Thai Beef with Red Curry Sauce

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We recently re-visited this recipe. We hadn’t made it in years. Wesley declared this is now his favorite beef dish. That’s saying something.

There is something so comforting about the combination of curry and coconut milk that is just incredible. We feel that way about Classic Shrimp Curry. With this recipe, you can do it on the stove, in the oven, or in your slow cooker. All deliver melt-in-your-mouth chunks of flavorful beef enveloped in an unforgettable sauce.

An overhead view of Thai beef in a colorful bowl with the beef on one side and Jasmine rice on the other side.

How to Make Thai Beef with Red Curry Sauce

The depth of flavor in this dish is truly amazing.

But, you will be amazed at how easy it is to prepare!


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The Ingredients You Will Need

All of the ingredients in this incredible Thai dish can be found, nowadays, in the Asian section of most well-stocked supermarkets. If you don’t see them, you can easily order them online (or, visit your local Asian market!).

Here’s What You’ll Need to Have on Hand

Beef – Go with an inexpensive roast, such as chuck. It will get super tender as it slowly cooks.
Seasoning – Salt and pepper is what you need for the beef.
Oil – Olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil is best.
Onion – Finely chopped.
Cloves – Fresh, and finely minced.
Thai red curry paste – Found in the Asian section of many supermarkets, or online.
Unsweetened coconut milk – Be sure to get coconut milk and not coconut cream. Found in the Asian section of your market, or online.
Fish sauce – Found in the Asian section of your market or online. If you can’t get your hands on fish sauce, you can substitute soy sauce.
Lime juice – Fresh is best, but, bottled will work just fine.
Brown sugar – Light or dark, but we prefer dark.
Bamboo shoots – Found in the Asian section of your market, or online. We like to cut the shoot into strips with a knife. Just makes a nicer presentation and easier to eat.
Mint – Fresh is best. Don’t skip this. It’s a wonderful match to the savory sauce.
Jasmine rice – See recipe in NOTES of recipe card. If you don’t have Jasmine, go with your favorite steamed rice.

EXPERT TIP: Sear the chunks of meat in the oil until just browned all over. It won’t be cooked through, but will finish cooking during the slow simmer. After removing the seared meat, you’ll want to safely remove all but about 1 to 2 tbsps of the rendered grease from the beef.

An overhead view of bite-sized pieces of chuck roast that are being seared in an oval Dutch oven with a wooden spatula off to the side.

Tips for Perfect Thai Beef With Red Curry Sauce

Season the Beef – You won’t need to add any additional salt or pepper to the sauce, because the fish sauce is salty and the curry paste has plenty of pepper flavor. However, you want to the beef to be nicely seasoned. Don’t skimp when seasoning it with salt and pepper.

Stir Frequently – The coconut milk, when heated, will start to separate. You’ll see oil. This is normal, and tastes delicious (it’s not like grease from the beef). However, if you stir frequently, the sauce will stay mostly emulsified. Adding additional coconut cream about 15 minutes before serving makes the sauce nice and creamy.

Don’t Forget the Mint – Fresh mint adds a brightness to the finished dish that is wonderful. You can also stir the chopped mint into the cooked Jasmine rice.

EXPERT TIP: As mentioned, it is normal for the coconut milk to start to separate after it’s been cooking for a while. It may seem like there is excessive grease, but this okay. Stir frequently to keep the sauce combined and emulsified. The sauce is flavored wonderfully, and doesn’t taste greasy, at all.

A person pouring unsweetened coconut milk from a jar into an oval Dutch oven filled with sautéd onions coated with red curry paste.

Three Ways to Slow-Cook Thai Beef

We love the ease of slow simmering the beef and sauce on the stove for about 90 to 105 minutes. Just be sure to keep the heat very low, and stir often!

To prepare the dish in your slow-cooker, simply sear the beef with the onions and garlic, and then transfer to your slow cooker with the other ingredients (except the mint), and cook on LOW for 6 hours, or HIGH for 3 hours. Add the bamboo shoots about 10 minutes before serving!

For cooking in the oven, prepare the dish as written, but instead of simmering on the stove, place in an oven preheated to 325°F, covered, for 3 hours, stirring every now and then.

An overhead view of slow-cooked pieces of beef in a Thai red curry sauce in an oval Dutch oven.

Other Thai Recipes To Try

Thai cuisine is deep in tradition and even deeper in flavor. So often with that classic mix of a little sweet and a little heat. Add more heat, if desired! Here are a handful of our favorites!

Classic Chicken Pad Thai
Easy Shrimp Pad Thai
Thai Beef Salad
Classic Chicken Pad Thai
Thai Green Curry Chicken

These are all amazing, but isn’t this Thai dish calling your name right about now?

