Easy Thai Yellow Curry Paste Recipe - Skillful Cook
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Easy Thai Yellow Curry Paste

109 reviews / 4.7 average

This Easy Thai Yellow Curry Paste can be made with easy-to-find ingredients! Shallots, garlic, Thai chili peppers, ginger, lemongrass, and spices. So much flavor!

All the curry lovers, please stand up! Truth: I shoved a jar of yellow curry paste in your face today and you didn't even close the browser window on me. YOU ROCK.

Today's recipe (**dat yellow curry paste!**) is a lot of things.

  • Exciting. I love curry and I know you love curry, and as curry lovers, how exciting is it to think about us making delicious Thai yellow curry paste truly from scratch? It's exciting.
  • Delicious. Seriously, a good yellow curry is a gift from heaven. Which is why we need to start with the paste and then expand from there into a full yellow curry recipe. For example - I have this existing recipe for Thai Yellow Curry with Beef and Potatoes and I will be sharing another even easier recipe for Thai Yellow Chicken Curry tomorrow (update: find it here!). The bite of heat, the punch of color, the comforting, creamy texture of the coconut milk simmered to slow yellow curry perfection ... wow. It's almost just too much. ♡
  • Lowerish maintenance. I really worked hard to make this recipe accessible to the person who doesn't like to go to more than one grocery store -> points to self <—. When I had my friends over for dinner club and we made that Thai Yellow Curry with Beef and Potatoes from scratch, I did the real official thing where I went and got a few ingredients from the Asian grocery store that is awesomely two miles from my house, and I'm really glad I did for that time. But that was a special occasion, okay? I don't like to double up on grocery store visits if I can avoid it. So I re-made the curry paste (the version you're seeing in this here recipe) using only ingredients that I could find at the grocery store I normally shop at. NO EXTRA TRIPS! If you do want to make the extra trip to the Asian grocery store, good on you! You'll have a more traditional and wonderful curry paste (and you can use the curry paste recipe in this post which includes those harder-to-find ingredients). But for the rest of us - this is it! Large grocery store ingredient yellow curry paste.

In This Post: Everything You Need For Thai Yellow Curry Paste

Prefer To Watch Instead Of Read?

Homemade yellow curry with potatoes and rice in a bowl with a fork.

Ingredients For Yellow Curry Paste

If you have access to a local Asian grocery store, you can find a lot of these ingredients there. If you don't have one near you, these ingredients can also be found at a larger grocery store chain.

  • shallots and garlic
  • fresh ginger
  • dried Thai red chili peppers
  • curry powder, turmeric, and coriander
  • lemongrass paste
  • cilantro
Ginger, garlic, and shallots wrapped in foil on a sheet pan.

How To Make This Curry Paste

Once you have your ingredients, it's a snap to bring this paste to the next level.

  1. Prep your aromatics (garlic, shallots, and ginger). Give them a quick oil drizzle treatment, wrap them in foil, and pop those friends in the oven to really bring out their true flavors.
  2. Soak the dried chilis to rehydrate them - 15ish minutes should do it.
  3. Once the aromatics are finished in the oven, blend everything up in a food processor or a high-powered blender to form a yellow paste to your desired consistency. Smooth paste or something a lil' more chunky? Both work! Boom! How simple is that?
Ingredients for yellow curry paste in a food processor.
Homemade yellow curry paste blended up in a food processor.

Use Fresh Spices

We're using mild curry powder, turmeric, and coriander in this yellow curry paste. To give your paste the best flavorful punch, we'd recommend using fresh spices. Check your spices to make sure they haven't expired. Over time, spices lose some of their punch and won't make the paste taste as intended. Typically ground spices, like what we're using, will stay fresh and potent for about 2-3 years. If you can't find any of the spices already ground, you can use a mortar and pestle to grind up whole spices into a powder.

