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Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

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This slow cooker chicken tikka masala is a great at-home Indian option for those nights that you can’t quite shell out the money for takeout. This incredibly flavorful at-home alternative will be sure to satisfy any craving! Be sure to serve it with some homemade naan as well.

Overhead image of slow cooker chicken tikka masala on a dark brown plate on top of a bed of rice with naan on the side. The dish is garnished with lots of fresh parsley.

Indian food is one of my favorite cuisines and I am always craving it. I love the complex flavors of Indian cuisine and it always makes my tastebuds come alive. I think that’s why I love Indian cuisine so much — I’m obsessed with flavor and richness.

I always look to create restaurant favorites at home and this slow cooker chicken tikka masala recipe is one of them! I actually have several Indian favorites on my site, including stovetop butter chicken, dal makhani, biryani, samosas, and gobi manchurian.

When you’re tired after work, the whole dinner part of the evening is kind of daunting. That’s where this slow cooker chicken tikka masala comes into play. I prepped everything the night before and put everything into the slow cooker right before I left for work. 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!

What is chicken tikka masala?

Chicken tikka masala is a dish that’s consisted of marinated chicken that is cooked in a super flavorful creamy tomato-based sauce. It is served worldwide and a popular dish at many Indian restaurants.

An up close photo of the chicken tikka masala with white rice on a dark brown plate.

Ingredients You’ll Need

For exact measurements, scroll to the bottom of the post.

  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs – I prefer using dark meat over white meat for slow cooker dishes. They tend to retain moisture a lot better and they’re so much more tender and juicy.
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Tomato puree – this is the base of the sauce.
  • Plain yogurt – you’ll be marinating your chicken in this. Yogurt helps tenderize the chicken.
  • Garam masala – a blend of spices originating from India and the most common spice you’ll see in Indian cooking.
  • Turmeric powder
  • Ground cumin – for that earthy flavor
  • Sweet paprika
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground black pepper
  • Cayenne pepper – if you don’t like heat, you may omit this and if you love heat, you may add more!
  • Bay leaves
  • Heavy cream – for that ultra creamy, luxurious sauce.
  • Cornstarch – to help thicken the curry stew a bit.
  • Lemon juice – to help brighten up the flavors.
overhead image of slow cooker chicken tikka masala on a bed of white rice and a side of naan all on a dark brown plate. there is another plate of chicken tikka masala in the upper right corner.

How to make chicken tikka masala

For detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of the post.

Marinate the chicken. In a large bowl, you’ll add majority of the ingredients with the chicken and stir to ensure all the chicken is coated. Cover and refrigerate for two hours or overnight.

chicken tikka masala mixture in the insert of a slow cooker with seasonings on top

Cook the chicken. Once you’re ready, add everything into the insert of the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 2 hours.

Make the cornstarch slurry. While the mixture is still hot, make the cornstarch slurry and stir it into the slow cooker to thicken up the sauce a bit.

Serve. Serve on a bed of basmati rice and with Homemade Naan.

Tips to make this slow cooker chicken tikka masala dish

  • Try to prep/chop everything the night before so you can put this into the slow cooker before you head out for the day
  • Read the instructions carefully — some of the ingredients are not added at the beginning
  • Use the correct spices

Common questions

Is chicken tikka masala spicy? It depends! If you like spice you can make it spicy by adding in more cayenne pepper than the recipe calls for. If you don’t like it spicy then you can omit it or use less.

Can you make this vegan or vegetarian? I don’t see why you can’t! You could substitute out the chicken for firm tofu (but I’d add that in at the end of cooking).

Can I omit any of the spices that I cannot find? No! It is what creates the flavor of this dish. Indian cuisine is highly flavorful because of the spices used.

Can I substitute sour cream for the yoghurt? You can, but it MIGHT be too sour.

I accidentally added everything into the slow cooker, will my recipe be ruined? No, it will be fine.

What can I serve with chicken tikka masala? Homemade Naan, Vegetable Samosas, and Mango Lassi!

Storing and reheating instructions

This will keep in an airtight container for up to five days in the refrigerator. To reheat, simply pop it in the microwave for 1 minute (or more) or reheat on the stovetop.

slow cooker chicken tikka masala on a dark brown plate with white rice and naan. a fork can be seen on the side in the rice covered with the curry.

Other slow cooker recipes to love:

Slow cooker chicken enchilada soup

Slow cooker beef and broccoli

Slow cooker pumpkin coconut curry

Mississippi Roast

Slow cooker chicken pot pie soup

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

If you love chicken tikka masala, this is an easy way to make it while you're away from the home!
3.87 from 23 votes
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 25 minutes
Servings: 8
Author: Julie Chiou
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Ingredients 

  • 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
  • 29 ounce can of tomato puree
  • 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • ½ tablespoon sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 13 teaspoons cayenne pepper, depending on your heat preference
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Lemon juice from half a small lemon
  • Chopped parsley or cilantro, for topping

The default measuring system for this website is US Customary. Unit conversions are provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. While we strive to provide accurate unit conversions, please be aware that there may be some discrepancies.

Equipment

Instructions

  • 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.
  • Gently place the mixture in the insert of the crockpot and add the two bay leaves.
  • Cover and cook for 4 hours on low (or 2 hours on high).
  • 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.
  • Serve hot over a bed of white (or brown) rice.
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Video

NUTRITION FACTS

Serving: 1 Serving | Calories: 356 kcal | Carbohydrates: 16 g | Protein: 27 g | Fat: 21 g | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 9 g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: chicken, slow cooker, tikka masala

Photography by Jesse Reilly

Recipe Rating




Irene

Wednesday 21st of December 2022

I really wanted to love this but did not. Way too much sauce for chicken ratio. I had to search for the chicken and I followed the recipe exactly. I would say it was bland as well…I will not be making this again, Sorry to say !

Julie Chiou

Thursday 22nd of December 2022

aww bummer, Irene! so sorry this didn't do it for you

Kristie

Tuesday 15th of November 2022

Overall this recipe was great. I'd probably add an extra chicken breast next time, maybe even sub chicken thighs. Could've used a little more flavor in my opinion. I'd probably tweak the amount of the spices personally. Wasn't too spicy

AP

Monday 12th of September 2022

Pretty good. Personally would add more chicken and do way less garam masala. It overpowered the other flavors in my opinion. Otherwise best chicken tikka masala I can find to replicate my favorite Indian place.

Lynn

Tuesday 21st of June 2022

This turned out great! I’ll for sure be making it again. The only thing I noticed is how much sauce it made. I used 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs and it really only needed half of the sauce. So next time I’ll either double the amount of chicken or cut the sauce ingredients in half. I will also try squeezing lime juice in it at the end instead of lemon juice. Thanks for the recipe!

Kim

Sunday 19th of June 2022

Delicious!! Next time I’ll leave out the cayenne completely, but we are sissies 🤣