Thai Red Curry Paste

Delicious beyond your typical curry recipes…

Yes, it’s easy to simply pick up a bottle of Thai red curry paste from your supermarket, but of course everything tastes better homemade. This DIY paste packs plenty of flavor and – once you have the ingredients – it’s simple to pull together. Use it as a base for curries and as a way to bring some oomph to stews. But don’t overlook some lesser known options. Thai red curry paste makes a good marinade base for steaks and mixed with vinaigrette, it’s a deliciously exotic salad dressing.

The spiciness of this chili paste all comes down to the hot peppers used. You can opt for Thai chilies that provide an extra hot kick. Or choose a dried red chili further down the pepper scale for less heat. Chile de arbol, for instance, isn’t a traditional curry paste pepper, but it works (and provides only a fourth of the heat of Thai peppers). The nuttiness of the pepper, too, adds a nice nuance to the paste’s overall flavor. Cayenne pepper works as well for a hot pepper that’s in-between the two.

Looking for the yellow variety? Check out our Thai yellow curry paste recipe here.

Thai Red Curry Paste

Thai Red Curry Paste

5 from 1 vote


  • 10 dried red chilies
  • 1- inch piece galangal diced (ginger can be used as a substitute)
  • 1 stalk lemongrass diced
  • 2 cloves garlic diced
  • 2 Kaffir lime leaves
  • 2 shallots diced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander


  • Rehydrate the chilies (see instruction link in notes below), then roughly chop them.
  • Place the chilies into a mortar and pestle and grind them into a rough paste (not to your final preferred consistency..
  • Add remaining ingredients to the chili paste and continue to grind the mix into a paste of your desired consistency.


Learn how to rehydrate your chilies here. 
If your paste is too thick, add water to thin the paste to your desired consistency. The red chilies used will determine the overall heat of this recipe.
Did you make this?Mention @PepperScale or tag #PepperScale so we can see what you made!

See more of our spicy recipes…

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on January 20, 2021 to include new content.
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