A close-up view of Thai beef with red curry sauce in an Asian bowl with Jasmine rice on the side.

This dish is truly comfort food at its very best.

Think of it kind of like a beef stew, over rice, with an Asian twist.

Every time we make this for guests, that simply can’t get over how delicious it is! And it’s easy enough to prepare for a weeknight dinner or a weekend get together!

Each and every bite is a melt-in-your-mouth taste sensation that you’ll want to make time and time again!

A fork that is being used to hold up a piece of Thai beef that has been slow-cooked in a red curry and coconut sauce.

Ready to make the best Thai beef dish in town? Go for it!

And when you do, be sure to take a photo of it, post it on Instagram, and tag @HowToFeedaLoon and hashtag #HowToFeedaLoon!

An overhead view of Thai beef in a colorful bowl with the beef on one side and Jasmine rice on the other side.

Thai Beef with Red Curry

This Thai Beef with Red Curry is so comforting and warms you to the bone.  A little bit of heat, a little bit of sweet, and HUGE amount of tender texture and incredible flavor.  Slow cooked to perfection.  
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Entree / Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Asian / Thai
Keyword: Easy Thai, Red curry, Thai food
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 728kcal


  • Large pot with lid or slow-cooker


  • lb beef lean chuck or round, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • ¼ cup Thai red curry paste
  • 2 13 oz cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • 1 8 oz can bamboo shoots drained, cut into thin strips, if desired
  • 3 tbsp fresh mint chopped
  • Cooked Jasmine rice for serving


  • Sprinkle the beef with 1 tsp salt and pepper, each, all over.
    2½ lb beef, Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet, or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat.
    2 tbsp olive oil
  • Working in batches (if necessary), sauté the beef until browned on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to remove the seared (but not fully cooked) beef to a platter. Set aside.
  • Remove all but about 1 to 2 tbsp of the oil from the pot. Add the onion and sauté over medium-high heat until soft, about 4 minutes.  Add the garlic and sauté for another 1 minute.
    1 yellow onion, 4 cloves garlic
  • Add the curry paste and stir until fragrant and coats the onion and garlic, about 1 minute.
    ¼ cup Thai red curry paste
  • Add 1½ cans of the coconut milk and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.  
    2 13 oz cans unsweetened coconut milk
  • Stir in the fish sauce, lime juice and brown sugar and bring to a boil. 
    2 tbsp fish sauce, 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, 2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • Place the beef into a large pot, or Dutch oven, and add the curry / coconut milk mixture.  
  • Partially cover and cook over low heat for 90 minutes, stirring frequently. until the meat is tender and the sauce has thickened somewhat. 
  • 15 minutes before the dish is done cooking, stir in the bamboo shoots and the remaining half can of coconut milk.
    1 8 oz can bamboo shoots
  • Spoon over cooked Jasmine rice and garnish with mint.
    3 tbsp fresh mint, Cooked Jasmine rice


See the video near the top of the blog post for visual guidance. If you liked the video, please subscribe to our YouTube channel.
As the coconut milk cooks, it is normal to separate and leave pools of oil. This is coconut oil and is not greasy tasting like grease from beef. Stirring frequently helps to keep the sauce together. However, the coconut oil is flavored with the curry paste and is delicious. 
Leftovers are delicious and will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stove over medium heat, or in the microwave in 1-minute increments until heated through.
How to Cook Jasmine Rice:
  1. Add 1 cup and 1¼ cups water with 1/4 tsp salt into a medium saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil. Cover and immediately lower the heat to low. 
  3. Simmer for about 12 minutes. Turn off the heat and let rest, covered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Serve at once. 


Calories: 728kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 201mg | Sodium: 901mg | Potassium: 874mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 2490IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 6mg
Tried this recipe? Take a Picture!Mention @HowToFeedALoon or tag #HowToFeedALoon!

POST UPDATE: This recipe was originally published in October 2015, but was updated with improved tweaks to the recipe with new tips and photography and a fabulous new video in August 2023.


  • Mouthwatering!! The sauce is the closest match I’ve found to my local Thai restaurant. The only difference is I like to add fresh jalapeños and red bell pepper but the sauce is the hardest yet most important part of the dish. Thank you!

    • Hi Julie! Woo hoo!! We are so so happy you made the Thai Beef with Red Curry Sauce and LOVED it! The addition of jalapeños and red bell peppers sound great! Thank you so so much for sharing! Please sty in touch! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    The recipe flavor is amazing. I followed the recipe to a T for the first time making it. Next time I’ll double the coconut milk and curry paste to have more sauce. I love the sauce!

