Can I Use Red Curry Paste Instead Of Green?

If you love and appreciate good food and are invested in learning how to cook, you should know that substituting ingredients is quite common.

Moreso, those familiar with Thai recipes would realize that Thai curry paste makes a massive difference in the taste quality of your meal, especially when you’re trying out Thai cuisine.

While the different curry pastes are essential to Thai and some Asian cuisines, you might start to wonder if there might be an alternative or substitute for any of the paste in your meal.

While no one would wake up and deliberately try to defy Thai cuisines in attempting to replace the role of any of the Thai curry in the dish, quite a few reasons might lead you to want to try substitutes for Curry paste in your Thai dish.Red Curry Paste

For example, you might be in a location where you don’t have access to some of the curry paste ingredients. In this case, the best thing to do would be to opt for a substitute.

Keep reading to learn about possible ingredients that could substitute the curry paste in classic Thai dishes.

Can I Use Red Curry Paste Instead Of Green?

Unless you’re rigid on your ingredients and how you choose to make your food, there’s nothing wrong with swapping green paste with red paste.

So, yes. You can use green paste instead of red paste in your Thai meal. The truth is, one key element of a good chef is that they are never scared or hesitant to try out new things when it comes to cooking for themselves or their families.

The goal of a chef is always to make a delicious meal, whether or not their ingredients are complete. They never cease to make magic out of the ingredients they find around them, and that’s what you should do.

If, for some reason, you can’t lay your hands on green curry paste, and all you have in the house is the red curry paste, feel free to use the red paste instead. However, you have to be careful.

Although some people believe the green paste is hotter and spicier than the red paste, it’s no doubt that it is spicy. So, you should know how spicy a red paste is before you cook with it. Also, here’s a secret; you can use both curry paste interchangeably.

What Is The Difference Between Red And Green Curry Paste?

There are quite a few differences between Red and Green Curry paste. But the first noticeable difference between the two curry pastes is their color.

For starters, the red paste is called so because the red chili pepper gave it a red color. The same goes for the green paste. Green paste uses fresh, green chilies. Another difference between green and red curry paste is the heat intensity and spiciness.

Truthfully, some chefs make red curry hotter than green curry. Nevertheless, most chefs regard green curry paste as the hotter and spiciest curry of the three curries.

The green curry paste secures its space as the spiciest Thai curry because of the blend of ingredients that creates it. More so, the ingredients are aromatic, making the curry give off a delightful smell.

It would seem like the majority of food lovers worldwide do not consider red curry paste as the spiciest because there are two ways to tone down the spiciness and make it very mild.

Feel free to tone it down with coconut milk if the spice in green curry paste is too much. On the other hand, the red paste is also spicy, but it varies, depending on how the chef cooks it.

For starters, you could deploy coconut milk. But if you feel the need to tone it down further, you’ll need to get rid of the inner white flesh and the seed in the red chilies you use.

Can I Substitute Red Curry Paste FOR Yellow?

Yes, you can substitute red curry paste for yellow paste. However, you’ll require skill because while the yellow paste is mild, the red curry paste is spicy.

Frankly, you’re using yellow curry paste in your meal, not only because of its flavor or the turmeric in it but because of its mild nature.

Being the mildest of the curry pastes, most people with zero tolerance for spicy food would prefer to use this paste for cooking their meals.

Now that you need to substitute the classic mild yellow paste for the red paste, you’ll have to deploy every measure to get rid of the spiciness to taste as mild as the yellow paste.

An easy way to do this, especially after getting rid of chili seeds, is to cook the paste in coconut cream. That way, you’ll drastically tone down the spiciness in the red paste.

Once you’ve achieved making red curry paste as mild as yellow paste, you can now use it the same way you use your yellow paste.

Nevertheless, you won’t successfully cook the tone down the spiciness in a red paste by just throwing it into the coconut cream. You’ll need tactics that you can get from professional chefs.

Can I Substitute Red Curry Paste For HARISSA?

If you’ve come across a recipe that you’ll love to try but requires harissa paste, you will start to wonder if there’s a substitute for it, especially if you’re not a fan of spicy food.

The truth about harissa is that it is spicier than green and red paste combined. It is hotter and spicier than red and green curry paste.

So, yes. You can substitute red curry paste for harrisa. We highly recommend this, especially if harissa is too hot and spicy for you.

The best part is that harissa is not too different in taste from curry pastes in general. Unless you know how to tone down the heat and spice in harissa, kindly stick to red curry paste as a substitute.

There are other substitutes for harissa besides the red curry paste. If there’s no red curry paste in the house, feel free to substitute it with either red pepper flakes or Sriracha.

Those are easy-to-find ingredients, and they’ll save you from the wrath of the harissa paste.

What Can I Use If I Don’t Have Green Curry Paste?

Sometimes, we crave certain meals and cuisines. But the fact that we lack some of the major ingredients could dissuade us from pulling off the dishes.

However, thanks to the flexibility of top chefs, we have learned to be as flexible as possible with recipes. Hence, it’s no problem if you don’t have green curry paste, but the recipe you want to try is one of the major ingredients.

You can quickly resort to trying out the recipes with another substitute. A worthy replacement that you can try is curry powder. While curry powder would give the meal a different taste than it should have with a green curry paste, you’ll still be on track with it.

Curry powder gives you that curry taste that you’d get from your green curry paste. If you want to try a paste, you can quickly try other curry pastes. For instance, using red curry paste is not a bad idea.

The reason is that both red curry paste and green curry paste can be used interchangeably because they are both spicy, although green curry paste is a lot spicier than red curry paste.

You can also try other substitute curry paste such as Massaman or Yellow curry paste. The only issue is that if you’re particular about the spiciness you’d get from the green curry paste, you’ll have to find a way to get it back if the option you’ll opt for is a Yellow curry paste.

Are Red Curry Paste And Red Curry Sauce The Same?

No, red curry sauce and red curry paste are not the same thing. You can create a red curry sauce from a red curry paste.

Of course, you’ll need a recipe to make it work. But the point is, red curry sauce and red curry paste are two different ingredients.

Nevertheless, in some recipes, you can substitute red curry sauce for red curry paste. But that only works with specific recipes. More so, red curry sauce may turn out a lot hotter and spicier than red curry paste because their ingredients differ.

Can I Substitute Red Curry Sauce For Red Curry Paste

Not really. The reason is that you’ll need red curry paste to make the red curry sauce. Red curry sauce includes specific ingredients that are not originally in red curry paste.

So, if you’ll substitute red curry sauce for red curry paste when you run out of the paste, you can only do it with certain types of meals. Rather than use red curry sauce as a red curry paste substitute, you can use any packaged hot curry sauces from the supermarket or use curry powder.


Cooking is a beautiful adventure, and there is no one-size-fits-all for specific recipes. If you do not have all the ingredients you need to make magic out of a recipe, feel free to substitute certain ingredients for another, especially for cuisines that require curry paste.

With this article, we hope you will no longer allow the lack of certain ingredients to stop you from trying out some delicious Thai cuisine.