Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Looking for some tasty comfort food? Pull out the slow cooker and make a batch of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala! It’s delicious!

Looking for some tasty comfort food?  Pull out the slow cooker and make a batch of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala!  It's delicious!

It’s that time of the year. It’s comfort food season. Truth be told, comfort food season exists all year long as far as I’m concerned. A good burger on the backyard grill on a Saturday night is pretty darned fantastic! However, as summer grilling season begins to wind down, we turn our attention to indoor comfort food. And that’s when Laura starts asking me to make Chicken Tikka Masala.

Looking for some tasty comfort food? Pull out the slow cooker and make a batch of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala! It's delicious!

Laura has always loved Indian food. For me? Not so much. However, I will admit that Indian flavors are growing on me. A bite here and a nibble there turned into wanting more. And now I crave that Chicken Tikka Masala as much as Laura. She puts that recipe in her top 3 favorites of all time – that’s pretty legit!

Looking for some tasty comfort food? Pull out the slow cooker and make a batch of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala! It's delicious!

As I was making that recipe, I realized it was the perfect candidate for a slow cooker recipe. Any recipe which calls for a sauce to be simmered on the stove can usually be transitioned over to a slow cooker. Sure enough – this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala was a huge hit in our house! In fact, Laura asked me to make her a triple batch and freeze it in individual lunch-sized containers. That’s not a bad idea!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

While this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala does indeed use the slow cooker, it still requires a bit of prep work on the stovetop. Most importantly, the chicken gets seared for a couple minutes which adds more flavor. The onions and garlic also get sautéed a bit, too. So if you’re willing to put in a little work around midday, then you can turn things over to the slow cooker after that. And come dinner time? That sauce will be perfect for spooning over rice!

Looking for some tasty comfort food? Pull out the slow cooker and make a batch of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala! It's delicious!

The funny thing about Chicken Tikka Masala is that it actually more British than Indian. This recipe is thought to be a variation of butter chicken that was created by immigrants to Britain in the 1960s. All I know is that it’s delicious, and it’s one of the first indoor comfort foods we crave when the seasons start to change!

The ingredient list for this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala looks a bit long, but most of the ingredients are fairly normal. As with many Indian dishes, there is a whole assortment of spices in the recipe. But that array of spices really comes together to create an amazing taste.

Looking for some tasty comfort food? Pull out the slow cooker and make a batch of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala! It's delicious!

If you’re looking for some delicious comfort food, then pull out the slow cooker and make this recipe. Laura says this version is better than any Chicken Tikka Masala that she’s ordered at a restaurant – that says something! Happy slow cooking, my friends!

Did you make this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala at home? Leave a comment, or snap a photo and tag me on Instagram (@Spicedblog) – I’d love to see your version!

Looking for some tasty comfort food? Pull out the slow cooker and make a batch of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala! It's delicious!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Looking for some tasty comfort food? Pull out the slow cooker and make a batch of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala! It's delicious!
5 from 5 votes
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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Marinating Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 13 hours
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 489kcal

Ingredients

For the Chicken

  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • tsp kosher salt
  • tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2½-3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs

For the Sauce

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp ginger grated
  • 1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • tsp garam masala
  • tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp sugar

For Serving

  • 6 cups cooked basmati rice
  • fresh cilantro chopped
  • naan

Instructions

  • Using a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients including chicken. Stir until chicken is well coated, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • Using a large skillet, add vegetable oil and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, remove chicken from marinade and place in skillet. Sear chicken for 2-3 minutes per side, or until browned. Remove chicken from pan and cut into 1” pieces. (Note: Chicken will not be fully cooked yet.)
  • Using the same skillet, add butter and place back over medium-high heat. Once butter has melted, add sliced onions. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3-4 minutes, or until onion just begins to soften.
  • Add garlic and ginger; stir and continue cooking for 1-2 more minutes.
  • Transfer onion, garlic and ginger from the skillet into the slow cooker. Add chicken (from above), tomato sauce, cumin, paprika, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, salt, pepper and cayenne; stir until well combined. Cover and cook on LOW for 4 hours.
  • Add heavy cream and sugar; stir until well combined. Continue cooking on LOW for 30 more minutes.
  • Divide rice onto plates and top with cubed chicken and sauce; garnish with cilantro.
  • Serve with naan.
Looking for some tasty comfort food? Pull out the slow cooker and make a batch of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala! It's delicious!

