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Slow cooker butter chicken recipe

Slow cooker butter chicken recipe

  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Poultry
  • Chicken
  • Chicken curry
  • Butter chicken

A favourite of mine is Indian food, so when my friend made this slow cooker butter chicken, we were head over heels! I don't think I've tasted a better Butter Chicken. Serve with basmati rice and naan bread.

3429 people made this

IngredientsServes: 6

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 large skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon curry paste
  • 2 teaspoons tandoori masala
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 175g tomato puree
  • 15 green cardamom pods
  • 1 (400ml) tin coconut milk
  • 200g natural yoghurt
  • salt to taste

MethodPrep:30min ›Cook:6hr ›Ready in:6hr30min

  1. Heat the butter and vegetable oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Stir in the chicken, onion and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, curry paste, tandoori masala, garam masala and tomato puree until no lumps of tomato puree remain. Pour into a slow cooker, and stir in the cardamom pods, coconut milk and yoghurt. Season to taste with salt.
  2. Cook on High 4 to 6 hours, or on Low 6 to 8 hours until the chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced to your desired consistency. Remove and discard the cardamom pods before serving.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(881)

Reviews in English (677)

I did cheat and use chicken breast i found it easier than stripping the thighs.I had family round for dinner and everyone loved it my husband was still talking about it days later fabulous-26 Nov 2012

this was so easy to put together and utterly delicious! my husband said he would pay money for it and that he does'nt expect to ever order butter chicken from the indian again! rich aromatic and very very tasty saucy dish-16 Feb 2012

Something else.i added a tsp of Chilli Flakes, to make it a wee bit spicier-16 Jan 2011


Restaurant Style Butter Chicken in Slow Cooker

Posted By Savita

How about coming home from work, and a restaurant quality Indian Butter Chicken dinner is waiting for you?! Sounds tempting? Isn't it? This is the charm of slow cooker, my friends. Today, I'm giving you one more reason to dust-off your slow cooker, for this easy Indian homemade Butter Chicken dinner!!

Ready to ditch the delivery?! :-)

If you like Indian Food, this Slow Cooked Butter Chicken will be your new family favorite! I promise!

Just like you, I also get so busy or lazy some days that it just not feel like to stand in kitchen. Specially these days, when Sun is shining so bright and my apartment kitchen is often 100+ degrees due to sun-facing from 2 directions. Since it is still little pleasant during early morning hours. I love finishing the dinner prep in morning and then just enter kitchen for sometime in evening. and dinner is ready! To fit my life-style, I have adapted many of Indian Curries or our other chicken dinner favorites, to cook in slow cooker.

Slow Cooker gives me option to serve my family homemade dinner. no matter how day goes! and that's one of the BEST thing in my book.

All effort needed to make this Butter Chicken is in blending the marinade and sauteing some onions in butter! Obviously! You can't have authentic Butter Chicken without butter. Right? However, butter chicken is not about butter and butter only. In-fact, it does not need a LOT of butter, at all!

I'm an instant cook and often, especially with curries, it all depends on available protein and mood! :) It all starts with phrase "Let's eat Butter Chicken Today!" Hence, no time to marinate chicken. So, I skip long marination. Just mixing marinate in chicken and then leaving on kitchen counter, while I slice onion, and saute. At the max, make breakfast tea for Vishal. about 15-20 minutes and then I add chicken to the pan. And frankly, those 2-3 minutes in pan with butter, garam masala, and onions brings out lot of flavor. Plus slow cooking does the rest job for me. For the record, I never have missed long-marination in flavor.

Butter Chicken as name suggests, is Indian chicken main course, cooked in butter and Indian spices. because butter and spices make everything taste better! :) These two key components are must to make a delicious Butter Chicken. However, you don't need a stick of butter to make butter chicken flavorful. Butter does add distinct flavor, but there are also other ingredients that make Butter Chicken so flavorful.

Garam Masala is one main STAR spice (spice blend) used in classic Butter Chicken. This only spice is king of Indian Spices and adds ton of flavor! Just like Italian Herb De Provence or Chinese Five Spice, Indian Garam Masala is blend of potent Indian spices that alone can make or break a dish!

So, to get restaurant style flavor in Butter Chicken, you have to add one main Indian spice - Garam Masala, to it!

Few other ingredients that give Butter Chicken, a lush and creamy, restaurant like texture are tomatoes, almonds, yogurt, and finishing touch of little heavy cream. A very complex tasting dish sums up in these simple ingredients. Each of these equally contribute to that addictive "restaurant-style" creamy and fragrant chicken.

