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20 April 2018

A recipe for the popular spicy Indian dish, this spicy, tangy chicken vindaloo curry is a quick and easy kitchen staple. My version is wonderfully fiery, though you can easily adjust the heat and spice to your preference.

If you are a spicy food lover like I am, you need to give your taste buds a treat and try this amazing Chicken Vindaloo Recipe. It has everything a fiery food lover could want – Flavor, Heat, Spiciness, Pure Satisfaction.

It is most definitely one of my favorite recipes and it is super eat to whip together in the kitchen with very little effort and cooking time.

That’s a HUGE PLUS for a slow cook like me!

Chicken Vindaloo - Plated and Ready to Eat

What is Vindaloo?

“Vindaloo” is a popular Indian curry dish that calls for meat to be marinated in a highly flavorful spicy mixture with vinegar, then quickly cooked up when you’re ready to eat.

You can easily prepare it with several different meats – pork, goat, beef, even potato for a vegetarian version. I love it with chicken, particularly chicken thighs, which I’ve included here for this recipe.

Spicy Chicken Vindaloo - Plated and Read to Eat

How to Make Chicken Vindaloo (Recipe) – The Marinade

The vindaloo marinade is the most important part of this dish, as it imparts an immense amount of flavor that all of us spicy food lovers crave.

Vinegar is a MUST, as is garlic. From there, we’re adding in a number of pungent spices to make this amazing, including paprika, ginger, coriander, turmeric, mustard powder, cumin, cinnamon, and a healthy dose of spicy red chili flakes.

Don’t forget the salt and black pepper to taste.

Vindaloo curry powder in a bowl and on a measuring spoon.

Try this Homemade Vindaloo Seasoning Blend.

Upping the Heat and Spice Factor

For the wild chiliheads like ME, you can use ghost pepper chili flakes like I did. If ghost peppers are too hot for you, use the typical red chili flakes or cayenne pepper that you find in the store, which are perfectly GREAT for this recipe. 

You’ll definitely get plenty of heat with them, and I want this dish to please your personal palate, not mine! So go with a heat level you’re comfortable with.

You can also include a bit of sugar if you’d like, either white or brown sugar. I didn’t use them this time.

Whisk all of the seasonings together with the vinegar, then pour it over the skinless chicken in a bowl. Or, use a plastic bag that you can seal. This is your curry paste. The chicken should be cut into bite sized pieces.

Refrigerate the chicken for at least 1 hour, though you’ll get better results if you let it marinate overnight.

More marinade time = more flavor.

I like to whip this recipe together the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator until dinner time the next evening. It makes for a super quick and easy meal, though yeah, it does require a little bit of forethought.

Fiery Chicken Vindaloo - Served Over Rice

How to Make Chicken Vindaloo (Recipe) – The Method

Making authentic Chicken Vindaloo is simple. First, heat oil in a large skillet to medium high heat.

Next, cook down your onion and chili pepper a few minutes to soften them up. I used spicy serrano peppers here, though you can use milder peppers for a version with less heat.

Next, add the chicken (along with the marinade) and stir. Cook it for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Next, add in the tomato paste and cook stirring a bit, along with about 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth to form a sauce. Fresh diced tomatoes are also a nice addition here.

Let the whole pan simmer about 20 minutes, until the chicken cooks through and the flavors develop. You can let it simmer longer if you’d like.

If the sauce becomes too thick, just stir in a bit more water or broth until it reaches the consistency you prefer. It will thicken in the pan. It should be the consistency of a good gravy.

BOOM! DONE! Better than any Indian restaurant. It’s so deliciously fragrant. I love it. Such a great recipe. Indian food is filled with so much amazing spice and flavor.

For Serving

Serve it up over rice and garnish with some fresh herbs and extra spicy chili flakes. Basmati rice is a nice choice, as is a side of naan bread. Make it rain, my friends!

Spice this baby up! 

If it gets TOO spicy, serve it alongside this Traditional Indian Raita recipe, which is made from spiced yogurt. It has a nice cooling effect.

It really is an amazing dish. Give it a try and let me know how you like this curry recipe. How spicy did you make yours?

Send pics! I’d love to see them. Till next time!!! — Mike H.

Fiery Chicken Vindaloo - Get Yourself a Plate Now

Try Some of My Popular Curry Dish Recipes

Try Some of My Other Popular Chicken Dishes

If you try this recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #ChiliPepperMadness on Instagram so we can take a look. I always love to see all of your spicy inspirations.

