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Chicken Massaman Curry

Thai Chicken Massaman Curry with and butternut squash stewed in thick aromatic coconut milk sauce. This flavorful meal is perfect for those evenings you’re craving healthier comfort food.

Chicken Massaman Curry is a healthier take on Thai takeout. Butternut squash and chicken are stewed in flavorful aromatic coconut milk for a satisfying, delicious meal

Have you ever had Massaman Curry?

I only recently began making it at home, and I daresay it’s been giving my all-time favorite, Red Curry Chicken, a run for its money.

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you’ve noticed I’ve had a torrid love affair with Thai red, green, and yellow curry, and have also dabbled into the wonderful world of Indian curries.

To me, there is simply nothing more comforting than protein and vegetables all snuggled up in a flavor-infused sauce with just the right amount of kick!

UPDATE: This is not an authentic recipe for Massaman curry. It is my simplification using ingredients that anyone can purchase at any grocery store to make the process easier and approachable.

Specifically, I use store-bought red curry paste rather than making my own, as it saves a great deal of time and it already includes ingredients that can be a challenge to find individually. If you’re seeking authentic Thai food recipes, feel free to google elsewhere.

If you’ve never tried Massaman curry, I’ll just spoiler alert you now and tell you, it’s basically on the Top 5 list of Most Comforting Curries (<- totally a thing), right next to Panang Curry.

The sauce is ultra thick, silky, and aromatic using warm spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and anise. 

It’s like combining the comforts of fuzzy socks, a down comforter and fleece sheets into one beautifully flavored dish. For those times you just want to feel full and satisfied, Chicken Massaman Curry is your hero.

Chicken Massaman Curry - butternut squash and chicken stewed in aromatic coconut milk sauce for a satisfying meal that happens to be healthier than Thai takeout. Paleo, Whole30, and delicious

The combination of chicken and butternut squash swaddled in that ultra comforting sauce yields a healthful, satisfying meal.

You can easily use this recipe as a gateway to all your Massaman curries, replacing the chicken with beef or pork and swapping the butternut squash with your favorite potato or winter squash.

Per usual, here are some ideas for adaptations and also meal prep options for both customizing and preparing this recipe:

Recipe Adaptations:

  • Use beef instead of chicken
  • Replace butternut squash with Yukon Gold potato
  • Serve curry with choice of “riced” vegetables, such as cauliflower rice, quinoa, roasted vegetables or side of choice to make this recipe grain-free

Meal Prep:

  • The chicken can be marinated up to 24 hours in advance.
  • Cook the rice up to 3 days ahead of time
  • Recipe saves very well, so the whole dish can be prepared up to 5 days in advance

Chicken Massaman Curry - flavorful Thai-spiced coconut milk sauce envelopes chicken and butternut squash in this amazing healthy dish.

Get that comfort food!

More Healthy Curry Recipes:

My cookbook, Paleo Power Bowls, is now available! CLICK HERE to check it out. Thank you for your support!

If you make this recipe, please feel free to share a photo and tag @The.Roasted.Root on Instagram!

Chicken Massaman Curry - butternut squash and chicken stewed in aromatic coconut milk sauce for a satisfying meal that happens to be healthier than Thai takeout. Paleo, Whole30, and delicious

Chicken Massaman Curry

Rich, flavorful chicken Massaman curry is so easy to make yet LOADED with flavor!
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours
4 to 6 people


  • 1.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 3 tablespoons avocado oil, or coconut oil
  • 1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces, 4 cups
  • 2 14-ounce cans full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, or fish sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 star anise pods
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 to 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened creamy almond butter, optional*

For Serving:

  • cooked basmati rice
  • Thai basil


  • Place chicken in a mixing bowl along with the red curry paste and 2 tablespoons avocado oil. Stir well and allow meat to marinate at least 15 minutes (up to 2 hours in the refrigerator).
  • While chicken is marinating, peel and chop the butternut squash into 1-inch cubes.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon avocado oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown 2 to 3 minutes (don’t cook meat all the way through).
  • Add the remaining ingredients except the kaffir lime leaves and almond butter (butternut squash through sea salt) to the pot and stir well. Cover and bring to a full boil. Reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 1 hour. Remove the cover and cook at a gentle boil for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened. Stir in the kaffir lime leaves. Stir in the almond butter for an even thicker, more luscious sauce.
  • Remove cinnamon sticks and star anise.
  • Serve massaman curry with basmati rice (or spaghetti squash or cauliflower rice).


*Or peanut butter


Serving: 1grams
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: dairy free recipes, easy healthy recipes, gluten free recipes, gut healthy recipes, healthy recipe
Servings: 4 to 6 people
Author: Julia

Thai Massaman Curry pinterest collage

Chicken Massaman Curry - a classic Thai dish of chicken and butternut squash stewed in flavorful coconut milk sauce

Recipe Rating

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Jaturong Mokjok

Sunday 24th of September 2023

WOW. You removed my comment Julia just to boost your ego. I guess there no such thing as freedom of speech when it comes to minorities expressing disappointment when their tradition and culture has been used incorrectly. Racist much. Learn to improve.

Jaturong Mokjok

Sunday 24th of September 2023

@Julia, that git your attention. Rename the dish as Thai style or inspired. I'm a proud Thai who doesn't appreciate when our culture traditions are misused in anyway. We have a long and bloody history of exploitation.

Speaking of ingredients. If you really want to make authentic Thai cuisines. Just go to a Asian supermarket. They have the ingredients. If not, than check on Amazon.

Just don't name it Thai when it is not authentic. That's all.

You can check out that link.


Sunday 24th of September 2023

Hi there,

I always welcome polite discussion on my website but I don't allow people accusing me of being racist to participate. 

I don't spin my Thai-inspired recipes as being the authentic version ever. I share these recipes using ingredients that anyone can find at any grocery store and using techniques that provide a similar result without a lot of prep time. Let me know if any of this is unclear.

If you would like to share the authentic recipe for Massaman curry in the comments section, you are more than welcome to. It sounds like you have a strong opinion about the way this recipe should be made and you're free to share that information as it is helpful to other readers. 

What is not helpful is slinging insults that are completely inaccurate. I will continue to delete your comments that come off as bullying, belittling, and have zero helpful impact. Perhaps turning your words inward would help you to improve.

Again, let me know if any of this is unclear.

Kathleen Reese

Friday 18th of January 2019

This was really yummy but I wanted a stronger curry flavor. Does that just mean more curry paste?


Saturday 19th of January 2019

Hi Kathleen,

Yes, I would try more curry paste - I would add 1 to 2 Tbsp more (to taste), and if need be, add a little additional lime juice as well!! Hope you enjoy the next round even more! xo


Monday 25th of June 2018

Hello! I was wondering if you think there is a way to do this recipe in the instapot?


Tuesday 25th of September 2018

(How to do it in an instant pot, that is...)


Tuesday 25th of September 2018

Yes! I was looking for something about this too!


Sunday 25th of March 2018

Aww, I love chicken curry. I have asked my bf to make it for my many times, each time we try another recipe. Maybe next time we will use yours xD xD So excited!!


Thursday 22nd of March 2018

I love spicy food, I think it should be super tasty

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