TIP: I avoid using a lot of butter. However, just before serving, you can add a teaspoon of salted butter in hot bowl of Butter Chicken, for that extra punch of flavor. exactly like it is served in restaurants. :)

This butter chicken recipe is very simple. Also, I have kept method of preparation very simple and standard. You can say, this recipe has evolved over-time from my earlier Butter Chicken recipe. From standard I mean, using this recipe, now you can make butter chicken, at home, with any cooking method of your choice.

1. Slow Cooker - Follow the recipe instructions as-is below.
2. Oven - Follow up-to step 4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After step 4, transfer the chicken to an oven-prove dish, cover with aluminium foil or a heat-safe lid, cook in oven for 25 minutes, then uncover lid and cook for 10 minutes.
3. Stove Top: Follow up-to step 4 using a deep heavy bottom pan (like a dutch oven) instead of a saute pan. Then add 1/4 cup water, cover and cook covered on medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.

You know, after looking at so tempting pictures, I'm drooling and famished too! Time to grab some lunch! You all have a great day! - Savita


How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Makhani

Now that I have your mouth watering for a delicious butter chicken recipe without the guilt, let me explain how you can make this recipe at home. Begin by heating the oil over medium heat in a medium saucepan. Once the oil is warmed add the shallot and onion and saute until they are soft. Get ready for a robust aroma when you add the butter, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, garam masala, chili powder, cayenne, cumin, and bay leaf. Allow that combination to cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant.

Now add the tomato sauce and cook for 2 minutes making sure that you stir often to avoid sticking and burning. Mix in the half and half, milk, and yogurt and reduce the heat to low, this is where your reduced calorie butter chicken sauce is formed. Allow this to simmer for 10 minutes and stir frequently. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Once everything is to your liking add it all to a blender and blend until well combined.

You’ve made it to the slow cooker portion! Get that handy piece of kitchen equipment out and add cubed chicken breast to the slow cooker with the sauce and cook for 4 hours on low. Enjoy served over rice or cauliflower rice or go a more traditional route and make some white basmati rice.


What to Serve with Butter Chicken

Like any curry, this is best served alongside some steamed rice and naan bread. I love to make the naan bread from scratch, but the store-bought varieties will work just as well.

For something a bit healthier than just regular steamed rice, you should try the cauliflower rice. It is low-carb and very easy to make. You can also find it for sale at some supermarkets in the fresh food or frozen food sections.

Curry is surprisingly good served over the top of some mashed potatoes. It does sound a little strange, but I highly recommend giving it a try. Especially if you love mashed potatoes.

You can eat this curry by itself if you do not feel like cooking any extras. Keep in mind that you might need to make more as it will no longer feed as many people.

If you want to see how to cook this delicious curry, then be sure to check out the video below. It goes through every step of making a super delightful butter chicken curry in the slow cooker.


HOW TO MAKE BUTTER CHICKEN CURRY

Full measurements and instructions can be found on the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page. Please take a look at the steps and video before attempting this recipe!

STEP 1 Cut the chicken thighs into cubes removing any large pieces of fat. Put all the sauce ingredients in a food processor and blitz to a smooth paste.

STEP 2 Add the paste into your slow cooker and mix in the diced chicken.
Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 hours or on LOW for 5 hours.

STEP 3 Stir in the butter until it melts into the sauce and add the cream.

STEP 4 Taste and adjust the seasoning (if needed). Garnish with chopped coriander and serve over rice or cauliflower rice.


  1. butter
  2. vegetable oil
  3. skinless boneless chicken breasts
  4. diced onion
  5. minced garlic
  6. curry powder
  7. tandoori masala (see below if you want to make your own)
  8. garam masala
  9. salt
  10. chili powder
  11. ground cardamom
  12. curry paste
  13. tomato paste
  14. low-fat yogurt
  15. coconut milk
  1. 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  2. 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  4. 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  5. 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Add ingredients above, mix and ta-da you have homemade tandoori masala!

Add your bite size pieces of chicken breasts to the bottom of the slow cooker, along with butter and vegetable oil.

Chop up a medium onion and 4 cloves of garlic and add them in.

Now add in a entire can of coconut milk.

You&rsquore going to need lots of aromatic spices for this authentic recipe. Add curry powder, tandoori masala, garam masala, salt, chili powder, ground cardamom and curry paste.

Add in your tomato paste.

Finally, add in your low-fat yogurt and give it a mix.

Now let the slow cooker do all the work and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 7 hours. Look at that delicious sauce!

Now my favorite part &ndash time to serve and eat! I like to serve my homemade Butter Chicken alongside basmati rice and naan.

My family loves this meals for leftovers too, so I always try to make extra rice and naan so my husband can take some along with the butter chicken to work for the next couple days!

