Savory pumpkin chicken curry is one of my favorite fall-time meals. This healthy, hearty dish is full of warm spices and creamy coconut milk. It's ready in 30-40 minutes which makes it perfect for a busy weeknight. Plus, leftovers reheat really well and are perfect for lunch the next day!
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Why You'll Love This Recipe
Allergy friendly: this recipe is both gluten and dairy free.
Reduce food waste: I love making pumpkin recipes when the weather gets cold and many of them call for less than a full can of puree. Stir extras into this curry to use them up!
One pan: pumpkin chicken curry is made using just one skillet which reduces the number of dirty dishes in your sink.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Chicken breast: boneless, skinless chicken thighs can also be used.
- Extra virgin olive oil: avocado or grapeseed oil are good substitutes.
- Yellow onion: white also works well.
- Canned diced tomatoes: with juices!
- Tomato paste: tomato paste comes in an 8oz can, but this recipe calls for only 2 tablespoons (or 2 ounces). This is the smallest quantity you can buy, I like to freeze leftovers in a Ziploc bag for later use.
- Pumpkin puree: typically found in the baking isle at the grocery store. If it's sold out you can also make your own pumpkin puree.
- Unsweetened, full-fat coconut milk: be sure to use canned coconut milk, boxed isn't nearly as creamy. Cans are typically found in the baking or Asian foods isles at the grocery store. Canned coconut cream can also be substituted and if you're not worried about keeping this recipe dairy free, half and half or heavy cream will work!
- Juice from one lemon: for added complexity and flavor. Fresh is definitely best, though bottled will do the trick.
- Brown sugar: just a touch of sweetness.
- Spices: yellow curry powder, mild chili powder, salt & pepper, ground cumin, ground mustard seed, ground coriander seed and ground cinnamon.
- Optional grain/legume for serving: curry can be eaten solo but is most often served with rice! I typically spoon it over a pile of white, basmati rice but any variety will do. You can also serve curry with cauliflower rice (as a low carb option), cooked lentils, couscous, farro or quinoa!
- Optional toppings: fresh cilantro, red pepper flakes and extra coconut milk.
How To Make Chicken Pumpkin Curry
Keep scrolling for the full recipe card and measurements. We’ll start here with a quick overview!
Dice chicken breast into small, bite sizes pieces. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt/pepper. Stir until all cubes are well coated in seasonings.
Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium heat, until golden. I recommend sautéing cubes in 2-3 shifts to avoid overcrowding, which can create a steaming effect and prevent browning. Set cooked chicken to the side!
Dice onion and add it to the pan, deglaze with a splash of water (or additional olive oil). Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until translucent and soft.
Add canned diced tomato (with juices), tomato paste, pumpkin puree, coconut milk and lemon juice to the skillet. Mix well.
Measure all seasonings and brown sugar into the pan and stir until well incorporated.
Stir sautéed chicken cubes into pumpkin curry sauce. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Spoon curry over white rice. If desired, add toppings like red pepper flakes, chopped fresh cilantro leaves or extra coconut milk. Enjoy!
Chicken: the smaller your chicken cubes, the better! They'll cook super quick and you get a bit of protein in every bite.
Add some heat: if you like spicy food, use hot chili powder and stir in some red pepper flakes or a pinch of cayenne pepper.
How To Store & Reheat Leftovers
Allow leftover curry to cool and transfer it to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
You can also place leftovers in a freezer-safe food storage container (or Ziploc bag) and store frozen for 4-6 months.
Reheat in a pot on the stovetop, or use the microwave. This curry gets really thick as it sits, so you may want to add a splash of water or chicken broth to thin it out if necessary.
Serve This Curry With:
- Roasted Broccoli And Cauliflower
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Oven Roasted Asparagus
- Simple Garden Salad
- Roasted Beets
- Green Beans
- Naan Bread
- Garlic Bread
More Cozy Autumn Recipes
- Healthy Pumpkin Banana Bread
- Creamy White Shredded Chicken Chili
- Butternut Squash & Ground Beef Casserole
- Hamburger Potato Soup
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The Best Pumpkin Chicken Curry Recipe
- Large skillet *A big soup pot can also be used.
- 2 medium chicken breasts *boneless-skinless chicken thighs can also be used
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil *or avocado/grapeseed oil
- 1 medium yellow onion *or white onion
- 1, 14.5oz can diced tomatoes *with juices
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste *see note below
- 1, 15oz can pumpkin puree *see note below
- 1, 13.5oz can unsweetened, full fat coconut milk *canned not boxed, see note below
- Juice from one, small lemon *see note below
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar *light or dark
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons mild chili powder *see note below
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground mustard seed
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander seed
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Optional grain/legume for serving
- Serve over rice (white or brown), cauliflower rice for low carb, lentils, couscous, farro or quinoa.
- Top with chopped fresh cilantro, red peppers flakes and extra coconut milk if desired.
Recipe notes:Pumpkin puree: typically found in the baking isle at most grocery stores. Tomato paste: this ingredients comes in an 8oz can, but this recipe calls for only 2 tablespoons (or 2 ounces). This is the smallest amount you can purchase. I like to freeze leftovers in a Ziploc bag for later use. Canned coconut milk: boxed isn't as creamy. Cans can usually be found in the baking or Asian foods isle at the grocery store. Canned coconut cream can also be substituted. If you don't need this recipe to be dairy free, half & half or heavy cream will work. Lemon juice: bottled will work in a pinch, but fresh definitely offers better flavor. Chili powder: if you enjoy spicy food, feel free to add some heat with medium or hot chili powder.
- Dice chicken into small pieces (½ inch to 1 inch in size) and place them in a small bowl. Drizzle cubes with olive oil and and season generously with salt and pepper. Stir until all pieces are well coated.2 medium chicken breasts, 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Place a large skillet on the stovetop and turn heat to medium. For best results, sauté chicken in 2-3 batches to avoid overcrowding. (*Note: overcrowding can cause a steaming/boiling effect which results from excess moisture. This will keep the chicken from browning properly).
- Place cooked chicken in a bowl and set it aside.
- Dice onion and add it to the skillet. Deglaze the pan with a bit of water or additional olive oil and sauté onion for 2-3 minutes, until it becomes soft and translucent. (Tip: deglazing simply means adding moisture to the pan to loosen stuck residue from sautéing chicken).1 medium yellow onion
- Add diced tomato with juices, tomato paste, pumpkin puree, coconut milk and lemon juice to the pan and mix well.1, 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1, 15oz can pumpkin puree, 1, 13.5oz can unsweetened, full fat coconut milk, Juice from one, small lemon
- Add brown sugar and all seasonings to the pan. Stir again until well combined and then mix cooked chicken cubes back into the curry sauce. Place a lid on the skillet and reduce heat to low, simmer for 10-15 minutes.1 tablespoon brown sugar, 2 tablespoons curry powder, 2 teaspoons mild chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon ground mustard seed, ½ teaspoon ground coriander seed, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Serve curry over rice (or preferred grain/legume). Add toppings like fresh chopped cilantro, red pepper flakes or extra coconut milk if desired. Enjoy!
How To Store Leftovers
- Allow leftovers to cool and place in an airtight container. Refrigerate for 3-4 days or freeze for 4-6 months.
How To Reheat Leftovers
- Reheat in a pot on the stovetop, or use the microwave. This curry gets really thick as it sits, so you may want to stir in a splash of water or chicken stock.
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