March 2, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Chicken tikka masala is, hands down, our absolute favorite slow cooker recipe.  Not only is it in our regular rotation of dinner recipes, it tops the list!  Eating at an Indian restaurant can be expensive.  Not so if you create the dishes at home. 

If you are unfamiliar with Indian cuisine, or cooking Indian food, this recipe is a great introduction.  It calls for garam masala, a combination of cinnamon, black pepper, cloves, black cardamom and nutmeg.  In India, each family has their own recipe for making garam masala.  It is fragrant and adds wonderful flavor to the dish.  If you don't have it, buy it (it's with the dried spices) as it is a necessary ingredient in this recipe.  There is no need to make children a separate dish as this is not spicy.  I have always believed that it's a good idea to acclimate children to distinctive flavors.

ma·sa·la/məˈsälə/:  Any of a number of spice mixtures ground into a paste or powder for use in Indian cooking.




  • 9 whole boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 Tbsp. ground coriander
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 1 t. salt
  • 12 oz. plain yogurt (I use two 6-oz. containers of plain fat-free Greek yogurt)
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 whole jalapeño pepper, stem removed - pierce pepper several times with sharp knife [Fear not!  The jalapeño will add a bit of flavor as the dish cooks.  It is removed before serving]
  • 4 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 whole large white onion, peeled and diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (I use the stuff that comes in a jar - actually, I buy the huge container at Costco)
  • 1 Tbsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, about 2-3 inches long, peeled and grated
  • 4 c. crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 t. cornstarch
  • 1-½ c. heavy cream
  • Hot rice (I use a rice cooker)
  • Chopped fresh cilantro


  • Cut the chicken thighs into 1½-inch pieces.  Put cut up chicken pieces in a large bowl.  
  • In a separate small bowl, mix together coriander, cumin and salt.  Sprinkle over chicken.
  • Top chicken with yogurt and mix thoroughly.  Allow to rest for 10 minutes. 
  • [While the chicken is doing its quick marinate, peel and grate the ginger.  I use a microplane which also comes in handy when grating parmesan, coconut or zesting citrus.  You can see the one I have by clicking HERE.  Set the ginger aside]
  • [If you have a huge 15" saute pan like mine, you can cook all of the chicken in one batch, as instructed.  If not, you will need to cook it in 2 batches so that the chicken pieces are in a single layer].  
  • Melt the butter over medium heat. Raise the heat to medium high and quickly brown the chicken. Transfer browned chicken to the slow cooker.  Top the chicken with the pierced jalapeno.
  • Prepare the sauce. Wash the pan.  Melt the butter over medium high heat.  Add the onions, garlic and salt. Cook stirring frequently until the onions begin to lightly brown around the edges.
  • Stir in the garam masala and ginger and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute) before raising the heat to high and adding the crushed tomatoes and sugar. Stir well, scraping the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a boil. Pour over the chicken in the slow-cooker.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 5 hours, or until the chicken is very tender.
  • Use a fork or whisk to stir the cornstarch into the heavy cream until smooth. Pour into the slow cooker and stir gently until the color is even. Replace the lid and let cook for 10 minutes or until bubbly around the edges.  Discard the jalapeño. 
  • Serve over hot rice, topped with generous amounts of chopped cilantro. 

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!  


© 2012 All photography, graphics, text and copy are the property of Ivy Lane Designs, LLC.


Anonymous said...

I just got a slow-cooker so this recipe is going on my list of things to try! Thanks!

ivylanedesigns said...

So glad to hear it! I think that you are really going to like it. I have more favorites that I will be posting soon. :)

Anonymous said...

So enjoyed this dish when I made it Super Bowl weekend, friend.

Fran said...

I'm trying this tomorrow. Sounds awesome. I'll let you know!

Fran said...

This is delicious! More butter and cream than I cook with, but worth the calories. How about a low fat version that tastes as good! Thanks for the experience,

Anonymous said...

I have a recipe I love but is time consuming. a crockpot recipe sounds so much easier. pinning away! thx

ivylanedesigns said...

Thanks, Mari. It really is delicious! I hope you enjoy it. :)