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Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Bowl full of Tikka Masala over rice wtih naan.

Indian food has become my very favorite type of food to eat. Ironically, it was my teenage son who really got me interested in it. I don’t really think of Indian Cuisine as being popular with teenagers, but my son and his friends love to go out to several of the nearby Indian restaurants. They especially love the lunch buffets. They can eat their fill, plus try some new foods.

Tikka Masala in a black slow cooker.

One of my favorite Indian dishes is the ever popular Chicken Tikka Masala. I love the contrast of sweetness and spice in it and the richness from the cream. I haven’t really done much Indian cooking at home because it seems so foreign to me, but when I saw this slow cooker Chicken Tikka Masala recipe on Pinterest, I thought- That’s something I can make.



And it turned out fabulously well. The sauce is wonderfully thick and rich, with loads of flavor. The chicken pieces are moist and tender and almost just become a part of the sauce. The only change I might make would be to add a little more chicken. If you want it to have a significant amount of chicken, maybe use 3 or 4 pounds instead of two. But let’s face it, people who like Chicken Tikka Masala like it for the sauce, not the chicken.

Chicken Tikka Masala over rice with fresh cilantro.

Of course Tikka Masala must be served with some warm Na’an to mop up the sauce and some rice, preferably Basmati or Jasmine.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala over rice with fresh cilantro and naan.

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Watch the short video below to see how to make Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala.

slow cooker chicken tikka masala

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala



  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2-3 inch piece ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 10- ounce bag frozen peas, thawed
  • rice
  • cilantro


  • In a large bowl, combine chicken, ground coriander, cumin, and salt. Toss to combine. Stir in yogurt, coating chicken evenly. Marinate for at least 10 minutes.
  • In a large nonstick skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add half of chicken and cook until browned on both sides. Transfer to slow cooker. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  • In same skillet, add 1 more tablespoon olive oil. Add onions, garlic, and red pepper flakes and saute until onions are softened and translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add 1 teaspoon salt ,garam masala, and ginger and cook 1 more minute. Add tomatoes and sugar, turn heat to high, and bring to a boil. Pour over chicken in slow cooker. Cover and cook for 5-6 hours on LOW.
  • Whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup heavy cream and add to crockpot along with remaining heavy cream and peas. Stir to combine. Cover and continue to cook 10 minutes on HIGH.

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Recipe Source: adapted slightly from A Dash of Cinnamon

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80 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala”

  1. I’m making this now and am confused about the heavy cream. In the ingredients portion you say I’ll need 1.25 cups of it, but then in the directions you only say to use 1/4 cup.

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      In the directions, it says to mix 1/4 cup together with the cornstarch and then to add that AND the remaining cream to the crock pot. You can mix the cornstarch into the entire amount of cream, but it is much easier to get all the lumps out when you are mixing it into a smaller amount of liquid.

      1. Thanks! I mustve not read it correctly cause it definitely says that now that I re-read it ???? 30 min before it’s done (west coast over here!) can’t wait to eat it!! ❤️

  2. Do you think it would be OK if I cooked everything the night before in the skillet, but left it in the fridge in the pot over night to cook it in the crock pot the next day?

      1. As long as you cool it down quickly, there is no risk in that. The “danger zone” is 39 – 140 degrees, so cooking properly, cooling it down before putting a top on it in the fridge and then warming it in the crockpot past that temp. is perfectly fine!

  3. Stephen P. Evans

    Maybe I missed it but I don’tt remember seeing anythng about how long you cook in the crock pot. I have used boneless chicken in a crock before and found the texture to be more like the glue you used in grade school. I have madde this dish on top of the stove the old traditional way using bnls chicken and it came out really good. I’d like to try it in the crock pot so how long would you recommend to cook it?

    Stephen P. Evans

  4. In the crockpot now! Excited to try it. If only I could send smells to my guy while he’s working!! Thanks so much.

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      I usually give it a little stir, but the sauce does a good job of working its way down and around all the chicken.

  5. Mary Beth Weedon

    Made this tonight and it was delicious. I forgot to add the cilantro which was a bummer. I did add more salt than stated because it needed it (that’s coming from someone who doesn’t like salt at all).

    Because of the chicken to sauce ratio, next time I am going to use 1 1/2 cans of crushed tomato instead of 2 OR add another pound of chicken

  6. When do you add the ginger and are you cooking the chicken completely in the skillet or just browning and it finishes cooking in crockpot? Thank you

  7. Do you discard the yogurt after you take the chicken out? Or do you add it to the crockpot? Looks delicious! Making this today!

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      I don’t scrape any of the yogurt off the chicken when adding it to the pan to brown. Whatever yogurt is left behind, I just discard.

  8. I tried this recipe last night and wow! It turned out just like the photos and was absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and would say it is spot on. I used 2 heaping tbsp. of ginger/garlic paste instead of fresh. I left out the red pepper flakes since we like it mild and added lots of cilantro (love that stuff) to the slow cooker while it cooked for 6 hours on low. It really came together at the end with the heavy cream. We have a ton of leftovers and it will be great for the week, however, I will most likely cut the recipe in half the next time I make it since it’s just the two of us. Thank you so much for this delicious recipe!

  9. this recipe is amazing! made this for dinner tonight, big hit. I would say tho, it’s not necessary to cube the chicken before browning. the meat shreds in the crackpot as its cooking.

  10. Can it be frozen after cooking everything on the stove before it goes in the crockpot? Then cooked in the crockpot?

  11. Hi! My fiance can’t eat dairy- could I substitute the heavy cream for something else? What would you suggest. The greek yogurt should probably be fine.

      1. Louise Stewart

        I was wondering the same…..what could be substituted for the cream to make it healthier & less calories???

        1. Christin
          Christin Mahrlig

          You could try using half-and-half instead. It will still be fairly high in calories, but definitely a lot less than using heavy cream.

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