post featured image

Coconut Braised Beef

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Jump to Recipe

Coconut Braised Beef

post featured image

Coconut braised beef is an easy and delicious one pan meal! Tender beef chuck simmered in a red curry coconut broth served with rice and fresh herbs.

This is the perfect recipe to enjoy on a cozy night in! Braised beef is the perfect comfort food and this version with a rich coconut curry sauce is to die for. Fragrant red curry paste adds a bit of heat and a whole lot of flavor.

Serve over steamed rice with fresh herbs and a bit of lime for a meal that’s as easy as it is exciting!

Coconut Braised Beef

If you love Thai food, you’re going to love the Thai-inspired flavors of this Coconut Braised Beef! The beef chuck is ultra-tender in a red curry coconut broth. Aromatics like lemongrass, ginger, and makrut lime leaves give this hearty stew a fresh flavor.

Beef braises like my red wine braised beef or classic beef bourguignon are my favorite types of comfort food! This recipe for coconut braised beef is no different and definitely a new favorite.

I love Thai food and so this Thai-inspired coconut braised beef recipe is perfect for chilly nights when you want a warming and cozy dinner full of flavor.

You can easily customize this recipe by adding veggies to the pot at the end for a complete meal. If you prefer chicken, check out my Coconut Braised Chicken recipe instead!

Coconut Braised Beef

Why You’ll Love this Recipe

Easy – This is not an involved recipe! A bit of chopping and simmering and then the oven does most of the work. It’s a bit of up front work while being mostly hands-off leaving you free to work on other things.

Budget friendly – Beef chuck is an affordable cut of meat that feeds a crowd! Coconut Braised Beef feels impressive while still being low effort and low cost.

One Pot – I love an easy dinner that all comes together in one pot! All the searing, sautéing, and braising is one in one dutch oven or braiser that goes straight from stovetop to oven. No muss, no fuss!

How to Make Coconut Braised Beef

Coconut braised beef couldn’t be simpler to make but as with all my braising recipes, I recommend investing in a dutch oven. Dutch ovens distribute heat evenly while being oven-safe. It’s a huge work horse in our kitchen!

Tools Needed

Ingredients and Substitutions

  • Beef chuck. Use a quality beef chuck for this recipe. You could also use beef stew meat or brisket.
  • Red curry paste. Head to your local Asian market or well-stocked grocery store for Thai red or panage curry paste. My favorite brand is Mae Ploy.
  • Coconut Milk. Full-fat canned coconut milk, not coconut milk for drinking.
  • Lemongrass. Use smashed stalks of lemongrass for fresh flavor. You could also use lemongrass paste.
  • Ginger and garlic. Fresh minced ginger and garlic bolster flavor for the curry paste.
  • Lime leaves. Makrut lime leaves add so much flavor to the curry sauce. Find these in the produce section of your local Asian market.
  • Palm sugar. Palm sugar is a sweetener derived from any variety of palm tree used often in Thai cooking. You could also swap in brown sugar.
  • Veggies. I like adding onion and carrots but you could also add potatoes or types of squash and pumpkin. You could also add green veggies like broccoli or snow peas right at the end of cooking.

The Process

  1. Chop and sear the beef. Cut your beef chuck into 2 inch cubes and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the beef until browned on all sides. Remove from the pot using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Depending on the size of your dutch oven, you may need to do this in batches.
  2. Saute the aromatics. Reduce the heat to medium and add the serranos, ginger, garlic, smashed lemongrass, turmeric, lime leaves, and curry paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often until very fragrant.
  3. Build the sauce. Add the water and coconut milk to the pot and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring so that the curry paste is well-incorporated. Add the sugar and fish sauce and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Season the broth to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Transfer to oven. Add the beef and any juices back to the pot with the chopped onion and carrot, cover, and transfer to the oven. Braised for 2.5 – 3 hours until the beef is very tender. Remove from the oven, discard the lemongrass and lime leaves, and rest 30 minutes before serving.

