This easy Chicken Apple Curry recipe has sweet apples and onions to balance the spiciness of the curry powder for a flavorful, nutritious gluten-free weeknight dinner ready in 45 minutes with easy-to-find ingredients
About Chicken Apple Curry
Chicken and Apple Curry is a fragrant chicken dish that has bites of chicken simmered in a sauce seasoned with onions, celery, apples, and curry powder. It's a warming meal and especially satisfying when served over rice to soak up all the sauce.
There are many types of curry recipes, and this one is very basic with only 10 ingredients that you can find in any grocery store. However, definitely don't let basics bore you into skipping this recipe. This dish is anything but boring!
Adding fruit to main meals is not something I typically do. However, a few years ago my aunt suggested I try her mom's recipe for Curry Chicken with Apples. So I decided to give it a go, and I am so glad that I did!
The sweet apples balance out the spicy curry powder, but it's not overly sweet. What's nice about this recipe is that you don't need any special ingredients. No coconut milk or curry paste. You simply need curry powder which is likely already in your spice cabinet.
Oil: Olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, canola oil, and butter all work really well in this chicken apple curry recipe.
Veggies: The veggies in this dish include onions, celery, and garlic. You'll need two medium to large-sized onions. The recipe was tested using yellow onions, but red or white onions can be used as well.
There is only one stalk of celery in the dish, but I really like the subtle flavor it adds. In a pinch, you could use celery salt in place of the salt if you don't have celery to still give your curry the taste of celery without needing the celery.
Additionally, garlic powder can be used in place of the garlic cloves. Or use garlic salt in place of the salt.
Apples: Fuji apples as well as Honeycrisp apples were used to test the recipe. You could also use Golden Delicious or Braeburn apples. I don't recommend using Red Delicious apples as they do not hold up well when cooking.
Chicken: This chicken apple curry calls for boneless, skinless chicken breast. You can also use tenders or tenderloin. Another more budget-friendly alternative is to use boneless, skinless chicken thighs. No matter what you use, cut the chicken into about ½ to 1-inch pieces.
Curry powder: Simply buy curry powder from the grocery store.
I often use water because I forget to buy broth, but I add extra seasoning like garlic powder, paprika, and/or salt to make up for the lack of flavor.
Be sure to use cold water or broth when whisking it with the cornstarch.
Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce, add cornstarch. Find it on the baking or spice aisle.
Rice: Any type of rice is great with this chicken apple curry.
Toppings: Fresh mint and parsley add a little freshness & brighten the flavor. Other tasty toppings include plain yogurt, shredded unsweetened coconut, chopped peanuts, cashews or almonds, and chopped green onion.
- olive oil 1 tablespoon: $0.24
- onions 2 large: $1.70
- apples 3 small: $1.54
- celery 1 stalk: $0.14
- garlic 3 cloves: $0.18
- chicken breast 1 pound: $4.59
- curry powder 2 tablespoons: $1.56
- salt ¾ teaspoon: $0.01
- chicken broth 2 cups: $1.14
- cornstarch 1 tablespoon: $0.06
TOTAL COST: $ or $/serving (Based on San Diego grocery stores 2024)
Note that this is not the recipe; it's simply to show the cost breakdown of ingredients. Scroll down to the full recipe to see the specific ingredients and directions.
How to Make Chicken Apple Curry
Time needed: 40 minutes
This recipe is wonderfully easy to prepare as you can see in the photos; there are only a few steps. Here's How to Make Chicken Apple Curry
- Sauté the onions and celery in the oil.
Cook until translucent and lightly golden in color. It should take about 7 minutes.
- Add the apples and garlic.
Stir and cook for 3 minutes. Push the mixture to the sides.
- Add the chicken, and let sit for about 3 minutes; then sprinkle with salt and curry powder.
Stir to combine everything.
- Pour in most of the broth.
Stir the mixture well, scraping any bits off the bottom of the pot. Let simmer for at least 5 minutes.
- Just before you are ready to serve, whisk together cornstarch and cold broth or water. Pour into the pot.
Simmer until the sauce has thickened about 5-10 minutes.
- Serve over cooked rice and desired toppings.
*Start the rice after you start sauteing onions and celery.
Even if the rice is done before the curry sauce is, the warm apple curry sauce will reheat the rice if it cools a little after cooking.
Celery: use celery salt in place of the salt and omit the celery if desired. Or skip the celery altogether if needed.
Garlic: replace the garlic cloves with ¾ to 1 teaspoon garlic powder. Add to the dish with the curry powder and salt.
Curry powder: Theoretically, you can make your own with this combo of spices, but it's much easier to have on hand. Plus, you can use curry powder for other tasty recipes like Lentil Curry and Instant Pot Lamb Curry.
