Massaman Curry

4.99 from 80 votes

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Massaman Curry is one of the easiest and most delicious savory Thai curry dishes. With chicken and potatoes cooked into a sweet, slightly spicy sauce, it’s a flavor explosion! 

Chicken Massaman Curry in a black bowl garnished with cilantro

Chicken Massaman Curry

Chicken Massaman Curry is one of my favorite dishes! The name itself can be spelled a million different ways…Massaman, Masuman, Masumun, Matsaman… no matter how you spell it, the delicious dish tastes the same. I came up with my own version of this tasty Thai dish after a girls’ night to our favorite restaurant. My husband helped himself to my leftovers and was hooked. Making your own curry is easy and fun and will save you loads of money on take-out!

What Is Massaman Curry? 

Massaman curry is a mild, savory, and slightly sweet curry with fragrant spice undertones such as cumin, cardamom, and cinnamon. It typically isn’t a spicy curry but like most curries, it is easy to adjust the spice level. The added ingredients are basic and include coconut milk, meat, onions, potatoes, and peanuts. Additional meats and veggies can be added but really aren’t needed. 

Massaman Curry Paste

Massaman Curry paste is the key to making this recipe successful, it’s the one thing you really don’t want to leave out or substitute (As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.). Using store-bough curry paste is so much easier than trying to make your own paste from scratch. Curry paste is very thick and similar to the consistency of tomato paste. It is quite fragrant and will fill up the room with a strong (yet, delicious smelling) aroma. Don’t worry, once you stir in the coconut milk, it will mellow out. 

Massaman curry paste in a pan

Where To Find Massaman Curry Paste

You can find Massaman curry paste at most Asian Markets and even at many specialty grocery stores. We use the Maesri brand because it is what’s available at the Asian Market closest to us but I know there are other brands available. You can’t really go wrong. The kind we use is usually in a small, yellow 4 oz. can (pictured below). We can usually find it for around $2/can. It can also sometimes be found in lidded plastic or paper containers, glass jars, or vacuum-sealed packages.

Curry Paste Ingredients

We use the Maesri Massaman curry paste. For this brand the ingredients include: garlic, sugar, soybean oil, dried red chili, tamarind juice, shallot, salt, lemongrass, coriander seed, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves, kaffir lime, and galangal. Other massaman curry pastes may include ingredients such as tamarind paste, shrimp paste, nutmeg, thai basil, or other unique ingredients.

Massaman Curry Meat

More often than not, we use chicken as the protein in our Massaman curry (just because it’s what we have on hand most of the time) but we have also used beef and shrimp and loved it. To make vegetarian or vegan Massaman curry, you easily can use tofu instead of meat.

What Veggies Go Well in Massaman Curry?

The only two vegetables that seem to be in every Massaman curry across the board are potatoes and onions. Like any curry, there can be all sorts of variations on both meats and vegetables that can take your curry to the next level. Here are some of our other favorite vegetable stir-ins:

  • Carrots
  • Red bell peppers (yellow or orange can also be used)
  • Green beans
  • Peas
  • Baby corn
  • Zucchini
  • Cauliflower
  • Bamboo shoots

What Kind Of Rice Is Best With Massaman Curry? 

The best rice to use with ANY curry is Jasmine. Jasmine rice is a long-grain, dry rice that goes well with every Thai dish. It is more fragrant than most varieties, which is why it is also known as “aromatic rice”. Brown Jasmine rice can also be used. Basmati rice is a common substitute for Jasmine rice as well. If you can’t find any of these varieties, you can just use a simple, long-grain, white rice.

What To Serve With Massaman Curry?

Because curry and rice can be a complete meal on it’s own, there really is no need to have additional side dishes. If you are expecting company or simply just want the meal to go further, you can try some of these tasty Asian-inspired Thai side dishes:

Can I Freeze Massaman Curry?

Yes! This dish freezes beautifully. Just make sure to freeze it on its own, without rice (the rice won’t freeze as well and will just absorb all the sauce). Just put the curry into a freezer safe container or Ziplock baggie and keep it in the freezer for up to three months. To reheat, let it thaw in the refrigerator then heat on the stove in a frying pan. 

Chicken Massaman Curry with potatoes in a square black dish

Tips For Making Massaman Curry: 

  • It’s not a bad idea to boil your potatoes for 3-4 minutes before adding them to your curry. This is a great trick for when you are in a hurry and just trying to get dinner on the table and don’t want to wait for the potatoes to soften in the curry sauce.
  • If you are adding extra vegetables, allow the vegetables to soften in the sauce for optimal flavor. If you are in a hurry, stir-fry the veggies until tender before adding to the sauce.
  • Shake the coconut milk really well before opening so it doesn’t come out in one big clump. You can also avoid this by opening the coconut milk can from the bottom. 
  • Make it as spicy or as mild as you would like! Add sriracha while cooking or serve it on the side if people prefer different spice levels.
  • Instead of adding salt (if needed), try adding soy sauce. It gives you the salty flavor while also deepening the overall flavor of the dish.
  • Don’t forget the limes! Adding a squeeze of fresh lime right before serving ties all those delicious flavors together.