Freeze Extra Batches Of Curry Paste

What's going to happen here is that you're going to spend 45 minutes making this yellow curry paste (30 of which involve waiting for the garlic and shallots to roast, so hiiiii phone games) and after you put in the time to make this yellow curry paste, you will be giving yourself the gift of 4+ batches of homemade curry ready to go at a moment's notice because this stuff can FREEZE, baby. Awyeah. Homemade Thai yellow curry on demand is a very, very good thing. Hot tip! Freeze extra paste in an ice cube tray for pre-portioned paste amounts next round!

How To Serve This Curry Paste

Oh, let us count the ways you can use this yellow curry paste. ENDLESS, friends. Truly endless ways. Favorites include:

Anyone Can Make This Curry Paste

And that's that, my curry loving friends! Who even knew that this could be so do-able?

When I first made curry officially from scratch for that dinner club beef and potato yellow curry, I thought to myself: this is awesome and also I don't think I will make it again because it takes so long. It was a three hour process (and more, including the time it took me to drive to the Asian grocery store and get the galangal and shrimp paste), and for me, that's just not going to happen.

But you guys - my love for curry runs deep. And after making it completely from scratch and realizing HOW GOOD IT CAN REALLY BE, I couldn't not at least try to make it again, and maybe make it a little easier.

And now? Look at us being all We Make My Own Yellow Curry Paste! I plan to make a batch of this easier, time-saver, extremely yummy curry paste once every few months to keep feeding my yellow curry habits. Lots of yummy curry paste-filled dishes ahead!

Yel-low-curry! Yel-low-curry! Yel-low-curry!

I don't know, we might be sort of obsessed.

Homemade yellow curry paste in a jar with a spoon.

Thai Yellow Curry Paste: Frequently Asked Questions

How hot is this paste?

It's really up to you how hot you want it to be.

**The number of peppers will either make your curry paste mild or hot.
5 chilis = very mild
10 chilis = medium
15 chilis = medium hot
20 chilis = HOT

Bjork and both really like spicy food, but the 20 chili version was hard for us to eat. 10 chili peppers (medium) was my preferred amount - yum! I highly recommend starting with just a few if you aren't ready for the heat. 🙂

This seems like a lot of salt. Is that right?

You can use less salt (1 1/2 tablespoons seems like a lot, I know), but you will likely need to add it in later when you make it into a curry - just remember this is divided into at least 4 batches with 4-6 servings per batch, so that salt gets distributed out pretty well.

I don't have enough of one of the spices. How flexible is this recipe?

The measurements for the spices can be played with a little bit, which is why the curry and turmeric are written as 2-3 tablespoons. I usually go for MORE spice, but if you don't have enough of one thing, try adding a little more of something else to compensate. It's definitely somewhat of a flexible recipe.

Source notes: This recipe uses easier-to-find ingredients in the case that you don't have access to an Asian grocery store near you. Traditionally when making yellow curry paste from scratch, you'd blend all of your ingredients using a mortar and pestle to make a fine paste by hand. Some more traditional and authentic curry paste recipes add galangal or shrimp paste, two very delicious ingredients. To make a more authentic version like this, we'd suggest checking out Char from Wok & Skillet's Yellow Curry Paste recipe.

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Homemade Yellow Curry Paste in a food processor.

Easy Thai Yellow Curry Paste

  • Author: Skillful Cook
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups curry paste 1x


This Easy Thai Yellow Curry Paste can be made with easy-to-find ingredients! Shallots, garlic, Thai chili peppers, ginger, lemongrass, and spices. So much flavor! 


Units Scale
  • 4 large shallots
  • 6 tablespoons avocado oil
  • 4 large heads of garlic (not individual cloves - FULL HEADS of garlic)
  • 6-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 5-20 whole dried Thai chili peppers** (they're very small and usually found in the spice section, see FAQs)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons turmeric
  • 2-3 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons roasted ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons lemongrass paste (I use Gourmet Garden which they sell at my regular grocery store)
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prep the aromatics: Peel the shallots - then drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and wrap in foil. Peel the ginger and cut into thin slices. Arrange in a single layer, drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, and wrap in foil. Pull the outer paper off the garlic. Cut the pointy tops off the heads of garlic so the cloves are partially exposed. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, and wrap each head of garlic in foil.
  3. Bake the aromatics: Place all the foil packets on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the ginger (it should be soft), increase the temperature to 400, and roast the shallots and garlic for another 30 minutes until golden brown and very fragrant. When cooled, you can squeeze the garlic cloves out of the rest of the paper.
  4. Soak the chilis: While the aromatics are roasting, pour boiling water over the chili peppers to rehydrate them. Let them soak for 15 minutes. Drain the water.
  5. Make the paste: Put everything in a food processor or very strong blender. Pulse or puree until the yellow curry paste reaches your desired consistency. The recipe should make about 1 1/2 - 2 cups of curry paste, and I use about 1/3 cup or more in each of my yellow curry recipes, so usually I can get 4-5 batches of curry out of this yellow curry paste recipe. The paste keeps for about a week in the fridge and it freezes well!



