Cook Like a Champion bio picture

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Slow cooker meals have now entered our regular dinner rotation. There’s no denying the convenience of a slow cooler meal, especially with that little renovation we’re working on. With the hustle and bustle of this season, I think a slow cooker meal is perfect for everyone.

I first made this recipe almost a year ago and have made it a few times since then. I’m happy to report that Clara has enjoyed it every single time and with good reason. It’s one of my favorite slow cooker meals to date. It’s rich and comforting, qualities that are welcome this time of year (even though it’s weirdly warm here today).

I can’t speak to the authenticity of this dish, but I can tell you it’s incredibly gratifying to eat. It’s heavily spiced, and I love that the flavors are more intense than some other slow cooker recipes I’ve tried. This recipe uses chicken thighs, which just fall apart after cooking. Served over a bed of cumin seed rice, this tikka masala is a dinner that I will happily eat again and again.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Cook Time: 5 hours

Yield: 6 servings

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

When making the rice, I love to add cumin seeds to give it a flavor boost. I use 2 teaspoons of cumin seeds for each cup of uncooked rice. Toast the cumin seeds in a bit of oil until they spatter, then add the rice and toast for about a minute before adding water and cooking as directed.


For the Chicken:
9 whole (about 2 pounds) boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 whole jalapeno pepper, stem removed, pepper pierced several times with a sharp knife
For the Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter
1 whole large onion, peeled and diced
6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
3 tablespoons garam masala
1 piece fresh ginger, about 2-3 inches, peeled and grated or minced
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoon sugar
2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
For Serving:
3-4 cups cooked rice, hot
cilantro for garnish


Cut the chicken into 1-1½ inch pieces. Place the chicken in the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle the coriander, cumin and salt over the chicken, then stir in the yogurt until all the pieces are evenly coated. Place the jalapeño on top.

To prepare the sauce, melt butter in a medium pan over medium high heat. Stir in the onions, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to lightly brown around the edges. Stir in the garam masala and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute, before adding the crushed tomatoes and sugar. Stir well, scraping the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a boil. Pour the sauce over the chicken in the slow cooker.

Cover and cook on low for 5 hours, or until the chicken is very tender. Stir in the heavy cream, recover, and continue cooking for another 10 minutes.

Serve over hot rice topped with a generous amount of chopped cilantro.


  • Joanne (eats well with others)

    Before I went veg chicken tikka masala was definitely my favorite Indian restaurant meal. I’ll have to see if the paneer version will work in the slow cooker as well!!!

    • Courtney

      Oooh, that would be fantastic! I definitely want to hear about that if you try it.

  • kelly

    I made chicken tikka masala and homemade naan for the first time a few weeks ago and it seemed so intimidating by the laundry list of ingredients, but it’s not hard to make at all. I love that you made it easier by making it in a slow cooker (if I can find my sister’s, I’ll have to try this one!) and I love the cumin seeds in the rice, too!