Wondering what you make with leftover chicken? This Easy Leftover Chicken Curry is the ideal dish. All you need to add is veggies and some simple ingredients most of us have in our kitchens at home. Ready in only 30 minutes, this creamy curry is also gluten free and dairy free.
If you're a regular around here you'll know we all love simplified Indian food in my house. This is so easy to make - it's one of those chicken curry recipes you will come back to again and again.
It's basically an old fashioned British-style curry made with chicken leftovers and with coconut milk added. The whole family will adore this favorite recipe any night of the week.
As this curry uses coconut milk, it is dairy free. If you use a gluten free chicken stock it's ideal for anyone following a gluten free diet too.
Why You'll Love This Quick Chicken Curry
- This entire meal can be prepared, cooked and on the table in 30 minutes.
- Everything is made in one pan, which retains all the flavor and also reduces the dishes.
- I hate to see anything going to waste and this is a great dish for making the most of leftover meat.
- This simple curry is much healthier than a lot of curries you will find in your local restaurant - there's no excess oil or salt in this sauce.
- Try some of these other great tasting curry recipes:
Leftover Chicken Curry Ingredients
Find the full list and quantities in the recipe below.
Chicken- Any leftover chicken will work. I like to make this easy chicken curry with leftover roast chicken from the weekend. If you don't have leftovers, another easy option would be to buy a ready-cooked rotisserie chicken from your local store.
If you decide to use raw chicken, you will have to factor in the cooking time within the recipe, see instructions for this later in the post. I'd go for boneless and skinless chicken thighs as they are full of flavor.
Spices- I use a medium strength curry powder, along with turmeric and chili powder for extra heat. You can adapt any of these spices to make the curry as mild or as spicy as you wish. For example if you are making this curry for younger children, use a mild curry powder and leave the chili out altogether.
Stock - I have used chicken stock in this curry sauce, but vegetable stock would be a good substitute. For gluten free diners, use a gluten free stock
Coconut Milk - You can use full fat or reduced fat coconut milk. I prefer full fat as it results in a creamier curry sauce, I find reduced fat coconut milk can be too thin. You could also swap in coconut cream for added richness.
How to Make my Leftover Chicken Curry recipe - Step-By-Step
Find the full printable recipe card below.
To Make With Leftover Chicken
Heat oil or butter in a heavy based pan over a low heat and sauté the diced onion for around 5 minutes - until it is starting to soften.
Add sliced bell peppers and continue to sauté for a further 5 minutes then add the minced garlic and ginger, stir and cook for a further minute.
Add curry powder, tomato paste, turmeric, chili powder (optional), honey, canned tomatoes and ½ cup stock to the pan.
You can add more stock later if needed, depending on the thickness of the sauce.
Add the cooked shredded chicken, season and stir gently then simmer on a low heat for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will allow the flavors come together.
Stir in the coconut milk and add more chicken stock if needed to get the desired consistency.
Serve with rice, naan, chutney, fresh chopped cilantro and sliced jalapenos.
To Make Using Fresh Uncooked Chicken
Follow the same instructions as above but add cubed chicken thigh to the onions and oil/butter after 5 minutes along with the sliced bell peppers.
Continue with the recipe as normal with the exception of not adding in cooked chicken!
Frequently Asked Questions
Does it matter what kind of leftover chicken I have to use in this curry?
I shred up whatever chicken is leftover when making this curry. Leg meat, breast or wing meat, it all goes into this curry.
Can I used rotisserie chicken to make curry?
Yes, absolutely. A rotisserie chicken is a great quick and easy alternative.
Can I use raw chicken in this curry recipe?
Yes you can, and I've included instructions on how to do this later in the post and within the recipe card itself.
Variations & Substitutions for this easy recipe
- You can substitute the coconut milk with coconut cream or heavy cream.
- Turn this into a hot curry by adding more fresh chili or dried red pepper flakes to the curry sauce.
- You could also use garam masala or a curry paste if you prefer.