Looking for more tasty slow cooker recipes? Check out these other favorites, too:

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20 Comments

  1. cant wait to make this soon for me for the chicken can i use coconut yogurt / mushrooms and sauce can i use coconut cream i never had slow cooker chicken tikka masala before am indian and i approved this perfect for my after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work

    1. Yes, you can absolutely use vegan options in this recipe – it should work out just fine! Let me know what you think…we love this recipe here in our house. Thanks, Ramya!

  2. 5 stars
    Love chicken tikka masala — such a delicious comfort food for the upcoming fall and winter! Great method using the slow cooker for this one!

    1. This really is a great comfort food recipe. We’re heading into that time of the year, and I suspect this one will be appearing in our kitchen several times. 🙂 Thanks, Michelle!

  3. So good to make your own sauce,rather than using bottled Tikka Masala.Slow cooker dishes help so much in the kitchen. Love this recipe and I will be trying it. Won’t matter if it’s warmer weather. Thanks so much.

    1. I’m with ya, Pauline! Bottled sauces are handy now and then, but homemade is always better! I know your weather is the opposite of ours, so it’s getting warm there…but that’s ok. This is a comfort food recipe that’s good all year long! 🙂

    1. I know! I was shocked to read that while this dish has Indian roots, it’s not actually Indian at all. It’s funny since it’s a staple menu item at Indian restaurants here in the States. Go figure! No matter where it’s from – this is still a delicious recipe!

  4. 5 stars
    Now and then, I have been really missing chicken, now – looking at this chicken tikka masala – Dude – you have me salivating! This looks AHMAZING! I am so glad Laura has managed to convince you to enjoy Indian food more – cannot wait to see what else she coaxes you to make and share here!

    1. Haha – Laura has definitely been pushing me out of my normal comfort zone. It’s kinda fun! I know chicken tikka masala is more British than Indian, but it does call on lots of Indian spices. Dare I admit it, but I’ve learned to really enjoy the flavors in this recipe! Perhaps you can make a tofu version??

    1. You know – give it a try, Frank. I started with a bite here and a bite there, and I told Laura “Hmmm, it’s not too bad.” Now I love the flavors, and I actually crave them. Of course, we’re only talking Chicken Tikka Masala here – I’m still on the fence when it comes to other Indian flavors. Baby steps. 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    I agree once you start taking Indian food, it gets better after that. I was in the same position before, I never touch them but once I tried one then another one, I started to like it, now I am addicted to it. Indeed it is a good comfort food like you tikka masala recipe.

    1. I’m with ya, Raymund – that’s exactly what happened to me! A bite here, another bite there. All of a sudden I realized I liked it! This is the ultimate comfort food, and I love that it can be made in a slow cooker, too.

  6. 5 stars
    Chicken Tikka Masala is my ALL-TIME favorite Indian dish. Although from what you mentioned it’s more British than Indian. I never knew. Either way, it’s my favorite. I crave it at least once a week. I’m so excited that you shared your recipe, AND that it is made in a slower cooker. How could that get any better? You just saved me a fortune at the restaurant. Thanks so much!

    1. I never knew that Chicken Tikka Masala has stronger British roots than Indian. I mean that makes sense given that India was a British colony for so many years. Either way, it’s delicious! This is comfort food at its best, and I think Laura would request this once a week if possible. Haha!

  7. 5 stars
    As you know David we love our curries and although I have made many, I have not yet made a chicken tikka masala in my slow cooker. Cannot wait to try this recipe. Thank you!

    1. Well pull out that slow cooker, Neil! This is one heck of a delicious recipe. Laura would request this one at least once a week if she could! 🙂

  8. Well, I am Instant Pot fan but I do have a crockpot. For some reason, the covid lifestyle taught me to embrace recipes with many ingredients, they’re usually so delicious and fun. I get out all my little prep bowls and just relax.

    1. Hey Nancy! I absolutely understand what you mean about recipes with a long list of ingredients. Sometimes it’s kinda fun to hit the kitchen for a larger project! This recipe is packed with flavor, and it’s one of our favorites – I hope you enjoy it (and the process!) as much as we do!

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