This makes 4 batches of homemade curry. YUM! 

For a more traditional Thai yellow curry paste that features a few harder-to-find but true to actual curry ingredients, check out this recipe

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Thai-Inspired

Keywords: homemade thai curry paste, yellow curry paste, easy thai curry paste

PS. I was on TV this week! More importantly: SAGE WAS ON TV THIS WEEK! I sort of forgot to tell you because I was too busy feeding my nervousness with too many ultra thick and soft chocolate chip cookies. But I survived! and I managed to talk about food photography hacks and show off the magic green sauce and inner goddess truffles without making anyone too uncomfortable. Win?

Lindsay Ostrom standing in a TV kitchen with a camera on the counter.

If you want to see more pictures of the day and/or the actual clip itself, join us in our private VIP Facebook group for the bestest of the best Skillful Cook readers. 👍 You request to join, I'll add you, and the fun times will rolllll.

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    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      I am soooo super happy you posted this! I love love love spicy food and appreciate the diversity this brings to my table! (I am smiling as I confidently make your curry paste today…I have made almost everything you have posted…and it’s all been amazing…and I am picky!)

      Thank you! Congrats on the show!

    2. Skillful Cook Logo

      Brilliant curry paste recipe. It takes a bit of time, but so worth it!
      Thank you for posting! 😁

  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Well, I didn’t flinch at you not posting Curry post because I didn’t think you could make it at home either. But I am glad you left out the shrimp paste from the Asian store. Ewww. I couldn’t do that either! We have a nifty Asian store near us, and visit for fun, we just cross our fingers and pray our kids don’t break too many bottles of shrimp paste.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      The taste of the original curry was really good, but I just didn’t love knowing that there was shrimp paste in there. Maybe I should have been a vegan after all…

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    That’s so cool that you (and Sage!) were on TV! So impressive! 🙂
    I love that you made this curry paste with accessible ingredients, I definitely hate making extra trips to specialty shops, especially since there aren’t really any near me. Thanks!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Yes! I feel ya. Sometimes that extra trip is enough to keep me from making a recipe like this. But not this time! 😀

        1. Skillful Cook Logo

          So glad you enjoy the recipe! We’ve never tried canning it, so we can’t say for sure!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      This was really good! I’m not someone who normally leaves reviews on recipes, but here were my thoughts. I couldn’t find lemongrass paste so I used fresh lemongrass. I’ve never used lemongrass before so I had to research how to buy one and how to prepare it. It really wasn’t that difficult and would recommend anyone to try using it if they can’t find the paste. The only challenge was knowing how much to get to make 3tbsp; I didn’t get enough but lesson learned and the flavor wasn’t negatively affected. I also couldn’t find dried Thai chili peppers but my Asian grocery store had fresh Thai peppers for very cheap ($2/lb). They had both red and green and I didn’t know which one to get until I saw the video. I chickened out and only did 5 peppers but it was way too mild. Which is fine I had lots of extra peppers so I cut the stems off and knocked the seeds out. Then I added an extra 5 whole peppers to the pot while my curry simmered. I took them out before serving. The extra 5 peppers made the heat just noticable, I could have done more still. I won’t be getting 4-5 meals from this, I think I’ll get about 3 which is perfectly fine. Ohh and I only did 1 tbsp of salt because “you can always add more…”. The paste did freeze wonderfully and I used it frozen in my meals. Overall I’m very impressed and have added this to my collection of favorite recipes.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      It had always been a bucket list cooking thing for me to try to make my own curry from scratch – so so excited that I’ve actually done it a handful of times now!