4.96 from 22 votes
Chicken Vindaloo Recipe - A Spicy Indian Curry Dish
Chicken Vindaloo – Recipe
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
30 mins

A recipe for the popular spicy Indian dish, this spicy, tangy curry is a quick and easy kitchen staple. My version is wonderfully fiery, though you can easily adjust the heat and spice to your preference.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chicken, curry, recipe, spicy
Servings: 6
Calories: 346 kcal
Author: Mike Hultquist
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 2 serrano peppers chopped (or use Indian peppers if you can obtain them)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup white vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoon spicy red chili flakes I used ghost pepper flakes for an EXTRA kick
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
FOR SERVING: Cooked rice, fresh herbs, extra chili flakes
  1. Add the chicken to a large bowl.

  2. Mix your marinade by whisking together the vinegar and all of the seasonings. Pour it over the chicken and rub it into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Longer is better, such as overnight.
  3. Heat a large pan to medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and peppers and cook about 4-5 minutes, until they soften up.
  4. Add the chicken along with the marinade and cook another 5 minutes to nicely brown up the pieces.

  5. Add the tomato paste and cook another minute, stirring.
  6. Add ½ cup of water (or chicken broth for extra flavor) and stir until the mixture thins out and becomes a sauce. You can add more water if needed. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  7. Serve as is or over rice with fresh herbs and sprinkled chili flakes. Make it rain!
Recipe Notes

NOTES: This is definitely a hot and spicy dish. Some would say very hot, though you can dial back the heat by using milder chilies and going easy on the red chili flakes. If you're looking for an even HOTTER version, go with habanero peppers, or fiery ghost peppers, which will REALLY heat things up.

Gluten Free.

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Vindaloo – Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 346
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This recipe is gluten free.

Chicken Vindaloo - Recipe | #IndianCuisine #Curry #IndianFood #Spicy #SpicyFood
Chicken Vindaloo Recipe - A recipe for the popular spicy Indian dish, this spicy, tangy curry is a quick and easy kitchen staple. My version is wonderfully fiery, though you can easily adjust the heat and spice to your preference. #Vindaloo #Curry


  1. 5 stars
    I just finished making this, it was so good! I only had chicken breast but it worked out perfectly and we prefer white meat anyway. Thanks for the excellent recipe!

  2. Maria Dalton

    So good!!! definitely brings the heat!! First timer and will def be adding this to our dinner line up 🙂 . Thank you so much!!!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      All right! Thanks, Maria! Yeah, this is a good one. I love this recipe.

  3. Rick Starling

    5 stars
    Thank you. Beautiful dish. I did alter it a little. I added yogurt potatoes and a t of garam masala.

  4. 5 stars
    My favorite neighborhood Indian restaurant just closed down and I used to get the chicken vindaloo every week. I was craving it so I made this and it’s even better than the restaurant’s version. Great recipe. I used Hungarian hot paprika. Thanks-this was amazing.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      That’s great. T.R. Sorry to hear about the restaurant closing, but glad you found a good replacement! I greatly appreciate the comments!

  5. 5 stars
    Added a red pepper for a little more substance but my gosh, this recipe knocks it out the park. Thank you very much, in now infamous in my family for making a fiery but tastey curry. Thank you very much.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      That’s GREAT to hear, Rich! I love this. Helping to make people famous! =)

  6. 5 stars
    Just made the milder recipie, I definately reccomend it! Go for the full 24 hour marinade, it turned out perfectly! I went with serranos too, but I think I will use fresnos next time.

    Try this with poppadoms for dipping!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, LKD! Very glad you enjoyed it! It’s one of my favorites. I get requests for it all the time.

  7. 5 stars
    My new go to recipe. Tastes amazing. The vinegar definitely gives it a new dimension. Also added some potatoes and half tomatoes. Swapped in some scotch bonnets for real fire and added a little yoghurt with the marinade. Really impressed. Don’t know if this is my imagination but are the ingredients similar to Naga curry? Swear it’s got a similar taste. Also a favourite of mine. I make a big pot and freeze. Just run out tonight, hence back on here.

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Dan. I appreciate it! I do love vindaloo. It can be similar to Naga curry, which uses Naga Jolokias, I believe. Both can get quite hot!

  8. 5 stars
    So I cooked this following your recipe almost exactly, which I’m not usually good at doing! Apart from adding a pinch of sugar ,and I must agree with the other comments on this page it WAS amazing. I usually like a madras heat kinda curry but this is definitely going on the regular menu in our house ….. happy????

