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
    5 Hassle-Free Ways to Simplify MealtimeSign up here for all the secrets!


    • 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


  • Candace says:

    I’m so excited to try this! I made the mistake of combining all the ingredients then transferring to the crockpot. Is it ruined? Also how will red pepper flakes do instead of cayenne pepper? Thanks!

    • Julie says:

      Hi Candace, sorry I didn’t get back to you until now. Not sure if you got a chance to read the other comments in this post but others have done the same thing as you and theirs turned out fine so I hope yours turned out ok, too! Cayenne’s heat intensity is a lot higher than red pepper flakes so I’d suggest adding more red pepper flakes if you like it hotter! Enjoy.

  • Megan says:

    Hi Julie,

    I thought that I was all set to make this today, but just saw in a comment above that you used plain greek yogurt, not regular yogurt, when you made this. Having not seen that before I went to the store, I only have normal yogurt. Is there anything I can and should do to get the thickness and tangyness of greek yogurt into my dish? Thanks!

    • Julie says:

      Hi Megan, I’ve used both and they both turned out fine. You’ll be ok to use regular yogurt :)

  • Jen says:

    I made this tonight and it was de-lish! I was excited to find this recipe that was close to the kind in the restaurants. However, we had a lot left over – Do you know if the leftovers can be frozen??

    • Julie says:

      Hi Jen, yes, you can freeze the leftovers. Glad you enjoyed!

  • Joseph says:

    I haven’t had a chance to make this yet as it makes a lot (could be something to keep in mind during low-budget times when we could use some meals that can be stretched out) but it looks good and flavorful. For lazy cooks like me they actually make diced cooked chicken breast that you can get in the freezer case at the supermarket. I can also find diced onions in the freezer case too. And for lightening it up I could replace the yogurt called for with plain fat-free Greek yogurt, and I could probably use light cream or fat-free half-n-half instead of heavy cream. And I like that they make smoked paprika now too. Using Smoked paprika should give this recipe a nice smokey flavor :-)

    • Julie says:

      I hope you make this sometime soon, Joseph! Sounds like you know how to make it work!

  • Megan says:

    Made this tonight, and it was a hit! Thought the flavor was pretty close to what you get at the local Indian places, at a fraction of the cost. I forgot to buy half and half, so used a little more nonfat Greek yogurt and a little less whole milk, and it was still fine, just not quite as creamy. Used 2 tsp. of cayenne, and found it very spicy — probably about a “4 stars” on the restaurant heat scale. Served with naan and basmati rice. Thanks for the recipe… You’ve got a new blog follower. :)

    • Julie says:

      So glad to have you as a follower, Megan! I’m glad you enjoyed this crockpot dish!

  • Ruth says:


    how would I adapt this to using a Curry Masala paste? It’s from Himalayan Gourmet. Thanks!

    • Julie says:

      Hi Ruth, I have no idea. I’ve never used curry masala paste before. Sorry!

  • Ruth says:

    Thanks for responding anyway!

  • Bethany says:

    Have to say – I was very excited to try this as I have recently moved and haven’t found any great indian food take out places near my new home. This was spicy but bland – I thought it would taste great since it has all the spices that should make this come out right, but tasted nothing like chicken tikka masala.

    • Julie says:

      Aw, sorry to hear this, Bethany!

  • Caitlyn says:

    Hey there! This is in the cooker now! I’m so excited. Just curious, why did you leave the lemon juice out of your version of the recipe? (Cooking Classy originally had 2 TBSP)

    • Julie says:

      Hi Caitlyn, I left it out because I thought it made the sauce too tart.

  • daddy says:

    OK I followed the instructions to the T I have been a cook for quite some time I have to say that the sauce came out really good but the chicken came out very dry. I can’t even eat the chicken due to how bad this came out. The best thing for this recipe is to cook the chicken separate. That way it does not come out dry.

  • Kimberly says:

    Hi, are you certain that you only meant to write 1 can of puree because I followed this recipe to the T and it’s quite light almost tan in color before the cream. I’m added another box of puree and it looks and tastes better now. Am I wrong? Just wondering?

    • Julie says:

      Hi Kimberly, yes I’m certain it’s only 1 can of puree. Did you use the 29 oz. can or something smaller?

