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Recipe for slow cooker Thai red curry turkey

Slow cooker Thai red curry turkey, from The Perfect Pantry.

When the weather gets hot hot hot, I can't bear the thought of turning on the large stove in my small kitchen. So, this summer I'm committed to using my slow cookers more often, and trying to adapt some of my favorite stovetop and oven recipes. It's no secret that I adore Thai red curry anything, and I realized I had all of the ingredients for this slow cooker Thai red curry turkey in my pantry last week. To adapt my favorite stovetop recipe, I browned and drained the ground turkey before adding it to the cooker, added the fish sauce/lime juice/brown sugar flavorings at the beginning, and saved the coconut milk for the last half hour of cooking. I served it over rice (made in the rice cooker, which also keeps the kitchen cool); you can spoon the curry into lettuce or radicchio cups for a lower-carb option.

Slow cooker Thai red curry.

Slow cooker Thai red curry turkey

From the pantry, you'll need: canola oil, ground turkey, garlic, red curry paste, lime, brown sugar, fish sauce, coconut milk.

Serves 4-6.


2 tsp canola oil
1-1/4 lb ground turkey
1 clove garlic, minced
4 scallions, white and green parts sliced
1 red bell pepper, diced
2 tsp red curry paste, or more to taste
Juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp fish sauce
6 oz coconut milk
Cooked white, brown or basmati rice (optional)
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)


In a frying pan, heat the oil, and sauté the turkey just until it loses its pinkness. Remove from heat, drain the meat in a colander (if you really want to remove most of the fat, rinse under cool water), and transfer to a 3-quart slow cooker.

Add the garlic, scallions, bell pepper, curry paste, lime juice, sugar and fish sauce. Stir to combine.

Cook on LOW for 3 hours.

Then, turn the cooker to HIGH and add the coconut milk. Stir, and cook for 30 minutes.

Serve hot, over rice (or in lettuce cups), garnished with cilantro. Or, allow to cool, and refrigerate for up to 1 week.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Thai red curry turkey meatballs
Salmon choo chee
Red curry beef with mushrooms, red bell pepper and cilantro
Red curry tofu with spinach and mushrooms
Thai green basil curry with chicken, asparagus and spinach

Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Peanut chicken stir-fry, from Gluten-free Goddess
Chocolate Thai curry cupcakes, from Mostly Foodstuffs
Roasted red curry carrots with ginger and garlic, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Thai curry spaghetti squash, from Aggie's Kitchen
Slow cooker beef curry noodles, from She Simmers

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Lydia - I'm a red curry lover too! What a great idea, combining all these flavors in a slow cooker recipe.

I am puzzled as the protein displayed does not look like ground meat... Did you cut up a turkey breast or other meat?

Jeanette, I often joke that I would eat seat cushions if they were covered in red curry. This worked really well in the slow cooker, without heating up the kitchen at all.

JJ, this is indeed store-bought ground turkey! If you follow the links above, to "From the pantry, you'll need:", you can learn more about the pantry ingredients in this recipe, including the turkey I've used.

I love red curry!! I am bookmarking this one, love that it's in the slow cooker. It looks delicious.

Thank you so much for linking over to my recipe!

Aggie, I love that my favorite Thai curry adapts so well to the slow cooker. Keeps the kitchen from overheating in the summer, and in winter it will just make it that much easier to have Thai curry any time.

I am drooling over this! Bookmarked and a must try for me. (And dishes like this will help me with my quest not to eat red meat!)

Do you think this recipe would freeze well?

Kalyn, the mild turkey is the perfect foil for red curry paste, but you could also make this dish with ground chicken, or even ground beef. It's all about the curry sauce!

Jill, I have frozen the stovetop version of this dish, so yes, it freezes! You'll have to give a bit of a stir when you reheat it, but it comes right back together. Freeze some cooked rice in a separate container, and reheat them together for a complete meal.

This looks delicious, Lydia. Beautiful photos! I've got everything but the turkey in my pantry. Saving the recipe to make soon.

This looks so wonderful, I can't wait to try it in the slow cooker! Random question- are the wee green beads in your photos part of the cilantro? They're such pretty pops of colour! If you're a fan of thai curry, have you tried cooking mussels in it? I posted a Green Thai Mussels recipe recently, but would definitely work with Red Curry :)

Christine, it's definitely worth a trip to the market to gather ingredients for this curry. I know you'll like this dish!

Rhona, the green "beads" are cilantro seeds, from my garden. I have tried mussels in curry, and love it, but not for the slow cooker as they require just a few minutes to cook.

Oh my gosh this look amazing. I love thai flavors!

Claire, me, too! I could eat this every day.

I love all curries and I can eat it everyday and will not get tired of it. This looks amazing.

I can't wait to make this, probably even next week. I have a slow cooker, but we never use it for anything other than ham and beans or corned beef; this seems like a much better route to take.

Quay Po Cooks, I think I could eat this every day, too!

John, I'm trying to branch out with my slow cooker dishes and take advantage of how it keeps my kitchen cool in the summer.

Do you have a suggestion for a fish sauce replacement?

Niki, you could use a bit of light soy sauce instead. Fish sauce is almost required for Thai curries, but soy sauce will add some of the properties (primarily saltiness) that's needed in this dish.

I was planning to serve a curry in this coming thanksgiving and this Thai red curry turkey will definitely one of my choices.

I'm excited to try this recipe. 3 hours is too short of time for me to cook this since I work 8 hours every day- do you think keeping it on low for a longer time would affect the taste? Thanks!

Megan, I wouldn't keep this longer in a slow cooker. Instead, make it on the stovetop; it's a true 30-minute meal on the stove! See a similar recipe on the blog for Thai beef curry: http://www.theperfectpantry.com/2011/02/recipe-for-red-curry-beef-with-mushrooms-peppers-and-cilantro.html for guidance in converting this easy recipe to stovetop.

I just made this tonight for dinner and it was awesome! I have been looking for good slow cooker recipes lately and haven't found much worth saving -- this recipe totally is :)

I made this for dinner tonight and both my husband and I really, really enjoyed it. The combination of ingredients tasted exactly the way I hoped it would from reading the recipe. I'll definitely be making it again (and again, and again). Thanks so much for sharing!

I'm allergic to fish and would prefer to not use the fish sauce. Is there any alternatives I can substitute for it? Thank you!

Carol, you can use soy sauce. It won't be exactly the same, but it will be very good.

Hi, Lydia! Thanks for the recipe. We made this tonight with more typical ground turkey (and subbed carrots for the red pepper, since that's what we had). By adding standard table offerings for a grand meal like this (a small sampling of soy plus a good sized dollop of chili garlic sauce) we got past the odd texture and found the dish to be enjoyable. That said, WE'D RATHER USE CHICKEN PIECES INSTEAD, AND I AIM TO.... THE FLAVORINGS WERE DELICIOUS...... But, if we have ground turkey again (on sale again), then we'll likely make this up as is and enjoy it, and be glad to have done so. Thanks again!

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