Best Cuts of Beef for Coconut Braised Beef

Using the perfect cut of beef for coconut braised beef is essential! You want a cut that has enough fat and marbling to make it flavorful and keep it from drying out. Below are my favorites:

Beef Chuck – A humble and flavorful cut, beef chuck is so perfect for braising. A chuck roast is usually known as the cut your parents used for pot roast, a large triangular cut from the chuck of the cow. Its well marbled with fat, which prevents it from drying out during low-and-slow cooking. It’s economical and full of beefy flavor.

Brisket – Brisket is another one of my favorite cuts for braising! It’s also fairly cheap and economical and packed with flavor. The brisket is a long cut from the breast/chest of the cow and is sectioned into two parts: the flat and the point.

The flat has a layer of fat running across the top, but it is just that: a flat square piece of meat. It’s great for braising. The point is more pointed in shape and has a much higher fat content. Both work well, but if you’re using the point, plan to trim some of the excess fat away.

Storage Instructions

In the event that you have leftovers, Coconut Braised Beef is easy to store and freeze!

To store: Let the beef and sauce cool to room temperature and store in an airtight container for 4-6 days in the fridge.

Freezing Coconut Braised Beef: This is an easy recipe to freeze! Let the beef and liquid cool to room temperature and then store in a freezer-safe ziplock bag. Try to press most of the air out of the bag while sealing, this helps prevent freezer burn. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.

Reheating: Coconut braised beef is best reheated in a skillet or dutch oven. Add the beef and liquid to a dutch oven or skillet, adding a little extra broth or coconut milk as needed. Cover and simmer on low until the beef is tender and warmed through.

Coconut Braised Beef

Coconut Braised Beef FAQs

Is coconut braised beef gluten-free?

Yes! This recipe is naturally gluten-free, just double check that your coconut milk isn’t thickened with gluten.

Can I use refrigerated boxed coconut milk?

No, the coconut milk sold as a beverage is thinner and has much less fat than the canned stuff making it not suitable for this recipe. Use the full-fat canned coconut milk found in the Asian aisle of your grocery store or at your local Asian market. My favorite brand is arroy-d.

What does coconut milk do to the meat?

Coconut milk tenderizes the beef as it cooks resulting in a super tender and delicious beef stew.

Should I use canned coconut milk or coconut cream in coconut braised beef?

Coconut cream is much thicker than coconut milk, but can be used! I would use one can of each if you want your sauce to be thicker.


The next time you need an easy but impressive dinner, give this Coconut Braised Beef a try! It’s delicious and comforting, and absolutely packed with flavor. If you do give it a try, be sure to let me know! Leave a comment with a star rating below. Be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter and never miss a new recipe! You can also snap a photo & tag @JENNYGOYCOCHEA on Instagram. I LOVE hearing about & seeing your SMF creations!

More Asian-Inspired Recipes to Try Now

Chicken Khao Soi
Thai Basil Chicken
Quick Chicken Pho
Beef Ramen Noodle Soup

This post may contain affiliate links from which I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links allow me to keep providing great recipes for free and I never recommend products that I don’t love and personally own.

Coconut Braised Beef
Main Dishes

Coconut Braised Beef

Coconut braised beef is an easy and delicious one pan meal! Tender beef chuck simmered in a red curry coconut broth served with rice and fresh herbs.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 20 minutes
Makes: 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil
  • 3 lbs beef chuck
  • 1 lemongrass stalk, cut into pieces and lightly smashed
  • 2 serranos, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 6 makrut lime leaves
  • 1/4 cup red curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 – 15 oz cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup palm sugar, or brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • Steamed rice, cilantro, lime, and chili oil for serving

Instructions

  • Preheat an oven to 350 F.
  • Chop and sear the beef. Cut your beef chuck into 2 inch cubes and season liberally with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear the beef until browned on all sides. Remove from the pot using a slotted spoon and transfer to a plate. Depending on the size of your dutch oven, you may need to do this in batches.
  • Saute the aromatics. Reduce the heat to medium and add the serranos, ginger, garlic, smashed lemongrass, turmeric, lime leaves, and curry paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often until very fragrant.
  • Build the sauce. Add the water and coconut milk to the pot and bring to a gentle simmer, stirring so that the curry paste is well-incorporated. Add the sugar and fish sauce and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Season the broth to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Transfer to oven. Add the beef and any juices back to the pot with the chopped onion and carrot, cover, and transfer to the oven. Braised for 2.5 – 3 hours until the beef is very tender. Remove from the oven, discard the lemongrass and lime leaves, and rest 30 minutes before serving. Serve over steamed rice with cilantro, limes and chili oil on top.

