Instant Pot Pumpkin Chicken Curry is the ultimate fall comfort meal, made in one pot. With only 30 minutes of cooking time, this flavorful and rich meal is a must-make any night of the week. You can also make it in the slow cooker. Served with naan over a bed of rice and topped with fresh herbs! Serves 4.
about this instant pot pumpkin chicken curry
I think I can safely say this is my new favorite comfort food for fall.
It’s hearty, it’s warming, it’s layered with flavor, it’s rich, and it’s SO EASY to throw together any night of the week.
If you’ve been around here for a bit, you know that I have an obsession with bold flavors and making everyday moments a little more special (life’s worth celebrating every day, isn’t it?). This has been on my mind a lot lately as our toddler grows and becomes more active at dinnertime.
I think back to the moments that stick out from my childhood and they are usually all centered around a meal or some sort of food. I’ve been trying to process the emotions of moving away from our home where so much has happened, and it reminds me that even a weeknight dinner deserves a little something extra sometimes.
This curry is the extra boldness you need, without any hassle. Everything comes together in the instant pot to be served with white rice or naan (or both if you are a carb-freak like me). You can bust this recipe out on a busy weeknight, but it also doubles as a flavorful meal to wow a group of friends for a weekend dinner.
It’s the kind of recipe that brings everyone to the table because of the smell that fills the house. Then keeps everyone there and eating because you just can’t wait to taste the next bite.
Truth is, until the plates are cleared you probably won’t do a lot of talking 😉
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chicken broth – I prefer to use a low-sodium chicken broth so I can control the salt.
coconut milk – full-fat coconut milk is best to use here! It adds to the richness of the dish.
red curry paste – I grab this from my local Asian market because it’s way less expensive than the ones in the major supermarket chains.
fish sauce – same note as above for the curry paste! Asian markets are much more affordable and I find the products they source have a lot more flavor too.
soy sauce – you can also use tamari if you prefer in this recipe.
brown sugar – I recommend using light brown sugar instead of dark for this recipe.
ginger – freshly grated ginger is best! If you don’t have fresh ginger handy, you can also use ginger powder (approximately 1 tsp).
garlic – garlic is a must always, so I have a jar of minced garlic at all times. No smelly hands, no peeling garlic. The best shortcut to pay for, in my opinion.
seasoning – pick your favorite curry powder! I like to alternate between brands, so I don’t have a specific one to recommend. The only other seasoning you’ll need is salt!
pumpkin puree – use 100% pumpkin puree. Do not use pumpkin pie filling in a can for this recipe. You can also use homemade if you prefer!
chicken – I used two large chicken breasts for this recipe, but you can also use the equivalent weight in chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) or a combination of the two!
bell peppers – I like to use one red and one green bell pepper for this recipe, but any two colors (or even two of the same color) will work.
lime – make sure to use fresh lime juice!
this recipe’s must haves
Finally, you’ll need a wooden spoon to stir everything together!
Pro Tip! Don’t skip the lime juice at the end. The hit of acid helps cut the richness and balance out all the bold flavors in the dish!
here’s how to make instant pot pumpkin chicken curry
add to instant pot
Add chicken broth, coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar, ginger, garlic, curry powder, salt, and pumpkin puree to the Instant Pot insert. Whisk to combine.
Nestle chicken breasts into the sauce.
Seal and cook for 15 minutes on High pressure.
Let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes before manually releasing the remaining pressure.
Set Instant Pot to sauté and cook, stirring often, until the peppers are softened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in lime juice to finish.
Serve over cooked white rice with lime wedges and chopped fresh cilantro leaves.
tips for success
use 100% pumpkin puree. Use 100% pumpkin and not pumpkin pie filling, which is sweetened and flavored with spices. You can also make your own homemade pumpkin puree!
allow it to naturally release. Don’t release the pressure manually as soon as the timer goes off! Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes to make sure the chicken stays juicy in there.
make it hot. Want it to be spicy? Grab your cayenne pepper and add in about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp depending on how hot you like your curry.
can I make this vegetarian?
Yes you can! All you have to do is swap the chicken for two cans of chickpeas (drained). Everything else stays the same in terms of cooking (except you don’t need to worry about chopping the chickpeas, obviously haha). The chicken broth can be swapped for vegetable broth.
do I have to use full-fat coconut milk?
Ideally, yes. The full-fat coconut milk is what adds to the richness of the dish!
how do I adjust the thickness?
Some like their curry thicker, and others like it thinner. Your key to the perfect consistency? Chicken broth. Add more to thin out the curry if you feel that it’s too thick.
can I make this in the slow cooker?
Of course! I include instructions in the recipe card below for how to make this in the slow cooker. It takes about 4 hours 30 min on High or 8 hours 30 min on low, just to give you an idea for timing.
Need some more inspiration for your Instant Pot? Check out my Instant Pot recipes page!
what to serve with instant pot pumpkin chicken curry
This curry is served best with fluffy white rice (or brown rice if you prefer!) and naan. I also like to have a bowl of lime wedges and chopped cilantro handy for toppings!
If you need another side dish, I love a bowl of crispy brussels sprouts or a light and fresh salad.
how to store
Cool the dish and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in a saucepan over medium heat or in the microwave.
If you are making your own homemade pumpkin puree, make sure you are using a pie or sweet pumpkin. They are small and round! Make sure the stem is well-attached, brown, and dry (this is what means it’s ready to be harvested).
Finally, if you make this pumpkin chicken curry, please be sure to give this recipe a rating or leave a comment! I love to hear when you all make recipes, and I do take the time to respond to every single comment. Feel free to drop questions below too, if you have them!
Oh and be sure to tag me on Instagram if you make the recipe! Love being able to see these recipes come to live in your homes – it’s my favorite thing to look through those photos. It really means the world to me!
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 (14oz) can full-fat coconut milk, shaken
- 3 Tbsp red curry paste
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1 Tbsp light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tsp curry powder (whatever heat level you prefer!)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 cups homemade pumpkin puree or 1 (14 oz) can pumpkin puree
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 Tbsp fresh lime juice (from 1 lime)
- Cooked rice
- Lime wedges
- Minced fresh cilantro
- Add chicken broth through pumpkin puree for the curry to the insert of the Instant Pot. Whisk the mixture together until smooth.
- Nestle chicken into the pot, submerging the pieces as much as possible.
- Seal and cook on manual high pressure for 15 minutes. Let pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Remove chicken from the Instant Pot to a cutting board. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces. You can also shred it if you prefer.
- Return chicken to the pot with bell peppers. Set Instant Pot to Saute and cook, stirring often, until peppers have softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in lime juice.
- Serve warm over rice with naan, freshly chopped cilantro, and lime wedges.
Slow Cooker Instructions: Add chicken broth through pumpkin puree to a slow cooker insert. Whisk to combine. Add chicken and nestle into the sauce until covered.
Cover and cook for 4 hours on Low or 8 hours on High. Remove chicken to a cutting board and chop or shred. Return chicken to the slow cooker with bell peppers. Cover and cook until the bell peppers soften, about 30 minutes on High.
Stir in lime juice and serve as directed above.
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