Easy Thai Yellow Curry Paste

All the curry lovers, please stand up! Truth: I shoved a jar of yellow curry paste in your face today and you didn’t even close the browser window on me. YOU ROCK.

Homemade yellow curry paste in a jar with a spoon.

Today’s recipe (**dat yellow curry paste!**) is a lot of things.

  • Exciting. I love curry and I know you love curry, and as curry lovers, how exciting is it to think about us making delicious Thai yellow curry paste truly from scratch? It’s exciting.
  • Delicious. Seriously, a good yellow curry is a gift from heaven. Which is why we need to start with the paste and then expand from there into a full yellow curry recipe. For example – I have this existing recipe for Thai Yellow Curry with Beef and Potatoes and I will be sharing another even easier recipe for Thai Yellow Chicken Curry tomorrow (update: find it here!). The bite of heat, the punch of color, the comforting, creamy texture of the coconut milk simmered to slow yellow curry perfection … wow. It’s almost just too much. ♡
  • Lowerish maintenance. I really worked hard to make this recipe accessible to the person who doesn’t like to go to more than one grocery store –> points to self <—. When I had my friends over for dinner club and we made that Thai Yellow Curry with Beef and Potatoes from scratch, I did the real official thing where I went and got a few ingredients from the Asian grocery store that is awesomely two miles from my house, and I’m really glad I did for that time. But that was a special occasion, okay? I don’t like to double up on grocery store visits if I can avoid it. So I re-made the curry paste (the version you’re seeing in this here recipe) using only ingredients that I could find at the grocery store I normally shop at. NO EXTRA TRIPS! If you do want to make the extra trip to the Asian grocery store, good on you! You’ll have a more traditional and wonderful curry paste (and you can use the curry paste recipe in this post which includes those harder-to-find ingredients). But for the rest of us – this is it! Large grocery store ingredient yellow curry paste.

In This Post: Everything You Need For Thai Yellow Curry Paste

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Homemade yellow curry with potatoes and rice in a bowl with a fork.

Ingredients For Yellow Curry Paste

If you have access to a local Asian grocery store, you can find a lot of these ingredients there. If you don’t have one near you, these ingredients can also be found at a larger grocery store chain. 

  • shallots and garlic
  • fresh ginger
  • dried Thai red chili peppers
  • curry powder, turmeric, and coriander
  • lemongrass paste
  • cilantro
Ginger, garlic, and shallots wrapped in foil on a sheet pan.

How To Make This Curry Paste

Once you have your ingredients, it’s a snap to bring this paste to the next level.

  1. Prep your aromatics (garlic, shallots, and ginger). Give them a quick oil drizzle treatment, wrap them in foil, and pop those friends in the oven to really bring out their true flavors.
  2. Soak the dried chilis to rehydrate them – 15ish minutes should do it.
  3. Once the aromatics are finished in the oven, blend everything up in a food processor or a high-powered blender to form a yellow paste to your desired consistency. Smooth paste or something a lil’ more chunky? Both work! Boom! How simple is that?
Ingredients for yellow curry paste in a food processor.
Homemade yellow curry paste blended up in a food processor.

Use Fresh Spices

We’re using mild curry powder, turmeric, and coriander in this yellow curry paste. To give your paste the best flavorful punch, we’d recommend using fresh spices. Check your spices to make sure they haven’t expired. Over time, spices lose some of their punch and won’t make the paste taste as intended. Typically ground spices, like what we’re using, will stay fresh and potent for about 2-3 years. If you can’t find any of the spices already ground, you can use a mortar and pestle to grind up whole spices into a powder.

Freeze Extra Batches Of Curry Paste

What’s going to happen here is that you’re going to spend 45 minutes making this yellow curry paste (30 of which involve waiting for the garlic and shallots to roast, so hiiiii phone games) and after you put in the time to make this yellow curry paste, you will be giving yourself the gift of 4+ batches of homemade curry ready to go at a moment’s notice because this stuff can FREEZE, baby. Awyeah. Homemade Thai yellow curry on demand is a very, very good thing. Hot tip! Freeze extra paste in an ice cube tray for pre-portioned paste amounts next round!

How To Serve This Curry Paste

Oh, let us count the ways you can use this yellow curry paste. ENDLESS, friends. Truly endless ways. Favorites include: 

Anyone Can Make This Curry Paste

And that’s that, my curry loving friends! Who even knew that this could be so do-able?

When I first made curry officially from scratch for that dinner club beef and potato yellow curry, I thought to myself: this is awesome and also I don’t think I will make it again because it takes so long. It was a three hour process (and more, including the time it took me to drive to the Asian grocery store and get the galangal and shrimp paste), and for me, that’s just not going to happen.

But you guys – my love for curry runs deep. And after making it completely from scratch and realizing HOW GOOD IT CAN REALLY BE, I couldn’t not at least try to make it again, and maybe make it a little easier.

