slow cooker tikka masala

Slow Cooker Tikka Masala (Chicken)

This slow cooker tikka masala is a staple in our home! It’s simple, packed with flavor, and you can easily find the spices at your local grocery store–unlike many typical Indian spices. The heat level is mild, but you can easily adapt it to your family’s spice preferences (we like it HOT!).

Slow cooker recipes will always be hands-down my favorite kind of meal to make, and this tikka masala is no exception! I can throw it all together during kids’ lunch or naps, and then not worry about it until it’s time to eat. That hour or two before dinnertime seems to always be the most hectic with kids. Try adding in making a home-cooked meal, and it’s absolute chaos! Crockpot meals always make that time a little more bearable.

I have lots of other slow cooker recipes on my blog, and here are some of my other favorites:

Crockpot Barbecue Chicken

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

Slow Cooker Vegetarian Tortellini Soup

How to Make Slow Cooker Tikka Masala


First, put together the marinade. I like to do this first step the night before–this lets the chicken marinate as long as possible. Plus, I don’t need to worry about this step the next day. Cut the chicken into 1-1 1/2 inch cubes. Mix all of the other marinade ingredients together, then stir in the cubed chicken. Store the marinated chicken in a sealed container, and refrigerate overnight, or at least for several hours.


Before putting everything in the crock pot, dice the onion and the serrano peppers. If you want it spicy, try leaving in some of the serrano pepper seeds! Saute the onions and peppers with butter, until translucent. Then add in the garam masala, turmeric, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, fresh ginger, minced garlic, and salt. Mix it all together, coating the onion and peppers with the spices. Only cook the mixture for about 1-2 minutes, you don’t want to burn the spices! Rather than add each spice one at a time (there’s a lot of them!) add them to a small bowl beforehand, and then add them together. That way, none of the spices get cooked for too long.

Next, add the marinated chicken, spiced onion and peppers, brown sugar, and crushed tomatoes to the slow cooker and mix well. Cook on low for about 5-6 hours, or on high for 3 hours. Once the chicken is cooked through, stir in the heavy cream and cook for another 15 minutes.

Serve the chicken tikka masala on top of basmati rice, add some fresh cilantro, and enjoy!

slow cooker tikka masala

If you try out this slow cooker tikka masala or any of my other recipes, I’d LOVE to hear about it. You can leave a comment below the recipe. If you post a picture on Instagram, be sure to tag me! Getting any feedback on my recipes is both rewarding AND helpful as I write and edit recipes in the future.

Now get cooking, and enjoy!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Recipe by Maddie Saxey
5.0 from 1 vote


Prep time




Cooking time



*calories include 1 cup of cooked basmati rice


  • Chicken Marinade
  • 2 lbs chicken breast, cubed (1-1 1/2 inches)

  • 1 cup whole milk greek yogurt

  • 1 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 Tbsp garam masala

  • 1/2 tsp chili powder

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1/2 tsp ginger paste (or fresh ginger)

  • Tikka Masala Sauce
  • 3 Tbsp butter

  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

  • 2-3 serrano peppers, seeded, diced**

  • 4 tsp garam masala

  • 2 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 3/4 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander

  • 2 tsp fine sea salt

  • 1 1/2 tsp ginger paste (or fresh ginger)

  • 2 1/2 tsp minced garlic

  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar

  • 14 oz canned crushed tomatoes

  • 1-1 1/2 cup heavy cream (cream preference)

  • Serve with:
  • basmati rice

  • fresh cilantro (for garnish)

  • naan bread (optional)


  • Combine all marinade ingredients and allow to sit in fridge overnight, or at least for a few hours.
  • Heat butter in large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add diced yellow onion and serrano peppers. Cook until the onions start to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the garam masala, turmeric, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, and salt.
  • Add the spices from step 3, minced garlic, and fresh ginger to the skillet. Stir together, coating the onion and peppers in the spices. Once the spices are aromatic, 1-2 minutes, remove from heat. Be careful not to cook the spices for too long–you don’t want to burn them!
  • Add chicken marinade and onion/pepper mixture to the slow cooker. Add the brown sugar and crushed tomatoes, then mix well.
  • Put lid on slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or on high for 3 hours.
  • Stir in the heavy cream, and cook for another 15 minutes. (Add the extra 1/2 cup of heavy cream if you feel that it needs it)
  • When done, garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!


  • **The serrano peppers add quite a bit of spice if you don’t deseed them (including the white membrane that attaches the seed to the pepper). If you’re wanting some heat, try leaving some in!

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