Red Curry vs Yellow Curry – Which Will Set Your Tastebuds Ablaze?

Welcome to the ultimate battle of flavors, where the aroma of spices fills the air and the taste buds tingle with anticipation. In the left corner, we have the bold and fiery contender – the Red Curry. And in the right corner, we have the milder, yet equally tantalizing Yellow Curry. Get ready to embark on a culinary journey as we explore the distinctive characteristics, ingredients, and taste profiles of Red Curry vs Yellow Curry. Let the flavors collide and let your taste buds be the judge in this epic clash of Red Curry vs Yellow

What Are The Key Differences Between Red Curry vs Yellow Curry?

  • Ingredients: Red curry is made with red chilies, coriander, cumin, red bell pepper, lemongrass, and ginger, resulting in a bold and spicy taste. Yellow curry, on the other hand, gets its vibrant yellow color from curry powder, which contains a lot of turmeric. The ingredients for yellow curry usually include coriander, cumin, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and yellow or red chili.
  • Type Of Chilli Or Pepper Used: Red curry is spicy due to red chilies, while green curry gets its heat from green chilies. Yellow curry, on the other hand, uses yellow chilies. Each type of chili in Thailand has its own distinct flavor, resulting in unique tastes for dishes made with these curries. Yellow curry also contains turmeric, giving it a vibrant yellow color. If you prefer a milder curry with great flavor, yellow curry is a good option.
  • Texture: Red curry has a rich and velvety texture, like a cozy blanket for your palate. Yellow curry is lighter and more delicate, with a silky feel that leaves a touch of grace on your palate.
  • Flavor Profile: Red curry is fiery and bold, with a vibrant red color from red chilies. It has a rich and complex flavor profile, balanced with sweet, savory, and umami notes, created by ingredients like garlic, shallots, lemongrass, ginger, and spices. On the other hand, yellow curry is milder and slightly sweeter, with a golden color and earthy flavor from turmeric. It has subtle hints of lemongrass, ginger, and garlic, packing a flavorful punch.
  • Calories: Regarding calories, yellow curry is generally milder and lighter than red curry. This is because yellow curry tends to have more sweet and mild flavors and is made with fewer spicy ingredients. On the other hand, red curry’s bolder flavors are often derived from using more red chilies, which can increase its calorie content.
  • Spiciness: Traditionally, Thai curries used different chilies corresponding to their color. Red curry had fiery red chilies, green curry had green chilies, and yellow curry had yellow chilies. These chilies not only differed in color but also taste. While people generally consider red curry the hottest, in my experience, green curry is milder, and red curry brings the heat. However, it’s worth noting that heat levels can vary in different regions of Thailand. Southern green curry, for instance, is notably spicier due to Birds Eye chilies.
  • Cooking Process: To make red curry, I start by pounding a paste with red chilies, garlic, shallots, lemongrass, and other aromatic ingredients. I sauté this paste in oil, then add meat or vegetables and simmer it all in coconut milk. The result is a fiery and flavorful dish for spice lovers. Yellow curry, on the other hand, involves creating a paste with turmeric, lemongrass, ginger, and spices. This paste is gently cooked in oil to release the flavors before adding meat, vegetables, and coconut milk. The yellow curry simmers until ingredients are tender and flavors are beautifully melded together.
  Red Curry Yellow Curry
Ingredients Red chilies, coriander, cumin, red bell pepper, lemongrass, ginger Curry powder (with turmeric), coriander, cumin, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, yellow or red chili
Type Of Chilli Or Pepper Used Red chilies Yellow chilies
Texture Rich and velvety Lighter and delicate with a silky feel
Flavor Profile Fiery and bold, rich and complex with sweet, savory, and umami notes Milder and slightly sweeter, with subtle hints of lemongrass, ginger, and garlic
Calories Generally higher due to more red chilies Generally lower due to fewer spicy ingredients
Spiciness Considered the hottest, but can vary in different regions Milder than red curry, but can vary in different regions
Cooking Process Begins with pounding a paste and sautéing it in oil before adding meat or vegetables and simmering in coconut milk Involves creating a paste and gently cooking it in oil before adding meat, vegetables, and coconut milk and simmering until flavors are melded together

Which Curry Is Commonly Used In Thai Cuisine, Red Or Yellow?

In Thai cuisine, both red and yellow curries are commonly used. However, red curry is considered to be more popular and iconic. Red curry is known for its vibrant red color and spicy aroma. It is made with red curry paste cooked in coconut milk, with the option to add various meats such as chicken, beef, pork, duck, or shrimp, as well as vegetarian options. The red curry paste traditionally uses red chilies, making it a fiery hot dish.

Yellow curry, on the other hand, uses yellow chilies in its curry paste and has a milder flavor compared to red curry. While both curries can be spicy-hot depending on the chef, green curry is generally considered the mildest, with red being the hottest and yellow falling somewhere in between. Overall, red curry is the more widely known and loved curry in Thai cuisine.

Which Curry Is More Versatile When It Comes To Pairing With Different Proteins And Vegetables? Red Or Yellow?

