Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

  • 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

    5 from 1 vote

    Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

    A great way to make the classic Indian dish at home!
    Prep Time: 15 mins
    Cook Time: 8 hrs
    Total Time: 8 hrs 15 mins
    Servings: 6 -8
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    • 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
    • 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 2 tbsp Garam masala
    • 1 tsp tumeric powder
    • 1 tbsp cumin
    • 1/2 tbsp paprika
    • 2 tsp salt, or to taste
    • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
    • 3/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
    • 1-3 tsp cayenne pepper, depending on your heat preference
    • 2 leaves bay
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 3 tbsp 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


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  • Aimee @ ShugarySweets says:

    Oh yum, this looks amazing!!! I love using my slow cooker, and love that this has few steps to do so as well!

  • Jen @ Savory Simple says:

    I used to have horrible back pain when I worked a desk job and I still struggle with it when i don’t move around a lot. Do you exercise regularly? I’ve noticed that the more I stretch and exercise (which still isn’t that much) the better my back feels. I think we tend to lose our posture while sitting.

    I love tikka masala and this looks wonderful!

  • Kathryn says:

    Oh this has definitely been me this week – tasty food with minimum effort sounds exactly what we need. Hope you manage to get some rest over the weekend!

  • Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray says:

    Ughhh I feel ya, except I’ve been having hip pain–how are we old ladies in our mid-twenties? Sigh. Thank goodness for crockpots.

  • Rachel Cooks says:

    Great photos, Julie! Not an easy thing to make pretty!

    • Julie says:

      Thanks Rachel! I agree, it was definitely difficult trying to style this guy lol

  • Maria says:

    Just pinned this bad boy!

  • Bev @ Bev Cooks says:

    OMG I’ve been dying for a tikka slow cooker recipe to go with my saag!


  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl says:

    Adding this to the menu next week! Thanks for inspiration! PS Are you team parsley? I love cilantro but my aunt hates it. I know it’s a love hate thing,, ;)

    • Julie says:

      Totally team parsley! I always sub parsley for cilantro when it’s called for as a garnish. Cilantro tastes like soap to me. I hear you’re either born with the taste buds for cilantro or not. I know my parents love it – so I guess I’m odd kid out ;)

  • Erin | The Law Student's Wife says:

    Thank you thank you thank you! I’ve really been wanting to get into more slow cooker more, but have been deterred by a lot of recipes that require serious prep. This recipe is perfect. Plus, I’ve been craving Indian. Done and done.

  • amanda @ fake ginger says:

    Yuuuuum! I’ve been craving tikka masala all week and this is just making it worse! Hope your back feels better! :)

  • Emily says:

    This looks delicious and just what I need for a chilly and busy fall day! Is there a substitute for the heavy cream? Would using a combination of milk and cream still give the same consistency and reduce the fat content by a little bit?

    • Julie says:

      You could use half and half if you wanted, 2% milk would work too.

      • Sally says:

        What about using coconut milk instead? Think that will work well?

        • Julie says:

          I haven’t tested that myself so I’m not sure I can recommend that. I’ve heard of some people using coconut milk in the crockpot but it curdled, so maybe you could add it in at the very last second before serving and temper it to avoid curdling.

  • Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says:

    Better buy your cane now… you’ll need it to get down the aisle ;)

  • Julie @ NaClKitchen says:

    I love a lazy day meal that is waiting for me after work making my house smell delicious. I totally understand the lack of motivation when it is raining outside. I always want to have something and warm and comforting but I don’t have the energy to make it! Slow cooker meals are perfect :)

  • Meagan @ A Zesty Bite says:

    I know exactly how you feel this week! I’ve only done one blog post due to feet being swollen and just not wanting to get up from the couch after a long nap. Glad you made this because I have never had Indian food and I heard this is a great food to start with.

  • claire @ the realistic nutritionist says:

    UM HOLY CRAP YES. I want to face dive into that and never come up for air. I sound like Bev don’t I? haha!

