This Coconut Curry Salmon is an incredibly flavorful dish that is both quick and easy to make! It’s filled with warm spices, naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and healthy to boot, as it’s loaded with veggies and omega-rich salmon. You’ll love the creamy sauce and how much flavor you can develop in such a short time frame.
This Thai-inspired salmon curry is perfect for a weeknight meal when served over jasmine rice, and it takes just 30 minutes to make! Best of all, you can use this recipe as a base and switch out the salmon for any protein you love. It’s also fantastic with shrimp, scallops, and chicken.
Be sure to check out more of our easy seafood recipes, including our 30-Minute Shrimp In Coconut Curry, Simple Thai Curry with Scallops and String Beans, or this Easy Broiled Teriyaki Salmon. They’re all so delicious!
What You’ll Need For Curry Salmon
- Salmon filets: Seasoned with Kosher salt and black pepper. This is Atlantic salmon, though you can check out our salmon guide for more information on the different species.
- Veggies: Onion, bell peppers, scallions, and garlic, all sautéed in a neutral oil, such as grapeseed, avocado, or canola oil.
- Ginger paste: You can use a 1-inch piece of ginger root, peeled and grated, if you prefer.
- For the coconut curry sauce: low-sodium soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil, coconut milk, Thai red curry paste, brown sugar, and fish sauce.
- Baby spinach: Though you can add any leafy green if you prefer something else.
- Fresh lime juice: Lime juice will add fresh acidity to help balance all the flavors. Lime wedges should also be served with this dish.
- For serving: jasmine rice, fresh cilantro, fresh basil, thinly sliced scallions, chopped peanuts, and Thai red chile
Substitutions: If you don’t have curry paste, you can stir in a few tablespoons of curry powder to the sauce as it simmers.
How To Make Creamy Salmon Curry
- Prepare jasmine rice (or white rice) for serving.
- Season the salmon. Pat the salmon filets dry with a paper towel, then season on both sides with Kosher salt and black pepper.
- Pan sear the salmon. Heat canola oil until very hot, then add the salmon and cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. Flip, then cook an additional 3-4 minutes more. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Sauté the veggies. Add onion and bell peppers to the pan, then simmer for a few minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger paste, then cook 1 minute more. Deglaze the pan with soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, and sesame oil. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits.
- Make the coconut curry sauce. Add coconut milk, red curry paste, brown sugar, and fish sauce, then stir in spinach and fresh lime juice. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Assemble, then serve. Return the seared salmon to the pan with the curry sauce or plate the salmon over white rice and spoon the curry sauce on top. Garnish with lime wedges, fresh cilantro, fresh basil, sliced scallions, chopped peanuts, and Thai red chile.
Of course! In fact, sometimes frozen salmon is higher quality than what you’ll find fresh. Just be sure to thaw completely overnight in a fridge, then pat dry with paper towels before cooking.
For a thick-cut center piece of salmon, we recommend pan searing for 4 minutes on the first side, and another 3 minutes on the second.
It can be, but here the heat of the red curry paste is calmed by the coconut milk in most curry recipes.
Fish sauce is a staple condiment in Thai cuisine, made by fermenting fish with salt and water. It gives a savory, salty, and umami-rich flavor to Thai dishes and serves as a fundamental ingredient in various sauces, soups, and marinades.
Sure! Using yellow or green curry paste will give the salmon curry a different sort of flavor, but they will both be delicious in this dish.
- If you cook your salmon fillets with the skin on, the skin will stay crispier if not placed back into the sauce. You can plate the salmon skin-side up over a bowl of rice with sauce to keep it crispy longer!
- If using frozen salmon, make sure you let it thaw overnight in a refrigerator before cooking to ensure it comes to temperature slowly.
- Remember that your salmon fillet’s thickness will affect cooking time.
Make-Ahead, Leftovers, & Storage
- To make-ahead: This dish is best served on the day it is made, though it can be enjoyed for a few days.
- Leftovers and storage: Leftover coconut curry salmon should be stored in an airtight container in a fridge for up to 3 days. Remember, seafood has a shorter shelf life than other proteins.
- To freeze: While the creamy coconut curry sauce would be perfect for freezing, we do not recommend freezing cooked salmon, as the texture will change as it freezes and then defrosts.
How To Serve
This is a complete meal when served over Jasmine rice topped with lime wedges, fresh cilantro, fresh basil, sliced scallions, chopped peanuts, and Thai red chile.
For a lower-calorie option, we sometimes serve this over cauliflower rice. Trader Joe’s frozen cauli rice is our favorite!
You’re going to love the bold flavors in this easy weeknight curry, I just know it!
If you make this Creamy Salmon Curry recipe, please let us know by leaving a review and rating below!
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30-Minute Creamy Salmon Curry
- 2 Tbsp canola oil
- 4 (6oz) salmon fillets skin on or off
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 medium onion thinly sliced
- 1 red bell pepper seeds removed, diced
- 1 orange bell pepper seeds removed, diced
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 2 tsp ginger paste or 1-inch piece of ginger root peeled and grated
- 2 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp sesame oil
- 1 (13.5oz) can coconut milk full-fat
- 3 Tbsp Thai red curry paste
- 1 Tbsp brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 (5oz) bag fresh baby spinach
- 2 limes 1 juiced and the other cut into wedges for serving
- Jasmine rice, fresh cilantro, fresh basil, thinly sliced scallions, chopped peanuts, and Thai red chile
- If you haven’t already, make some jasmine rice (or white rice) for serving.
- Season the salmon. Pat the salmon filets dry with a paper towel, then season on both sides with 1 tsp Kosher salt and ¼ tsp black pepper.
- Pan sear the salmon. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 Tbsp canola oil over medium-high heat. When very hot, add the salmon fillets and cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. Carefully flip, then cook additional 3-4 minutes more. Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Sauté the veggies. To the same pan, add thinly sliced onion, diced red bell peppers, and orange bell peppers, Cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add 4 cloves chopped garlic and 2 tsp ginger paste then cook 1 minute more. Deglaze the pan with 2 Tbsp soy sauce, 2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar, and 2 tsp sesame oil, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any brown bits.
- Make the coconut curry sauce. Add 1 can of coconut milk, 3 Tbsp Thai red curry paste, 1 Tbsp brown sugar, and 2 Tbsp fish sauce. Use a spatula to help break up the curry paste. Add 1 (5oz) bag of fresh baby spinach and the juice of 1 lime, then stir well until the spinach has wilted. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more lime juice, soy sauce, or salt, as needed.
- Assemble, then serve. Either return the salmon to the pan with the curry sauce or plate the salmon over white rice and spoon the curry sauce on top. Either way, garnish with lime wedges, fresh cilantro, fresh basil, sliced scallions, chopped peanuts, and Thai red chile (if using).
- Other optional vegetable add-in’s: baby bok choy, baby corn, sautéed mushrooms, water chestnuts.
- Make-ahead: While best on the first day for crispy salmon skin, this can be enjoyed for a few days after making. Store leftovers in an airtight container in a fridge and use within 3 days. Remember, seafood has a shorter shelf life than other proteins.
- While the sauce can easily be frozen for up to 3 months, we prefer the texture of the salmon fresh. Be sure to thaw overnight in a fridge before reheating on a stovetop or in a microwave.
- If using frozen salmon, thaw overnight in a refrigerator, then pat dry with paper towels to absorb excess moisture before cooking.
Photography by Jo Harding.