    • Tom Windsor says:

      Ihad the exact same problem. I used tinned tomatoes, maybe that is why. I read online that it is what you guys called tomato puree in the USA

      • Michael says:

        I believe tomato puree is what we call passata in Europe. Normally you can find it in grocery stores, but if not, you can make your own by taking a can of peeled whole tomatoes and turning it into a puree using a blender.

  • Priyanna says:

    This turned out wonderfully! Tender and delicious. Thanks for the easy recipe!

    • Julie says:

      Glad to hear, Priyanna! Thanks for the feedback!

  • matt says:

    Thanks for this! Wpund up turning out absolutely delicious. Now if only I had a decent recipe for na’an…

  • Nana Phyllis says:

    Made this yesterday for my son’s 38th birthday. Everyone loved it. I did cut down on the cayenne and cornstarch, but followed the rest. I used 4 lg. chicken breasts and have a lot left over. I froze it for future meals.

  • Katie says:

    I made this yesterday and it was incredibly delicious. I used four boneless chicken thighs and one large breast, subbed coconut milk for heavy cream and kind of fudged the spices (being more heavy-handed with my favorites). The end result was super flavorful, and just the right amount of spicy/sweet. The sauce was so good my boyfriend actually licked his bowl clean!

    For those of you who work crazy hours like me, the recipe is forgiving on time. I cooked it for eight hours on low, then left it for over three hours on the “warm” setting. My chicken was shredded, but the liquid/meat ratio remained good.

  • Abraham says:

    If it is not too much of a hassle, can you post next to each ingredient needed in grams?

    Looks delicious! And a person said to make it REALLY good and more authentic is to use ground cashews instead of cornstarch. Have you tried this with ground cashews?

    • Julie says:

      Hi Abraham, I don’t measure anything in grams so it would take me a longer time to convert recipes to that, therefore, I don’t post in grams. There are online converters that you can use to help you with that if you need it! I’ve never tried it with ground cashews – sounds delicious!

  • Jill says:

    I only have a 4 qt crockpot. Should I cut the recipe in half or will a full recipe fit in the smaller size?

    • Julie says:

      Mine’s a 4-quart crockpot, too. It’ll fit but it’ll be a close one! Haha :)

  • DeLea Stone says:

    So delicious! Easy dish with little to no hassle that packs lots of flavor. I followed the recipe to a T with the exception of using turkey breast instead of chicken. This recipe beats my favorite Indian restaurant’s chicken tikka masala. Thanks for sharing!

    • Julie says:

      Wow, great to hear, DeLea!

  • christine k says:

    I just made this and it was super easy and everyone liked it… but it didn’t taste like tikka masala. Tikka Masala is my favourite Indian dish and I’ve had it numerous times and different restaurants. This meal wasn’t bad, but it essentially tasted like a sourcream chicken. It didn’t taste like Indian food. I just stepped back through the entire recipe and made sure that I didn’t miss anything or add too little or too much of something. I did it perfectly (save the cilantro at the end because we just didn’t have any). I would totally make it again, but it is lacking in something and I can’t place it.

  • Nikki says:

    I agree with the above comment, I won’t say we didn’t enjoy it but I was not ready for it to taste so unlike the tikka masala we are used to. We tend to go out for Indian food at least twice a month. I followed the recipe every step of the way and it was really easy but the taste just wasn’t there for me. I seemed to get a lot of cinnamon taste even though I didn’t add anymore then I was supposed to and then chicken was a drop dry.

  • Jill says:

    I just made this recipe and I must say it is awful and nothing like what I expected. Either something is missing from the recipe that caused this epic fail or I just don’t like this recipe and I have had chicken masala many times and it never tasted this way. Very disappointed at the huge waste.

  • Ali says:

    There was something off about this dish so I did some research and realized you left out the lemon juice that basically every other chicken tikki masala recipe has. I added some and it helped a lot!

    • Julie says:

      Hey Ali – thanks for catching that! I actually added lemon juice to my tikka masala and I really didn’t like the way it tasted with it so I omitted it when I wrote the recipe because I didn’t want people to get angry about it, but maybe I should add it back in. Thanks!

  • Jennie @themessybakerblog says:

    I made this lovely dish on Monday, and it turned out amazing. The chicken was tender. The sauce was flavorful. And, it only took a few minutes to prepare. I definitely recommend making this. Thanks for sharing!