This Butter Chicken also freezes great, just make sure to freeze in an airtight container (I LOVE these bags). Defrost in the refrigerator overnight and then heat up in the microwave or stove top.


Weight Watchers Remade Pioneer Woman’s Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

3 Pounds of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut into 2″ Chunks

1 Large Yellow Onion, Diced

14 Ounce Can of Light Coconut Milk

14 Ounce Can of Stewed Tomatoes

2 Tablespoons Each of Tomato Paste & Sriracha Sauce

1 Teaspoon Each of Ground Ginger, Curry Powder, Pepper & Salt

Cilantro Leaves, for Serving

Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt, For Serving

Cooked Cauliflower, Broccoli or Kohlrabi Rice

  1. Spray a 5 quart slow cooker with vegetable cooking spray. Add in the chicken, onion and garlic.
  2. In a large bowl or measuring cup, shake the can of light coconut milk to mix it up. Add in the stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, sriracha sauce, garam marsala, ground ginger, curry powder, pepper and salt. Mix well.
  3. Pour over the chicken and stir to combine.
  4. Put lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours. In the middle of cooking time, stir everything up again to prevent sticking.
  5. This makes 6 Servings at 2 SmartPoints per serving on the Blue and Purple Plans.On the Green Plan it is 7 SmartPoints per serving. Since vegetable rices are 0 Points on all the plans, you can have as much as you’d like.
  6. On the Purple Plan, Wild Rice and Wild Rice Brown Blend are ZeroPoint Foods. Personally, I love having this meal with a side of Wild Rice since I’m on the Purple Plan.
  7. To serve, sprinkle the Butter Chicken with fresh cilantro leaves and add a dollop or 2 of fat free plain Greek Yogurt. Enjoy!

RELATED POST: Weight Watchers Remade Pioneer Woman Breakfast Recipes

  • 3 Pounds of Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut into 2" Chunks
  • 1 Large Yellow Onion, Diced
  • 5 Garlic Cloves, Minced
  • 14 Ounce Can of Light Coconut Milk
  • 14 Ounce Can of Stewed Tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Each of Tomato Paste & Sriracha Sauce
  • 1.5 Tablespoons of Garam Marsala (Spice Section)
  • 1 Teaspoon Each of Ground Ginger, Curry Powder, Pepper & Salt
  • Cilantro Leaves, for Serving
  • Plain Fat Free Greek Yogurt, For Serving
  • Vegetable Cooking Spray
  • Cooked Cauliflower, Broccoli or Kohlrabi Rice
  1. Spray a 5 quart slow cooker with vegetable cooking spray. Add in the chicken, onion and garlic.
  2. In a large bowl or measuring cup, shake the can of light coconut milk to mix it up. Add in the stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, sriracha sauce, garam marsala, ground ginger, curry powder, pepper and salt. Mix well.
  3. Pour over the chicken and stir to combine.
  4. Put lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours. In the middle of cooking time, stir everything up again to prevent sticking.
  5. This makes 6 Servings at 2 SmartPoints per serving on the Blue and Purple Plans.On the Green Plan it is 7 SmartPoints per serving. Since vegetable rices are 0 Points on all the plans, you can have as much as you'd like.
  6. On the Purple Plan, Wild Rice and Wild Rice Brown Blend are ZeroPoint Foods. Personally, I love having this meal with a side of Wild Rice since I'm on the Purple Plan.
  7. To serve, sprinkle the Butter Chicken with fresh cilantro leaves and add a dollop or 2 of fat free plain Greek Yogurt. Enjoy!

RELATED POST: Weight Watchers Pioneer Woman party food Recipes

*THIS POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS WHICH MEANS IF YOU PURCHASE SOMETHING USING THE LINKS BELOW, I WILL RECEIVE A VERY SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THE SALE FOR RECOMMENDING THE PRODUCT TO YOU. THIS IS ALL AT NO COST TO YOU. THANK YOU IF YOU DO PURCHASE SOMETHING THAT WAS USED IN MAKING THESE RECIPES.

If you’d like to see more lightened up Pioneer Woman Recipes remade for Weight Watchers, here they are:


  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ¼ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons grated garlic
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1 cup unsalted chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 ¾ cups water
  • 1 cup long-grain brown rice
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Lime wedges & sliced scallions for garnish

Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.

Add onion to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Stir in ginger, garlic, garam masala and cardamom cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker. Stir in coconut milk, broth and tomato paste. Cover and cook on Low until the chicken is tender and cooked through, 7 to 8 hours.

About 40 minutes before serving, combine water and rice in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir and cover reduce heat to low and simmer until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.

Stir salt into the chicken mixture. Serve the chicken and sauce over the rice. Garnish with lime wedges and scallions, if desired.


Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

When Jason and I lived in LA, we had Indian take-out at least once a week. It was our regular joint out in Beverly Hills, and I would always pick up two tikka masala bowls on my way home from work. But ever since we relocated out to the Bay Area, we haven’t had our Indian take-out fix in so long. My cravings have taken over for weeks so I finally made this butter chicken right at home, and boy, am I glad I did because the homemade version is so much better, and healthier, than take-out!

If you’ve never had butter chicken, it’s a very popular Indian dish, and can be made mild or spicy to taste. I kept the recipe very mild but the heat seekers can certainly add more chili powder, to taste.

Now this is a super simple crockpot dish. There is a little bit of sauteeing but you’re pretty much throwing all the ingredients into a saucepan before throwing it into the slow cooker. Easy peasy, right? From there, you can let that cook low and slow for 5 hours, leaving you to come home to the most fragrant, most flavorful and creamy butter chicken.

Best of all, it’s lightened up with coconut milk and whole wheat flour, saving you on a ton of calories this spring season!


How to make butter chicken in the slow cooker

  1. Assemble all ingredients.
  2. Add butter, onions, spices and crushed tomatoes to slow cooker. Cook on high for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add chicken to sauce, then cook for 1 more hour.
  4. While chicken is cooking, cook basmati rice.
  5. When chicken is done cooking, stir in heavy cream.
  6. Serve butter chicken with rice and naan, garnishing with cilantro. Enjoy!

Can you put raw diced chicken in a slow cooker?

It is perfectly safe to use raw diced chicken in this recipe, because you are cooking it in a sauce at high heat. This ensures that everything will come to a boil within about an hour, keeping the chicken in the safe zone.

In other words, there isn't enough time for bacteria to grow.

Using pre-made sauce

You can find jars and packages for butter chicken sauce almost everywhere. While pre-made sauce can make your meal prep easier, the result just isn’t the same as using all fresh ingredients.

Making your meal prep quick while still creating an authentic flavor is as easy as adding a few fresh ingredients. Garam masala, grated ginger, and garlic will freshen the sauce. Add some cayenne for extra heat and a squeeze of lime to brighten it up.

Ingredient substitutions

  • Butter – It is called “butter chicken” for a reason! Use ghee or your favorite non-dairy butter substitute.
  • Yellow onion – Any type of fresh onion can be used.
  • Garlic and ginger – Use freshly minced or grated garlic and ginger if possible, for the most authentic flavors. Equal amounts of paste will work as well.
  • Garam masala – This is the foundation of the flavors in the recipe below. You can find garam masala in most supermarkets and Asian grocery stores. You can also order it online.
  • Chili powder – Vary the spiciness of the sauce by how much chili powder and what type of chili powder you use.
  • Cumin, turmeric and cinnamon – Use 1 tablespoon of any curry seasoning you have to replace all of these ingredients to make meal prep even quicker.
  • Crushed tomatoes – Tomatoes are an absolute necessity in this dish! Use diced or chopped canned tomatoes or even a can of tomato sauce in a pinch.
  • Chicken breast – You can use chicken thighs or turkey breast.
  • Heavy cream – Greek yogurt or sour creamkeeps the sauce creamy with fewer calories. Add it at the end of the cooking time to keep the sauce from curdling. Coconut milk is a flavorful, non-dairy substitute. Using milk will likely result in a runny sauce evaporated milk will work better.
  • Basmati rice – While basmati is the traditional rice used for Indian dishes, jasmine rice, long grain white rice, or even cauliflower rice make great substitutes.

What to serve with butter chicken

In addition to the basmati rice (recipe below), serve this decadent sauce with light dishes that will soak up the sauce and add texture to your meal. Some suggestions include:

  • Cooked lentils
  • Roasted Potatoes
  • Roasted or steamed vegetables
  • Sauteed spinach
  • A crunchy side salad

Storing and reheating

Make sure to cool any leftover sauce completely before storing it in an airtight container for up to 4-5 days.

Because of the chicken in the sauce, it is best to reheat only the amount of sauce you will need. The easiest way is in a saucepan or in the microwave.

To reheat in a saucepan, melt a small amount of butter over medium-low heat before adding the sauce. Stir continuously until the sauce and chicken are heated through-about 3-5 minutes.

You can also reheat in the microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Freezing this recipe

The leftover sauce will freeze well but might separate when you reheat it because of the cream. Make sure it is cool before storing it in freezer-safe containers or plastic freezer bags. It should keep well in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Defrost in the fridge overnight before reheating in the microwave or on the stovetop.

More slow cooker recipes

Meal prep tools for this recipe

  • Order garam masala online – it's the trick to making this recipe taste authentic
  • Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on storing the leftovers
  • I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen

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