More Delicious Curry Recipes

No need to reach for the takeout menus, just try one of these flavorful recipes and enjoy a good curry right in the comfort of your own kitchen!

Massaman curry in a bowl by rice

Chicken Massaman Curry

4.99 from 80 votes
Chicken Massaman Curry is one of the easiest and most delicious savory Thai curry dishes. With chicken and potatoes cooked into a sweet, slightly spicy sauce, it's a flavor explosion!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Thai
Servings 10



  • Heat vegetable oil in an extra large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in curry paste; cook and stir for about 2-3 minutes. This is strong, make sure your windows are open and a fan is blowing.
    Massaman curry paste in a pan
  • Add 1 can coconut milk and stir until well blended. Add ginger, cilantro, sugar, fish sauce, lime juice, and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil.
  • Add onion and chicken. Reduce to a simmer. When chicken is white and cooked through (about 5 min or so) add another can of coconut milk and bring back to a boil.
  • Add remaining ingredients (except for the rice) and stir until everything is well mixed. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until potatoes are no longer crunchy in the middle. Serve hot over Jasmine rice and garnish with extra cilantro and/or limes if desired.



Nutrition does not include jasmine rice.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 7gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 16mgSodium: 399mgPotassium: 185mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 3860IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 1mg

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About the author

Erica Walker

Erica lives in Boise, Idaho with her husband, Jared, an attorney, and her beautiful three girls. Beyond the world of recipes, she loves adventuring with everything from kayaking, to cruising, to snowboarding and taking the family along for the thrill ride.

More about Erica Walker

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  1. I made this yesterday and my other half said this was my best massaman yet! Naturally I did not take credit as I copied it as exact below. It was delish and even better today. Thank you

    1. We haven’t tried this recipe in the crockpot before, but let us know how it goes if you try it!

  2. 5 stars
    So easy and delicious! I added some beans, next time I’ll add more vegetables as well, plenty of sauce. My potatoes weren’t all done after 15 minutes so I’ll go to 20 minutes for final step.

    Thanks! Now I don’t have to pay $20 for an inferior, cheap on meat, take out curry.

    1. Thank you for your review! I love your addition of beans. I agree it saves money to make your own at home!

      1. 5 stars
        Have made this many times for several people and they all love it, for my vegetarian friends I bake tofu and add at the end. I also add green beans, cauliflower and yams, I think I put wayyyy too many veggies in though so I’m thinking of doubling the curry paste and coconut milk.

        I’m super happy I never have to pay $20 for one serving of this again! Usually makes at least 8 servings.

  3. 5 stars
    This is amazing! Better than going to a restaurant. I didn’t use ginger or fish oil and I added a bell pepper and did boil the potatoes first, separately. Thanks for the recipe!

  4. Hi I would like to make this massaman curry with tofu instead of chicken. Should I cook the tofu separately or do I put in instead of chicken?

  5. Question looks good. Want to try it but saw it had fish sauce. I have an allergy to most fish and seafood. What can be used instead or can it be left out. Thank you

    1. You can use soy sauce or coconut aminos as a substitute! It is just to add salty and umami flavor. Hope this helps!

  6. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe really simply and tastes 100% authentic. Takes me back to eating in the markets of Thailand every time.

        1. I am so sorry for the confusion. In an earlier comment we said that it was sweetened coconut milk. This recipe uses UNsweetened coconut milk. We have changed the recipe to be accurate.

    1. I am so sorry for the confusion. In an earlier comment we said that it was sweetened coconut milk. This recipe uses UNsweetened coconut milk. We have changed the recipe to be accurate.

    2. I cooked it with unsweetened coconut milk and found that the curry had enough sweetness from the brown sugar. This is a very tasty dish.

  7. 5 stars
    This is the best recipe for Chicken Massaman Curry..exactly like I have had in the best Thai Restaurants…can use oyster sauce if you do not have fish sauce on hand. I used sliced microwave cooked carrots instead of potatoes to cut out some carbs and ate it like a soup or stew instead of over rice as I am on a low carb diet. Yummy.

    1. Hey

      How do you have any recommendations for a sweetened coconut milk? They don’t really sell it in the shops in the uk as far as I’m aware.


      1. If we can’t find sweetened coconut milk, we just use regular. It comes out pretty similar! Hope this helps!

  8. 5 stars
    Amazing!!! I added water chest nuts, cauliflower, broccoli, jalapeño, green pepper and green onions and it was so amazing! Holding on to this recipe.

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