  • Bethan says:

    So I managed to forget to buy cornstarch when I made this today. Doh! Luckily I had some flour which worked as a good substitute. Pretty tasty dish over all. I think I may try and rub down the chicken before hand as that was the only part that I didn’t like so much. The sauce was amazing but it didn’t penetrate the meat like I’d hoped. Still super yummy though!

    • Julie says:

      Glad it turned out well for you!

  • Matthew says:

    Can I add curry powder to this recipe?

    Also, is smoked paprika better than regular paprika?

    Thank you!

    • Julie says:

      You can add curry powder to this recipe if you want but I haven’t tried it that way so I’m not sure how it’d taste with the other ingredients. Smoked paprika and regular paprika (which is sweet) are both different so I can’t say if one is better than the other. If you’re looking for a smokier taste, then I’d use smoked paprika (my personal favorite) but if you just want a hint of sweetness, use regular.

  • Rima says:

    Hi everyone.. I made this the other day and it was really good, but it was missing something… So close, but some flavor note was missing for sure my fiancé and I agreed. I figured it out. It’s TUMERIC POWDER! Added it afterward, and then it was PERFECT. Tastes identical to Indian restaurant Chicken Tikka. Try it!

    • Lisa says:

      I’m also wondering, I had found a recipe years ago that included cardamon seeds… that might help as well. I’m looking forward to giving this a try this weekend. Thanks for posting, I LOVE crockpot cooking & I agree 100%, set it & go is the only way to go

  • sanya says:

    Tonight I was desperate for a good curry recipe and luckily I came across this. By far the best I’ve made. I didn’t have heavy cream so I threw in a can of coconut milk. Thank you very much for the delicious recipe!

  • Tracy says:

    Since I do not have a crock pot, can you suggest how long I would cook this on the stove top? Thanks :)

    • Julie says:

      Hi Tracy, I’m not positive but I would maybe start with 2 hours on low and longer if you want the flavors to develop more.

  • Theresa Reddell says:

    Hi, I just put this in my crock pot and realized I wasn’t supposed to add the cream, cornstarch and lemon at the end. Do you think it will still turn out okay?

    • Julie says:

      Hi Theresa, it’ll be fine. In previous comments, numerous people did the same thing as you and I wrote back to them saying it’ll be fine. Hope you enjoyed this!

  • Alden says:

    Why does it say to place everything into the bowl and then later say add cornstarch and cream. Totally messed it up based on the first sentence.

    • Julie says:

      Because it says place everything UP TO the bay leaves. If you don’t like the way I constructed the sentence, then you can always read the entire recipe first before making it.

      • Megan says:

        I love this response:)

      • Susan Marie says:


  • Whitney says:

    So I’m sitting at work thinking about this tasty recipe I have cooking at home when suddenly it hits me… How could I be so stupid?! I used tomato paste instead of tomato puree. OH GOD. WHAT HAVE I DONE.

    • Julie says:

      Eek, that’s not good! Hope it was still salvageable!

      • Natalie says:

        Hey guys. I didn’t check the date on this, so I might be waaay late in the game, but…I used tomato paste on accident and it still worked and it was so, so good. I just had to use a lot of extra cream to thin out the paste a bit.

  • sudha vishwanath says:

    I am confused about cumin and cinnamon, is it cumin seeds and cinnamon sticks or cumin powder and cinnamon powder?

    • Julie says:

      Both ground cumin and ground cinnamon!

  • Hannah says:

    This recipe is delicious! It tastes nearly the same as the Maya Kaimal Tikka Masala simmer sauce. Thank you so much for sharing. I left out the lemon juice because that usually makes things too tangy for me and I used rotisserie chicken. DELICIOUS.

    • Julie says:

      So happy to hear this!! :)

  • Amy says:

    This is fantastic. I added four tablespoons of cayenne because we like it hot. My husband had never had Indian cuisine before and he loved this! Thank you for an awesome recipe. Oh also, we put ours over quinoa and it was delicious.

    • Julie says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Lisa Kwan says:

    This is an amazing recipe! So delicious and full of flavour. I’ve made many indian recipes before and this one is one of THE BEST! My family and guests loved it. Great job Julie. I’m now going to go through your other recipes…Yum!

    • Julie says:

      I’m so glad you enjoyed this! Hope you find some other recipes to try :)

  • Kristy says:

    Paprika — Hungarian (sweet) or Spanish (smoked)? They are so different and this could make a big difference in taste.

