Easy Coconut Shrimp Curry

This is one of those quick and easy weeknight dishes. Unadorned, but so satisfying. Convenient too, if you, like me, happen to keep a bag of shrimp in the freezer and a can of coconut milk in the pantry. You can cook the whole dish in 30 minutes or less, and that’s starting with frozen shrimp!

I made a momentous discovery while working on this recipe. The first batch we made ended up too thick, so we thought, why not use light coconut milk instead? Disaster. It tasted horrible. We then did a taste test comparing regular coconut milk to the light variety, in their cans. The regular coconut milk was lovely, rich and coconut-y. The light coconut milk? Coconut flavored milk of magnesia.

So, I recommend, if you are even considering using light coconut milk for this recipe, that you do a taste test before making the sauce. Just pull out half a spoonful from an opened can. Compare it with regular coconut milk. You want the best tasting coconut milk for this recipe or any recipe that calls for it!

Easy Coconut Shrimp Curry Recipe

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4.

To thaw frozen shrimp, place shrimp in a large bowl, cover with cold, lightly salted water. Add a couple ice cubes. Let sit for 15 minutes until defrosted.

This is a basic recipe. Please feel free to dress it up. Add chopped celery or bell pepper to the onions and/or fresh ginger or diced tomatoes. Experiment with the curry spices you are using.



  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 teaspoon mild yellow curry powder
  • Pinch of ground cardamom or the seeds from 1 cardamom pod, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk (use regular coconut milk NOT light)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 pound raw, peeled, deveined shrimp (with or without tail)
  • Cilantro for garnish


If you haven't already defrosted your shrimp, if using frozen, do that while you prepare the sauce. The shrimp will be thawed and ready to cook by the time the sauce is done.

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1 Heat olive oil in a medium sized sauté pan on medium heat. Add the chopped onion. Cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, cardamom, and salt. Cook for two more minutes.

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2 Add the coconut milk and water, simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.

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3 Add the shrimp to the curry sauce and spread out evenly in the pan. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the shrimp has turned from grey to pink and is just cooked through. Do not overcook or the shrimp will be rubbery.

Serve with cilantro for garnish. Serve with basmati rice or better yet, coconut basmati rice.

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Caribbean Creole Coconut Curry Shrimp from Jaden on Steamy Kitchen

Coconut Shrimp Curry with jalapeños and tomatoes from Taste Food

Indian Style Coconut Shrimp Curry from One Life to Eat

Thai Shrimp and Pineapple Curry from Rasa Malaysia

Coconut Shrimp Curry on Simply Recipes

Showing 4 of 41 Comments

  • Natalie (Paper & Birch)

    Oh Elise, I’ve made so many of your recipes and they’re always incredible! I’m definitely making this one too! How can you go wrong with curry & coconut shrimp?! And bonus points that it’s easy enough to throw together on a weeknight :)

  • Laura

    I made this tonight and it was amazing!!!
    Did make a few changes due to what was available.
    Used coconut oil, didn’t have cardamom so left out, used precooked prawns (added at end just to warm through), added some steamed pumpkin and chilli from the garden.
    Two thumbs up!

  • Padaek

    Wonderful recipe and great instructions – thank you for sharing it. :) It looks absolutely delicious! I agree, regular coconut milk in this dish would make it just perfect. I was just wondering why the water is lightly salted when thawing the prawns? Thank you. :)

  • Ashley W

    I’ve been in a bit of a cooking slump.. thanks for tonight’s dinner :)

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