A classic British takeaway dish, all done in the slow cooker. Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala is as simple as dumping all the ingredients in the slow cooker and letting it cook. A rich creamy tomato chicken curry with a little tang and spice, all done in the slow cooker. Homemade curry night just got easier!
We love making homemade versions of our takeaway favourites and this chicken tikka masala couldn't be easier. No pre-cooking needed - just put all the ingredients in the slow cooker and turn it on. Perfect for batch cooking and freezing and a great way to save money on takeaway too.
It is thought that Chicken Tikka Masala was actually created in Glasgow, Scotland when a customer sent a chicken curry back because it was too dry. So, the chef created a sauce with tomato soup and spices and it has been adapted from there to become one of Britain's favourite curries. This is our easy version, done in the slow cooker.
Why you will love it
- Easy - Just a few simple ingredients, and no pre-cooking needed. Chicken tikka masala in slow cooker is so simple, as you just need to dump it all in and leave.
- Budget Friendly - No fancy ingredients are needed to make this chicken tikka masala recipe and a lot of the ingredients are store cupboard staples.
- Freezes well - This is perfect for batch cooking, so make double and freeze portions of it.
- Adaptable - Use this recipe as a base and then feel free to adjust the flavours if you like it spicier. You can also add vegetables to this if you like.
Ingredients and substitutions
- Chicken - We used chicken breasts, as we wanted to keep this nice and lean. However, if you wanted more flavour then you could use boneless and skinless chicken thighs which are much juicier. We chopped the chicken breast into bite sized pieces, but you could leave them whole and shred them at the end.
- Onion - Save yourself some time and use frozen onion. You could also use shallots which would add a sweeter flavour.
- Chopped tomatoes - We like using these as it gives a chunky texture to the sauce. However, if you wanted it to be smoother, then you could use passata (tomato sauce in the US). Make sure you use the best quality tinned tomatoes you can for this slow cooker tikka masala, as the cheaper tins tend to be watery and you will end up with a thin sauce.
- Tikka paste - This is our "cheat" as we have used store bought tikka masala paste. You can get some fantastic quality ones in the world food aisles of supermarkets now and it saves so much time. Feel free to make your own if you prefer.
- Garam masala - This gives the tikka masala recipe so much more flavour. A delicious blend of cumin, coriander, pepper, cinnamon and cloves.
- Garlic and ginger paste - We always have a jar of this in our fridge to make quick and easy curries. You could crush/grate fresh garlic and ginger if you prefer, or even use frozen.
- Tomato puree - This not only adds an extra burst of tomato flavour, but helps to thicken and add colour too.
- Cream - If you wanted to make this tikka masala a little lighter, then you could swap the cream for yogurt. You would need to temper the yogurt first, so it doesn't split. To do this, remove a little of the sauce from the slow cooker and mix in the yogurt. Then, put that mixture into the slow cooker and stir well.
- Coriander (cilantro) - I know not everyone is a fan, but it adds a lovely freshness to the curry.
- Salt and pepper - Generously season.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
How to make slow cooker chicken tikka masala - Step by step
One: Add the chicken and onion to the slow cooker.
Two: Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic and ginger, tikka paste, garam masala, salt and pepper.
Three: Stir well to mix everything together.
Four: Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
Five: Add the cream and chopped coriander. Stir in.
What to serve with slow cooker chicken tikka masala
Curry and rice is a classic combination and we have a few recipes for you to try. For something with lots of flavour, try our Turmeric Rice, Coconut Rice or Cilantro Lime Rice. For a fool proof way of cooking rice, try our Oven Cooked Rice which gives you perfectly fluffy rice with minimal effort. For a really easy way of cooking rice, try our Microwave Rice recipe.
A couple of other sides that go really well with this slow cooker curry is Cucumber and Tomato Salad and Raita for a dip. You could also make your own Mango Chutney and a spoonful stirred in to the curry itself is AMAZING!
This is a mild curry, with just a little spice from the curry paste, making it great for the whole family to enjoy (our kids love it). However, you could make it spicier by added some chilli powder or even some fresh red chillies when serving.
You could also add chopped mushrooms, aubergine (eggplant) and courgette (zucchini) in at the same time as the chicken. This would allow you to use less chicken and still have lots of chunky texture.
If you wanted to make this a bit more budget friendly, and reduce the amount of meat used, then swap half of the chicken for some lentils or chickpeas. You can also add some chunks of butternut squash or sweet potato to make it go further too.
Store: This is a great meal for batch cooking, so we always make extra. Once fully cooled, you can portion it out an it will keep in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freeze: This slow cooker chicken tikka masala freezes really well. Portion into a freezer container (or a freezer bag so you can lay it flat) and it will keep in there for up to 3 months.
Defrost: You can defrost it overnight in the fridge.
Reheat: Make sure it is fully defrosted, then you can reheat it in the microwave or frying pan. Make sure it is piping hot before serving. If it looks a little dry, then you can loosen the sauce up with a little boiling water.
Frequently Asked Questions
We wanted this to be as easy as possible to put together, so this method requires no pre-cooking. However, for more flavour you could sear the chicken first. You could also soften the onion in a frying pan with the spices for extra flavour. But we wanted a zero effort dish.
This is a healthier alternative than ordering a takeaway curry. Not only can you control the portion sizes, but there are no hidden calories from oil. Also, we have only added a little cream, and we have given an option above for how to swap it for yogurt.
There really is no rule here, just make sure that all the ingredients 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 - not necessary for this recipe, but helps with others. 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.
We think this curry sauce is the perfect consistency. However, if you want to thicken it a little, then take the lid off the slow cooker for the last 45 minutes. You could also add a cornflour slurry about an hour before it has finished cooking, but that would change the flavour. Using good quality tinned tomatoes will help to make sure you don't have a watery curry.
More curry recipes
If you’ve tried this slow cooker chicken tikka masala, let us know how you got on in the comments below.
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Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
- 600 g (1.33 lb) Chicken breast - chopped into chunks
- 1 Onion - diced
- 400 g (14 oz) Chopped tomatoes - canned
- 1 tablespoon Tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon Garlic and ginger paste
- 4 tablespoon Tikka paste
- 1 teaspoon Garam masala
- 100 ml (0.4 cups) Cream - single
- 10 g (0.66 cups) Fresh coriander (cilantro) - finely chopped
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- Add 600 g Chicken breast and 1 Onion to the slow cooker.
- Add 400 g Chopped tomatoes, 1 tablespoon Tomato puree, 1 tablespoon Garlic and ginger paste, 4 tablespoon Tikka paste, 1 teaspoon Garam masala and 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper.
- Stir well to mix everything together.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
- Add 100 ml Cream and 10 g Fresh coriander (cilantro). Stir in.
- Make sure you are using fresh spices. If you spices have been open for longer than 6 months, then they won't have much flavour and you won't get the best tasting chicken tikka curry.
- You can swap the cream for coconut milk if you wanted a more coconut flavour.
- If you want a thicker sauce, you could make a cornstarch slurry. However, we like a thinner sauce for this. Using passata instead of tinned tomatoes would give a thicker sauce too.
- Add some extra vegetables by stirring in some spinach just before serving, or cooking some chunks of butternut squash when the chicken goes in the slow cooker.
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.