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    OH MY. Hellllo easy yellow curry paste recipe. I remember my first Thai cooking adventure. Ended in tears and me running around to 4 diff stores to find all the stuff I needed. Love that you made this all mainstream grocery store friendly. Go you!

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is amazing! I always thought making my own curry paste would be difficult, time consuming and expensive, but this sounds so doable! I’m a huge red curry fan, so I’m jazzed to try this! Thanks for the creativity and congrats on your TV spot!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    Lindsay, if you hadn’t already reached complete ROCK STAR status, you have now! Between easy one grocery store, freezable homemade curry (YESSSS!!!!!) and your calm, cool, collected TV self – you are such an inspiration! 🙂 Can’t wait to stock my freezer with this awesomeness!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Bahaha – thanks Senika! If only you knew the truth about me on TV – that I was sweating backstage, forgot deodorant and had to BORROW some, hands were shaking… omg. a total train wreck. But I pulled it together and then they had Sage on TV which was the best best best ever. 🙂

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for sharing this. This will be an end to getting store bought one. I love using yellow curry for my chicken satay. 🙂 Congrats on the TV spot.

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Thanks Joyce! I still haven’t even FOUND yellow curry paste in any stores near me, so you’re lucky that you can buy it in a pinch! 🙂

      1. Skillful Cook Logo

        This recipe has been out there awhile by the looks of the 2015 posts, but I just found it while searching for a homemade yellow curry sauce. I bought one in a jar as a simmering sauce at Trader Joe’s but since I’m vegan, I found out it has milk and other ingredients I’d rather not have.

        You don’t say what to do with this paste–do you add 1/4 or 1/5 of the recipe to a can of coconut milk I assume?

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    Brb too busy pinning EVERY picture in this post! I am always wary of buying storebought curry pastes or powders, because I always feel like I’m making ramen or boxed mac and cheese when I tear open the little packet and shake it into what should be homemade curry. This is an awesome base recipe to have on hand! 🙂

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love to make my own condiments, marinara sauce and now I can add curry paste to the list! I finally learned how to make several of my favorite Indian dishes but always used storebought curry paste. Really looking forward to making this! Thank you :)!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    That looks delicious!! I also love how easy it sounds to make it. Will definitely be making this soon. Homemade condiments and sauces rock!!!

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is a WONDERFUL recipe! Curry paste is something that I’ve always wanted to experiment with, but I’ve always backed down because I’m not exactly sure how to use it. This recipe looks so simple – I can’t wait to give it a try! Pinned!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    I love having sauces on hand in the freezer! It makes life so easy sometimes! You could literally put any seasonal veggie over rice and enjoy this sauce on top! Looking forward to freezing up a batch!

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    I agree that shrimp paste is rather gross, but that other curry paste is soooo good! I can’t remember if I have left-overs from making that curry paste (other than chopped up lemon grass, frozen galangal and shrimp paste). I could easily make that one again, but I’ll probably try this one when I see the chicken curry recipe. I’m a sucker for Thai food. So glad you like to post Thai curry recipes!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      haha – yes, and so glad my readers like curry, too! 🙂 I love that you actually made the original, Susan – it goes to show that I should post recipes, no matter how intense or complicated I might think they are! People will make them! 🙂 Seriously makes me so happy.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oooh congrats on the TV gig – how exciting! Meanwhile, I am excited about this yellow curry paste. I love making curries at home because they are so rewarding to cook, so fragrant and flavoursome. I look forward to trying this!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Congrats on the TV exposure! How exciting!! And I am so super impressed with this curry paste. I only recently discovered my love of curry (the horror, I know! But I grew up down south all BBQ, baked beans and peach cobbler and those roots run deep so it took a minute to expand those food horizons) I’m now completely obsessed with curry and sweet potatoes and now am definitely going to be incorporating this beautiful paste! Thanks so much!