  • Anna @ Hidden Ponies says:

    I totally agree, if I’m using my crockpot I don’t want to do many extra prep steps! This looks delicious, I’ve been meaning to make this for awhile and now is the perfect season!

  • Danae (The Busty Baker) says:

    I’m obsessed with chicken tikka masala, but I’m with you, being so tired when I get home that all I want is something quick and easy. This is perfect and I can’t wait to make it!

  • Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel says:

    Okay, I seriously need to get my act together and try tikka misala. I’ve NEVER had it before and it looks so delicious! Plus, if it’s a slow-cooker recipe, it’s my new BFF so I have no excuse not to make it :) and I agree with you about getting old; sometimes my hips start hurting for no reason and I have to walk around complaining “my hips!” Lol, I’m 21. I def. shouldn’t be complaining of hip problems!

  • The Spatularettes says:

    This looks awesome! I tried to do an Indian Butter Chicken in the crock pot a few weeks ago but just wasn’t happy with the results. My chicken all fell apart and the flavors in the sauce didn’t quite balance. Can’t wait to try yours!

  • carrian says:

    I’m so lame, I’ve never had this dish. I better go ahead and try your recipe pronto, so I can join the cool kids

  • Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom says:

    Love that you made this in a crock pot! :) Thanks for the recipe!

  • Linda | The Urban Mrs says:

    Ow yeah, I hear you. Tired and what you want to do is just lying on the couch, eating potato chips (or whatever you see first within reach – no walking required) and sleep, hahaha. This is the answer – slow cooker. I definitely need this recipe! That looks so fabolous!

  • Nicole @ Lapetitebaker says:

    The crockpot is a dream come true and I cant think of a better smell to come home to then Chicken Tikka Masala.

  • Cassie | Bake Your Day says:

    I can barely even wait one more minute to have a bite of this. LOVE these flavors. And slow cooker meal? Bring. It. ON!

  • Katie @ Blonde Ambition says:

    You just became my boyfriend’s new favorite person ever by exposing me to this recipe! Chicken Tikka Masala is his favorite!!

    Question: did you cut the chicken into cubes before cooking?

    • Julie says:

      Yes! I cubed it and then tossed it with everything. I’ll have to write that in the instructions, thanks for pointing it out!

  • Mary says:

    Hey, will you please come up with a curry chicken recipe for a slow-cooker? My fiance loves the above dish, so I’m happy to try, but I can’t eat dairy (can’t digest it). Love, love, love chicken curry though, and would love to slow-cooker it!

  • Erin @ Texanerin Baking says:

    I’m 28 and take a 2 hour nap every day because I’m constantly exhausted and the only part of me that doesn’t hurt are my arms and chest. So it could be worse. :)

    And this looks interesting! I’ve never had chicken tikka masala before. Sounds good, though.

  • valerie says:

    This looks amazing…I know how you feel, sitting at the computer so long, or reading. I love knowing my dinner is cooking tho. Try rubbing peppermint on your back when it hurts. It increases circulations and feels invigorating. Keep blogging…

  • Ronca B. says:

    Yum!!! Can’t wait to try yhis recipe!!!

    I used to have the same evening fatigue. Turns out I’m Anemic and my body doesn’t get as much as Iron as it needs. Talk to your Dr.!!!! Ferralet 90 (an iron supplement) changed my life!

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts says:

    I can’t wait to make this. I love Indian food, and Tikka Masala is one of my favorites. Plus making it in the crock pot is just a bonus!

  • Alyce S says:

    omg! I can’t explain how excited I am to make this! that was my first Indian dish to try and I fell in love! I will win brownie points with the boyfriend for cooking this and even better in the crockpot!

  • Monet says:

    I am right there with you. I have been so tired lately and crockpot meals are becoming a new favorite. This looks delicious. I can’t wait to give it a try. My husband LOVES Indian food so he’ll be happy too!

