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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken is incredibly easy to make and always yields the most flavorful, tender results! Bites of chicken thighs are served in a fragrant, savory, and creamy sauce. Be sure to serve it over some jasmine rice and use some naan to sop up all the saucy goodness so not a single drop goes to waste!

rice, cilantro and limes are placed around a bowl filled with butter chicken.
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This dish is the epitome of comfort and flavor, and the best part is that it requires minimal effort on your part. Indian food can be really intimidating to make at home for those who love it and want to recreate it in their home kitchens. Aside from having the right spices in your spice cabinet, it’s really not as daunting as it may seem to be!

My version of slow cooker butter chicken is a mouthwatering and convenient twist on the classic Indian dish. This recipe takes the traditional flavors and rich creaminess and combines them with the ease and simplicity of slow cooking. It involves tender chicken pieces cooked in a flavorful tomato-based sauce, infused with aromatic spices and a velvety touch of butter. The slow cooker does all the work, allowing the flavors to meld together beautifully while you go about your day.

a spoon is lifting a portion of butter chicken from the bowl.

What exactly is butter chicken?

The popular Indian dish, butter chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a rich, creamy, and incredibly flavorful dish originating in the city of Delhi in the mid-20th century. Legend has it that a chef named Kundan Lal Gujral, who ran a popular restaurant called Moti Mahal, accidentally discovered this creation. To avoid wasting the leftover tandoori chicken, he decided to simmer it in a tomato-based gravy and added a generous amount of butter and cream. Since then, butter chicken has gained immense popularity not only in India but also worldwide. Its harmonious blend of spices, creamy texture, and bold flavors have made it a staple in Indian cuisine, representing the perfect marriage of traditional flavors and modern innovation.

Why You’ll Love This

  • Effortless. You’ve never made butter chicken with this minimal amount of effort before. The steps here are short, simple, and pretty effortless. Sit back and relax while the Crockpot does all the work for you!
  • Oh so flavorful. This butter chicken recipe is traditional and made with downright delicious ingredients that always yield the most flavor-packed results. You’ll love the notes of onion, turmeric and more that are present in every creamy bite.
  • Better than take-out. Put the phone down…you won’t be needing Uber Eats tonight. This homemade butter chicken is so much better (and more affordable) than so many local restaurants!
the ingredients for slow cooker butter chicken are placed on a white surface.

Ingredients You’ll Need

Here is a list of ingredients you will need to make slow cooker butter chicken. Make sure to scroll down to view the full recipe for exact measurements.

  • Butter
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Tomato paste
  • Garam masala
  • Brown sugar
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Turmeric
  • Coconut milk
  • Chicken stock
  • Lime juice
  • Chicken thighs
  • Garnishes – Fresh cilantro or parsley

How To Make Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

If you’re ready to indulge in a soul-warming meal without spending hours in the kitchen, grab your slow cooker, and let’s get cooking together! Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this post for the full recipe.

Sauté the onions. Sauté the onions in butter over medium heat in a skillet. Stir in the garlic and ginger and cook until aromatic (about 2 minutes).

Make the sauce. Stir together the tomato paste, garam masala, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and turmeric in a mixing bowl. Whisk in the coconut milk, chicken stock, and lime juice until smooth. Pour this into to the slow cooker.

Cook. Add the chicken to the Crockpot and stir to fully cover it in the sauce. Cook on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours.

a white ladle is scooping up some butter chicken from the slow cooker.

Recipe Tips, Substitutions, and Variations

I’ve got a whole list for you to help make this as successful as can be!

  • Use chicken breasts. I prefer using chicken thighs because they usually turn out to be more tender, especially with the longer, slower cook time. However, you can easily swap them out for an equal amount of boneless skinless chicken breasts! For the best results, chop the chicken into bite size pieces before tossing it into the Crockpot.
  • Sneak in some veggies. This is far from traditional, but you can toss some cauliflower into the Crockpot if you want to sneak some veggies into your butter chicken! I recommend tossing in the cauliflower when there’s only one hour of cook time left. Try to do this quickly so you don’t let too much heat escape the slow cooker.
  • Turn up the heat. Oh yes! If you’re craving some spice, feel free to sprinkle in as much cayenne pepper as your heart desires. Just note that a little cayenne goes a pretty long way, so be cautious about how much you choose to stir into the mix.
  • Thicken the sauce. If you want to thicken the sauce, in the last 30 minutes of cook time, add a cornstarch slurry to the slow cooker and mix it in.
  • Don’t have a pressure cooker? My stovetop butter chicken yields the same tasty results!
  • No peeking! Unless you’re tossing in some last minute cauliflower, you don’t want to open that lid for any reason. When you open the lid to your Crockpot, you release steam, which means the temperature decreases and you may have to wait longer for your food to cook.
  • Measure with care. This homemade butter chicken sauce is designed to be… Well, perfect! I don’t recommend adding more or less of any ingredients, as that may ruin the consistency or flavor of the sauce.
  • Use fresh lime juice. This is so important! Bottled lime juice won’t give you the same zesty flavor that freshly squeezed lime juice will. Plus, if you have any leftover juice, you can use it to squeeze on top of your plated butter chicken just before serving to add a touch of fresh flavor.
a bowl filled with butter chicken is garnished with fresh greens.

Storage and Reheating Instructions

I love having leftover butter chicken! It reheats like a dream in the microwave – just zap it in 30 second intervals until warmed all the way through. To keep it fresh for about 4 days, wait for it to fully cool to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container and keep it in the fridge.

What to Serve with Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

I love serving my butter chicken over biryani. However, I’ve been obsessed with making jasmine rice in the Instant Pot first. It’s SO quick and easy. Although, butter chicken cannot be without Homemade Naan. It’s just simply a must!

If you’re looking for other authentic Indian dishes, I’ve got you. My Indian friend helped develop the following recipes so you know you’ve got genuine, authentic Indian dishes that you can easily make at home and serve with this butter chicken!

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5 from 1 vote

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken is incredibly easy to make and always yields the most flavorful, tender results! Bites of chicken thighs are served in a fragrant, savory, and creamy sauce.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6

Equipment

Ingredients 

  • 1 Tablespoon (14 g) salted butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons (14 g) grated ginger
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon garam masala powder
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 12 ounce (340 ml) can coconut milk, (about 1 ½ cups)
  • ½ cup (118 ml) chicken stock
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 pounds (907 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Cilantro or parsley, optional garnish

Instructions 

  • Place the butter into a medium skillet, on medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until softened and translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, cooking for another 2 minutes. Place this into the slow cooker.
  • In a separate medium sized bowl, stir together the tomato paste, garam masala, brown sugar, salt, pepper, and turmeric. Stir in the coconut milk, chicken stock, and lime juice. Whisk this until there are no lumps. Add this mixture to the slow cooker.
  • Add the chicken and stir everything together.
  • Cook this on low for 5 hours or high for 3 hours.
  • Serve with jasmine rice or similar.

Notes

If you want to thicken the sauce, in the last 30 minutes of cook time, add a cornstarch slurry to the slow cooker and mix in.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 380kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 22g, Saturated Fat: 15g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 149mg, Sodium: 801mg, Potassium: 884mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 8g

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.

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.

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