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks so much, Mark and Claire! Super happy you enjoyed it! This is one of my wife’s favorites. She requests it all the time. I have to keep a big batch of Vindaloo Curry Powder in my cupboard just for her. =)

  9. 5 stars
    This was the best Indian recipe I’ve ever cooked! I wish I had a pic to send you but we devoured it instantly! I have to say I toned it down quite a lot because the Greek palate is not accustomed to such heat levels. I used dried Cascabel peppers, which I absolutely adore, instead of Serrano and hardly any chili flakes. Next time I’ll use more chili to train myself and the family. Thanks a lot for this one!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Outstanding, Roula! I’m super happy you enjoyed it. Isn’t it great that you can adjust the recipe to your preferred heat level? Thanks for sharing!!

  10. 5 stars
    Very good, I only used a prepared vindaloo spice no red chili flakes or fresh hot peppers. My kids love curry and somewhat spicy food so I wanted to see if it would be a tolerable spice level for them. It was not, though my 8 year old enjoyed the taste it was too spicy. But my husbànd and I really enjoyed it. I added potatoes and a ton of cilantro. I also used more chicken broth as I like my curries very saucy. Easy and will make again!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Excellent, Alison! So happy you enjoyed it! Yes, this one can definitely get spicy.

  11. 5 stars
    This is a fantastic recipe! I use it as a base for most Curry’s i make, balanced but with a real kick.

    I tend to mix up the bulk ingredients, changing out half the weight of the chicken for potatoes/mushrooms or cauliflower.

    Great stuff!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Thanks, Joe! I love the addition of the veggies. Quite delicious!

  12. How many tsp of the pre-made vindaloo spice mix would you use for the marinade?

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      I would use 4-6 teaspoons or more, depending on how pronounced the flavor you are looking for. Let me know how it turns out for you. Enjoy!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Melanie, I used yellow mustard powder for this recipe.

  13. Robert E. Breeding Caramazza

    5 stars
    I live in Costa Rica. I used a Panamanian pepper (only one) to scale back the heat a bit for my wife and daughter. That’s about 1/2 of the heat 2 Serranos would give you (Panamanian chilies have about 2-3 times the heat of a jalapeño or about the heat of one serrano …and have a nice flavor) …and I ended up adding some more heat with some sriracha sauce late in the game …and, a bit of (coconut) sugar, and some diced tomatoes (as suggested in the intro to the recipe.) Otherwise …with the exception of a bit more cooking time …I closely followed the recipe.

    All 3 of us had second helpings! And, this “chicken vindaloo” recipes is on our “make again” list. It’s an adventure in taste we will return to again.

    5 STARS. Thanks for sharing!!!

    We all started off eating a bit confused …unsure of what this was. But …the more we ate the more we liked it! And all 3 of use had seconds

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      That’s GREAT, Robert! I’m glad you took a leap and found a new recipe for the house! I hope it makes it into your regular rotation. Enjoy!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Todd, you can include potatoes in the recipe. I discuss that in the post. Potatoes are AWESOME here!

  14. 5 stars
    Great recipe, great flavor! I used skinless, boneless chicken breasts, a little less flavor than thighs but I’m too lazy to deal with bones! Marinade overnight for the best infusion and like many Indian / spicy foods tastes even better the next day after cooking. Fantastic!
    Personally I would always use fresh ginger, powered insn’t really an ideal substitute. Can’t wait to make this again when I will sub half the hot chili flakes with ghost pepper flakes – hmm spicy!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Outstanding, Scott! Thanks! Super happy you enjoyed it!

  15. Hi Michael, I’m going to make this today. Do you mean fresh root ginger or ground ginger? Thanks 🙂

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      I used dried ginger, Gill, but you can use fresh. I hope you like it!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Terrie, the list of spices used in the recipes make up a homemade curry blend, essentially. No need to buy a pre-mixed curry in this recipe.

  16. 4 stars
    When you say “Add the chicken”, do you include the marinade or do you take the chicken out of the marinade [And toss all that good marinade flavour?]

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      5 stars
      Mike, add the marinade with the chicken as well. Super delicious! Enjoy.

  17. 5 stars
    Yum! This chicken sounds absolutely wonderful with all those spices! Ghost peppers would definitely heat things up!

    1. Michael Hultquist - Chili Pepper Madness

      Absolutely! Vindaloo is normally quite hot, but it is very adjustable. I hope you enjoy it!

  18. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I was concerned with all the spices and the vinegar and the heat but wow it was so flavorful. I followed your recipe exactly and it had the right amount of heat. I will definitely make this again and again. Thank you!

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