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Slow Cooker Swimming Rama

This slow-cooker swimming rama recipe is simple and flavor-packed. It may just have you saying “so long” delivery and “hello” to homemade Thai food once for all.


Slow Cooker Swimming Rama over spinach and peanuts on a plate with white rice and chop sticks

A New Favorite Slow-Cooker Meal: Thai Swimming Rama

We love our slow-cooker for about a million reasons, but the fact that we can make one of our very favorite Thai meals in it now brings a whole new wonder to that “set it and forget it” Crock-Pot lifestyle. While we’ve basically never met a Thai dish that we didn’t love—somewhere along the line, swimming rama became our go-to takeout order. And, as you might have noticed, we love to try our hand at recreating our restaurant favorites at home, to save time and money, too. Using a slow-cooker means that this swimming rama recipe is ready with just a tiny bit more effort than it takes to place a takeout order.

fresh spinach on the counter
sliced raw Chicken coconut milk, red curry, thai basil and peanut butter in a crock pot

What Is Swimming Rama?

If you love Thai satay sauce, you’re sure to love swimming rama, which has a somewhat similar flavor profile—a little bit of a play between salty and sweet, a bit creamy, and a little nutty, the dish is a powerhouse of flavor and texture. As to the origin of the dish, we’re grateful to our fellow food blogger Pailin Chongchitnant of “Hot Thai Kitchen” for filling in the gaps there! We always assumed that the “rama” of “swimming rama” referred to the Hindu god Rama, and it sounds like we were on the right track. Chongchitnant explains that in Thailand, Rama is depicted as having green skin and so the greens that are always served with this dish—we use spinach, either raw or cooked—are why it’s called “rama”. In Thailand, this dish has fallen out of favor, but in U.S. Thai restaurants it’s still quite popular. We certainly love it, and we think you will, too!

Slow Cooker Swimming Rama with spinach in a crock pot

Ingredients You’ll Need To Make Swimming Rama

In Thailand, this is most often made with pork, but in the U.S. you'll often find it made with chicken. Since our first introduction to it was a version made with chicken, that's what we're doing but if you're a pork lover, feel free to mix it up! Here’s everything you’ll need to make swimming rama at home.

  • Chicken breasts
  • Peanut butter
  • Coconut cream
  • Red curry paste
  • Soy sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Fish sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Spinach
  • Rice
  • Basil
  • Peanuts
  • Chili flakes
Slow Cooker Swimming Rama on a plate with rice, crushed peanuts served with spinach and chop sticks

How To Make Swimming Rama in a Slow-Cooker

After three hours of cooking, be sure to check the chicken for doneness. Because the chicken breast is cut into small pieces, four hours might be too long.

  1. Make the creamy, red curry-peanut sauce: whisk the peanut butter, coconut cream, red curry paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce and apple cider vinegar.
  2. Pour the swimming rama sauce into a slow-cooker along with the chicken breast.
  3. Cook on low until it’s done!
  4. Add the spinach. You can either stir it directly into the chicken and sauce until it’s wilted, or you can simply serve the cooked chicken over a bed or raw spinach. Up to you!
  5. Sprinkle with fresh basil, crushed peanuts and chili flakes if using and serve simply with cooked white rice.
Slow Cooker Swimming Rama on a plate with rice, crushed peanuts served with spinach

Tools You’ll Need:

More Thai Recipes To Try At Home

Slow Cooker Swimming Rama on two plates with rice, crushed peanuts served with spinach

Can You Recycle Those Takeout Menus Now?

Just kidding! We’d never get rid of our beloved takeout menus. But it is fun to make our faves at home sometimes, right? Try this swimming rama recipe, and let us know how you like it, OK? Share a photo and tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper so that we can see your stuff! Happy eating!

