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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’ve made this a couple times. It’s great! I add a little more ginger than the recipe calls for but that’s personal preference. Re: the question of using breast meat instead of thighs I think the might tend to dry out since they have less fat?

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      Glad you liked the recipe Mike! I agree that chicken breasts won’t stay as moist as thighs.

  2. This recipe was so good. My wife loves tikki marsala, and she claimed that recipe was the the best she’s ever had. I did add a little turmeric and ground cordamom to the recipe.

  3. This recipe is total crap. What’s the point of using a slow cooker if you have to cook the dish 90% of the way beforehand??)

    1. You could throw everything in the slow cooker without any of the pre cooking steps.

      But it won’t taste as good. Searing meat and sauteing vegetables adds additional flavor to the dish.

      Slow cookers are great. They’re still not a replacement for actual cooking.

      And the recipe isn’t crap. It makes wonderful tikka masala.

  4. I love Tikka Masala, but have never tried to cook it at home. I’m going to prepare this for 8 guests for a dinner party/poker game on Saturday. Have you or anyone tried to cooking this with chicken breasts instead of thighs? Also, what do you think about putting the chicken under the broiler briefly in lieu of the skillet to get that nice char coloring you see at restaurants?

    Thank you so much! I can’t wait to try this.

  5. Aarti Patel

    I looked forward to making this recipe for weeks, and when I finally did, it didn’t disappoint. The prep was very simple, ingredients easy to find, and instructions spot on. The dish wasn’t too spicy or too bland, just right. And the consistency of the sauce and tenderness of the meat was better than some Indian restaurants (I’m Indian). I only have a 4-quart slow cooker, so I did reduce the amount of sauce that I poured over the chicken (to keep the food level at 2/3 full). My family loved this dish and I’m looking forward to making it again!

    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      So happy your family loved this meal Aarti! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  6. Christy Varnado

    I got ahead of myself and added the cream to the crockpot to cook for the 5 hours. Do you think it will still turn out?

  7. I’ve no Coriander, but I’ve fresh Cilantro. Can I just mince the Cilantro finely instead? If so, would I use more or less? Even Google cant tell me if they’re the same thing, and interchangeable, or not! LOL I hope you can! 🙂

    (I’m only hesitant to COOK Cilantro, only because I once added it to filling I made for beef enchiladas, and it tasted terrible cooked, then baked in – even though we love it raw!)

  8. Stephanie L.

    I’ve made this recipe several times, now, and it comes out spectacular every time! I’m usually a wimp when it comes to spicy foods, but I would honestly probably put a little more crushed red pepper (personally). I accidentally bought diced tomatoes, instead of crushed, but it still came out wonderful! Just had more chunks of tomato.

    I love this, as it make a HUGE crock pot full of deliciousness, and it freezes exceptionally well! Make some basmati rice and/or naan (which also freeze well), and you’ve got frozen homemade meals whenever you want!

  9. I can’t stop making this… I make a double batch and freeze 1.5 of them in mason jars and they are perfect for our family if 2 to pull out on busy days! Thank you! You’ve expanded my cooking horizons 🙂

    1. I’m about to make a double batch myself, Melinda! Did you double ALL the ingredients or did you adjust any?


    1. Christin
      Christin Mahrlig

      You don’t have to Mary. You may want to add a little time to the slow cooking time if you skip browning the chicken in a pan. Good luck!

  10. I just made this dish & I loved it. However my family’s pallet islimited & did not enjoy it as much as I did.

  11. Made this tonight, directions very easy to follow. I will definitly be addeding this to our meal plan fairly often. Tiki Masala is one of my favorites, nice to know it is so easy to make. Highly recommend this recipe

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