  • I can’t rate this as I haven’t made it yet but might I say that I so appreciate you listing the ingredients and their measurements as I go thru your recipes? So often I have to scroll all the way back thru to find the measurements. Thanks for that! Excited to make this!

  • I’m curious if this might be made with chicken or tofu with some adjustments for spice and cook time. My offspring will not eat beef. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Zola! Sure! For chicken, cut the cook time down probably by half. You want the sauce to thicken, and that takes about an hour. Sear the chicken pieces, and then don’t add it back into the sauce until after about 30 minutes. Same rule of thumb for Tofu…maybe stir it in during the last 15 minutes. Hope this helps! Let us know if you make it and how it turns out! Best, Kris & Wesley

      • Thank you! I will try it and let you know. We so enjoy watch you guys! You seem to have so much fun!

      • 5 stars
        I finally got around to making this with chicken and it was fantastic. I made it as written other than swapping chicken for the beef and reducing the simmer time to about 60 minutes. We all enjoyed it very much and I will make it again!

      • Hi Zola! Yay!! So glad you made the dish and we love that you had success with doing a chicken version! Fantastic! Thank you so so much for sharing and for the wonderful review! That honestly means the world to us!!

  • 5 stars
    Delicious and so easy! I made this in the slow cooker after browning the meat, onions, and spices, and the house smelled amazing almost instantly! I was talked into adding a can of baby corn instead of the second can of bamboo shoots, and both were excellent in this. It’s officially in the recipe rotation for the winter!

    • HI Kate!! So so glad you had such great success with the recipe! This is one of our all-time favorites and we love that you made it in the slow-cooker and the addition of baby corn sounds GREAT! Thanks so much for letting us know and for the wonderful review. That means the world to us!!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

  • 5 stars
    I love this dish! Wanted to let you know it also works perfectly with venison. The cut I used was a bottom round. Super tender and tasty. Thank you again for the recipe.

    • Hi Jo! So sorry for the delayed response. The time really doesn’t need to change for beef tenderloin pieces. It will become extremely tender, but in a good melt-in-your-mouth way! 🙂 Yum! Let us know if you make the dish and what you think!! Best, Kris & Wesley

    • Hi Brenna! So sorry for the delayed response! Absolutely! You’ll need to sauté the beef as written in the recipe and then follow the steps through adding the fish sauce, lime juice, and brown sugar and bringing it all to a boil. Then, transfer the beef to your Crock-Pot and then add the coconut mixture. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours (or 3 hours on High). Stir in the bamboo shoots during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Let us know if you make it and what you think!! Best, Kris & Wesley

      • 5 stars
        Update: this curry was SO FREAKING GOOD. I’ve never had great luck with homemaking Thai curry, as I seem to always get the texture or ratio of heat to coconut milk just slightly off. This was creamy and flavorful, and I will absolutely make it again. I may add just slightly more curry paste to up the spice a hair, the curry paste I used wasn’t as potent as I’d have liked. Can you recommend any particular paste brand you’ve used? Thank you so much for this recipe and your crockpot modification reply, 10/10. Best, B.

      • Awesome!!! We use Thai Kitchen, but you can easily double the amount, and that should kick the spice level up for you a notch or two!! Thanks again and please stay in touch!!

  • “And of course you’ve got to go with Jasmine rice. This is the perfect rice to go with this incredible dish.”

    Jasmine rice is a great side for a dish like this, but I’m afraid I must disagree with “perfect” – though of course it’s all subjective, so there is no right nor wrong!

    However…sticky (glutinous) rice, for me. You just can’t beat it, certainly not for the vast majority of Thai curries – in my opinion, at least! Takes longer – sometimes much longer! – to prepare; but that, for me, is the perfect rice for a dish like this.

    I do agree that bamboo shoots are an essential addition, however!

  • 5 stars
    Made this tonight and it was a hit ! The beef was so tender and loved the flavor of the curry !!!!!

    • Hi Bessie, yes, it certainly could. I’d need to play around with the recipe a bit to figure best timing and ingredient quantities. But to answer your question, this absolutely could be made in an 8 QT IP, and would be wonderful!!

  • This was better than our favorite Thai place and super easy to make! I will most definitely make this again and can’t wait to try other recipes from your website!!

  • 5 stars
    OMG! I made this last night and WOW was it ever delicious. I don’t think I’ll ever need to go to a Thai restaurant again because this was identical to the taste if not better. Thank you for such a great recipe!

    • Thank YOU SO MUCH for letting us know what you think! We love this Thai Beef with Red Curry so much and are thrilled that you enjoyed it, too! Please stay in touch!! All the best, Kris & Wesley

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