Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

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    This slow cooker chicken tikka masala is a classic Indian dish that you can make in the slow cooker so it's waiting for you when you get home!

    Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

    I am obsessed with chicken tikka masala and let’s be real — Indian food for that matter.

    Whenever I go to an Indian restaurant, as American as this is, I always order chicken tikka masala.

    I like trying each restaurant’s own take on chicken tikka masala and most of the time I have not been disappointed.

    I love the complex flavors of Indian cuisine and the numerous spices used in their dishes to give you the most flavorful experience ever.

    I always look to create restaurant favorites at home and this slow cooker chicken tikka masala is one of those.

    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!

    This slow cooker chicken tikka masala is a classic Indian dish that you can make in the slow cooker so it's waiting for you when you get home!

    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
    This slow cooker chicken tikka masala is a classic Indian dish that you can make in the slow cooker so it's waiting for you when you get home!

    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.

    This slow cooker chicken tikka masala is a classic Indian dish that you can make in the slow cooker so it's waiting for you when you get home!

    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.

    This slow cooker chicken tikka masala is a classic Indian dish that you can make in the slow cooker so it's waiting for you when you get home! #slowcooker #slowcookerrecipes #chickentikkamasala #indianfood #indiancuisine

    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

    4.36 from 14 votes

    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!
    Prep Time: 25 mins
    Cook Time: 8 hrs
    Total Time: 8 hrs 25 mins
    Course: Dinner
    Cuisine: Indian
    Servings (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 8
    Calories: 356kcal
    Author: Julie Chiou
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    • 8 boneless skinless chicken tenderloins, or about 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3 pounds) – cut into 1.5-inch cubes
    • 1 large onion, diced
    • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
    • 1: 29- ounce can of tomato puree
    • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons Garam masala
    • 1 teaspoon tumeric powder
    • 1 tablespoon cumin
    • 1/2 tablespoon sweet paprika
    • 2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    • 3/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
    • 1-3 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on your heat preference
    • 2 leaves bay
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 3 tablespoon cornstarch
    • Lemon juice from half a small lemon
    • Chopped parsley or cilantro, for topping


    • 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 8 hours on low (or 4 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.



    Source: adapted from Cooking Classy
    Nutrition Facts
    Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
    Amount Per Serving (1 Serving)
    Calories 356 Calories from Fat 189
    % Daily Value*
    Fat 21g32%
    Carbohydrates 16g5%
    Fiber 2g8%
    Sugar 9g10%
    Protein 27g54%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    *Nutrition facts are an estimate and note guaranteed to be accurate. 

    Photography by Jesse Reilly

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    Recipe Rating


  • Jenn C says:

    Hi! Do you think sour cream would be a good substitute for the plain yogurt!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      No, probably wouldn’t be. Too sour!

      • Jenn C says:

        Actually, it worked out nicely. It just made it richer and creamier. I’m not sure how it would work in a slow cooker, though. I cooked mine completely on the stovetop.

  • Denise knowles says:

    How many servings does this recipe make?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      it says 8 in the recipe card, but you can adjust it if need be.

  • Kaitlin says:

    Could I use half and half instead of heavy cream?

    • Julie Wampler says:


  • Sherin David says:

    I just made this and it came out great!! Thank you 😊

  • Tawny says:

    This is a delicious recipe. Picked up some naan from the local international grocery store. Mmm!

  • Jasmyne says:

    I’m trying to make this keto style what would be a good substitute for the yogurt? Cream cheese or sour cream?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      probably sour cream

  • David Lions says:

    If your going to prep the day before you may as well coat the chicken with garam masala and par grill it first and serve the finished dish with long grain basmati rice instead of plain white or brown. It’ll make the dish more traditional. Aside from those two things everything else looks spot on! Going to try it soon.

  • Ryan says:

    Wow!! thanks for sharing this amazing recipe cooking tips at home i will definitely try to cook by following your instructions.

  • Doral Allen says:

    Hi, Julie, I see lime wedges in the photo, but the ingredients list uses lemon. I love lemons as well as limes. Which should I use?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      either or is fine

  • Yvonne D Bright says:

    This is a favorite recipe I use when I have guests. I get so many compliments and never have any leftovers, I often make a double batch and freeze portions. It freezes extremely well. I use Half and Half instead of heavy cream. I have used ground ginger when I do not have fresh. I put all the ingredients up to black pepper into the Crock Pot and mix. I don’t mix them in another bowl first. I highly recommend Chicken Tikka Masala. f you are on WW Smart Points its 3.75 Points.

