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Slow Cooker Chicken Pumpkin Curry

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 4 hrs
  • Calories: 560
bowl of pumpkin curry over rice with fresh cilantro and crushed cashews

Tired of your weeknight dinner regimen? Spice things up with our slow-cooker chicken curry! Rich with coconut milk, chicken breast, crisp veggies, and fresh pumpkin—dinner is ready, set, DONE.

The Great Pumpkin King

The poor pumpkin. Plucked from the patch and carved with great joy, only to be left on the porch a bit too long before its soggy remains finally get tossed in the compost. Despite this cruel treatment, pumpkins are really the king of all squash. Easy to grow, and even easier to cook and eat—we’re talking edible pumpkins here, not ornamental ones!—sugar pie pumpkins are the not-so-secret, sweetly savory ingredient in our easy chicken curry recipe.

bowl of slow cooker pumpkin chicken curry over rice

Say Hello to the Chicken Curry of Your (Thai-Takeout) Dreams

True story: Thai curry from our favorite restaurant is pretty much our greatest delivery expense. Well, it WAS—until we developed this Thai coconut chicken curry. It’s a simple recipe with big flavor that warms and comforts from the inside out. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cubed pumpkin
  • Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Jarred red curry paste. We put this stuff in EVERYTHING and we have no regrets.
  • Coconut milk—full fat is our fave, but light coconut milk is OK in a pinch. The curry won’t be nearly as creamy as it would be with full-fat—consider yourself warned!
  • Fresh veggies give this easy Crock-Pot curry a nice textural crunch.
pumpkin curry with bell peppers, chicken and spinach being stirred with a wood spoon in a crock pot

Speaking of Pumpkin—What Kind of Pumpkins Can You Eat?

While those jack-o-lantern-type pumpkins technically are edible, they’re nothing compared to the creamy sweetness of pie pumpkins, which are bred especially for eating. Look for smallish ones (about four pounds) under the names Autumn Gold, Naked Bear, or sometimes simply labeled ‘Pie Pumpkins’. You can wash, roast and steam them just as you would any other squash. Not only are they delicious, but they’re also packed with vitamins A, B6, C, and E, calcium, magnesium, and loads of fiber. Our favorite use for this mighty little squash? Obviously this creamy, Thai-ish chicken pumpkin curry.

ingredients for slow cooker pumpkin curry in small bowls
crock pot with coconut milk and red curry
raw chicken breasts and cubed pumpkin stirred with red curry and coconut milk in a slow cooker
pumpkin curry in a slow cooker with whole cooked chicken breasts
crock pot of pumpkin red curry being blended with an immersion blender
pumpkin curry with shredded chicken and raw red bell peppers in a slow cooker
chicken pumpkin curry topped with fresh spinach in slow cooker
slow cooker pumpkin curry in a crock pot with shredded chicken, bell peppers and fresh baby spinach

How to Make Our Chicken Curry Recipe:

Homemade curry is easier than you think—especially when you break out that slow-cooker!

  • Prep pumpkin: scoop out seeds (and save to salt and roast!), then cube with a super-sharp knife. You can leave the peel on!
  • Add all ingredients to slow-cooker (really, it’s just that simple) and cook on high.
  • After blending the pumpkin into the curry add the shredded chicken back to pot and stir in the fresh veggies for the last few minutes of cooking to help them stay nice and crisp.
  • Serve the pumpkin curry in over-sized bowls. Because you’re going to want seconds, and that way you don’t have to get up.
slow cook pumpkin chicken curry in a bowl over white rice and topped with fresh cilantro and toasted cashews

Tools You’ll Need for This Pumpkin Chicken Curry:

Fluff up some rice and grab a fork. Our chicken curry with coconut milk is a cinch to pull together. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Crock-Pot. Really, we don’t even know why we bother to put it away this time of year.
  • Rice paddle. Sure, you could use a wooden spoon, but how pretty—and multi-purpose—are these?
  • Easy citrus juicer. We literally use this thing every day.
slow cooker pumpkin chicken curry in a bowl over white rice topped with cilantro and cashews

Ready to Break Up With Take for Good?

Or maybe just for tonight? Check out these other takeout-inspired dishes we love:

Crock-Pot Curry Chicken Has Never Been Better

Our slow-cooker chicken curry among your favorite easy chicken curry recipes? Crack open your crockpot and show us your curry—tag us @themodernproper and #themodernproper.

