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Curry Coconut Chicken with Cauliflower {Slow Cooker or Instant Pot}

4.83 from 62 community reviews

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Tender chicken seasoned with curry spices, cauliflower, healthy greens, and chickpeas in a golden coconut sauce — satisfying and so delicious to make on the stovetop, in a slow cooker or electric pressure cooker.

A bowl of curry-seasoned chicken in coconut milk, with wilted spinach, chickpeas and a bowl of cilantro in the background.

This curry coconut chicken recipe cooks to perfection in a slow-cooker or electric pressure cooker — it’s a creamy-textured dish that makes a perfect one-dish meal.

The spiced-up base is laced with cumin, turmeric, fresh ginger, and lime in a tangy coconut milk sauce.

The finished recipe dishes up like a hearty stew, featuring fall-apart tender chunks of boneless chicken thigh, soft cauliflower and chickpeas. It’s all super flavorful and satisfying to eat.

A bowl of curry-seasoned chicken in coconut milk, with wilted spinach, chickpeas and a bowl of cilantro in the background.

It’s so good with warm flatbread (like naan) or a scoop of coconut rice on the side to savor every last drop. If you’ve been following along recently, you know I’m all-in on the electric pressure cooker obsession.

Golden Coconut Chicken with Chickpeas and Cauliflower in an enamel cast iron Dutch oven.

Something special happens when food is cooked under pressure or for hours low and slow. Aromatic garlic, onion and spices release meld with everything in the pot, producing layers of mellow, savory flavor.

In this recipe, the cauliflower cooks until it becomes meltingly soft, helping to create a creamy texture in the sauce.

Throw a healthy handful of baby spinach or other greens into the warm stew until they wilt. Serve over rice noodles or cooked rice and you have tasty one-dish dinner. Bonus — it tastes even better the next day (or the one after that) and freezes perfectly.

I like to portion this in my absolute favorite freezer-to-oven containers. I love that they have sturdy glass covers so you can see what’s inside) for easy meal planning.

Freezing and storage:

  • Be sure to cool the stew before freezing to prevent ice crystals from forming.
  • Refrigerate for a few hours (or overnight) right in the cooking pot or a large bowl.
  • Portion into freezer-safe containers or heavy duty plastic freezer bags.
  • Label your container with the date and contents — I often use a simple piece of masking tape and a Sharpie for this task.

Coconut Curry Chicken with Chickpeas and Cauliflower {Slow Cooker or Instant Pot}

Karen Tedesco
Creamy and delicious curry-spiced, one-pot chicken stew packed with cauliflower, chickpeas and healthy greens is so easy to make in your pressure cooker or slow cooker. Make-ahead and freezer-friendly. Serve with basmati rice or warm naan on the side to make a complete meal. 
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4.83 from 62 community reviews
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Total Time 23 minutes
Course Chicken
Cuisine Curry
Servings 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (60 g) ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 (110 g) onion, chopped (1 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) grated fresh ginger
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime or lemon
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 ½ pounds (900 g) boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 head cauliflower, divided into florets (about 6 cups)
  • cup (75 ml) water, chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 (425 g) 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
  • 1 14-ounce can (250 ml) full fat coconut milk
  • 2 (40 g) heaping cups baby spinach leaves or other leafy greens

Garnish

  • Chopped cilantro and black or brown sesame seeds, optional

Instructions 

Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Directions:

  • Set a pressure cooker to the "Sauté" function and preheat on high. When the cooking pot is hot, add the ghee or oil, and the onion. Cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Stir in the ginger, garlic and all the spices through the cayenne pepper. Cook until fragrant and the spices are coated in the oil about 1 minute.
  • Add the lime juice, salt, chicken, cauliflower and water or stock to the pot and stir to mix. Secure the lid of the pressure cooker and cook on medium-high 8 minutes. Release the pressure manually or use the quick release function.
  • Open the lid and stir in the chickpeas and coconut milk.  If the sauce seems too thin, simmer on the sauté function for a few minutes to reduce the liquid.
  • Stir in the spinach. Serve warm in bowl sprinkled with cilantro and sesame seeds.

