13 Ways To Thicken Thai Curry & Why Your Thai Curry Is Watery

Knowing how to thicken Thai curry is essential as the paste often becomes too watery after cooking.

Thai curry is a well-known Thai sauce commonly served with other dishes. It is popular among Asians, particularly those from Thailand’s surrounding countries.

It has increasingly become an important sauce among many American families as more Thai restaurants open across the country.

As a result, many fans of this delectable paste are seemingly curious to learn how to thicken the curry and why it frequently gets watery.

If you are one of these people, please continue reading.

SEE: How to Thicken Spaghetti Sauce to Make It Tastier

How to thicken Thai curry

1. Use dairy and yogurt

Any dairy product, such as heavy cream, Greek or full-fat yogurt, or coconut cream, can be used to thicken Thai curry because they are creamy and thick and won’t curdle.

Given many curry sauces have a creamy texture, experiment with adding more dairy to the mixture. Three tablespoons of yogurt or half a cup of smooth coconut cream can be gently simmered in the curry sauce while stirring for a few minutes.

2. Add nuts

Add cashews or almonds if your curry sauce seems a little runny. In a food processor, a few handfuls or a cup of raw, unsalted cashews or almonds are turned into a paste.

When the nut paste is added, the curry sauce will thicken. You can also incorporate one or two tablespoons of creamy peanut butter to thicken the sauce.

This method will alter the sauce’s flavor, which may or may not be suitable for the recipe and the desired taste.

3. Add lentils

Lentils naturally serve as a thickening agent because they absorb liquid while cooking. Lentils absorb additional liquid from sauces as they cook by softening, disintegrating, and then swelling.

As a result, lentils can be added in the middle of cooking, and the thickness of the curry sauce can be assessed after the lentils are fully cooked.

You can substitute other legumes for lentils, such as beans and chickpeas, by first pureeing them into a smooth paste.

4. Use peanut butter

Peanut butter, a common ingredient in Thai and Japanese cuisine, can improve the flavor and thicken the sauce of some curries. Add the peanut butter toward the end of cooking.

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5. Add a tomato paste

Consider boosting with a tomato sauce or tomato purée, which is common in many Indian-style curries, to create a denser sauce. You might also want to adjust the other seasonings or vegetables to account for the extra tomato.

6. Start with a roux

Soups, stews, gravies, and sauces can all be thickened using the French roux technique. Although it’s uncommon, using a roux at the start of a curry recipe can help guarantee a thick curry.

Use equal parts of flour (like wheat, rice, or coconut) and fat (such as ghee, olive, or coconut oil).

After simmering both ingredients for a few minutes to cook out the taste of raw flour, add your curry ingredients. Upon reaching a boil, the entire curry dish thickens the sauce.

7. Use a slurry

Make a slurry by mixing cold water, curry sauce liquid, cornstarch, tapioca starch, or arrowroot.

This should be added at the very end of cooking; as soon as the sauce returns to a boil, it should thicken.

8. Add blended extra curry ingredients to mix

Remove at least a cup of the curry sauce, along with the meat, potatoes, and other vegetables, and put them in a food processor or blender.

The mixture should be smooth after blending. Reintroduce the blended mixture to the curry without using flour or other ingredients that might compromise the flavor, as this will thicken the sauce.

9. Use flour and oil

A small skillet should contain about 2 tablespoons of oil and flour. Gently stir the mixture while cooking it on low heat until it turns light brown. About a cup of the curry sauce should be added to the mix, and it should be thoroughly mixed or whisked in.

This process is comparable to thickening a white sauce or gravy by combining flour and water. The curry will thicken as you mix the mixture into it.

SEE: Find the Best Curry Leaves Substitute for Your Dish

10. Using arrowroot

For each cup of liquid in the curry, add 2 teaspoons of arrowroot. Make a paste in the cup by adding water and dissolving the arrowroot to thicken the curry paste.

Pour the mixture into the curry after adding about 1/2 cup of the curry paste to the cup and stirring to dissolve it.

When the sauce thickens, turn the curry’s heat down to medium-high while continuing to stir constantly.

As the thick sauce tends to stick to the pot and possibly burn, do this right before serving the curry. Compared to corn starch or flour, arrowroot is more flavorless and stable.

11. Use flour and melted butter

For every cup of curry sauce, mix 2 tablespoons of flour with 2 tablespoons of melted butter or oil in a small saucepan to create a paste.

Cook until the flour is done, and the mixture just begins to turn brown. Stir thoroughly before adding 1 cup of the original curry sauce.

When the sauce starts to thicken, add this mixture to the curry sauce, turn up the heat while stirring, and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.

12. Use a slow cooker

In the final 30 minutes or so of cooking, remove the lid from the slow cooker and let the steam escape to allow the sauce to naturally reduce.

Use one of the other additive techniques if your curry is still too thin. Be aware that attempting to further reduce a slow-cooked curry may cause the meats and vegetables to become overcooked.

13. Add coconut

Though it takes some time to thicken, coconut cream is a good thickener. To do this, you need to remove the meat and vegetables from the curry and stir in the coconut cream.

Allow it to simmer until it reaches the desired consistency. Re-add the meat and veggies to the curry and continue to cook as usual.

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Why is your Thai curry watery?


Although curry is typically a thick sauce, there are several reasons why it could become watery.

1. Excess moisture from frozen ingredients

You can use frozen ingredients in any type of curry recipe, but if you add them to the dish while they’re still frozen, they’ll defrost as the dish cooks. The curry becomes runny as a result of the sauce absorbing too much liquid.

2. Making substitutions for ingredients

Use the right kind of coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk when a Thai curry recipe specifies it to give the sauce more body. Light coconut milk or coconut water will make the curry too watery and alter its consistency.

3. The temperature is too low for cooking

For a curry to thicken and cook off any extra liquid, it must simmer. The liquid won’t have a chance to evaporate if you cook the sauce on very low heat.

4. Cooking for too little time

Curry sauce thickens as it simmers, so be patient and wait until it reaches the right consistency. Avoid removing the sauce from the heat as soon as it begins to boil to prevent a thin curry sauce.

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What is Thai curry?

Using curry paste, coconut milk or water, meat, seafood, vegetables or fruit, and herbs, Thai curry is a dish that is popular in Thai cuisine.

Thai curries are different from Indian curries in that they emphasize the use of aromatic leaves and herbs over a combination of spices.

What does Thai curry taste like?

Thai curry has a distinct flavor ranging from tender and tangy to extremely hot.

Can coconut milk affect the thickness of your Thai curry?

Yes, it can. It matters what kind of coconut milk you use to make Thai curry. Based on health considerations, you might decide between lite coconut milk and full-fat, rich, creamy coconut milk.

Lite coconut milk is a better option because it has fewer calories (false), fewer carbs (false), and less fat, but it wouldn’t make curry thick.

However, curry made with full-fat coconut milk has a thicker, better-tasting consistency, and curry made with coconut cream has the thickest best-tasting consistency of all.


Although Thai curry can become watery at times, many ingredients can be added to thicken it.

Furthermore, one way to slightly thicken is to simply remove the liquid by delaying the addition of ingredients such as potatoes, beans, and others.

Similarly, the curry must be allowed to simmer and cook for the time specified in the recipe before being thickened.

Additionally, curry sauces take time to thicken and frequently appear runny and watery until the very end of cooking.

As a result, you should become acquainted with the other numerous methods for thickening Thai curry mentioned in this article.

Thanks for reading.

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