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Yellow Curry Paste | Simply Homemade Delicious

Homemade Yellow Curry Paste in a bowl
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My Home­made Yel­low Cur­ry Paste is thick, savory and lus­cious. It has a slight­ly spicy kick, but it’s not over the top, and there are beau­ti­ful cit­rus notes to com­ple­ment the fla­vor­ful herbs and spices. 

Like so many eth­nic recipes that are cooked in the Unit­ed States, I can’t call this cur­ry paste tra­di­tion­al or even attach it to a spe­cif­ic cul­ture. It is an Amer­i­can­ized ver­sion of yel­low cur­ry paste, for sure. 

I hap­pen to believe it will become a sta­ple in your kitchen. My yel­low cur­ry paste is the must-have fla­vor base to turn your favorite chick­en, fish and veg­etable cur­ries into some­thing scrump­tious­ly extraordinary. 

You guys, seri­ous­ly, it’s SO good! Enjoy!

Roasting the Vegetables for Maximum Flavor

red onions, garlic, and ginger

Onions, gar­lic and fresh gin­ger are just one piece of build­ing the fla­vor explo­sion of home­made yel­low cur­ry paste. And when you roast those veg­gies, the sweet, nut­ty, caramelized fla­vors are even more pro­nounced and beau­ti­ful! It’s easy to roast them to extract max­i­mum fla­vor. Here’s how to do it.

Pre­heat the oven to 400°.

Prep all the veg­gies first. Remove the out­er paper from the onion and quar­ter it.

red onion quartered and drizzled with oil

Slice the very top off each head of gar­lic, so the inside is just show­ing through.

heads of garlic with the tops removed and drizzled with oil for roasting.  Roasted garlic adds wonderful savory dimension to homemade yellow curry paste.

Use the edge of a spoon to peel the stick of fresh ginger.

peeling fresh ginger with the edge of a spoon
peeled fresh ginger drizzled with oil ready for roasting

Tear off a sep­a­rate sheet of foil for each veg­etable. Place it on the foil and driz­zle with avo­ca­do or olive oil. Pull the foil closed tight around each veg­etable and place all 3 foil pack­ets on a bak­ing sheet. Bake in the pre­heat­ed oven for 30 minutes.

Creating Homemade Yellow Curry Paste

Now that the veg­gies are roast­ed, you can assem­ble your deli­cious yel­low cur­ry paste.

Pull out your *food proces­sor or *high speed blender for this task. I start by grind­ing the pep­pers with the salt, turmer­ic and cur­ry pow­der. Next, comes the cilantro with the lemon juice and zest. (Remem­ber, zest your lemons before juic­ing them.)

cilantro, lemon zest and lemon juice added to food processor to make homemade yellow curry paste

Then I top it all off with the roast­ed onions, gar­lic and gin­ger. (Now, that they’re roast­ed, the gar­lic will eas­i­ly squeeze out of each indi­vid­ual clove. Hold the clove from the bot­tom and squeeze the gar­lic through the open­ing you cut earlier.)

blending roasted onions, ginger and garlic in a food processor with cilantro and lemon to make homemade yellow curry paste

Puree every­thing until it’s well com­bined and has formed a thick, aro­mat­ic paste. There will be lit­tle flecks of cilantro and pep­pers run­ning through­out, but they should be small. Home­made Yel­low Cur­ry Paste is thick and burst­ing with fla­vor. See how good you are! It looks delicious!

homemade yellow curry paste

This is Not Traditional Homemade Yellow Curry Paste 

If you read a tra­di­tion­al yel­low cur­ry paste recipe, it will call for Thai chili pep­pers, prob­a­bly shal­lots and def­i­nite­ly lemon grass. I can only imag­ine that it tastes fan­tas­tic when it’s complete.

My real­i­ty is that I don’t have access to Thai chili pep­pers and lemon­grass with out mak­ing a 40–50 mile round trip. We live in small-town Amer­i­ca where there are always onions in my pantry and almost nev­er shal­lots. So, I chose my ingre­di­ents to fit my life and the tastes of my family. 

