Easy Coconut Shrimp Curry


Delicious Coconut Shrimp Curry! Quick and EASY, this shrimp curry dish with coconut milk is perfect for a midweek meal. ONE pot and it takes only 30 minutes to make, and that's starting with frozen shrimp!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Coconut shrimp curry is one of those quick and easy weeknight dishes. Unadorned, but so satisfying. This shrimp curry is 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 this whole coconut shrimp curry dish in 30 minutes or less, and that’s starting with frozen shrimp!

Choose Coconut Milk Wisely for this Shrimp Curry

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.

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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 shrimp curry recipe or any recipe that calls for it!

Check out this video I made on how easy it is to make this coconut shrimp curry!

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 shrimp curry 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.

1 Sauté onion, curry, cardamom: 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.

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

3 Add shrimp: 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

Coconut Shrimp Curry


Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

48 Comments / Reviews

No ImageEasy Coconut Shrimp Curry

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Dan Curran

    I gave this one a shot last night, what a great and to-the-point recipe. However, instead of adding water to the coconut milk I used chicken broth instead and added steamed broccoli to the mix along with some market fresh shrimp.

    A+ recipe, highly recommended for anyone looking to dip their toes into the world of curry!


  2. judith

    I have made this so many times. I always keep prawns in the freezer and coc milk in the pantry. This is the easiest, tastiest most adaptable recipe I know. I like to microwave a potato in the skin, cool, peel and cut into chunks. Frozen peas, green beans, carrots and green, red & yellow sliced bells…again all frozen. Add prawns and make a couple cups of rice and there’s a quick delicious meal without all the silly pretentious add-ons. Faster than heating a frozen dinner; a real non-thinker when you’re tired or ill.


  3. B. Hayes

    I had shrimp in the freezer and coconut milk in the cupboard on a busy stressful day, and this recipe was easy and quick to prepare. We also thought it needed a little extra spice and thickening, which we added. It will be a keeper for those hurry up days. Pantry and freezer will be restocked with coconut milk, shrimp, and basmati rice.. I wonder whether a veg could be added..like frozen peas maybe? Oh, and we had mango chutney in the fridge to go with it.


  4. Diana

    Don’t know how this recipe got its pretty yellow color with only 1/2 tsp curry powder, if I make again I’ll be using 1 1/2 tsp

    Show Replies (1)
  5. Colleen Sullivan

    I followed the recipe exactly. The shrimp was undercooked and the sauce was bland. I am very sensitive to spices so I didn’t increase any of the amounts. It needed at least double the curry, double the cardamom and double the chopped onions. The amounts of salt and pepper were fine; those who like a salty taste can salt at the table. The sauce was too thin for me so I thickened it with corn starch at the end. With small alterations, this could be a very good recipe.


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