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Red curry meatballs fill a large cast iron skillet. The meatballs are been garnished with fresh basil and cilantro. A wooden serving spoon rests inside of the skillet.

Thai-Inspired Red Curry Meatballs

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.9 from 11 reviews
  • Author: Jess Larson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4
  • Category: Main Dishes
  • Method: Stovetop, Skillet Recipes
  • Cuisine: Thai-Inspired, American


While serving Thai-style curry with meatballs might not be exactly traditional (in my experience), something about it makes so much sense for home cooks – you can pack each bite with so much more flavor than your standard sliced shrimp or chicken!

That’s exactly what you’ll find in this recipe. The meatballs are studded with a generous amount of fresh aromatics like ginger, garlic, cilantro, & scallions. Once the meatballs are browned in a skillet, they gently simmer in a Thai-inspired coconut red curry sauce so they stay really tender.

In my experience, the secret to making a restaurant-worthy red curry sauce is all about choosing the right red curry paste. My preferred brand is Maesri (learn more about it in the Ingredient Spotlight, above, or the Recipe Notes, below), but TL;DR, it’s well worth a quick trip to your local Asian grocery store to find a curry paste that is extra fragrant, layered, & complex.

These red curry meatballs have been a PWWB reader favorite ever since we first shared the recipe in 2018 – it’s super quick & easy (a one-skillet dinner, ready in 35 minutes or less!), but it has incredible depth of flavor (enough to rival your favorite takeout!). I hope you love it as much as we do! ♡



for the meatball red curry:

  • ginger turkey meatballs, below
  • 23 tablespoons coconut oil, divided
  • 1 red onion, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, sliced ½-inch thick
  • 34 tablespoons red curry paste (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk or cream (see Recipe Notes)
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season
  • for serving, as desired: white rice or grain of choice, thinly sliced green onions, finely chopped cilantro, lime wedges, etc.

for the ginger turkey meatballs:

  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey (see Recipe Notes)
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season


  1. Form the ginger turkey meatballs: Add the turkey, panko breadcrumbs, cilantro, ginger, green onions and garlic to a medium bowl. Season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Use your hands to mix just until combined – take care to avoid over-mixing. Divide the curry meatball mixture into 12-15 equal portions, then gently roll each into a meatball slightly larger than the size of a golf ball, rolling just until smooth – take care to avoid pressing the meatballs together too compactly. For quickness & ease, I like using a spring-loaded scoop. The mixture yields 12-15 1 ½-inch meatballs.Twelve ground turkey or chicken curry meatballs are arranged atop a white ceramic baking dish. The baking dish sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  2. Brown the meatballs: Add 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the meatballs to the skillet. Working in batches as needed to avoid overcrowding the skillet, cook the meatballs 2 minutes per side, until deeply browned. Transfer to a plate & repeat with any remaining meatballs.Twelve browned ground turkey or chicken meatballs brown inside of a large gray Staub skillet. The skillet rests atop a creamy white textured surface.
  3. Cook the aromatics: Once the meatballs have browned, soften the onions & peppers. If needed, add in an extra splash of coconut oil to the skillet. Add the onion & bell peppers, seasoning with ½ teaspoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired. Stir to combine. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the peppers & onions begin to soften slightly, 4-5 minutes. Add the curry paste to the skillet, stirring to combine. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the curry paste is deeply browned & fragrant.Sliced and cooked onion and bells peppers cook inside of a large gray Staub skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface. A wooden spoon rests inside of the skillet for stirring.
  4. Simmer the curry: Add the coconut milk to the skillet. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up any brown bits that have formed at the bottom of the skillet – that’s where the flavor is! – & stir to combine. Add the meatballs back into the skillet. Simmer 8-10 minutes, turning the meatballs a few times to coat in the sauce, until the curry sauce is thickened and the meatballs are cooked through. Finish with a fresh squeeze of lime juice, and stir to combine.Twelve red curry meatballs simmer in onions, bell peppers and red curry sauce inside of a large gray Staub skillet. The skillet sits atop a creamy white textured surface.
  5. Serve immediately, spooning the meatball curry over rice or your grain of choice. Finish with thinly sliced green onions & finely chopped cilantro as desired. Enjoy!Three red curry meatballs are served atop a plateful of white rice. The blue ceramic plate sits atop a creamy white textured surface with a gold fork resting atop. The plate is surrounded by a small white plate topped with slices of lime, fresh basil leaves, and a white linen napkin.


  • Ingredient Notes:
    • Ground turkey or chicken: Ground turkey or chicken: The secret to seriously juicy & tender red curry meatballs is using the right poultry. Whether you decide to use ground chicken or turkey, it needs a decent fat content, otherwise the meatballs will dry out. Look for at least 93% lean, though if you can find 90-92%, that’s even better! If you’re purchasing from your grocery store’s butcher counter, ask for ground turkey/chicken thigh or dark meat.
    • Curry paste & coconut milk: Not all curry pastes are created equally!!! In my opinion, generally speaking, the curry paste sold at most conventional grocers is not great – it completely misses the layered, complex flavor of really good curry. I’m obsessed with Maesri curry paste – it’s flavorful, mildly spicy, & made with real-food ingredients. (It’s also allergen-friendly since it doesn’t contain shrimp paste or fish sauce!). You can find it at most Asian grocery stores or order it online.
  • Storage & Reheating: Transfer cooled ginger turkey meatballs & red curry sauce to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop until warmed through, adding a splash of water or chicken stock as needed to help them steam up & loosen any sauce that may be on the meatballs.
  • 15-20 Minute Meal Prep: Nearly all of the active prep work for this recipe comes from prepping & forming the red curry meatballs. Take care of some of this in advance & you can jump straight in to cooking during the week:
    • Mix & form the turkey meatballs according to Step 1 of Recipe Directions, above. You can roll out the meatballs immediately or save the rolling for dinnertime; either way, the mixture will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator. (15 minutes active)
    • Chop the veggies. Thinly slice 2 large bell peppers & 1 medium onion. Store in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. (5 minutes active prep)