The Spice List: Our Favorite Indian Curries Ranked by Heat


Indian food has a reputation for being one of the spiciest cuisines out there, but not all curries are spicy. To help you match your next takeout order to your spice tolerance, we’ve ranked our favorite Indian curries from mildest to spiciest. With most of these classic dishes, you can choose between chicken, lamb, seafood or a vegetarian option, but no matter which one you go for, don’t forget an order of freshly made naan to sop up any extra sauce.


Chicken Korma

This sweet and creamy curry is so mild, it may as well be a dessert! The level of spice is negligible, but this popular curry is just as flavorful as the others on our list. Korma sauce is typically yogurt-based, with nuts (often almonds or cashews) and a delicate balance of spices. We love a Chicken Korma because the chicken doesn’t overpower the mildness of the sauce.

Spice rating: 0/10




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Popeye’s favorite curry dish is packed with spinach (or other leafy greens, depending on the variation) but typically very light on spice. Rather than chili, this dish gets its flavor from onion, ginger and turmeric. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a healthy dish just because it’s green – a typical Palak curry normally has both butter and cream! We usually order this mild but decadent dish with paneer or chicken.

Spice rating: 1/10 


Tikka Masala

chicken tikka masala curry

We like to think of Tikka Masala as a gateway curry. While the spice level will vary depending on the restaurant, the creaminess of this dish cuts the spice and makes it bearable for most palettes. It’s not the most authentic of Indian dishes, but it’s definitely one of the most popular. It’s also a great option for vegetarians, with Paneer Tikka Masala regularly topping our list of most-ordered Indian delivery dishes.

Spice Rating: 3/10



jalfrezi curry

A classic curry house favorite and another of our most popular takeout orders, Jalfrezi gets its flavor from green chilies, as well as bell peppers, onions and tomatoes. It tends to be slightly less saucy than some of the other curries on the list, and is delicious gobbled up with fragrant pilau rice. If it’s available at your local Indian food restaurant, we recommend trying this dish with shrimp.

Spice Rating: 6/10



madras chicken

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The bright red color of an authentic Madras curry is a good indication of its fiery flavor, which is due to the copious amounts of chili powder in the dish. We always opt for lamb when ordering a Madras curry, because the strong flavor of the lamb can stand up to the heat of the sauce. Be careful if you’re saving some of your takeout order for leftovers… Madras is always spicier on the second day!

Spice Rating: 7/10



vindaloo curry


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Not for the faint of heart, Vindaloo is the spiciest option available on most Indian takeout menus. This is the type of curry that gives Indian food its reputation – every bite is somehow spicier than the last. Whether you go for chicken or lamb, our expert advice is to order a mango lassi to help cool your taste buds.

Spice Rating: 9/10


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