Is panang curry the same as red curry?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “Is panang curry the same as red curry?”, and list down their differences. We will also mention some different types of curries and tell you what’s the best way to eat Thai curry.

Is panang curry the same as red curry?

No, panang curry is not the same as red curry. They are both often mistaken for each other because of their red color but they have a couple of differences. They differ in consistencies, flavor, heat level, and ingredients.

What is the difference between panang curry and red curry?

Red curry is a dish of Thai cuisine while panang curry gets its name from a place in Malaysia.

Red curry has red chili peppers as its main ingredient. Sometimes some people like to add paprika or cayenne pepper to it to make it more ‘red’ and spicy. It is one of the hottest curries in Thai cuisine.

On the other hand, penang curry is milder. It is still spicy as it also contains red chili peppers, but not as spicy as red curry. It contains peanuts which mainly differentiates it from red curry. There are no nuts in red curry.

Due to the peanuts, penang curry has a more sweeter, nutty, and earthy flavor. Penang curry is often paired with coconut cream which gives it a thick, smooth and rich texture. While red curry is often made with coconut milk which is why it is more runny and has a thinner consistency.

Red curry is often made with chicken in it while penang curry goes better with beef.

So, to sum it up, we will briefly list the differences in this table.

Red CurryPenang Curry
Very spicyLess spicy
Thinner consistencyThicker consistency
No peanutsPeanuts 
Not sweetSweet 

What are some other types of Thai curries?

Besides red curry and panang curry, there are a lot of different types of Thai curries. We will list down the most popular ones.

  • Green curry: The main ingredient in thai green curry are green chillies. Green chillies mixed with fresh coriander give the curry its vibrant green color. The other ingredients that are usually added are lemongrass, vegetables, and sauces. It is one of the most popular curries. Proteins such as beef, chicken, or prawns are also used. 
  • Yellow curry: Yellow curry gets its color from ground turmeric. Coconut milk is added to give the curry a nice texture. Fish sauce, curry paste, and chili peppers are also used. Chicken usually goes best with thai yellow curry. Other ingredients like ginger and garlic are also added to further enhance the taste.
  • Massaman curry: Massaman curry is a bit milder than other types of curries. It contains ingredients like those used in Indian style curries for example cardamom and cinnamon.

How do you eat Thai curry?

Thai curry can be eaten on its own, with a side dish, or some dipping sauce. Since Thai curry is often very spicy, people do not prefer eating it on its own. Take a look at some best ways to eat Thai curry:


Plain steamed rice covered with curry is an excellent way of having curry. If you do not want plain steamed rice, then have the curry with garlic rice or vegetable fried rice.


Well curry can be eaten with additional sauces to elevate the flavor even further. As explained above, mint yogurt raita is one of them. Other than this, you can have yogurt mixed with cucumbers, salt, and some black pepper.


Potatoes are very versatile and can be used with almost any dish. You can have roasted baby potatoes with curry or mashed potatoes.


You can use roasted vegetables or steamed vegetables as a side dish for curries. Not only will they add flavor, they will also make the curry feel less spicy. You can use roasted asparagus, broccoli, carrots, and potatoes.

On its own

If you do not want to eat Thai curry with a side dish, grab a spoon and a fork and dig in! Do not use chopsticks as it can get messy.

Learn how to make a perfect curry here.

Other FAQs about Curry  that you may be interested in.

Is McCormick curry powder spicy?

Is panang curry the same as red curry?

Is red curry paste good for you?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “Is panang curry the same as red curry?”, and listed down their differences. We also mentioned some different types of curries and told you what’s the best way to eat Thai curry.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.