Slow Cooker Directions:

  • Put the ghee or oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Stir in the ginger, garlic and all the spices through the cayenne pepper. Cook until fragrant and the spices are coated in the butter, about 1 minute. 
  • Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker and add the lime juice, salt, chicken, cauliflower and water or stock to the pot and stir to mix. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
  • Stir in the chickpeas, coconut milk, and spinach. Serve topped with cilantro and sesame seeds.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • Make this recipe on the stovetop: Use a Dutch oven or other large heavy pot. Follow the directions for precooking the onions and spices as above, and add the coconut milk and chickpeas along with the stock. Cover and cook at a slow simmer for 35-40 minutes.
  • In this recipe, the cauliflower cooks until it becomes meltingly soft, helping to create a creamy texture in the sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 281kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 1251mg | Potassium: 788mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 108IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 48mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition facts are calculated by third-party software. If you have specific dietary needs, please refer to your favorite calculator.

Did you make this recipe? Search @Familystylefood or tag #familystylefood on Pinterest
Recipe developer Karen Tedesco of the popular website Familystyle Food in her kitchen making a kale salad.

Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about creating elevated dinners with everyday ingredients. Find simplified recipes made from scratch and enjoy incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

4.83 from 62 votes (51 ratings without comment)

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17 Comments

  1. I was skeptical when I read that the cauliflower went in with the chicken and my intuition was correct. While the flavors of this recipe are fine, by the time the chicken is cooked in the instant pot and the spinach stirred in, the cauliflower all but disappeared – having been overcooked to death. If you want to make this dish, I suggest that you roast the cauliflower separately and add it in the end, but there are so many better recipes out there, IMO.

    1. Hi Kristen – As I say in the recipe notes, I created this recipe intending for the cauliflower to become very soft, helping to create a thick and creamy base for the soup. Thanks for the idea of adding separately roasted cauliflower for those who prefer that texture.

  2. 5 stars
    Amazing! Thank you for this recipe! Almost a religious experience! 😁
    Made this recipe in the Instant Pot… will be as family favorite!

  3. Michele Bolin says:

    5 stars
    I had bone-in chicken thighs in the freezer so cooked for 10 minutes and browned them in a frying pan for texture after the instant pot was finished. I also added a bit of flour to thicken the sauce at the end, but this recipe is easy and the flavor is great. It satisfied my craving for Indian food flavors.

  4. Khristina says:

    5 stars
    Amazing!! Making it again tonight! Made it in the pressure cooker. Didn’t change anything.

  5. going to make this tonight … the recipe states ‘1 tablespoon salt’ ? is this correct ?

    1. Hi Pauline, Yes that’s correct. It’s 1 tablespoon *kosher* salt. If using regular table salt use 1 1/2 teaspoons, or to taste.

  6. 5 stars
    I made this in the crockpot tonight, per instructions except with a little extra spinach and stock. It was AMAZING. I ate so much. I love the way the cauliflower breaks down to give the sauce its thickness. Sublime.

  7. 5 stars
    This is delicious. I was a bit skeptical about 1/3 c of liquid in the IP but it worked out just fine! Loved the flavors. Made as is with exception of chicken breasts and kale instead of spinach. My whole family loved it! Thank you!

  8. 5 stars
    Love this curry. Made it this week and worked perfectly in the slow cooker, really moreish. Nicely spiced.

  9. 5 stars
    great recipe and thanks so much. next time will use breast instead of thighs though! good spice level.

  10. 4 stars
    Loved this recipe for my mom who is undergoing chemotherapy. Healthy, full of good fat and protein. I added 1 TBS of curry powder since the recipe doesn’t call for it yet the title is Curry Coconut. Delicious!

  11. Renee D Ewing says:

    5 stars
    This recipe was delicious! I have made curried chicken many times and love this version with cauli and garbanzos! Used my instapot. I made few modifications according to what I had on hand, added a can of hatch green chili enxhilada sauce as it was open in my fridge. At the end I thickened it with cornstarch slurry. Served on brown rice with condiments you add yourself- green onions, chipped dates, peanuts, and coconut..yuuum!

  12. 5 stars
    I made it exactly as you stated in the instant pot. It was a hit!! With everyone, which is not always the case. Healthy, quick and with ingredients I always have on hand. I served it over angel hair rice noodles. The only thing I would say is that the cauliflower broke down quite a bit more than I would have liked, but the flavour was superb and the chicken was perfect. Thanks for a great recipe!!

  13. 5 stars
    This was OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!! Loved the creaminess from the cauliflower. What a fabulous idea to add that extra creamy element without using flour or cornstarch, and it had the perfect amount of spiciness. I only had kale on hand, so I thinly chopped that and added with the chicken. Also only had chicken breast and they were cooked perfectly. This is a new favorite in our book!!!

    1. Tracy! So very happy that you loved this dish! Great to know that chicken breast worked just as well. It’s one of our faves, too 🙂