Slow Cooker Butter Chicken is an easy weeknight meal and a good way to introduce your family to different herbs and spices in a curry. A mild and creamy curry that lets the slow cooker do all the work.
About this slow cooker butter chicken recipe
Perfectly spiced (but not spicy) chicken in a light and creamy sauce, all cooked in the slow cooker until the chicken falls apart and melts in your mouth.
We love slow cookers for quick and easy meals and although this butter chicken in the slow cooker takes a little bit of prep, it is totally worth it. If you are bored of the same way of eat chicken, this is a good way to mix things up. It freezes really well too.
You probably already have all the herbs and spices in your kitchen to make this, and if you don't and you are buying them, then we have lots of other recipes you can make to use them up. Why not try our 10 Minute Chickpea and Spinach Curry or our super tasty Chicken Rendang?
Slow cooker butter chicken ingredients and substitutions
- Chicken - We used chicken breasts to keep this dish nice and lean. However, you could swap them for skinless and boneless chicken thighs. This would change the nutritional information though, but they do tend to be juicier than chicken breasts.
- Yogurt - This is mixed with the chicken and spices to tenderise the chicken. You can leave it overnight, or just for a couple of hours. This step could be skipped, but we find that is does make a difference. We use yogurt so we can use less butter and make this a lighter version than a traditional butter chicken.
- Spices - We have used garam masala, paprika, chilli and cumin, which are all fairly standard in a spice rack. We used enough chilli to be able to notice it, but it isn't really spicy. Feel free to adjust the spices depending on your preferences.
- Onion - Use frozen diced onion to save some time.
- Garlic and ginger - We freshly crush/grate the garlic and ginger, however you could save time by using frozen garlic and ginger, or even a paste in a tube.
- Coconut milk - You could reduce the calories and fat in this and use reduced fat coconut milk, but we find that it makes the sauce too watery, so we use full fat.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make slow cooker butter chicken - Step by step
One: In a large bowl, add the chicken, yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, chilli powder and paprika and mix well. Put in the fridge for a couple of hours, or it can be kept in there overnight.
Two: In a large pan, heat some oil and then add the onion, garlic and ginger and cook on low for 4-5 minutes until softened.
Three: Add the garam masala and tomato paste and stir.
Four: Add the chicken mixture and the coconut milk and stir well.
Five: Transfer it to a slow cooker.
Six: Cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours. Add the butter 10 minutes before finished and stir. Add a little crunch to this curry by serving with some cashew nuts on top.
Vegetables - You can give this slow cooker butter chicken curry a green veggie boost by stirring in some spinach about 15 minutes before serving. You could use kale or chard too.
When cooking the onion, you could add some finely diced bell pepper, mushrooms and courgette too. Peas are also a good addition to this curry and they will add some colour too.
Chunks of cauliflower are also good with this, as they kind of disguise themselves amongst the chicken. Once everything is coated in the sauce, you won't really be able to tell the difference.
Bulk - If you didn't want to serve this curry with rice, then you could add some cubes of sweet potato or butternut squash directly to the curry to make it more filling. Butternut squash would work well too.
You can give this an extra protein boost by adding some quick cook lentils at the same time as the coconut milk.
Creamy - An easy way to add a little extra flavour, texture and creaminess is by adding a spoonful of peanut butter (or almond or cashew).
What to serve with slow cooker butter chicken
Curry goes perfectly with rice, which soaks up all that incredible creamy sauce. You could just go with plain basmati rice, or why not try our Turmeric Rice or Coconut Rice for something a little different? You could swap rice for quinoa for a protein boost.
Soft and fluffy bread is always a good option with curry too, so why not try making our Homemade Flatbreads or Easy Naan Bread - they are so simple. And then dip them in some of our homemade cucumber raita. If you want lots of flavour, then try our Peshwari Naan.
Slow cooker butter chicken leftovers
In the fridge - This is a great batch cook meal, so make extra and keep it in the fridge or freezer for those buy nights. Leftovers can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for 2 days.
In the freezer - Yes, once you have let the curry fully cool, you can transfer it in to a freezable container and then it will keep for 3 months.
Reheat - Make sure to fully defrost the curry in the fridge overnight and then you can reheat the curry in a saucepan over a medium heat until piping hot all the way through. You could also reheat it in the microwave.
We have tried to make some lighter changes to this recipe by going easy on the butter and not adding any cream. However, the coconut milk does make this a fairly high in fat recipe. You can make this curry more nutrient dense by adding some vegetables from the suggested variations above.
There really is no rule here, just make sure that the ingredients you are using can fit in your slow cooker. We use a Crock Pot DuraCeramic Slow Cooker and we love it. What I love most about it is that you can put the bowl insert on the hob too. So, you can cook the onions on the hob, in the slow cooker bowl. I also love that it has a clear lid, as I am so impatient that I want to keep looking and seeing what it is doing. If you don't have a clear lid, then lifting it to see will release lots of the heat and add to the cooking time.
The chicken should be perfectly cooked in the slow cooker after 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low. However, we always like to use a food thermometer to check. The cooked temperature of chicken is 75°C/165°F. However, if you don't have a food thermometer, then it is best to use your judgement and stick a knife in it. It shouldn't be pink inside.
Yes, this can all be cooked on the hob and it will take around 35-40 minutes. Just make sure that the chicken is cooked through.
If you want a thicker sauce, then you could take the lid off and leave it cooking for 30 minutes more.
More curry recipes
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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
- 600 g (21 oz) Chicken breast - chopped
- 200 g (1 cups) Natural yogurt
- 0.5 Lemon - juice only
- 2 tablespoon Garam masala
- 0.5 tablespoon Cumin
- 0.5 tablespoon Paprika
- 0.5 teaspoon Chilli powder
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 Onion - diced
- 3 Garlic clove - crushed
- 30 g (1 oz) Fresh ginger - diced
- 1 tablespoon Tomato puree
- 30 g (1 oz) Butter
- 200 ml (1 cups) Coconut milk
- In a large bowl, add 600 g Chicken breast, 200 g Natural yogurt, juice of 0.5 Lemon, 0.5 tablespoon Cumin, 0.5 teaspoon Chilli powder and 0.5 tablespoon Paprika and mix well. Put in the fridge for a couple of hours, or it can be kept in there overnight.
- In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon Olive oil and then add 1 Onion, 3 Garlic clove and 30 g Fresh ginger and cook on low for 4-5 minutes until softened.
- Add 2 tablespoon Garam masala and 1 tablespoon Tomato puree and stir.
- Add the chicken mixture and 200 ml Coconut milk and stir well.
- Transfer it to a slow cooker.
- Cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 6 hours. Add 30 g Butter 10 minutes before finished and stir.
- You can use light coconut milk instead of full fat in this curry, but you won't get the same creamy flavour.
- Add a little crunch to this curry by serving with some cashew nuts on top.
- This is a really mild curry, making it perfect for serving up to the whole family. However you you can always add a finely diced red chilli to the sauce, or just sprinkle some red chilli flakes.
- You can give this an extra protein boost by adding some quick cook lentils at the same time as the coconut milk.
- An easy way to add a little extra flavour, texture and creaminess is by adding a spoonful of peanut butter (or almond or cashew).
- Add some fresh coriander (cilantro) before serving to lighten it up a little.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.