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 (adjustable, but please note that results, timing, and cookware may vary when adjusting servings): 6 -8
    Calories: 356kcal
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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
    Nutrition Facts
    Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
    Amount Per Serving (1 Serving)
    Calories 356 Calories from Fat 189
    % Daily Value*
    Total Fat 21g 32%
    Total Carbohydrates 16g 5%
    Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
    Sugars 9g
    Protein 27g 54%
    * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
    *Nutrition facts are an estimate and note guaranteed to be accurate. 


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  • Tom Windsor says:

    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 says:

      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.

  • Katy says:

    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 says:

      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.

  • Kate says:

    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. :)

  • Candice says:

    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!

  • Sara says:

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

    • Julie says:

      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.

  • Sabrina says:

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

    • Julie says:

      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 says:

      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.

  • Christy says:


    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 says:

      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!

  • Tyler says:

    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!!

  • Ruby says:

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

    • Julie says:

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

  • Monique says:

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

    • Julie says:

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

  • Andy says:

    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 :)

  • Amy says:

    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 says:

      I’d add more cream.

  • Abela says:

    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.

  • Tiffany says:

    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!

  • Kristin says:

    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!

  • zuleyka says:

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

    • Julie says:

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

  • Kevin says:

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

    • Julie says:

      Less yogurt maybe?

  • Lindsay says:

    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!

  • Jesse says:

    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! ^_^

  • Chris says:

    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 says:

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

      • Tracy milburn says:

        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 says:

      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 says:

        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.

  • Matthew says:

    Chicken Tikka Masala is British, not Indian..

  • Tracy milburn says:

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

  • Michelle says:

    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 says:

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

  • Carla says:

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

    • Julie says:

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

  • Kiara says:

    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

  • Kimberly Bocian says:

    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.

  • Afsha says:

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

  • Jennifer says:

    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 says:

      So glad you enjoyed it!

  • Abby says:

    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 says:

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

      • Abby says:

        Thank you very much for your reply (:

  • Diane says:

    This looks yummy! My 91-yo mother loves Indian inspired food, however, she doesn’t eat chicken – do you think I could substitute pork loin meat instead of chicken ? thank you in advance for your thoughts on this.

    • Julie says:

      Yes, definitely. Substitute whatever meat you like!

  • Teri says:

    This turned out so great! My family gobbled it up.

    I did make a couple of small changes (increased garlic and ginger), but otherwise my only question mark about the recipe was the large amount of sauce. I think in the future I would either cut the sauce ingredients in half, or increase the amount of chicken and plan on serving it two nights back to back. And just for personal preference, I think I would brown the chicken first before tossing it in the slow cooker.

  • Karen Caves says:

    This recipe is Amazing! I’ve made so many versions of chicken tikka masala, and they’ve all fallen short in terms of flavor and authenticity. I’ve made this recipe three times and have shared the recipe with my international traveling friends, and we all agree….his is the best recipe!!! That it can be cook d in the crockpot is just one added benefit…..thanks for sharing!

  • Karen says:

    I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this recipe. It was easy to make and my family all liked it. It is definitely going to go on our replay list. Thank you.

  • Margaret says:

    This meal is fantastic! Thank you for putting it together!

    I manually went through and figured out the calorie count for this meal and thought I would share. :)

    The following calorie count is based on only using 3 chickens breasts, and also using whole wheat flour in place of corn starch (I ran out of corn starch) >_<

    780 cal – 3 chicken breasts
    63 cal – 1 large onion
    8 cal – garlic
    18 cal – ginger
    263 cal – tomato puree
    225 cal – plain yogurt
    238 cal – olive oil
    78 cal – garam masala
    8 cal – tumeric
    22 cal – cumin
    9 cal – paprika
    6 cal – cinnamon
    6 cal – black pepper
    6 cal – bay leaf
    6 cal – cayenne
    102 cal – wheat flour
    800 cal – whipping cream
    9 cal – lemon

    2647 total

    Roughly 330 calories per serving (I consider 1 cup a serving; it's just too good! :) )

  • Faryn says:

    I am making this tonight and am confused on something. When I add the cream and cornstarch, do I have to reset the cooker for an additional 20 min? Or is the warm setting enough?
    Thank you! It smells totally amazing!!!

