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The 5 BEST Substitutes for Yellow Curry Paste

Have you ever wondered how to cook with yellow curry paste or what alternatives you have if it’s not available?

Yellow curry paste is a staple in many Thai dishes, lending a spicy and savory kick of flavor to each bite.

Though it may be difficult to find at times, there are plenty of tasty substitutes that provide an equally delicious result.

From red curry paste to panang curry paste, get the know-how on how to incorporate these alternative flavorings into your meals and create the same level of excitement and deliciousness as if you were using yellow curry paste.

What’s Yellow Curry Paste?

Even if the name doesn’t sound familiar, chances are you’ve tasted a dish whose flavor was inspired by this delightful Southeast Asian condiment.

Yellow curry paste is a flavorful blend of spices such as turmeric, mustard seed, coriander, ginger, and many others.

When cooked together, these spices create an intense and complexly balanced taste with earthy undertones and satisfying afternotes.

The texture is thick yet creamy and pairs best with dishes that feature potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, or other vegetables.

To make a classic yellow curry dish from Thailand, simply simmer yellow curry paste in a bit of coconut milk along with chicken or seafood until it reaches the desired thickness; adding more coconut milk will create a milder flavor.

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Serve over greens for an easy veggie side dish that everyone will love.

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Yellow Curry Paste

If you’re looking for a delicious and aromatic alternative to the traditional yellow curry paste, you’ve come to the right place.

Here are five of the best substitutes that will tantalize your taste buds:

1 – Red Curry Paste

Red curry paste is a complex and captivating blend of spices and seasonings that adds a big flavor to your favorite Thai dishes.

It packs quite the punch, with a combination of dried chilies and galangal giving it a hot and earthy aroma, along with garlic, shallots, lemongrass, coriander seed, kaffir lime peel, and shrimp paste for a distinctively bold flavor profile.

Red curry paste has a thick texture that holds up in coconut milk-based dishes or when pan-fried in oil.

When cooking with red curry paste, one may substitute yellow curry paste should the dish call for it; though be cautious as yellow curry paste is much sweeter and milder than its red counterpart.

2 – Green Curry Paste

Green curry paste is a powerful weapon for transforming every day and weeknight meals into something special.

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A complex combination of chili peppers, lemongrass, galangal (a unique kind of ginger), and spices like cumin and coriander, this pungent paste packs a punch of flavor and fragrance that is utterly captivating.

It has a creamy texture with ground chiles to give it an exceptionally spicy kick – so handle it with caution.

When used in dishes like Thai green curry, it adds layers of unusual flavors that make the plainest ingredients seem extravagant.

For a milder version, try balancing green curry paste with coconut milk or cream – this will keep its fiery intensity in check.

Alternatively, if you can’t find green curry paste, yellow curry paste makes for a good substitute; although beware that the spice factor may vary depending on the brand.

3 – Vindaloo Paste

Vindaloo paste is an intriguing Indian condiment made with a variety of spices, such as chilies, mustard powder, cumin seed, and coriander.

The flavors of the paste vary according to its portion of pungent red chili peppers and tamarind paste.

Besides its robustness, vindaloo paste carries a pleasantly sour taste that can be quite delightful.

It’s rather thick in texture and makes for a great marination ingredient when cooked with meats.

To prepare a delicious dish using vindaloo paste, mix it into chicken or lamb curry along with some olive oil or ghee on medium heat for about five minutes before serving.

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It’s an excellent substitute for yellow curry paste if you’re looking to add flavor to your dishes without overpowering them.

4 – Massaman Curry Paste

Have you ever had a craving for some Indian-style curry but weren’t quite up to the challenge of making a paste from scratch? Fear not, because Massaman Curry Paste is here to save the day.

This Thai-based paste has become increasingly popular, it’s complex yet pleasant sauce offering an adventurous touch with its layers of flavors.

It has a mild sweet taste with heavy aromas of cardamom and cumin and is made from dry herbs and spices as well as lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, cinnamon, red chilies, garlic, and shallots – talk about delicious.

Its texture is relatively thick, almost like pesto in consistency.

You can easily substitute this for yellow curry paste when cooking a main such as beef rending or add it to warm coconut milk to make one heck of a luscious soup.

5 – Panang Curry Paste

From the profusions of curry pastes available on the market, Panang curry paste is a must-have for any enthusiast.

This special red curry paste features aromas from lemongrass, kaffir lime peel, and garlic that create a fragrant undertone with a mild but zingy flavor.

Not only it enhances your dish by infusing an exotic taste in it, but its texture is satiny and smooth that will linger in your mouth.

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You can add diced vegetables or cooked chicken cubes to this paste and cook using coconut milk or stock, making it a delicious appetizing meal.

In case you find yourself without yellow curry paste, Panang curry paste is a good alternative for milder dishes as the spice level and sweetness are relatively low.

This unique blend of ingredients will make your dish tantalizingly irresistible.


In conclusion, yellow curry paste is a flavor powerhouse that can transform the most mundane dishes into something special.

If you find yourself without it, there are several alternatives out there that make superb substitutes, such as red curry paste, green curry paste, Vindaloo paste, Massaman curry paste, and Panang curry paste.

All of these pastes have their own unique flavors and textures that can bring a different level of deliciousness to your dishes.

So if you’re looking for a flavorful twist, try any of these curry pastes and let the culinary adventure begin.

Yield: 1 Serving

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Yellow Curry Paste

The 5 BEST Substitutes for Yellow Curry Paste
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • Red Curry Paste
  • Green Curry Paste
  • Vindaloo Paste
  • Massaman Curry Paste
  • Panang Curry Paste


  1. Pick your favorite substitute from the list above.
  2. Follow cooking directions for your selected substitute with the proper ratio of ingredients.
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