And now? Look at us being all We Make My Own Yellow Curry Paste! I plan to make a batch of this easier, time-saver, extremely yummy curry paste once every few months to keep feeding my yellow curry habits. Lots of yummy curry paste-filled dishes ahead!

Yel-low-curry! Yel-low-curry! Yel-low-curry!

I don’t know, we might be sort of obsessed.

Homemade yellow curry paste in a jar with a spoon.

Thai Yellow Curry Paste: Frequently Asked Questions

How hot is this paste?

It’s really up to you how hot you want it to be.

**The number of peppers will either make your curry paste mild or hot.
5 chilis = very mild
10 chilis = medium
15 chilis = medium hot
20 chilis = HOT

Bjork and both really like spicy food, but the 20 chili version was hard for us to eat. 10 chili peppers (medium) was my preferred amount – yum! I highly recommend starting with just a few if you aren’t ready for the heat.

This seems like a lot of salt. Is that right?

You can use less salt (1 1/2 tablespoons seems like a lot, I know), but you will likely need to add it in later when you make it into a curry – just remember this is divided into at least 4 batches with 4-6 servings per batch, so that salt gets distributed out pretty well.

I don’t have enough of one of the spices. How flexible is this recipe?

The measurements for the spices can be played with a little bit, which is why the curry and turmeric are written as 2-3 tablespoons. I usually go for MORE spice, but if you don’t have enough of one thing, try adding a little more of something else to compensate. It’s definitely somewhat of a flexible recipe.

Source notes: This recipe uses easier-to-find ingredients in the case that you don’t have access to an Asian grocery store near you. Traditionally when making yellow curry paste from scratch, you’d blend all of your ingredients using a mortar and pestle to make a fine paste by hand. Some more traditional and authentic curry paste recipes add galangal or shrimp paste, two very delicious ingredients. To make a more authentic version like this, we’d suggest checking out Char from Wok & Skillet’s Yellow Curry Paste recipe.

Homemade Yellow Curry Paste in a food processor.

Easy Thai Yellow Curry Paste

  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups curry paste


This Easy Thai Yellow Curry Paste can be made with easy-to-find ingredients! Shallots, garlic, Thai chili peppers, ginger, lemongrass, and spices. So much flavor! 


  • 4 large shallots
  • 4 large heads of garlic (not individual cloves – FULL HEADS of garlic)
  • 6-inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 520 whole dried Thai chili peppers** (they’re very small and usually found in the spice section, see FAQs)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 23 tablespoons turmeric
  • 23 tablespoons mild curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons roasted ground coriander
  • 3 tablespoons lemongrass paste (I use Gourmet Garden which they sell at my regular grocery store)
  • 1/4 cup packed cilantro leaves and stems


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prep the aromatics: Peel the shallots – then drizzle with oil and wrap in foil. Peel the ginger and cut into thin slices. Arrange in a single layer, drizzle with oil, and wrap in foil. Pull the outer paper off the garlic. Cut the pointy tops off the heads of garlic so the cloves are partially exposed. Drizzle with oil, and wrap each head of garlic in foil.
  3. Bake the aromatics: Place all the foil packets on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the ginger (it should be soft), increase the temperature to 400, and roast the shallots and garlic for another 30 minutes until golden brown and very fragrant. When cooled, you can squeeze the garlic cloves out of the rest of the paper.
  4. Soak the chilis: While the aromatics are roasting, pour boiling water over the chili peppers to rehydrate them. Let them soak for 15 minutes. Drain the water.
  5. Make the paste: Put everything in a food processor or very strong blender. Pulse or puree until the yellow curry paste reaches your desired consistency. The recipe should make about 1 1/2 – 2 cups of curry paste, and I use about 1/3 cup or more in each of my yellow curry recipes, so usually I can get 4-5 batches of curry out of this yellow curry paste recipe. The paste keeps for about a week in the fridge and it freezes well!



This makes 4 batches of homemade curry. YUM! 

For a more traditional Thai yellow curry paste that features a few harder-to-find but true to actual curry ingredients, check out this recipe

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Thai-Inspired

Keywords: homemade thai curry paste, yellow curry paste, easy thai curry paste

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PS. I was on TV this week! More importantly: SAGE WAS ON TV THIS WEEK! I sort of forgot to tell you because I was too busy feeding my nervousness with too many ultra thick and soft chocolate chip cookies. But I survived! and I managed to talk about food photography hacks and show off the magic green sauce and inner goddess truffles without making anyone too uncomfortable. Win?

Lindsay Ostrom standing in a TV kitchen with a camera on the counter.

If you want to see more pictures of the day and/or the actual clip itself, join us in our private VIP Facebook group for the bestest of the best Pinch of Yum readers. You request to join, I’ll add you, and the fun times will rolllll.

More Thai-Inspired Recipes To Swoon Over

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