- You can use any chicken you like. Leftover roast chicken, leftover rotisserie chicken or see additional instructions on how to use fresh raw chicken too.
- Leftover turkey also makes a good curry so be sure to save this recipe for the holiday season!
- Green beans and sweet potatoes are both great in this dish. Or wilt through some greens by adding fresh spinach, kale or chard to the sauce just before serving.
- If you want to make this vegetarian or vegan, replace the chicken with beans or chickpeas and use a mixture of your favorite veggies.
Tips & Tricks For Making Leftover Indian-Style Chicken Curry
- Curry freezes well, so this makes a great prep ahead dish. Enjoy some now and freeze the rest for another day.
- Remember curry often tastes better the day after you make it since the flavors have time to come together.
- When pushed for time a great way to get ahead is to use ready chopped onion, ginger and garlic, you can get fresh or frozen in most stores.
- I like to finish my curries with a sprinkle of fresh herbs and some fresh sliced chili, it also helps to refresh reheated or frozen curries too.
How To Serve Leftover Chicken Curry
I like to serve curry with brown rice, but steamed basmati rice would work too. Or how about trying my Coconut Rice with Lime? Naan breads are ideal for mopping up the curry sauce.
If serving this curry to younger children, I like to serve a separate bowl of freshly sliced chilies, this allows anyone who likes their curries a little hotter to add some fresh chili heat.
For a lighter, low carb option, serve your curry with cauliflower rice or even just a side of greens.
How To Reheat Leftover Chicken Curry?
Leftover curry can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. When ready to enjoy, place the curry into a pot and warm up gently until piping hot. If necessary, add a splash of water to loosen the sauce.
Curry reheats well and if anything tastes even better the next day as the flavors have a change to intensify.
How to Freeze Leftover Chicken Curry?
This curry freezes really well. Once cooked, allow the curry to cool completely before placing in an airtight container with a tight fitting lid.
Store the curry in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, defrost thoroughly before heating gently until hot all the way through.
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What Do You Think?!
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More Easy 30 Minute and Under Recipe Ideas
Easy Leftover Chicken Curry
- 3 cups Cooked Chicken - roughly shredded or chopped
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil - or Butter
- 1 large Onion - diced
- 2 Bell Peppers - deseeded and sliced
- 3 cloves Garlic - minced
- 2 inch Fresh Ginger - grated
- 2 tbsp Curry Powder
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 2 tsp Chilli Powder - optional
- 2 tbsp Tomato Purée
- 1 tsp Honey
- 14 oz Canned Diced Tomatoes - including the juice
- ½ cup Chicken Stock
- 1 cup Coconut Milk
- Sea Salt and Black Pepper
Optional to Garnish
- Jalapeno Peppers
- Fresh Cilantro (Coriander)
Alternate to use Fresh Chicken
- 1.2 lb Chicken Thighs - cut into bite size pieces, in place of the cooked chicken
- Heat the oil (or butter) in a heavy based pan over a low heat and sauté the diced onion until starting to soften - around 5 minutes.
- Add the sliced bell peppers and continue to sauté for a further 5 minutes
- Add the minced garlic and ginger and stir, cooking for one further minute.
- Add the curry powder, tomato paste, turmeric, chili powder (if using), honey, canned tomatoes and ½ cup stock to the pan. You can add more stock later if needed, depending on the thickness of the sauce.)
- Add the cooked chicken, season and stir gently.
- Simmer on a low heat for around 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let the flavors come together.
- Gently stir in the coconut milk and add more chicken stock if needed to get the desired consistency.
- Serve with rice, naan, chutney, fresh chopped cilantro and sliced jalapenos.
To Cook Using Fresh Uncooked Chicken
- Follow the above instructions but add cubed chicken thigh to the onions and oil/butter after 5 minutes along with the sliced bell peppers.
- Continue with the recipe as normal with the exception of not adding in cooked chicken!
This post was shared with the #cookblogshare community, which this week was kindly hosted by Helen at Family-Friends-Food.com