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction says:

    crockpot meals are a life saver!! Julie, tikka masala is my favorite favorite FAVORITE indian dish! I’ve never made it myself though. Only have had it at restaurants. I need to give this a try! You are the queen of quick meals that taste like my favorite take-out meals :)

  • Lynan says:

    Omg, I love chicken tikka masala! This is awesome how you can just cook it in the crockpot!

  • Stephanie says:

    Tikka masala is my fave Indian dish! I think I love it even more now that I can make it in a crock pot!

  • Amy says:

    To Mary who mentioned a dairy issue- I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but my plan is to make it with plain coconut milk yogurt (found at Kroger & whole foods, etc) sub coconut cream (in the can) for heavy cream. My son has a life threatening dairy allergy & these are our go to substitute ingredients so we can eat the same meals as a family. In the case of those who don’t like the coconut taste, I’m going to guess that there will be enough Indian spice to overpower the coconut. But, coconut would blend nicely with Indian spices anyway :) win-win!
    Thanks for posting this recipe!

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious says:

    I get the same way too – I’m so tired throughout the week and I’m actually getting at least 6-8 hrs of sleep! Us 20-years old are getting old! But thank god for amazing slow cooker recipes, right? I’ve made this same one from Cooking Classy and absolutely loved it!

  • JotaSousa says:

    Yummy DELICIOUS! ;)

  • Mary says:

    To Amy – Thank you for the suggestion! I’m new to the dairy problem, and any suggestions like that are very helpful! Thanks for taking the time to suggest it.

    To all – Did we establish this is in a 6 qt. crockpot? I have a baby one (1.5-2 qt. single/two person serving one) and will have to scale the recipe down. It would be helpful to know what the starting point is! :) Happy cooking, everyone!

    • Julie says:

      Yes, this is for a 6 qt.

  • Carrie says:

    Oh I feel our pain on that tired thing. It has been KILLING me!! I know exercise will help, but when am I gonna have time to do that?? I would have to wake up earlier and then umm doesn’t that kinda defeat the purpose? I will have to try that recipe this week. It’s gorgeous!!

  • Laurie says:

    Where can I get Garam masala? Never heard of it before.

  • Grace Garst says:

    You should see a chiropractor for an evaluation. I used to feel that way sometimes. Achy dull pain, that made me grumpy and lazy. My chiropractor changed all of that. The key is to find one that is very thorough and will take X-rays before they treat you. Hope this helps!

  • Carole Cook says:

    Okay, kids, I don’t want to hear about achy-breaky backs, hips, etc. Wait ’til you reach 67 like me–lol!! Strange problem: neither hubby nor I like cumin. Can we substitute or leave it out without destroying the recipe? We DO like cilantro, though. :-)

  • GrammyCarole says:

    Okay, kids, you haven’t felt aches or pains ’til you’ve reached 67 like me! Strange question: neither hubby nor I like cumin. Can I omit it or replace it without compromising the flavor? And we DO like cilantro–lol.

    • Julie says:

      You could try ground coriander or chili powder.

  • mar says:

    If I cut the recipe in 1/2, how long do I cook it for? And high or low. I want to make this this week. My son LOVES butter chicken, and to me this has a same taste, so do not think he will now the diff. He just loves the sauce w/tons of nan, lol..

    • Julie says:

      I’d probably cook it for 6-7 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high.

  • SoKnitpicky says:

    Thanks for this recipe! I made it tonight and liked it. I couldn’t find garam masala, so I used this recipe for it:

  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef says:

    When I first looked at the photos I couldn’t believe this was made in a crockpot. I don’t use mine often enough but if I put this on the table I’d be a hero for sure

  • Jessica says:

    Chicken Tikka Masala in a crockpot?? Sign me up!!

  • Carrie @ Kiss My Whisk says:

    This will be on my dinner table really soon! Work is crazy so this slow cooker recipe will be perfect.

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