Simple Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Cashew Chicken Recipe

This hearty and delicious coconut curry cashew chicken dish is a perfect family dinner, according to food blogger and recipe developer Ting Dalton. "It's not too spicy, and I can prepare and make it without any fuss," she said. "I love being able to forget about it and have a home-cooked meal ready for dinner."

Curry comes in many flavors and variations — from Southeast Asian dishes featuring coconut milk and curry paste (like this one) to the turmeric-flavored ones that are popular in Britain and are often made with curry powder. What all types have in common, though, is they contain a tasty, spiced sauce or gravy — mild or with a bit of heat — that's mixed with vegetables and, often, meat before being served with rice. Dalton mentions that this recipe easily becomes a dish for vegetarians by axing the chicken and adding more potatoes and vegetables like kale to it, and reducing the cooking time from eight hours on low to four hours on low (or from four hours on high to two hours on high).

With just 10 minutes of prep time to make four servings, this dish is so simple it's nearly impossible to mess up.

Gather your ingredients

This list of ingredients might seem long, but remember that the whole dish takes just 10 minutes to prep. You'll need four chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces, a finely chopped onion, two cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon of ginger paste or minced fresh ginger, 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, one to two green chili peppers, one sliced red bell pepper, 1 cup of green beans, ½ cup of unsalted, raw cashews (and maybe a few extra for dramatic impact when serving), 1 cup of baby potatoes cut into halves, 1 can of coconut milk, ½ cup of chicken stock, a squeeze of lime juice, and 2 tablespoons of curry paste.

Sauté the onions and chilies ... or not

In a skillet, heat the 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil and add the chopped onion. Sauté for several minutes until the onion pieces begin to soften. Then add the two minced cloves of garlic and the one to two chopped fresh chilies (depending on how much heat you like) and continue to stir for another minute.

If you're short on time, you can skip this step and just throw the onions and garlic in with the raw chicken. Dalton, though, prefers to cook them first because it adds extra depth of flavor when the onions and garlic caramelize.

Combine the chicken, onion and chilies

Chop up the four chicken breasts into bite-size pieces and place them in the slow cooker. Next you'll add the onion, chilies, and garlic that you just sautéed. If you've skipped that step because you're short on time, just place the raw versions of the ingredients in now with the raw meat.

If you're making a vegetarian version and planning to cook the dish for just four hours on low, this is a good time to put in the vegetables and potatoes. But if you're cooking the chicken version, which takes eight hours on low, you should wait to add the veggies. Otherwise, your potatoes, green beans, peppers, etc. might become mushy.

Blend the coconut milk, curry paste, cashews, and other sauce ingredients

Next, you'll make the sauce. In a blender, add the can of coconut milk, 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, 2 tablespoons of curry paste, ½ cup of chicken stock and ½ cup of unsalted cashew nuts. 

Blending the ingredients fuses all the elements into a savory sauce. After a minute or two on high speed, all the separate components should become creamy, and the sauce will now be able to evenly coat the meat and vegetables.

The final prep before cooking

Now you pour your blended mixture over the chicken, give everything a good stir, cover the pot, and set your slow cooker to low heat for up to 8 hours (or high heat for 4 hours).

Vegetarian versions of the dish only need to simmer for four hours on low (or two hours on high) and you should add all vegetables and potatoes at the beginning of the cooking time. For chicken versions, though, wait until two hours before the cooking time is completed, then toss in the 1 cup of halved baby potatoes, 1 cup of green beans, and the sliced red bell pepper. This way you'll avoid mushy or soft veggies. Before covering the slow cooker again, give the dish another stir.

While you might be tempted to open the lid to check on your curry, try not to. Every time you lift that handle, you let heat escape, meaning it'll take longer for the dish to cook.

Your last chance to season

When the slow cooker timer hits zero, try the dish to make sure the seasonings suit your taste. Be careful — the curry will be bubbling hot! Dalton believes the chicken stock adds enough salt, so you shouldn't need to add extra unless you used a low-sodium broth ... but some people might like a bit more salt anyway. 

You can serve this coconut curry cashew chicken on top of rice and garnish it with the cilantro, the squeeze of lime, and the extra cashews. Try adding naan or papadums, two popular types of flat breads, for dipping in the creamy sauce. 

The dish can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two to three days or frozen for up to three months. Make sure to thaw it thoroughly before heating it up.

Simple Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Cashew Chicken Recipe
5 from 36 ratings
This, hearty, delicious, and simple slow cooker coconut curry cashew chicken recipe is a perfect family dinner, with just 10 minutes of prep for four servings.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Slow Cooker Coconut Curry Cashew Chicken in bowl
Total time: 4.17 hours
  • 4 chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger paste or minced fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 to 2 green chili peppers
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced
  • 1 cup green beans
  • ½ cup unsalted, raw cashews, plus extra for serving
  • 1 cup baby potatoes cut into halves
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons curry paste
  • A squeeze of lime juice
  • Cilantro to garnish
  1. In a skillet, heat the vegetable oil and add the onions. Sauté them for several minutes until they begin to soften. Add the garlic and chilies and continue to stir for another minute.
  2. Put the chicken in the slow cooker, and then add the sautéed onions, chilies, and garlic.
  3. In a blender, add the coconut milk, tomato paste, curry paste, chicken stock and cashew nuts and blend well.
  4. Pour this mixture over the chicken. Give everything a good stir and cover and cook on low heat for eight hours, or high heat for four hours.
  5. Two hours before the end of the cooking time, add the potatoes, green beans, and pepper. Give everything another good stir.
  6. Before serving, sprinkle some chopped cashews, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime on top.
  7. Serve with rice.
Calories per Serving 738
Total Fat 51.1 g
Saturated Fat 26.5 g
Trans Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 113.0 mg
Total Carbohydrates 29.2 g
Dietary Fiber 4.6 g
Total Sugars 7.9 g
Sodium 314.3 mg
Protein 45.7 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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