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Thai Red vs Green vs Yellow Curry: Key Differences to Know

“If any dish deserves to be called global, it is curry. From Newfoundland to the Antarctic, from Beijing to Warsaw, there is scarcely a place where curries are not enjoyed.”_Colleen Taylor Sen

Like Colleen, we agree that curries are global foods, and you should enjoy them.

This article will discuss the differences among red, green, and yellow curries. We’ll also give you easy, delicious recipes to prepare these global foods. Let’s jump straight to it.

30-Second Summary

red vs yellow vs green curry
Image from The Spruce Eats

  • Yellow curries are made with yellow peppers and turmeric as their major ingredient.
  • Green curries are gotten from green peppers, basil leaves, coriander, cilantro, and other spices.
  • Red curries are made with red peppers, tomatoes, or ketchup.
  • They all have a level of spiciness, but green curries are the spiciest, then red, and lastly the mild yellow curry.

Also Read: Masala Vs. Curry

What is Yellow Curry?

yellow curry

Yellow Curry is a mellow yellow curry paste that can be paired with other foods. It leverages the essential ingredient turmeric, which gives it an attractive golden hue.

Turmeric has an extreme coloring property. It will stain everything yellow, including your fingers. You might want to throw on some gloves while making your yellow curry.

Other ingredients used in this dish include fenugreek, coriander seeds, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, galangal, and yellow or red chili.

A typical example of yellow Curry is Thai yellow curry chicken. It usually contains creamy coconut milk in addition to its base ingredients.

Is Yellow Curry Spicy?

Yes. Yellow Curry is spicy. Although, when compared to the others, it’s the least spicy. Some persons might decide to make their yellow curry spicier than usual by adding more chilies.

How to Make Thai Yellow Curry

How to Make Thai Yellow Curry

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Your easiest recipe for Thai yellow curry.


  • 1 pound of boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons yellow curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 2 medium-sized gold potatoes diced into ½-inch cubes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • ½ large onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • Coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly grated ginger
  • 1½ tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon of lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons of cornstarch
  • Fresh cilantro or siracha for garnishing
  • Jasmine rice


1. Place a pot on low heat and add oil to the pot.

2. Add onion to the pot and sauté for a few minutes until it cooks. Add your chicken, potato, and carrots to cook for about 2 minutes.

3. Then add curry paste, ginger, and garlic. Sauté for about 3 minutes.

4. Add about 1½ cup of coconut milk to your pot. Then mix cornstarch with ½ cup of coconut milk and add to the mixture.

5. Allow the ingredients in the pot to boil and cook properly for about 30 minutes. If you want your curry to be thin, add water as desired.

6. After that, put in the fish sauce, brown sugar, and lime juice. Allow all ingredients to simmer for 5minutes.

7. Your curry is ready! Serve with rice, spaghetti quinoa, or noodles.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 516Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 1235mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 4gSugar: 7gProtein: 41g


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What is Green Curry?

green curry

Fresh lovely green curry is a spicy curry that incorporates green spices. It comprises fresh green chilies, Thai basil, kaffir lime, cilantro root, makrut lime leaves, and coriander. Imagine these fresh aromatic spices all in one bowl- delightful!

The beautiful thing about green curry is its burst of zest and freshness. Some chefs might like a texture that’s in-between thick and runny.

However, its consistency depends entirely on how you like it. Add a dash of citrus to enhance its flavor.

Is green curry hotter than yellow curry?

You might wonder, is green curry spicy? Yes, green curry is spicy. Its heat level is the highest when compared with the other two curries.

thai green curry

Homemade Thai Green Curry

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

How to make Thai green curry.


