before.

    Thanks

    1. Post
      Author

      It is NOT the same. Cream of coconut is a sweetener and has added sugar. Coconut cream is the fat layer off of coconut milk which is really thick and creamy, but not sweetened. It would make a significant difference in this recipe! – Lisa

    1. Post
      Author
  5. Has anyone made this recipe without chicken or protein i.e., meatless? What would not including a meat do to the total time on pressure cook? Should it be decreased since not cooking chicken or leave the same?

    1. Post
      Author
  6. My husband is dying to try this recipe! But It’ll be my first time eating curry, and cooking with cashews. I’m at a loss.. do I use cashews that are used in trail mixes? Like the cans of cashews? Or is there some kind of special cashews specifically for cooking??

    1. Post
      Author
  7. Very aromatic, however just okay flavors. Seemed like it was missing something and we used most of the curry paste. We used the maximum amount of coconut cream recommended and I wouldn’t do that again. It ended up being too thick and heavy.

    1. Post
      Author

      This is a pretty light dish, so I’ve never gotten that feedback before, sorry! If it was too thick for your taste, I would recommend reducing the amount of cornstarch

      1. Hi Lisa, this is my very FAVORITE recipe.
        I’ve just made it again this afternoon.
        I’ve shared it with SOOO many people, thank you so much for it.
        Love your site, big fan, thanks so much Cheryl

        1. Post
          Author
    2. @Eva de Leon, personal preference here but I don’t find the coconut cream to be necessary in this recipe. It makes it too sweet. I also add 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of fish sauce (depending on how strong it is) to the curry. I feel like that’s what this recipe is missing. Overall our family loves this and we’ve made it several times.

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        Author
  8. Hey! Made this tonight and it was a huge hit! Any suggestions on how to make this a one pot meal with the rice included? Do you think that would work?

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      Author
  9. This is my all time favourite meal these days! I have a vegetarian grown daughter, do u have any ideas on extra veggies instead of chicken and how to adjust the cooking time for that? Thanks!

    1. Post
      Author

      Yay, I’m so happy to hear that! Thanks! I would just add double the veggies or you could also add small, cubed sweet potatoes or whatever vegetables you would like and keep the cook time the same or slightly less, depending on how thick your vegetables are cut.

    1. Post
      Author
  10. Lisa,
    I am definitely going to try this Pineapple Chicken Curry recipe, it looks amazing and I’ve never tried Curry paste before. Since my wife and I also love Mango Chicken Curry, what changes you would make if you were to substitute fresh Mango for the canned pineapple and it’s canning liquid? Thank you so much for all of your IP recipes!

    Darrell

    1. Post
      Author

      Hello! I’ve never used mango in this recipe, but I know cooking mango breaks it down significantly. I would refrain from subbing out the pineapple in this recipe for anything and instead, try and find another recipe specific to mango curry!

Image

Hi! I'm Lisa!


I founded Tried, Tested, and True in 2019 to help moms like me develop confidence and joy in the kitchen.

Since then, I have taught millions of home cooks around the world through our tried and true recipes and Youtube tutorials.

In 2021, I wrote my first book called, “I Love My Instant Pot: Cooking for One”!