Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs

5 from 1 vote
1 hour 30 minutes
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Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs is how to get your Thai food fix in an easy, practically hands-off, and budget-friendly way. Red curry paste delivers a rich and complex flavor, while coconut milk adds a creamy, indulgent texture. Serve with jasmine rice or cauliflower rice.

Thai Red Curry Braised Chicken Legs on black platter garnished with cilantro and lime wedges with serving fork.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Do you love Thai food but avoid making it at home because of its complex flavor? Not to worry! Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs blends the exquisite flavors of Thai cuisine with the easiest cooking method ever!

Budget-friendly chicken legs, with dark meat and bone, are known for being juicy and flavorful. They absorb the flavors of the red curry while remaining moist and tender during the cooking process, yet the skin becomes wonderfully crisp, adding a delightful contrast in texture.

This firey Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs recipe is:

  • Perfect for adventurous eaters who love dark chicken meat.
  • The easiest red curry chicken recipe with minimal prep work!
  • Practically hands-off! Combine the simple sauce, pour it over the chicken legs, and let it braise away in the oven.
  • Crazy flavorful! With a good, authentic red curry paste, half the work is done for you.
  • Make ahead and freezer-friendly!
Thai Red Curry Braised Chicken Legs on black platter garnished with cilantro and lime wedges with serving fork.

How to Make Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs recipe, along with how to prep the ingredients. See the recipe card below for the exact quantities.

Ingredients for Thai Red Curry Braised Chicken Legs on marble countertop.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Coconut Milk: Use unsweetened, preferably full-fat coconut milk. It’s available in the international aisle at any grocery store.
  • Red Curry Paste: Red curry paste combines chiles, garlic, ginger or galangal, shallots, salt, lemongrass, lime, and other spices. After discovering Maesri curry pastes, I no longer make my own. It’s one of the most authentic curry pastes you’ll find. Avoid supermarket brands; they’re pretty flavorless. My Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs recipe calls for the entire can, but you can scale it back if you dislike anything spicy.
  • Fish Sauce: Fish sauces are made across Southeast Asia, with Vietnam (nuoc mam) and Thailand (nam pla) being the most widely distributed. The production methods of all fish sauces are similar. However, there are distinct variations in flavor and saltiness. Use Thai fish sauce. If you have a fish allergy, vegetarian versions are available.
  • Whole Chicken Legs: Also called hind leg quarters, the chicken leg is the drumstick and thigh. You can use all chicken thighs or all drumsticks in this Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs recipe.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Place a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees.
  • Whisk together coconut milk, red curry paste, ginger, garlic, and fish sauce.
Coconut milk, red curry paste, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce combined in glass bowl.
  • Place the chicken legs in a large, heavy roasting pan or enameled cast iron skillet.
  • Pour it over the chicken legs. OPTIONAL: Place in the refrigerator and let it “brine” overnight. (See my Chef Tips and Tricks for more information.)
Coconut milk combination poured over chicken legs in white enamel cast iron skillet.
  • Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 60 to 75 minutes, occasionally spooning some liquid over, until the chicken is cooked to at least 165 degrees, the skin is browned, and the joint flexes easily.
Braised chicken legs in white enamel cast iron skillet without any garnishes.
  • Serve with lime wedges and garnish with cilantro sprigs.
Thai Red Curry Braised Chicken Legs in white enamel cast iron skillet garnished with cilantro and lime wedges with serving fork.
  • Done and delish! This Thai Red Curry Braised Chicken Legs recipe is THAT easy!
Thai Red Curry Braised Chicken Legs in white enamel cast iron skillet garnished with cilantro and lime wedges.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • You shouldn’t have to add salt to the braised chicken legs other than what is in the red curry paste and the fish sauce. Otherwise, it can be too salty. Taste the sauce after combining all the ingredients before pouring over the chicken and adding any additional salt.
  • After combining the red curry sauce and pouring it over the chicken legs, I had something come up that required me to refrigerate the entire dish and braise it the following day. Because of the salt in the fish sauce and the red curry paste, the chicken legs were “brined” in the lovely coconut blend, which seemed to permeate the chicken legs more. So, don’t be afraid to make it ahead. Place the chicken legs in the roasting pan with the sauce over it, and refrigerate it overnight to braise later.
  • Add sliced onion and colorful bell peppers to make this Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs recipe more hearty.
Thai Red Curry Braised Chicken Legs on black platter garnished with cilantro and lime wedges with serving fork.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I make Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs ahead of time?

Yes! Dark meat chicken always lends itself well to being reheated. You can do it two ways:
–Prep, pour the sauce over and refrigerate to braise later.
–If you want to make and reheat it, cool the Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs, then refrigerate, reserving as much sauce as possible, keeping it separate from the chicken. Then, reheat at 350 degrees until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees without touching the bone. Reheat the sauce separately in the microwave or the stovetop, then drizzle around the chicken.

Why do I need to keep the sauce separate from the chicken if I want to make it ahead and reheat it later?

As you probably saw after you removed the chicken from the oven the first time, much of the sauce evaporated. Keeping them separate allows the skin to crisp back up, and you’ll have the same amount of sauce you had when you first took it out of the oven.

Can I use boneless skinless chicken breasts in this Thai red curry chicken recipe?

I don’t recommend it because of the braising time. However, bone-in split chicken breasts should work. I have not tested this recipe with bone-in split chicken breasts.

Thai Red Curry Braised Chicken Legs on black platter garnished with cilantro and lime wedges with serving fork.

Storage:

  • Store any leftover braised chicken legs in the refrigerator for up to five days.
  • Reheat leftovers at 350 degrees until heated to 165 degrees in the center.

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Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs on black platter garnished with cilantro and lime wedges with serving fork.

Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs

5 from 1 vote

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs is how to get your Thai food fix in an easy, practically hands-off, and budget-friendly way. Red curry paste delivers a rich and complex flavor, while coconut milk adds a creamy, indulgent texture.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine Thai
Servings 4
Calories 327 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 can (13.5-ounce) coconut milk - unsweetened, preferably full-fat
  • 1 can (4-ounce) red curry paste
  • 1 piece (2-inch) fresh ginger - peeled and finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic - finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoon fish sauce
  • 4 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick) - (3 to 3 1/2 pounds)
  • Lime wedges - for serving
  • Cilantro sprigs - for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 400 degrees.
  • Whisk together coconut milk, red curry paste, ginger, garlic, and fish sauce.
  • Place the chicken legs in a large, heavy roasting pan or enameled cast iron skillet.
  • Pour it over the chicken legs. OPTIONAL: Place in the refrigerator and let it "brine" overnight.
  • Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 60-75 minutes, occasionally spooning some liquid over, until the chicken is cooked throughout to at least 165 degrees, the skin is browned, and the joint flexes easily.
  • Serve with lime wedges and garnish with cilantro sprigs.

Notes

Add sliced onion and colorful bell peppers to make this Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs recipe more hearty.
MAKE AHEAD:  You can do it two ways: Prep, pour the sauce over, and refrigerate to braise later. If you want to make and reheat it, cool the Thai Red Curry Chicken Legs, then refrigerate, reserving as much sauce as possible, keeping it separate from the chicken. Then, reheat at 350 degrees until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees without touching the bone. Reheat the sauce separately in the microwave or the stovetop, then drizzle around the chicken.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 327kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 348mg | Potassium: 331mg | Fiber: 0.1g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 153IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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5 from 1 vote (1 rating without comment)

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