Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

When most people think Indian food, their mind jumps immediately to curry. This dish has no curry powder and is perfect for someone who wants to try Indian food for the first time – it’s just tenderly cooked chicken in a creamy fragrant tomato sauce. While I think this recipe is definitely restaurant-quality and one of my favorite dishes ever, I will admit that it takes some effort and planning. It’s not a just-throw-everything-in-the-crockpot-meal, but it’s not impossible either. While marinating and browning the chicken is time-consuming, it’s 100% worth it and adds delicious flavors. I mean, if you really wanted to, you could just throw everything in the crockpot, but I think you’d be selling yourself short.

Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

I’ve made this recipe many times and have changed up the original from Foodie with Family recipe to make it a little lighter, with less cream and salt. However, it’s still an indulgent recipe and has lots and lots of butter. Once I tried to sub yogurt for heavy cream to make it healthier, but that rendition was just not as good (and had weird flecks in the sauce). Don’t worry, I’m giving you the good version.

Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

Also, somehow Drew and I just ended up getting in a conversation where we tried to use Australian animals as puns. Here’s an excerpt:

Drew: “I think you are very koala-fied to be my wife.”

Me: “I dingo what to say to that, but I just wallaby by your side.”

5.0 from 1 reviews
Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala is a decadent Indian dish. It's pretty mild and perfect for Indian food newbies!
Serves: 6-8 servings
  • For The Chicken:
  • • 9 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • • 1 cup yogurt
  • • 4 tablespoons butter
  • For The Sauce:
  • • 4 tablespoons butter
  • • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • • 1 teaspoon salt
  • • 3 tablespoons garam masala
  • • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes with their juices
  • • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • • 1 jalapeno, washed, stem removed, and pierced several times with a fork
  • • ½ cup heavy cream
  • • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  1. Cut the chicken thighs into 1" pieces. Place in a medium bowl and sprinkle with ground ginger and cumin, then stir in the yogurt to coat the chicken. Cover lightly and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Raise the heat to medium-high and quickly brown ¼ of the chicken. Transfer the chicken to the crockpot as it is finished. Using 1 tablespoon of butter per batch, repeat the process 3 more times, until all the chicken is in the crockpot.
  3. Using the same skillet, melt the the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to soften.
  4. Stir in the garam masla and cook until fragrant, about one minute. Add the diced tomatoes and their juices and sugar. Stir, scraping the caramelized bits from the bottom of the skillet and bring to a simmer. Pour sauce over the chicken in the crockpot and add the jalapeno.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
  6. Use a whisk to stir the cornstarch into the heavy cream until very smooth. Pour into crockpot and stir to evenly distribute. Cook on low for an additional 10 minutes.
  7. Serve over rice or quinoa with cilantro. If you're feeling especially adventurous, try it with some naan as well.

Adapted from Foodie with Family


    • Alexa says

      Thanks so much! I love making it for company because I don’t have to do any prep before serving it other than stirring in the cream.

  1. says

    Omg, this is so perfect! I am on an Indian food kick right now and this looks so easy to make! Do you have any other Indian recipes up your sleeve? I’m currently obsessed with Lamb Bhuna. Have you tried it? You can also have it with chicken and it’s so so good!

    • Alexa says

      Thanks so much Kimmy! I’ve never had Lamb Bhuna, but that sounds delicious since I love lamb and Indian dishes! I’m hoping to get a tandoori chicken quinoa casserole up on the blog in the next few weeks (so not quite authentic Indian food, haha) :)

    • Alexa says

      I think coconut milk would work great! If you want to use a lite coconut milk, you may want to add a little extra cornstarch to keep the sauce on the thicker side. Hope you enjoy!


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