I have def­i­nite­ly fused Mid­west Amer­i­can ingre­di­ents with some oth­er more tra­di­tion­al Asian fla­vors and cre­at­ed a hybrid that my fam­i­ly and I absolute­ly love. I hope you will, too!

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Yellow Curry Paste in a clear glass bowl

Homemade Yellow Curry Paste

  • Author: Glen­da Embree
  • Total Time: 45 min­utes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x


Fla­vor­ful, aro­mat­ic and utter­ly deli­cious!  This sauce/paste will make your cur­ry recipes pop with flavor.


Units Scale
  • 1 large red onion
  • 4 large heads (not cloves) of garlic
  • 4- to 5‑inch piece of fresh ginger
  • 8-12 Ser­ra­no chili pep­pers, (I only remove the stems. Every­thing else goes in. 12 is def­i­nite­ly quite a bit spici­er than 8, so go accord­ing to your own taste.)
  • 5 tea­spoons salt
  • 2-3 Table­spoons turmer­ic, to your taste
  • 2-3 Table­spoons cur­ry pow­der, (mild not spicy), to your taste
  • 1 Table­spoon dried coriander
  • zest and juice of 2 large lemons
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves and stems, loose­ly packed


  1. Pre­heat the oven to 400°. 
  2. Lay out a square of foil large enough to be able to wrap the onion, gin­ger and gar­lic individually.
  3. Prep all the veg­gies first. Remove the out­er paper from the onion and quar­ter it.  Place it on a square of foil and driz­zle with 1 Table­spoon of avo­ca­do or olive oil.  Close the foil around the onion to form a sealed packet.
  4. Slice the very top off each head of gar­lic, so the inside is just show­ing through on the top.  Place all the heads on a square of foil and driz­zle with 1 Table­spoon of avo­ca­do or olive oil.  Close the foil around the gar­lic heads to form a sealed packet.
  5. Use a spoon to peel the gin­ger.  Place the peeled gin­ger onto a square of foil and driz­zle with 1 Table­spoon of avo­ca­do or olive oil.  Close the foil around the gin­ger to form a sealed packet.
  6. Place all three pack­ets on a bak­ing sheet and roast at 400° for 30 minutes.
  7. While those are roast­ing, zest the lemons and then juice them.
  8. Grind/puree the pep­pers, salt, turmer­ic and cur­ry pow­der in the food proces­sor (or high speed blender).
  9. Add the zest, lemon juice and cilantro to the food proces­sor and con­tin­ue to puree every­thing together.
  10. When the roast­ing pack­ets are removed from the oven, the onion and gin­ger will be sim­ple to move to the food proces­sor.  Toss them in.
  11. Squeeze the gar­lic from each indi­vid­ual clove of roast­ed gar­lic.  You may want to allow them to cool just a lit­tle, first, so it’s comfortable.
  12. Once all the gar­lic is in the proces­sor, puree every­thing until it is com­plete­ly com­bined and a thick paste has formed.
  13. Use in your favorite cur­ry dish­es.  This makes a good-sized batch.  I use what I need that time and store the rest in the fridge.  If I don’t plan on using it again, for awhile,  I usu­al­ly divide the remain­der into small con­tain­ers and freeze it. 



This freezes real­ly well and one batch will make mul­ti­ple cur­ry recipes.  It will depend on the recipe and how many you are cook­ing for, how much you use each time.

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Cat­e­go­ry: Sauce, Condi­ments, Flavorings
  • Method: Roast­ing
  • Cui­sine: Asian/American

More Homemade Sauces & Condiments to Try

5‑Minute Stir-Fry and Dip­ping Sauce

5-minute stir fry and dipping sauce

Home­made Avo­ca­do Ranch Dressing

homemade avocado ranch dressing

Home­made Ketchup

Chimichur­ri Sauce

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