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Overhead view of a platter of Curry Chicken Legs on a marble surface next to a bowl of rice.

Coconut Curry Chicken Legs

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sabrina Russo
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Coconut Curry Chicken Legs is a creamy, comforting dish that you can put together with easy-to-find ingredients.


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 chicken legs (about 4lbs)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inches ginger, finely grated
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed & bashed
  • 2 tbsp mild yellow curry powder
  • ½ tsp Kashmiri chili powder, or a mild chili powder & a pinch of cayenne
  • 14 oz can coconut milk, preferably full fat
  • 1 ½ cups chicken broth, or as needed
  • Kosher salt & fresh cracked pepper

Toppings (optional):

  • Cilantro
  • Scallions, sliced or curled
  • Lime wedges


  1. Heat pan & season chicken: Heat a dutch oven or heavy bottomed nonstick pan with high sides over medium heat. Pat chicken dry, and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  2. Brown chicken: Add oil to pan, followed by chicken. Brown on all sides, flipping occasionally, for a total of approximately 12-16 minutes. Cook in batches, if needed, to avoid overcrowding the pan. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Cook onions: Add butter to pot. Stir in onions and season with salt. Cook approximately 10 minutes or until well-softened, reducing heat as needed.
  4. Cook aromatics: Add garlic, ginger and lemongrass. Stir in spices. Toast approximately 30 seconds, making sure to avoid burning.
  5. Add liquids & braise: Add chicken back to pan. Pour in coconut milk. Add enough broth to cover the chicken approximately ¾ or so of the way up the chicken. Partially cover and bring to a simmer. Simmer about 45-60 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and tender.
  6. Thicken sauce: Remove chicken from braising liquid. Cover and keep warm on a plate. Bring sauce to a gentle boil and reduce until thick and flavorful, about 10 minutes. Add chicken back to coat in sauce.
  7. Serve: Top chicken with cilantro and scallions, and squeeze over lime juice. Serve with rice or desired accompaniment. Enjoy.


  • Feel free to substitute with bone-in chicken thighs or breasts, adjusting the cook time accordingly. You can also use boneless, skinless chicken. In that case, I would simmer the sauce for about 30 minutes without the chicken in it to develop flavor. Then I would add the browned, boneless chicken and simmer until just cooked through.
  • If you can’t find fresh lemongrass, look for lemongrass paste in a tube in the Asian section of your grocery store. You can also omit this ingredient, if desired.
  • You can try any of your favorite curry blends. Go for something more mild or spicy depending on your personal preferences.
  • I like to use a spicy chili powder called kashmiri chili. Feel free to substitute for any chili powder you have. If you use a mild chili powder and prefer a spicier dish, add cayenne pepper, to taste.
  • I use full fat canned coconut milk, because it adds a lot of richness and creaminess. For a lower calorie dish, substitute with reduced fat canned coconut milk. I would not use coconut milk from a carton.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Braise
  • Cuisine: Asian


  • Serving Size: 2 chicken legs
  • Calories: 400
  • Sugar: 5g
  • Sodium: 590mg
  • Fat: 23g
  • Saturated Fat: 10g
  • Unsaturated Fat: 13g
  • Trans Fat: 0g
  • Carbohydrates: 10g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 37g
  • Cholesterol: 200mg