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Chicken Tikka Masala {Crockpot}

I feel like I’m 95 years old this week. I’ve been so tired every night. I’m struggling writing this blog post as we speak. It looks like I’m crying because I’m yawning so much. On top of all that, I have noticed that I’m getting really bad lower back pain. I sit all day long and sometimes I don’t even get up to take a walk. Does that happen to you? If it’s raining out, I typically don’t go out for a walk so that really isn’t good, but some days I get so busy or involved at work, I forget to leave my chair, only to the bathroom. I think that’s really affecting my lower back. Why do we have to get old?! I’d be perfectly fine if I were 25 forever :)

Being tired after work doesn’t help the whole dinner part of the evening. When I’m tired, I’m usually too lazy to cook or make anything decent. That was this entire week. We ate horribly this week because I was so tired so we would go out to eat. I hate doing that but what can ya do? You can’t force yourself to cook when you can barely keep your eyes open.

That’s where slow cooker meals come into play :) a few weeks ago, I prepped everything the night before (mostly all the chopping) and threw everything in the crock pot right before we left for work in the morning and we came home to the most amazing and comforting dinner. It’s so nice to walk into your house after work and smell dinner already prepared. It’s as if you have an in-house chef.

I have seen crockpot tikka masala all over the place but a lot of them had you cooking some parts of it as a prep step. This is just my opinion but what’s the point of a set it & forget it meal if you still have to cook it before you set it? I hate those. I just like chopping things up and throwing it in a crockpot. So when I finally found this recipe on Jaclyn‘s site, I was thrilled. Definitely a keeper. Tastes just like the real thing and it makes a ton! Leftovers in this household = less days I have to cook during the week, haha

Chicken Tikka Masala {Crockpot}
Recipe type: Main Entree, Slow Cooker
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8
  • 8 boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins, or about 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 lbs.) - cut into 1.5" cubes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 (29 oz.) can of tomato puree
  • 1½ cups plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Garam masala
  • 1 tsp. tumeric powder
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • ½ tbsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. salt, or to taste
  • ¾ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-3 tsp. cayenne pepper (depending on your heat preference)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp. cornstarch
  • Lemon juice from half a small lemon
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro, for topping
  1. Place chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, tomato puree, yogurt, olive oil, garam masala, tumeric powder, cumin, paprika, salt, cinnamon, ground black pepper, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. With a spatula, stir to combine everything and make sure the chicken is coated well.
  2. Gently place the mixture in the insert of the crockpot and add the two bay leaves.
  3. Cover and cook for 8 hours on low (or 4 hours on high).
  4. When done, in a medium bowl, whisk together heavy cream and corn starch, then pour the mixture into the crockpot and gently stir. Let cook an additional 20 minutes to thicken up. Squeeze half a lemon over the mixture then stir to incorporate.
  5. Serve hot over a bed of white (or brown) rice.
  6. Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Source: adapted from Cooking Classy



  1. Tom Windsor
    02/27/2015 at 12:55 am

    It was nice but it came out really pale and didn’t really taste like chicken tikka masala. I used tinned tomatoes, I added another one at the end and it was still super pale.

    IS American tomato puree the same as UK tomato puree? I read online that they were different and your tomato puree is like our tinned tomatoes, so I blended tinned tomatoes.

    Our tomato puree comes in a tube and is used for things like pizzabases, is that what I should have used?

    • Julie
      02/27/2015 at 6:16 am

      Our tomato PASTE is what comes in a tube like your tomato puree. Our tomato puree is probably different than your UK tomato puree then. Tomato puree is just basically tomatoes pureed into a smooth consistency, so kind of like tomato sauce.

  2. Katy
    03/03/2015 at 11:44 pm

    1. I’m really impressed with the fact that you’re still responding to comments on a post that’s a few years old! :)
    2. I read through the recipe and comments several times to see if anyone had a similar road block – my sauce completely separated while cooking. I had the slow cooker on low and cooked for 8 hours, and when I went to stir it there was a thick skin over the top. It looked like the yogurt curdled. It still didn’t really incorporate when I stirred in the cream and cornstarch slurry. Any thoughts? Thanks!

    • Julie
      03/04/2015 at 8:35 pm

      I know slow cookers cook at different temperatures so some slow cookers’ ‘low’ may be higher than some. I don’t really have ideas for you except maybe don’t cook it as long on low? Or maybe 5-6 hours instead.