Did you make this recipe?

SHARE YOUR COOKING ADVENTURES Tag @jennygoycochea on instagram

You might also like...

Rate & Review This Recipe

5 from 20 votes (15 ratings without comment)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *






  1. 5 stars
    Holy cow was this AMAZING! Couldn’t find lime leaves or lemongrass so I just used the zest from two limes and the flavor was amazing! I was expected for the sauce, but after braising it, most of the liquid was gone and it looked like only grease was left. Any suggestions?

    • I would make sure you’re using a pot with a tight fitting lid when it goes into the oven so that you don’t lose sauce through evaporation. If you want the beef saucier, you could also add more coconut milk.

  2. 5 stars
    Just made this tonight. The flavors are amazing! I was surprised though to find about a cup of oil floating on top when I took it out of the oven but I was eventually able to remove most of it with a spoon. My beef was pretty lean. Is the oil from the coconut milk? Just a minor thing b/c everything else about the dish is wonderful! I will definitely make it again. Thank you for the recipe!

    • Wynne, that usually hasn’t been my experience. It could be the particular coconut milk you used (or your oven runs a little hot!). A little oil on top is to be expected, but not a cup’s worth.

  3. 3 hours in and my chuck beef still isn’t tender… Not sure if I cut it incorrectly? Against the grain? Not against the grain? Not sure if that matters, but I’m leaving it in the oven for a couple more hours and hoping for the best.

    • I really need more information to be able to diagnose a potential problem. Did you use beef chuck? How big are the pieces? Have you calibrated your oven temperature to make sure it’s accurate? For instance, my oven runs about 15 degrees cooler than the posted temperature. Are you at high altitude? I’ve had readers in colorado tell me that the beef took longer to cook at altitude. Sometimes beef takes 3-4 hours, but I would check every 20 minutes or so. I would not just “let it go for a few more hours” (unless you’re at altitude), because overcooking beef braises is a real thing too. Also let the beef rest in the juices for 20 minutes or so. Hope that helps–would love to give insight but I need a bit more to go on before I make recommendations.

  4. 5 stars
    This recipe was AMAZING!! I didn’t have the lime leaves & only had 1 can of coconut milk but it was still so tasty & my friends all loved it. Will definitely be adding to my list of favorite recipes & already shared the link with my friends. I don’t usually cook much beef (besides a good steak every once in a while) so searing & braising beef was new territory for me. The instructions were great & the meat came out super tender, flavorful & there was still a crispy sear on the outside that I found quite tasty. I’ll probably be making this one again in a few weeks.

  5. We live at high altitude, made this tonight, but there was hardly any broth. Followed recipe exactly. Do we need more coconut milk & water for our area?

    • I’m not super familiar with high altitude cooking, but in order recipes readers have mentioned that the cook time can almost double so my guess is that more of the liquid evaporated during the extended cooking time. Depending on how saucy you like the beef, you could double the liquid ingredients and add a bit extra curry paste. Hope that helps!

  6. Any tips on adapting this to an Instant Pot? Not sure if the 2 cans of coconut milk + 1 cup water would be too much liquid, but also don’t want to compromise on taste.

    • Hi Myra!

      Skip the water for the slow cooker, but keep all the coconut milk. It’ll probably be a little saucier, but it’s okay!

  7. 5 stars
    I stumbled across your site while searching for a recipe and I’m so impressed by your recipes and Photography.
    And…. I tried this recipe last night – the first from your site for me – and it was so good! Amazing!
    Can’t wait to try some more soon

  8. 5 stars
    Made as instructed. Soooooo good! eating it right now. And it’s so good. Husband is going in for thirds! It’s like Thai food meets homey pot roast-ish food and I love it.