Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

I’ve written about wonderful, spicy, delicious Chicken Tikka Masala before…I have a recipe for this dish that involves a long, lazy Sunday afternoon of cooking and ends with a classic version of tikka masala.  But what if you absolutely NEED to have chicken tikka masala on a Tuesday evening, and instead of a long lazy weekend day you have a jam-packed with meetings and errands and other stuff type of weekday?  That’s when your slow cooker (and this super-simple recipe!) is your best friend, because Chicken Tikka Masala CAN be yours on a busy Tuesday.

The most challenging part of this tikka recipe is finding the one essential ingredient that makes chicken tikka masala, well, chicken tikka masala, and that is garam masala.  Don’t panic…that’s a combo of spices that you can find either in your supermarket (if yours is better stocked than mine) or by clicking here.  Or you can do what I do and call my mother, who has yet to say “no, I don’t have any of that” when I ask her for obscure ingredients.  Or last but not least, you can make your own…I’ve never done that (because my mother always has garam masala right at her fingertips) but here’s a handy link if you want to try.

Once you have your garam masala, you are a few more ingredients, one slow cooker and about 8 hours away from tender, spicy chicken wonderfulness.  It’s literally as simple as tossing the ingredients into the slow cooker, going about your busy day, and then coming home to an almost fully-finished tikka masala dinner.  All you’ll have left to do is shred the chicken (and since it spent all day in the slow cooker it will be so tender it will pretty much fall apart on its own), stirring in a little cream and making some rice to serve it with.  I made a quick topping of cucumber mixed with sour cream to go with it…that part is totally optional but really good!

So the next time you get a craving for chicken tikka masala in the middle of a crazy week, you can say Yes I Can!  Because we all need some tikka masala on Tuesdays sometimes.


Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves: 4-6 servings

  • One 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala spice
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1½ pounds boneless and skinless chicken breasts
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cucumber, cut into ½ inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 cup white or brown rice, prepared according to package directions
  1. Combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, tomato paste, garam masala, salt, and pepper in a 4 to 6 quart slow cooker. Arrange the chicken in a single layer on top of the vegetables, spoon a little of the vegetable mixture on top, cover, and cook on the low setting for 8 hours.
  2. When the chicken is cooked, remove from the slow cooker and shred into bite sized pieces. Return to the slow cooker, pour in the cream and stir until it is all combined well.
  3. Mix the cucumber and sour cream together.
  4. Spoon some rice onto each plate, top with tikka masala, and garnish with cucumber mixture. Serve at once.



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  1. thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you for this recipe! I totally NEED this recipe for a Tuesday night!!!

  2. This is perfect timing! Starting a new job tomorrow, and the last thing I want to do is worry about dinner.

  3. I would be happy to have paneer tikka masala EVERY day…definitely one of my favorites. I wonder if I could get it to work in a slow cooker…hmmm.

  4. Crystal Fulber says:


    This sounds amazing, and is indeed this Tuesday’s dinner. (Was going to be today’s, but 4yo birthday boy requested hotdogs…who am I to argue?! But. Do you brown the chicken first? I’m always unsure about browning meat or not prior to putting it in the slow cooker. Thanks!

    • You don’t have to brown the chicken for this particular recipe, which makes it even MORE easy! And who could argue with hot dogs for a birthday? :)

  5. I love Tikka Masala and make the Cook’s Illustrated version. LOVE the idea of this slow cooker one. It sounds fabulous.

    • It’s the best of both worlds – great tikka masala AND all the easiness of the slow cooker…how great is that? :)

  6. Crystal Fulber says:

    Thanks! Can’t wait for dinner!

  7. Just wondering: Can I substitute yogurt for the heavy cream at the end to cut down on the calories?

    • Definitely. It will be a little thicker, so you might not have to use as much, and it will also have that little yogurt tang which might be an interesting taste variation!

    • I was wondering the same thing! I’m making this for this dinner this evening and plan on using greek 0% yogurt, so I will let you know how it turns out. :) Yum!! Can’t wait!

  8. Making this in the crockpot as we type. =) Think I’m going to try evaporated milk instead of heavy whipping cream to cut down on the fat and calories. Can’t wait to try this!!

  9. Loved this recipe. Made it for dinner tonight and substituted Fat Free Half and Half and 0% Plain Greek Yogurt for the heavy cream. It was so good. My husband (who is from Nepal and is a curry snob) loved it too! Thanks for a quick curry meal I can make any day of the week. :)

  10. Hello! New cook over here and excited to make some of your dishes! Do you think I could use my 3.5 slow cooker for this dish? Thanks! Nina

    • Hi new cook! So long as the ingredients fit with a little room at the top to spare, I think you will be fine. :)

  11. seems like a long time but i guess that’s the point of a slow cooker…i’ve cooked whole pork shoulders in 8-9 hours. wondering if i go on high do you think i could do it in around 4 hrs?

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