  3. 03/09/2015 at 6:58 pm

    Just made this and it is awesome! So much easier, and better, than my standard tikka masala recipe. I already can’t wait for lunch tomorrow. :)

  4. Candice
    03/23/2015 at 2:38 am

    Made this today & it was excellent. I left the lemon out & it was perfect so thank you for that Julie! I didn’t need to thicken it either. Maybe it was because I used 1/2 a jar of tomato sauce since I didn’t have any puree on hand. I just pulled the chicken apart & served over rice. The only sad part was there was no left overs. Next time it will be a double batch!

  5. Sara
    04/09/2015 at 6:06 pm

    Are there nutrition facts for this? I’ve made it before and made it again today. Huge hit! Thank you! :)

    • Julie
      04/10/2015 at 10:00 pm

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this! Unfortunately, no, on the nutrition facts. There are many reasons as to why I don’t post nutritional information on my recipes, one of which is that I simply do not have the time to do this. Also, I’m not a registered dietician or nutritionist so for me to give any sort of nutritional information would be incorrect and inaccurate. There are also many differing factors when it comes to nutritional information and since I do not have the knowledge in this, I do not feel comfortable posting this sort of information. If you must have this information, there are many calculators out there (free and paid) that can help you with calculations. A simple Google search would pull up some of these calculators, but again, I’m not endorsing them as I do not know how accurate they may be.

  6. Sabrina
    04/25/2015 at 6:09 pm

    Is this a recipe I can prep ahead, bag and freeze for cooking at a later time? Any suggestions?

    • Julie
      04/27/2015 at 7:45 am

      Sorry, I’m not sure about freezing it! I can’t see how it’d hurt it but feel free to give it a try :)

    • Michelle
      05/25/2016 at 12:24 pm

      This recipe has become a staple in my house! Sometimes I substitute the chicken for paneer (added in the last hour of cooking). This recipe also freezes beautifully.

  7. Christy
    05/14/2015 at 11:19 am


    Thanks for this recipe. I’ve been wanting Indian all week and just haven’t had the time. It’s sitting in the crockpot and we are looking forward to it, but I have a few questions.

    1) I made my own garam Marsala, toasting the herbs and grinding, but I did not include cardamom (because we are out) or clove (because we don’t like it). All of the other recipe spices are included in the dish, do you think this will have a drastic impact?

    2) I didn’t have enough plain yogurt, so I used half yogurt/half sour cream. Do you think it will curdle?

    3) I dont have any heavy cream to finish, and was going to pick up, but I do have coconut milk. Thoughts?

    • Julie
      05/14/2015 at 7:35 pm

      Hi Christy! Here are the answers to your questions –

      1. I think it’ll be fine
      2. I don’t know about the curdling but it honestly might give it a weird taste
      3. Coconut milk would be great!

  8. Tyler
    05/16/2015 at 7:23 pm

    I have been looking for a good crock pot chicken tikka masala recipe ever since starting school and this is not only the best but also one of the easiest recipes ever. So good!!

  9. Ruby
    06/03/2015 at 6:43 pm

    To make this less caloric, what could I sub for heavy cream? Use more yougurt?

    • Julie
      06/04/2015 at 7:37 am

      I wouldn’t use more yogurt – it would make this way tangy. Maybe try just using milk

  10. Monique
    06/07/2015 at 7:20 am

    Would this work with bone-in skin-on chick3n thighs or drumsticks? My husband is very fussy.

    • Julie
      06/08/2015 at 7:43 am

      I can’t see it not working! Definitely give it a try.

  11. Andy
    06/16/2015 at 11:50 am

    The only problem with all these tikka masala recipes are, they are not “tikka”.

    True Tikka masala is precooked chicken added to the gravy, preferably grilled, or baked in an oven.

    Does not mean, I am not going to try your recipe, it sounds delicious, just not going to call it tikka masala :)

  12. Amy
    07/23/2015 at 12:52 am

    Made this last night and it was delicious but mine turn out a little spicy and tangy. Is there any way that I can make my leftover batch less spicy? Do you recommend adding more cream or yogurt?

    • Julie
      07/23/2015 at 7:12 am

      I’d add more cream.

  13. 08/15/2015 at 11:44 am

    Thanks for this yummy recipe.I tried it last night it came really so yummy and delicious.I must say the way you explain and the images are really help me lot to prepare.

  14. Tiffany
    08/21/2015 at 3:41 pm

    I just have to say that this has quickly become a staple dish at my house. It’s amazing! I will say that when I first made it, I, like other commenters, found the chicken to be a bit dry. I now marinate the chicken in olive oil and lemon juice with some of the spices beforehand and have never had that problem again.
    I have to admit, I hadn’t tried authentic tikka masala until recently. I was so disappointed that it didn’t taste more like yours!