Because curry paste is different than curry powder, I don't recommend using them interchangeably here.
Chicken: chicken thighs can be used in place of the chicken breast. Use the same amount and cut them into pieces like you would with the chicken breast.
Cornstarch: you can use arrowroot powder or all-purpose flour in place of the cornstarch if needed. For arrowroot powder, use the same amount as you would cornstarch. For flour, you'll need to use twice the amount of flour as cornstarch.
If you use arrowroot powder, it will still be gluten-free; however, if you use all-purpose flour, it will no longer be gluten-free unless you use a gluten-free all-purpose flour.
How to Make Allergy-Friendly
Curry chicken with apples is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, and nut-free.
Be sure to check the ingredients in the food you are using since the allergies in a food depend on the ingredients and toppings.
How to Fix a Mistake
- If the sauce gets too thick: simply add extra broth or water in ¼ cup increments. Stir the liquid in until it reaches your desired consistency. Let cook for a few more minutes, then enjoy.
- If the sauce is too thin: usually cooking the sauce for a little longer can help the sauce thicken. Another option is to add another 1 tablespoon + ¼ cup water. Pour in and let cook for 5-10 minutes until it thickens.
To help decrease the prep time, you can chop the veggies, apples, and chicken; store them separately in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 24 hours until ready to use.
I think the sauce would be ok if you made it ahead of time, but I'd wait to add the cornstarch mixture until just before serving to make sure it doesn't break down after too much cooking and cause your sauce to be too thin.
Keep the sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 6 days and in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
When freezing, I recommend freezing in smaller serving sizes to help decrease the amount of time it takes to defrost the Chicken Apple Curry Sauce. Additionally, if it's in smaller sizes then you don't have to defrost all of the sauce at one time.
- In the microwave: Put sauce in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat for 45 seconds at 100% power. Stir and microwave 30-45 second intervals until warm.
- On the stove: Add the sauce to a saucepan and heat over medium until the sauce is warmed through. You might want to add a few tablespoons of water or broth when reheating if needed.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, the beauty of this recipe is that all you need is curry powder which is easy to keep in the pantry.
Yes, this Chicken Apple Curry recipe freezes quite well. It's worth noting that dishes with cornstarch can sometimes become thinner when defrosting from frozen, but the curry will still taste delicious.
You can either eat it as it is with a thinner sauce. Or you can transfer the sauce to the stove and heat over medium. Once it is warm, whisk 1 tablespoon cornstarch with ¼ cup cold water or broth and stir in. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes until the mixture has thickened. [Basically do the same thing you did when originally thickening the sauce.]
Yes, it can be! Depending on what "healthy" means to you, chicken apple curry can be a nutritious and delicious dinner. See below for some of the nutrition benefits of this recipe.
Each serving provides 28 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 24% RDA of potassium, 16% RDA of Vitamin C, and 11% RDA of iron.
Curry powder is full of spices that are anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants. For example, curcumin, a compound in turmeric, has been linked to numerous health benefits including cancer prevention, improvements in brain health, and anti-depressive effects.
Also, you get lots of fruits and veggies in this chicken curry -- about 1 to 1.5 cups per serving.
The protein in the chicken helps rebuild tissues in your body and keeps you satisfied. While the fiber from the veggies and apples aids in digestion.
What to Serve with Chicken Apple Curry
Personally, I like to serve this chicken curry over rice to soak up all the delicious sauce. However, you can serve it with whatever carbohydrate you like best; quinoa, polenta, and bread would all be great.
Even if you aren't a fan of adding fruit to savory dishes, you need to try this. The apples lend some sweetness to the curry and add another flavor dimension to the recipe.
This recipe is a definite keeper; plus, it's ready in under 45 minutes.
Chicken Apple Curry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 medium onions diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 3 small apples chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons curry powder
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups broth or water, divided
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 4 cups cooked rice for serving
- Heat oil over medium-high in a large skillet with high sides or Dutch oven. Stir in onions and celery, and sauté until softened, about 7 minutes.
- Stir in apples and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes. Push everything to the outside of the skillet.
- Put chicken in the middle of the skillet. Sprinkle everything with curry powder and salt. Cook for 3 minutes, then stir.
- Pour in 1 ¾ cup chicken broth, and scrape up any bits that have gotten stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Turn heat down to medium, and simmer for at least 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- About 5 minutes before ready to serve, whisk together cornstarch and the remaining ¼ cup broth until no lumps remain. Pour into skillet, stir, and simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 5-10 minutes.
- Serve warm over cooked brown rice with optional garnishes. Enjoy!
This post was originally published on November 13, 2012. Text, recipe, and photos have been updated.
Chicken Apple Curry Nutrition Facts
*Nutrition facts do not include rice or optional toppings.