  • 400g of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons of Thai Green Curry Paste
  • 1 tablespoon of lemongrass paste
  • 2 large cloves of garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of fresh ginger
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons of white sugar
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons of fish sauce
  • 350g of chicken thigh
  • 1½ cups of snow peas
  • 2 small Japanese eggplants
  • 16 Thai Basil leaves
  • Juice from ½ lime to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Crispy African shallots
  • Green chili slices
  • Cilantro or coriander
  • Jasmine rice


1. In a large pot, pour oil. The heat should be of medium intensity.

2. Put curry paste, ginger, garlic, and lemongrass and cook for about 3 minutes until it seems "dried out."

3. Add coconut milk and broth to the "dried out" paste.

4. Add one teaspoon of sugar and one teaspoon of fish sauce only.

5. Then add three teaspoons of fish sauce, three teaspoons of sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon of salt to taste. Add the kaffir leaves, and allow the mixture to simmer.

6. Reduce the heat, add your chicken and cook for 7 minutes.

7. After that, add your eggplant and let it cook for about 5minutes.

8. Once this is done, taste the sauce. If you want it saltier, add salt or fish sauce; add sugar if you want it sweeter.

9. At this point, add your snow peas and cook for roughly 2minutes. Then stir in basil lime juice. Don't simmer the curry anymore at this point to prevent it from becoming dark. Keep the texture of the curry thin.

10. Serve your curry hot with jasmine rice and garnishes.


That is how you make tasty green curry, don't forget it's spicy, so be sure to add enough green chili.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 767Total Fat: 46gSaturated Fat: 25gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 144mgSodium: 1660mgCarbohydrates: 60gFiber: 9gSugar: 22gProtein: 38g


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What is Red Curry?

thai red curry

Red Thai Curry is a bright red paste spiced with red chilies. Traditional Thai chefs usually add about 20 red chilies to give it its spice and redness.

Modern chefs, however, reduce the number of chilies and substitute them with chili powder. Some chefs add tomatoes to their red curry; this enhances the color and infuses a more robust flavor to the curry.

If your red curry is too spicy, you can reduce the heat by adding coconut milk to your recipe. Another method is to use your chilies without their seeds or the white inner flesh.

Now that we know what these curries are let’s talk about what makes them different.

Also Read: Best Thai Red Curry Paste to Buy

How to Make Thai Red Curry

How to Make Thai Red Curry

Yield: 5 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Homemade Thai Red Curry.


  • 1 stalk of fresh lemongrass
  • 1 or 2 red chilies
  • 1 shallot or ¼ cup of purple onions
  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger or galangal
  • 2 teaspoons of ketchup
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 to 3 spoons of coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons of fish or soy sauce
  • 1½ to 2 tablespoons of Latin or Asian chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of shrimp paste
  • ¾ teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon or one cinnamon stick
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • Salt to taste


1. Collect all your ingredients, and clean them up.

2. Place all ingredients into a blender. Ensure you grind all ingredients properly.

3. Add coconut milk to the mixture if it's too thick.

4. Once the mixture is blended, use it in your dish immediately or refrigerate for up to six months.

5. If you wish to use it immediately, fry it in oil for a minute.

6. Then add meat, tofu, vegetables, or any other ingredient.

7. Add coconut milk and simmer until the vegetables cook properly.

8. Serve hot with rice.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 335Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 5mgSodium: 489mgCarbohydrates: 17gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g


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Red vs Green vs Yellow Curry



Red Curry

Red chili

Spicy with peanut undertones and a garlic taste

Green Curry

Green chili

Sweet, spicy yet creamy, and fresh

Yellow Curry

Yellow chilies

Sweet yet mildly spicy taste


Red, yellow, and green curry have similar ingredients, but the chili used in their preparation makes the difference.

Red Curry is prepared with red chili, and green curry is made with green chilies, while yellow curry contains yellow chilies.


Apart from their chili components, these curries differ in taste.

Yellow curries have a sweet yet mildly spicy taste. Red Curry is spicy, with peanut undertones and a garlic taste. Green curry tastes sweet, spicy yet creamy, and fresh.

Also Read:

Curries are beautiful foods. The way they are prepared gives you a blend of spicy, fresh, and tasty flavors. Feel free to pair them up with any food of your choice.

I’m Jennifer Schlette, a Registered Dietitian and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. I love cooking, reading, and my kids! Here you’ll find the healthiest recipes & substitutions for your cooking. Enjoy, and be well, friends!

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