  15. Kristin
    09/01/2015 at 6:30 pm

    This was my first ever attempt at Indian food! My husband loves Indian food and I have never been a daring one to try new things until the past few years. Loved this recipe, so easy and lots of great leftovers! Awesome job on this one!

  16. zuleyka
    09/09/2015 at 10:58 pm

    how do you store left overs are they any good frozen?

    • Julie
      09/11/2015 at 7:00 am

      I store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I’ve never frozen this before.

  17. Kevin
    09/14/2015 at 3:51 pm

    Just did this recipe last night. It’s very bitter! Any suggestions for how to make it less bitter?

    • Julie
      09/15/2015 at 9:21 pm

      Less yogurt maybe?

  18. Lindsay
    09/14/2015 at 6:55 pm

    Made this last night and it is delicious! My husband loved it too. I made two small changes. I added a head of cauliflower one hour before the end and a can of peas just before adding the cream. I will definitely be making this one a lot!

  19. Jesse
    10/03/2015 at 7:11 pm

    I’ve made this recipe about 5 times for my family now, and it’s absolutely fantastic! I substitute heavy cream with coconut cream, and I use goats milk yogurt instead of cow and omit the lemon juice. It’s now on our meal plan rotation because it’s just so perfect. Thank you! ^_^

  20. Chris
    11/02/2015 at 2:54 pm

    I accidentally added all items at once. I added the corn starch and heavy cream. How do you think it will turn out or did I ruin the dish?

    • Julie
      11/03/2015 at 9:44 am

      No, I addressed this in previous comments. You should be ok.

      • Tracy milburn
        12/17/2015 at 7:26 pm

        I made the same mistake, I can see how someone would make this mistake, the instructions are a little tricky on that part. I think it should be reworded. Also, it did not turn out ok…

    • Tracy milburn
      12/17/2015 at 7:24 pm

      I did this too, and unfotuna tell it turned out pretty bad. To ight I didn’t put the second part f the recipe in and it was fantastic!

      • James Perkins
        12/22/2015 at 2:40 pm

        I also out in all ingredients except the bay leaves :(

        I agree with others that the wording should be modified. I’ve followed a lot of recipes in my day, but this is the first time I’ve ruined these beautiful intgredients.

  21. Matthew
    11/24/2015 at 1:51 pm

    Chicken Tikka Masala is British, not Indian..

  22. Tracy milburn
    12/17/2015 at 7:23 pm

    FANTASTIC! Made it tonight and it was so good! Substituted a can of rote for one can of puree.

  23. Michelle
    01/23/2016 at 2:03 am

    Hi, I have a question. I’ve made this several times now, including tonight when we had friends over. :) I was just looking up the recipe again, and noticed that it’s different than when I first printed it (which was 1/19/13). Do you add the turmeric and lemon later?? Because those things aren’t on my original version. Just curious, thanks!

    • Julie
      01/23/2016 at 9:06 am

      Yup, I did :) I made it again with those added ingredients and I think it tastes a little better!

  24. Carla
    02/16/2016 at 11:45 pm

    I just have Masala powder in my pantry. Can I use that in place of the Garam Masala?

    • Julie
      02/17/2016 at 7:04 am

      You could but since they have different components, the taste might be a bit off.

  25. Kiara
    02/17/2016 at 4:13 pm

    Thank you for this recipe!!!! My husband is a country man and rarely tries anything different 😩 But he is gonna give it a try tonight and I am SO confident he’s gonna love it just as I do

  26. Kimberly Bocian
    02/21/2016 at 8:59 pm

    OMGoodness. I made this today. This is the easiest with the most amazing flavor. I followed the directions exactly. Sharing with my son tomorrow. Thank you. So yummy.

  27. Afsha
    04/19/2016 at 10:28 pm

    Loved this recipe! Came out great the first time I made it and now I’ll be making it again tomorrow!

  28. 05/09/2016 at 2:51 pm

    I love this recipe so much! I had a chance to make it again recently and shared it on my weekly #whatsfordinner recap. cheers!

    • Julie
      05/10/2016 at 10:02 am

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  29. Abby
    05/19/2016 at 11:06 am

    Hello! This recipe looks great. I have some buttermilk on hand, and was wondering if I could use this instead of the heavy cream? Thanks for any suggestions you may have!

    • Julie
      05/21/2016 at 11:24 am

      Hi, I do not recommend that. Your tikka masala would be VERY tangy/sour!

      • Abby
        05/22/2016 at 3:29 pm

        Thank you very much for your reply (:

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