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This simple, dairy-free coconut curry sauce without curry paste is so tasty and savory that I could (and DO) eat it by the spoonful. This rich, flavorful sauce has everything you need: sweetness, a bit of tang from the lime juice, and an amazing curry flavor. Round that all out with a smooth, creamy texture and you’ve got your new go-to sauce recipe!
Instead of using curry paste, this recipe uses curry powder and has no added sugar. It’s SO sweet and packed with flavor - you’d never guess anything was missing!
How this recipe came to be
My husband and I love flavorful recipes. So when we started searching the internet for a flavorful (and simple) curry sauce, we always ended up adding a lot more flavor to make it what we wanted.
We love curry, so we tried a LOT of recipes over the years. And with each recipe, we tweaked and tweaked until we found the absolute perfect curry sauce recipe.
Eventually, I wrote down the recipe we had created so we could have this sauce on repeat. Perfection!
ALL THE TOOLS YOU NEED TO MAKE this recipe
- Saucepan - If your nonstick pans have started flaking, I recommend updating your nonstick saucepan to a cast iron or stainless steel option to make sure you don't ingest any toxic nonstick stuff on accident.
- Stirring spoon - I love these wooden spoons, and they are available for a great price right now too!
Key ingredients to make this recipe
- Coconut oil - Trust me and get the good stuff, like this brand (organic, extra-virgin, cold-pressed & unrefined).
- Curry powder - Grab a large tub of mild curry powder or hot curry powder and you won't need to buy more for a long time.
- Coconut milk - Grab the kind in the can, not the carton. I've really been loving this kind without guar lately.
- Turmeric powder - This kind looks awesome and is tested for heavy metals.
- Fish sauce - Grab this kind to make sure there's no gluten or sugar in your sauce.
- Lime juice - I recommend fresh-squeezed or this kind with only one ingredient.
Now that we've gathered our tools and ingredients, it's time to make some delicious coconut curry sauce!
Using rotating sauces with your meals
My secret to cooking quick and simple, healthy meals is having a delicious sauce recipe that incorporates tons of flavor (without hours of cooking over the stove).
When I meal plan dinners for the week (with this template), they typically consist of:
- Protein (meat or beans)
- A couple of vegetables
- A small serving of carbs
- A delicious homemade sauce
I use the same basic ingredients in multiple meals throughout the week, and just change out the sauce for a completely different flavor. This formula works great for our family!
The sauce makes or breaks the meal!
In the case of this simple curry sauce….it’s a family favorite!
How to make 5 minute coconut curry sauce recipe
In a medium saucepan, heat the oil (we like coconut oil for this recipe) and curry powder until fragrant.
Cook for about a minute and add the coconut milk and turmeric.
I like my curry sauce a little thin (for drizzling), so I don’t reduce it much. If you’d rather have a thicker curry sauce (without much liquid), just reduce it until you achieve your preferred consistency.
A word of caution: if you heat the mixture on too high of heat, the coconut milk may get a strange texture. Stick with the low heat.
If you know you like REALLY thick curry sauce, I recommend buying coconut cream instead of coconut milk for this recipe.
Once you have the curry powder and coconut milk mixed together, turn off the heat, add the lime juice, coconut aminos, and fish sauce.
- Coconut Milk: If you want to make this sauce without coconut milk, you have options - heavy cream (2 parts cream, 1 part water), or whole milk will give you the creaminess you're looking for. Other dairy-free milks will be more watery than canned coconut milk, so you may need a thickener (see below).
- Coconut aminos: Coconut aminos is a great soy-sauce replacement. It's made from coconuts and has a sweetness that you just can't get with soy sauce. You can use soy sauce in place of coconut aminos in this curry sauce, but the flavor will be slightly different.
- Curry powder: I always have curry powder on hand, so that's what this recipe uses. If you do not have curry powder, you could probably swap for curry paste (although I have not tried this variation).
- Fish sauce: If you're looking for a vegan curry sauce, I recommend omitting the fish sauce all together (or use a vegetarian fish sauce like this one).
The spice level of this sauce depends on the curry powder you're using. I personally think it's pretty mild (and we use mild yellow curry powder.
If you're looking for more spice, I recommend adding your favorite hot sauce or cayenne powder, to taste.
If you're looking for a thicker sauce, you can either use coconut cream (also in a can) instead of coconut milk OR add a thickener like:
- corn starch
- tapioca flour (my personal favorite)
- arrowroot flour
- all purpose flour
I'd start with 1 teaspoon at a time, mixing it in over heat.
How to use curry sauce?
Obviously, you can use this sauce in a traditional curry with rice, veggies, and meat (or beans). This coconut chickpea curry dinner recipe uses this sauce.
You can also do a self-serve style and set the jar of curry sauce on the table at dinner.
Pour it over a bowl or plate of food and use as much as you like! This approach works great if you have picky eaters at the table. They can use as much, or as little, of the sauce as they’d like.
FAQ & Troubleshooting
It has a slight coconut flavor to it. As someone who doesn't like the flavor of pure coconut, I love this curry sauce.
I prefer canned coconut milk (or coconut cream) for this recipe. If you use coconut milk from the carton the sauce will be very runny. Canned coconut milk (or cream) gives a delicious creaminess.
This coconut curry sauce tastes a bit sweet, with savory spice flavors as well. I love how the lime juice makes the flavor just POP so well.
This sauce can be simmered for a couple minutes to thicken a bit. If you'd like it thicker, you can use 1 teaspoon of thickener (flour, tapioca, arrowroot, cornstarch, etc).
Looking for more delicious homemade sauces?
How to save this recipe
To save this recipe digitally, you can save this recipe to Pinterest, to your browser bookmarks, or save to one of the many other amazing meal planning apps that you might use.
For my paper and pencil people, print it out and save it to your meal planning binder (or recipe binder).
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 2 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 13.5 ounce can of coconut milk
- 2 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- juice of ½ lime
- In a medium sauce pan, heat oil and curry powder for about a minute.
- Add the coconut milk and turmeric and heat until reduced to your desired thickness. I typically only cook it for a few minutes before taking if off the heat.
- When it's as thick as you'd like, turn off the heat and add the lime juice, coconut aminos, and fish sauce. Stir until combined.
- Store in an air tight container in the fridge. It should keep for about a week.
- To thicken the sauce: This sauce can be simmered for a couple minutes to thicken a bit. If you'd like it thicker, you can use 1 teaspoon of thickener (flour, tapioca, arrowroot, cornstarch, etc).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: ¼ C
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 144Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 269mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 5gProtein: 2g