This Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala is super flavourful! It’s a great hands-off dinner idea that cooks all day in the crockpot on low.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Butter – or a butter substitute of your choice like margarine or even olive oil.
- Yellow onion – white onion or shallots would also work.
- Chicken – you can use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts or swap it out for another protein like tofu, chickpeas, lentils or stewing beef.
- Garlic – freshly minced garlic is best but jarred minced garlic will work in a pinch.
- Gingerroot – if you don’t have any fresh ginger, use 1 tsp. ground ginger powder instead.
- Brown sugar – make your own brown sugar using white sugar and molasses.
- Garam masala – the garam masala is pretty essential to this dish. You can try using curry powder or more cumin in its place, but the flavour won’t be the same.
- Turmeric – saffron would be the best substitute here or you can leave the turmeric out altogether.
- Cumin – add in some extra garam masala, curry powder or even chili powder.
- Chili powder – mix together paprika, cumin and cayenne in a pinch.
- Salt – to taste.
- Crushed tomatoes – diced tomatoes can be used instead.
- Sour cream – canned coconut milk or 1/3 cup heavy cream would also be good.
- Cilantro – leave this off if you’re not a fan of cilantro.
- Naan – you could also serve your tikka masala with pita or leave this out to cut down on the calories.
How to make chicken tikka masala in the slow cooker
Step 1: Add everything to the slow cooker.
Add everything but the sour cream to the slow cooker.
Step 2: Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
Step 3: Make the rice.
While the chicken tikka masala cooks, make the rice in a rice cooker or on the stovetop.
Step 4: Stir in the sour cream and serve.
Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you want to use frozen chicken for this recipe, you'll need to defrost the chicken first, as it's not safe to add raw chicken to the slow cooker.
Yes! You can double this recipe as long as you don't go over your slow cooker's maximum line, and the cooking time should remain the same. If you have a smaller slow cooker, you might need to cook it in batches or have more than one slow cooker going at the same time.
If you want to make this recipe dairy-free, substitute the butter for your favourite dairy-free substitute for margarine. You can leave the sour cream out entirely or substitute it for a can of full-fat coconut milk, although the flavour will be slightly different.
This slow cooker tikka masala has a bit of spice to it, but it's not overly spicy. To reduce the spice, use less chili powder. If you want to give it even more heat, add in some red chili flakes or cayenne pepper.
This recipe is for slow cooker chicken tikka masala, but if you're looking for a faster option, you can try my Instant Pot chicken tikka masala recipe.
Storing and reheating
This chicken tikka masala recipe is great for meal prep and will last in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can store individual serving sizes in the fridge. That way, when you’re ready to enjoy your dish, all you have to do is pop a container in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes then dig in. Easy-peasy!
Can you freeze chicken tikka masala?
Some curry dishes freeze better than others. Because coconut milk can separate when frozen, coconut milk-based curries don’t freeze well. Luckily, this chicken tikka masala has a tomato-based sauce, so it freezes beautifully! It’ll last in the freezer for up to 3 months in airtight glass containers or Ziploc bags.
When you’re ready to enjoy this dish, just remove it from the freezer and let it defrost overnight in the fridge. If you've frozen it in microwave-safe meal prep bowls, you can reheat individual serving sizes right from frozen in the microwave for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring halfway through.
Wanna Learn How To Meal Prep?
My meal planning service, Dinner Prep Pro, removes the guesswork and helps you get dinner on the table in 15-20 minutes each night. My meal prep checklists only take 1 hour each week!
Meal Prep Tools
- Order some garam masala if you can't find it at your local grocery store.
- Glass meal prep bowls are so great for microwaving and reheating your food safely.
- A rice cooker will automatically cook the side dish of rice for you.
- Restock your freezer with free-range poultry from Butcher Box.
- These bento box containers are perfect for packing the rice and curry separately in the same container.
- **Get my full list of tools here**
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 1 lb chicken, diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp gingerroot, grated
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 (796mL) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- Fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Naan bread (optional)
- 1 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup basmati rice
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 pinch salt
- Add all ingredients except for sour cream, rice, cilantro and naan to slow cooker in the order they are listed above and cook on high for 3 hours, or on low for 6 hours.
- Remove lid and stir in sour cream. Add rice to large bowls and top with chicken mixture, then garnish with cilantro and serve with naan (if desired). Serve and enjoy!
- Add all ingredients to a rice cooker or on the stove top and cook according to package directions.