  • Haley says:

    Is it supposed to have such a heavy cinnamon flavor? I think the garam masala i used had cinnamon in it already. Is there a way to counteract the cinnamon flavor?


    • Julie Wampler says:

      no, it’s not supposed to have a heavy cinnamon flavor. the best thing to do is just up the other spices

  • crazydave500 says:

    Hi Julie,

    Going to make this tonight. When you say tomato purée, do you mean tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, or something else? Please let me know. That’s you!

  • Heidi says:

    What would you recommend as a substitute for heavy cream? Could I use almond milk or a can of coconut milk?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Coconut milk would be lovely

  • Steph says:

    Could you use Greek yogurt instead of plain yogurt? I also wanted to make it a bit lighter and leave out the cream … would perhaps light coconut milk work? Thank you! Looks delicious

    • Julie Wampler says:

      You could use Greek yogurt and light coconut milk could work too.

  • Kris says:

    Can you cut this in half and still cook in crock pot without adjusting cook time?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      If you cut in half, you won’t need as much cook time

  • Kristin says:

    Can you use tomato paste instead of purée??

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Oh no, absolutely not! Tomato paste is HIGHLY concentrated.

      • Kristin says:

        I diluted the paste with water at a 1:1 ratio and it came out perfectly.

  • Monica S. says:

    This recipe is amazing! My family considers ourselves to be Indian food snobs and we were all blown away by the authenticity of this homemade dish! One thing I added was chickpeas, which was a nice added texture along with the chicken. I am thinking to add chunks of potato in the future as well. We will be making this again and again. Thank you!

  • Clifford R Stevens says:

    I am on a reverse keto diet… may I add potato to this recipe and when do you think it would be best to do so?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      you can, and i would add it probably halfway through

  • Kayla says:

    I eat at Indian restaurants frequently and decided to try this recipe. I thought it was honestly really bad and nothing like the traditional dish. Really heavy on the tomato and cinnamon flavors and I followed the recipe exactly. If you’re looking for something that tastes even somewhat authentic I would not try this recipe.

  • Siobhan says:

    Hi I’m not sure what size tomato purée is required, can you confirm please?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      the recipe states one 29 ounce can

  • Kay Thomerson says:

    Any idea how much sodium is in a serving in this recipe. Souds delicious, but we have to be on a low sodium diet.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Sorry, I don’t have that information.

  • Beth Coggin says:

    I made this today and for some reason it had a bitter taste. I am not sure what it was from. Could be the Cumin. I also felt it was too spicy with the Cayenne Pepper. I added 1 teaspoon plus a little and I think next time I would leave it out. I was a little disappointed with the outcome.

  • Victoria says:

    There are so many pop up ads on your blog that it makes it impossible to read the recipe :( such a shame when people do this

  • Shannon says:

    Can’t believe how good this was!! Didn’t alter the recipe and everyone loved it. Will absolutely make this again!

  • Janice says:

    I like the spice of this, I used 2 teaspoons but other than that sort of bland. I added salt at the end but was surprised at the bland taste with all the spices used. Next time I will use coconut milk and try that.

  • Ashiana says:

    Hi am I able to use regular paprika? I’m having a hard time finding sweet paprika. Or what do you recommend I substitute it with?

    • Julie Wampler says:

      yep, regular paprika is fine!

  • Karla says:

    I have made so many slow cooker Indian-style meals that have always been mediocre at best. This was so so good and dare I say, authentic! Very similar to something I’d order at one of my favorite Indian restaurants.

  • Freya says:

    Hello, I am very interested in trying this recipe–it looks great! I am dairy free..I see that you suggested another commenter try coconut milk, so I will do that. However, what can I substitute for the yogurt? Or, would it be okay to just omit it? Thanks so much!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      you definitely can’t omit the yogurt as it is what helps tenderize the chicken. could you try dairy-free yogurt, perhaps?

  • Peggy Tuttle says:

    I assume I can set the slow cooker to high for 4 hours instead of 8 hrs. on low?

    • Julie Chiou says:


  • Kino Esparza says:

    If I don’t have crockpot and would like to cook this on stove, how long do I cook it for and what heat level??

    • Julie Chiou says:

      medium heat and 1-2 hours, i presume.

  • Elizabeth Liberty says:

    This was so incredibly good! I’ve had the hardest time finding good Indian food recipes but this hit it out of the park! Everyone licked their plates clean! Thank you!!!

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