When it comes to pairing different proteins and vegetables, the yellow curry is more versatile than the red curry. Yellow curry is the mildest of all popular Thai coconut milk curries, making it a perfect choice to highlight the flavors of various proteins and vegetables without overpowering them with spiciness.

Yellow curry is delicate and fragrant, with a subtle blend of spices, including turmeric, cumin, coriander, and lemongrass. This flavorful combination complements various proteins, such as chicken, beef, pork, shrimp, or tofu, without overpowering their natural flavors. It also pairs exceptionally well with various vegetables, including red bell peppers, zucchini, bamboo shoots, baby corn, and cauliflower.

On the other hand, while red curry is also delicious and flavorful, it tends to be spicier than yellow curry. Its heat level may overpower the delicate flavors of some proteins and vegetables, making it less versatile in pairing options. If you prefer a bolder and spicier taste, red curry can still be a fantastic choice, especially if you’re a heat fan.

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Similarities Between Red Curry vs Yellow Curry

similarities between red curry vs yellow curry

I can tell you some delicious similarities between red curry and yellow curry. While they may be different in color and a few ingredients, they bring a delightful burst of flavors to your palate.

One similarity lies in their spiciness levels. Although red curry is known for being the hottest and yellow curry falls somewhere between mild and spicy, both can still kick your meal. So, if you’re a fan of a little heat, you won’t be disappointed with either of these curries.

Another similarity is the use of curry paste as a base. Traditionally, Thai curries were made with the same ingredients, except for the type of chilies used. Red curry uses red chilies, while yellow curry uses yellow chilies. However, the flavor combinations created by the other ingredients come together to give both curries their distinct taste profiles.

What is Red Curry?

what is red curry

Red curry is a popular Thai dish that is known for its spicy and flavorful taste. It is made with a combination of red curry paste and coconut milk, with the addition of meat such as chicken, beef, pork, duck, shrimp, or even vegetarian protein sources. The red curry paste is traditionally made with dry red spur chillies, which gives it the distinctive red color.

The dish has a soup-like consistency and is often served in a bowl with steamed rice. Red curry paste is also used as a core flavoring for other Thai dishes like fish cakes and grilled sausage. With its complex and aromatic flavors, red curry is a delightful and satisfying dish for Thai food lovers.

What is Yellow Curry?

what is yellow curry

Yellow curry is a flavorful and aromatic Thai curry that gets its distinctive yellow color from ground turmeric. It typically includes boneless, skinless chicken breast, sweet Vidalia onion, garlic, and a blend of spices. While similar in appearance to Indian curry, yellow curry remains distinctly Thai in taste.

In addition to turmeric, the curry paste may also contain coriander seeds, cumin, lemongrass, galangal or ginger, and yellow or red chili. Coconut milk is often added to create a creamy and savory base. Yellow curry is known for its balanced flavors, offering a mild yet satisfying heat. It can be enjoyed with steamed rice and is a popular choice in Thai cuisine.

FAQ – Red Curry vs Yellow Curry: What’s the Difference?

Which Thai Curry Is Least Spicy

Yellow curry is a gentle introduction to Thai curries, offering a milder flavor profile that won’t set your taste buds on fire. It is typically made with a colorful medley of coriander, cumin, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and yellow or red chili. However, compared to its fiery counterparts, yellow curry tends to be a bit more subdued in terms of heat.

Don’t be fooled by its mildness because yellow curry is still bursting with fragrance and flavor. The addition of creamy coconut milk creates a velvety, irresistible richness. It’s like wrapping yourself in a cozy blanket of deliciousness.

Which Thai Curry Is The Hottest?

Among the three popular Thai curry colors, red curry is generally considered the hottest. If you enjoy a meal with a fiery kick, red curry is the perfect choice for you.

Are There Any Regions In Thailand Where The Spiciness Of Green Curry Exceeds That Of Red Curry?

It is possible to come across variations in spice levels depending on the region within Thailand. However, as a general rule, green curry tends to be milder when compared to red curry.

Can The Spiciness Of Thai Curries Be Adjusted According To Personal Preferences?

Yes, the spiciness of Thai curries, including red and yellow curry, can be adjusted to suit individual tastes. Whether you prefer a milder or spicier dish, talented Thai chefs can accommodate your specific preferences upon request.

Is There A Preference For Either Red Or Yellow Curry In Thai Cuisine?

Thai green curry is often regarded as the most popular curry in Thai cuisine. However, personal preferences vary, and both red and yellow curry hold their own charm and culinary significance in various Thai dishes.


In conclusion, when comparing Red Curry vs Yellow Curry, it is clear that both offer unique flavors and ingredients. The red curry is known for its spiciness and vibrant color, while the yellow curry is milder and has a hint of sweetness. Ultimately, the choice between the two curries comes down to personal preference and the desired level of heat.

Whichever curry you choose, there’s no denying the deliciousness and versatility of Thai cuisine. So, whether you’re a fan of the fiery red curry or the mellow yellow curry, make sure to indulge in the rich flavors and aromatic spices that define these popular dishes.


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