Red, Green, and Yellow Curry—What's the Difference?

So, you’re at your favorite Thai restaurant. You’re so excited to fill your belly full of spicy goodness, but then you realize, there’s three kinds of curry on the menu—red, green, and yellow. You scramble to figure out which you should choose before the waitress comes to take your order. You panic and shout out the first color that comes to your mind. Sound familiar?

All curries are delicious, but what’s really the difference? We’re here to help you better understand what you’re ordering so you can confidently eat your favorite dish in peace.

Red Curry

Red Curry Meal Kit

All curries are made with the same ingredients except for one thing: the chilies. Red curry is traditionally made by adding over 20 red chilies to create a vibrant, fiery hot dish. In most modern restaurants and Thai meals today, many chefs prefer to use chili powder to create this famous dish. Chili powder enhances the deep red color of the dish, as well as giving it a richer flavor.

The chefs at Good Housekeeping have brought a red curry recipe into our kitchen that is not only delicious but also easy to prepare. Try their Red Curry Shrimp and Noodles tonight! Crispy green beans, shallots, and basil lay atop a bed of fluffy noodles and are drenched in flaming red curry paste to create a truly mouth-watering dish. Pair it with a light Riesling or your favorite lager and serve yourself a gourmet version of your favorite Thai takeout dish at home.

Yellow Curry

Yellow Curry Meal Kit

Yellow curry isn’t as bold as red curry. It’s typically made with a mixture of coriander, cumin, lemongrass, shrimp paste, dried red chilies, sea salt, ginger, garlic, and shallots. This mixture is pounded together with a sweet and spicy paste blend with a turmeric and curry powder base.

This creates a mild, yet flavorful curry that is a great addition to heaps of fresh veggies, rice, or noodles. We’ve partnered with P.F. Changs to bring you a drool-worthy yellow curry dish. Their Vegetable Tofu Coconut Curry is made with a healthy portion of broccoli, green beans, red bell peppers, garlic, and chunks of super firm tofu. The coconut-infused curry paste smothers this mixture to create a hearty, warm, and spicy dish that’s perfect for a chilly winter night.

Green Curry

Green Curry Meal Kit

Green curry is unlike the other two and is considered to be one of the most popular curries in Thailand.

It’s typically served with beef or chicken with fish dumplings and creates a lovely green hue that is synonymous with Thai culture.

Green curry paste is made from a blend of fresh green chilies and herbs. They’re pounded and mixed with shallots, lemongrass, white pepper, coriander root, garlic, kaffir, lime rind, shrimp paste, and sea salt. The color is mainly created from sweet basil leaves, round green eggplant, kaffir, and lime rinds.

The Coconut Curry with Black Forbidden Rice is the perfect way to dip your toe into Thai culture. This colorful curry and vegetable medley are full of vibrant flavor. Juicy beef, hearty chickpeas, fresh green onion, and hot Serrano chiles are accompanied by a creamy green curry sauce that will wake up and satisfy your taste buds.