    • Julie says:

      The warm setting should be hot enough to activate the cornstarch thickening but if it isn’t, I would take some of the liquid and put it in a pot on the stovetop and thicken it that way and pour it back in.

  • KRISTAL says:

    Easy and delicious, thank you for sharing.

  • Claire says:

    Made this today. It was delicious and very well received by my husband and two kids. I used only 1/2tsp of cayenne pepper and that was probably just right for me and the kids. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  • Sherri says:

    I made this several years ago with the original recipe (minus the turmeric and lemon) and I don’t why I haven’t made it again, because it is more than wonderful. I misjudged the time and made it on the stove top…oh my. The smell for the couple hours I simmered it was SO AMAZING. I will try it in the crock pot this time.

  • Susan says:

    Made it just as described. It was delicious! I look forward to trying other recipes on your site.

  • Leila Regala says:

    I am allergic to soy,tomatoes and wheat. Do you have any chicken,pork and beef recipes that you can recommend? I love your tika masala recipe but i wish there’s a substitute for tomato puree. I will appreciate any feedback. Thanks ?

    • Julie says:

      Hi, yes, I have a lot of those. If you use the CATEGORIES drop down in the right sidebar of the site (on desktop – if you are on mobile, scroll down on the homepage), then you can see all the categories for chick, pork, and beef.

  • Sheri says:

    This is one of my favorite recipe’s! I have been making it for over a year now, and it never gets old! So many spices! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Fred Christopherson says:

    How is it without the heavy cream and corn starch? If I use a crock pot, that usually means that I’m not going to be around 20 minutes before dinner.

    • Julie says:

      I feel that the heavy cream should be added; you could just add it before you eat…but the cornstarch isn’t totally necessary. You might have a looser/more liquid more soupy consistency but if you’re eating it over rice, it won’t be too bad.

  • Trish says:

    Question! What is the POINT of using Garam Masala if you’re still adding ALL the spices individually that are in it?

    • Julie says:

      From what I can tell, the only ingredients that are in garam masala that I’m also adding individually are cinnamon and cumin; there are a bunch of other spices in garam masala I’m not individually adding such as coriander, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg.

  • Danielle says:

    I am trying this recipe today and I’m so excited!
    Quick question- Can I use plain greek yogurt instead of regular yogurt? I misread before I went shopping yesterday.

    • Julie says:

      yes, definitely!

  • Mckenna says:

    This is my go to recipe for Tikki Masala! It’s saved in my favorites! I know it’s not traditional, but sometimes I replace the cream with coconut milk. Thank you for the delicious recipe, Julie.

  • Corynne says:

    This was fabulous! I had crushed tomatoes on hand, so puréed those in the blender before adding and substituted plain Greek for regular yogurt. Had it for lunch over brown rice and home made pita chips on the side. It was delicious! Added just under 1 tsp of cayenne and it had kick but not over the top spicy. I will definitely be making this again. Thank you!

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Great!! So happy to hear this.

  • Fred Rickson says:

    Holy Smoke, that first paragraph whine made me cry…not.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      It’s called a blog. Don’t like reading them? Perfectly fine, move along and save your troll comments for another site since you clearly have *so* much time on your hands.

  • Daniel says:

    Great recipe – this is my first foray into Indian cooking, but certainly not my last. Came out great, and packages well in the fridge with rice. 5 days of work lunches for an hour or so total work.

    • Julie Wampler says:

      Great to hear!!

  • Ashley Judd says:

    it turned out awesome! My family loved it especially my girls who are 5 and 2.5 years, so yes a definite thumbs up to to your recipe.
    Bless You!

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