Slow Cooker Chicken Pumpkin Curry

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 4 hrs
  • Calories: 560

Ingredients

  • 1 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp Soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 tbsp Brown sugar
  • 4 cups Sugar pie pumpkin or butternut squash (3/4 inch cubed) (1.5-2 lb pumpkin)
  • 1 1/2 lbs Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 Red bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 Heaping cups baby spinach, fresh
  • 1 Lime, juiced
  • Steamed rice
  • Lime wedges
  • Cilantro
  • Cashews, toasted

Method

Slow Cooker

  1. In the bowl of your slow cooker, stir the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar.
  2. Add the pumpkin and chicken and nestle it until it's submerged in the liquid.
  3. Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  4. Switch the slow cooker to high mode if it’s not already, and transfer the chicken to a bowl. Season the liquid with salt and using a fork or a hand blender (for smoother texture) mix the pumpkin curry together.
  5. Using two forks, shred the chicken (it will shred very easily) and return it to the cooker along with the bell peppers. Cover and cook the curry for 30 more minutes.
  6. Add spinach and the juice of 1 lime to the pot and stir until spinach begins to wilt. Serve over steamed rice with extra lime, cilantro and cashews.

Instant Pot

  1. In the bowl of your instant pot, stir the coconut milk, curry paste, fish sauce, soy sauce and sugar.
  2. Add the pumpkin and chicken and nestle it until it's submerged in the liquid.
  3. Seal instant pot lid and set the Instant Pot to Manual/High Pressure for 10 minutes. Once finished allow the valve to manually release for 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer the chicken to a bow. Using two forks shred the chicken.
  5. Return it to the cooker along with the salt and bell peppers. Stir until the pumpkin is smooth.
  6. Set on saute mode and cook for another 5-7 stirring often, until bell peppers are tender.
  7. Add spinach and the juice of 1 lime to the pot and stir until spinach begins to wilt. Serve over steamed rice with extra lime, cilantro and cashews.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 560
  • Protein 36 g
  • Carbohydrates 55 g
  • Total Fat 22 g
  • Dietary Fiber 15 g
  • Cholesterol 101 mg
  • sodium 1531 mg
  • Added Sugars 4 g

Slow Cooker Chicken Pumpkin Curry

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

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  • Bekah

    My family loves this meal! I’m wondering, could we make it vegetarian for a meat-free day? Any suggestions?

    Yes! Personally I would either add more veggies and just cook in the crockpot until they are tender...or I would cook the pumpkin and curry in the slow cooker and add some roasted veggies or fried tofu to it! Enjoy!

  • Carolyn

    There isn’t enough liquid to submerge everything like I normally see in my slow cooker recipes. If I were to add liquid should I add chicken broth, coconut milk and red curry paste or water? Or just leave it and trust that it will sink down into the liquid already there?

    Just leave it. Crock pots produce a lot of liquid. If you made it already, I hope you loved it!

  • Jill M Schwartz

    How do you adapt for a traditional pot, no slow cooker here

    We are working on adapting all of our recipes to Crock pot and instant pot. Be on the look out. : )

  • Lisa Ritchie

    You mention that you don’t have to peel the pumpkin. Will it all soften enough or do you remove the outer layers after cooking?

    It will soften enough!

  • Frances

    I had cooked down some pumpkin and frozen it, could I just use that in this recipe as it gets "mashed" at the end or would it be too thin? And If I use it about how much do you guess.

    I would add it at the end when the chicken is shredded. I would use the same amount the recipe calls for.

  • jo

    This looked so beautiful I had to try it. My family and I were really pleased with it - a great recipe that I'll make again. I used frozen butternut squash and had to do a quick defrost therefore a lot of moisture wringing... nonetheless it turned out great. I also added some matchstick carrots. Delish, thank you!

    Glad you enjoyed it, Jo! We love this one too!

  • Frances

    We liked this a lot, even with my "light" swaps of lite unsweetened coconut milk, used homemade cooked pumpkin, and added lots of veggies, zucchini, carrot, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, thai basil and cilantro and used the suggestion of lime and roasted cashews. It was wonderful. I had left over poached chicken breast -just 5 ounces worth and added that in at the end. Just right for a couple meals for two. I cooked the sauce in a pan on the stove, and the veggies in a skillet till got a bit softer, then put it all together and let it simmer awhile. I didn't start early enough to go for the slow cooker, but this worked as well.

    Glad you enjoyed it, Frances! Way to improvise and give it a go on the stove top!

  • Leslie Benson

    I frequently make this recipe and double the sauce portion with a single portion of meat - it works really well to stretch the dish out and make it more saucy! Tonight I didn't have enough squash so added in sweet potato to make up the difference and it was delicious as ever : ) Normally when I double the recipe I only use about 1.5 times the sugar and curry paste and slightly less than double the fish sauce and tamari.

    Great review! Love this. Thanks for sharing how you make it your own!

  • jessicakmw

    This will forever be my favourite recipe. I've made it three times in the last two weeks to share with people and make it monthly because it's just so nice to come home to after a long day at work.

    Thank you for this comment! I am so happy you love the recipe! You made my day!