Instant Pot Pumpkin Curry

Creamy, spicy, tangy – this curry is everything I want on a cold winter day.

Like most American kids, my first encounter with pumpkin was in pumpkin pie. Unlike most American kids, it didn’t leave a strong impression on me. I’d happily take a slice if you offered me one, but if it were one or the other, I’d pick its pecan cousin every time.

It wasn’t until I visited my first Thai restaurant that I realized how much I was missing out. I was so enthralled with the way the squash melted into the spicy coconut milk that when I started cooking for myself, pumpkin curry was one of the first dishes I tried to make. However, my attempts to adapt it for weeknight dinner were stumped by squash that remained unpleasantly hard, even after 30 minutes of simmering.

Enter the Instant Pot. Ten minutes under high pressure, and voila! Luscious, melty pumpkin. These days, this dish is one of my go-to recipes for the chilly season. I’ve included a version with roasted salmon and kabocha, a Japanese pumpkin with stripey green skin and sunrise-orange flesh, but it can easily be adapted to your tastes. When the leaves start to turn and everyone lines up for pumpkin spice lattes, you can find me at home making pumpkin spice curry.




Total Time

30 min

Active Time

10 min


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. (I use my toaster oven for this, so it takes all of 5 minutes, but if you’re using a conventional oven you can use this time to prep ingredients for the curry).
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray with olive oil, then place the salmon fillet in the middle. Sprinkle the fillet with salt and pepper and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until your salmon flakes easily with a fork and registers at least 125 degrees at the thickest part.
  3. Chop the salmon into 1-2” chunks, then set aside until the curry is done.


  1. Rinse the outside of the kabocha and remove the seeds, then pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes to soften. After that, use a sharp, durable knife to chop it into roughly 1” chunks.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to Sauté on high and add the vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion and the 1/2 tsp salt and cook until softened and somewhat translucent, 3-5 minutes. Next, add the minced garlic and ginger and cook just until browned, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the red curry paste and mix well. Fry for 1-2 minutes, until aromatic.
  4. Stir in the coconut milk and chicken broth, followed by the miso, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Adjust seasoning to taste. (Keep in mind that adding the kabocha will mellow the flavors, so err on the side of stronger-than-you’d-like for now.)
  5. Press Cancel to stop sautéing, then place the lid on the pot. Ensure the vent is closed, then cook on high pressure for 10 minutes.
  6. Once cooking is done, quick-release the Instant Pot and open it up. The curry should look a bit watery, and the pumpkin will still look mostly intact–that’s expected! Give it a good stir, and the pumpkin should quickly melt, turning the curry a lovely, creamy orange.
  7. Add the spinach and stir just until wilted. Squeeze the lime over the curry and stir again, then adjust flavors to taste before spooning into bowls.
  8. Top with the salmon, garnish with the Thai basil and peanuts, and serve with steamed rice.

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