    • Julie says:

      Hungarian (sweet).

  • megan says:

    I just stirred and tasted this in the crock pot–I thought I could handle some heat but this is spicy!!:) I added more yogurt–any other suggestions? Taste is great besides that–thanks for sharing!

    • Julie says:

      Probably more yogurt and maybe some more tomato sauce?

  • Keri says:

    I made this and mine also came out tan in color vs. orange/red. I did enjoy it but I used the other recipe with the lemon juice and totally agree with your assessment that it made the dish too tangy. I also make my own garam masala which has caramom in it so I wasn’t pleased with the lemon/cinnamon taste – a little too heavy. I also wonder about leaving the chicken beasts whole which I have done in other recipes until the last hour could that help with the dryness or would it not cook correctly. All that being said I will make again with a few adjustments. Thank you!

  • Rundlesten says:

    Tried this today and it was quite good, though still too spicy for my family (and i only used 1 tsp of cayenne). Do you think that chick peas could be used instead of chicken and if so how many cans would you recommend? Thanks!

    • Julie says:

      Chickpeas could possibly work instead of chicken – since this is a big dish, I would say at least 2-3 cans of it.

  • Christine says:

    I made this last night for my boyfriend who had been craving chicken tikka masala and it turned out great! The only modification I made was I marinated the chicken overnight in yogurt before putting it into the crock pot in the morning. I saw that tip on another recipe and thought marinating it might be worth a shot. Even though I half-ed the recipe (since there are only two of us) there was plenty of sauce to dip our naan in and tons of leftovers! Thanks so much for posting this!

    • Julie says:

      Awesome! So glad you all enjoyed it!

  • Marian says:

    Hi, Julie
    I plan to make this in this weekend (for 4 serves), but I’m curious I can’t find all these spices in my place. Is it ok to skip some ingredients?

    • Marian says:

      Such as tumeric powder and cumin.

      • Julie says:

        Hi Marian, I really wish I could tell you to skip those ingredients but they’re pretty key in this dish. Most Indian cooking is a lot of spice-based to give it the unique flavor. Sorry! :( have you tried looking on Amazon?

  • Jennifer says:

    Can I use Greek yogurt instead of plain?

    • Julie says:

      Yes, but use plain greek yogurt.

  • Joy says:

    This was so easy and delicious! Made it yesterday and HAD to eat two helpings! Thanks for sharing.

    • Julie says:

      Glad you enjoyed this!

  • Cecy says:

    I can’t wait to make this meal for my family

  • Cyndi says:

    Have you ever tried adding curry paste to this? I make a stove top version that I use that in. It adds a great depth of flavor.

    • Julie says:

      No, I haven’t but sounds great!

  • Andrew J. Franke says:

    Just Made this Julie after having had it out. We don’t have an oven that works right now. It was masterful. Thank you for the Recipe.

  • Silvia says:

    I only have a Brown Cow Maple Yogurt. Would that work, or could it ruin the recipe completely?

    • Julie says:

      No, it won’t work. As mentioned in the recipe, it needs to be plain yogurt.

  • Dumas says:

    I couldn’t fit all of the ingredients in my 5 quart crockpot, so I prepared the dish in 2 portions. Loved the consistency, but in the end it was too spicy (might have been the ginger, or the curry) maybe both :)

    • Julie says:

      Might have been the cayenne, actually! So maybe omit that next time :)

  • Shivla says:

    I made this yesterday and followed the recipe to a T. However, at that stage I did not know that what you call ‘Tomato Puree’, we in the UK call passata and vice versa! So I used what you would call tomato paste. It didn’t generate much sauce but when I added the cream near the end, this rectified the problem. This was a delicious recipe which all of my family loved, praising my culinary skills. I think I will make it exactly the same way again as it worked so well. Thank you for posting, I love slow cooking (crock pot), it makes life just that bitless stressful of an evening.

    • Julie says:

      Good to know about the difference in names! I’m glad it worked out well for you :) slow cooker recipes definitely help out in life!

  • Alicia says:

    I just made this tonight and I just have to thank you for the wonderful recipe! I am going to have some fabulous work lunches the next few days with the leftovers!!

    • Julie says:

      Leftovers for lunch are the best! So glad you enjoyed!

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