Slow Cooker Swimming Rama

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  3 hrs
  • Calories: 501


  • 2 lbs chicken breasts, cubed
  • ¾ cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 (14 oz) can coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp red curry paste
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 6 cups spinach
  • 6 cups cooked rice
  • basil, fresh, optional
  • peanuts, crushed, optional
  • chili flakes or peppers, optional


  1. Whisk the peanut butter, coconut cream, red curry paste, soy sauce, brown sugar, fish sauce and apple cider vinegar in a small bowl, until combined. Pour the mixture into the base of a slow cooker along with the chicken breast.
  2. Cook on low for 3-4 hours or until chicken is cooked through (cubed chicken cooks relatively quickly in a slow cooker and the 4 hour setting may be to long).
  3. If desired, 15 minutes before serving, add the spinach to the slow cooker. Wait until spinach has wilted and serve over cooked jasmine rice. Another alternative is to serve over raw spinach for a less wilted version.
  4. Sprinkle with fresh basil, crushed peanuts and chili flakes if using.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories501
  • Protein35 g
  • Carbohydrates39 g
  • Total Fat24 g
  • Dietary Fiber4 g
  • Cholesterol75 mg
  • sodium652 mg
  • Total Sugars7 g

Slow Cooker Swimming Rama

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Carlos E Delgadillo

    Would you consider using bok choi in place of spinach?

    We haven't tried it but you could give it a try!

  • Maggie

    Love your blog, recipes and just gave your cookbook to my best friend!

    Do you think this would freeze well?

    Thanks so much Maggie! We haven't tried freezing it but it should be ok.

  • Farah Y Haroon

    Is it possible to make this recipe vegetarian or pescatarian? I was thinking either tofu, chickpeas, and/or shrimp?

    I would make the sauce in a sauce pan. Then cook shrimp or tofu in a skillet. Add it together and add the spinach etc. I wouldn't put any of the proteins you mentioned in the slow cooker.

  • Susanne Johnson

    Hi, I want to make this for a crowd of 15 for a crock pot pot-luck. Best way to do that?

    I would just double the recipe. I've never tested it that way, but I don't see why it wouldn't work. Or borrow a crock pot from a friend and make two batches.

  • Jane Morris

    this sounds so very good! I've never tried coconut cream....can I sub coconut milk or is there a big difference? (I live in Vancouver WA favorite Thai restaurants here are Thai Orchid and Nom Nom downtown!)

    Hi Jane! Yay for Vancouver! You can totally use coconut milk. The coconut cream version comes in a can right next to the canned milk at the store! It is just a thicker "creamier" version! Enjoy!

  • Josh

    Just finished making this about 30 min ago and it's got my family's approval! Kids keep asking for more. I will certainly be making this again!

    For those curious, I recommend using the optional crushed peanuts. It adds that extra texture and bit of peanut flavor.

    Thanks Josh, so glad the whole family loved it!

  • Susanne Johnson

    WOW! I made this as part of a crock pot pot-luck for a crowd of 15, and everyone went nuts for it! I doubled the recipe, and only put a little spinach in to wilt, then put the rest of the fresh spinach on the side with rice, peanuts, hot peppers and basil for people to add. It was so delicious, and wonderful as leftovers. So easy, so good. Everyone wanted the recipe

    YAY! Thank you so much Susanne! This is so great to hear, we are so happy everyone loved it!

  • Paul Taper

    Excellent. Very good flavor.

    Thank you!! So happy you enjoyed it!

  • Faith Hall

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!! I tried around six swimming rama recipes I found online always close but not quite right to match the local restaurant we like to frequent, and this one was the winner! It is very very close. We don't do spinach and instead add steamed carrots, broccoli and celery or Bok Choy at the end with a little bit of the veggie water to thin it just slightly and man is it delicious! We serve it over rice and skip the spinach because our kids won't eat it. It is SERIOUSLY tasty :) I have shared your link with a few friends as well who are now placing it into their regular rotation. Thanks so much for taking the time to share <3

    Thanks for letting us know! This is a great review. Now I need to add it back in to MY week rotation! : )

  • Katlyn

    This is seriously so good! A whole family fav <3

    Yes! That's what we love to hear!