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Healthy Crockpot Butter Chicken is Indian comfort food recipe made healthier and lighter with coconut milk. No butter or heavy cream used and it cooks while you are away. | ifoodreal.com

Healthy Crockpot Butter Chicken is an ultimate comfort Indian food made lighter, healthier and in a slow cooker for an added convenience. And despite the name, this dish contains not a teaspoon of butter. Although nothing is wrong with a bit of organic butter in your diet.

Traditionally butter chicken is made with yogurt and spices. Then I’ve seen Americanized versions with cups and cups of whipping cream. Or even better with jarred Tandoori sauce. Trust me, more than anything I would love to smother this crockpot butter chicken in some organic Greek yogurt but it will curdle while cooking. Instead I used a can of light organic coconut milk (BPA free). Winner!

Healthy Crockpot Butter Chicken is Indian comfort food recipe made healthier and lighter with coconut milk. No butter or heavy cream used and it cooks while you are away. | ifoodreal.com

I’m not a huge fan of Indian food but I love butter chicken! And this healthy version of it delivered – creamy, rich and a tad sweet. Just like the original but so much healthier. You can taste a hint of ginger and the traditional Indian spices, garam masala and curry powder, in this creamy sauce. Coconut milk prevails over the tomato sauce which makes this crockpot butter chicken taste truly creamy.

Healthy Crockpot Butter Chicken is Indian comfort food recipe made healthier and lighter with coconut milk. No butter or heavy cream used and it cooks while you are away. | ifoodreal.com

I opted in to use tomato paste instead of tomato sauce because of condensation that builds up in a crock pot, thus diluting the sauce. I have tested a tomato sauce version and didn’t like it. Plus the sauce was too runny due to condensation and the taste of tomatoes rather than cream prevailed.

Healthy Crockpot Butter Chicken is Indian comfort food recipe made healthier and lighter with coconut milk. No butter or heavy cream used and it cooks while you are away. | ifoodreal.com Healthy Crockpot Butter Chicken is Indian comfort food recipe made healthier and lighter with coconut milk. No butter or heavy cream used and it cooks while you are away. | ifoodreal.com

So, you want to start with a thicker consistency sauce. Originally I added 3 tbsp whole wheat flour to the sauce and then 1 more tbsp at the end of cooking. So, add 1/4 cup flour in the beginning and whisk a bit more at the end if necessary. You can also use organic cornstarch or xanthan gum as a thickener.

In case you are wondering how spicy the chicken is, it’s not. I would say it’s mild. My kids ate it and that was the point. You can definitely spice things up with some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper.

Healthy Crockpot Butter Chicken is Indian comfort food recipe made healthier and lighter with coconut milk. No butter or heavy cream used and it cooks while you are away. | ifoodreal.com

As for serving suggestions, I would recommend some basmati brown rice or quinoa to go with this crockpot butter chicken. I also suggest some fresh cilantro and/or scallions for garnish. It adds some fresh zest to a rich and creamy sauce.

And as for the appliance I cooked this butter chicken in. It’s a miracle one pot Cuisinart invention and I have one for you. Come back tomorrow!:)

Healthy Crockpot Butter Chicken is Indian comfort food recipe made healthier and lighter with coconut milk. No butter or heavy cream used and it cooks while you are away. | ifoodreal.com

Crock Pot Butter Chicken Recipe

Crock Pot Butter Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 - 3.5 lbs chicken breasts, skinless & boneless, cut into 2" pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium onions, minced
  • 1/2 inch ginger root, peeled & minced
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 14 oz can coconut milk, light
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cilantro/scallions, chopped (for garnish)
  • Cooking spray (I use Misto)

Directions

  1. Preheat a multicooker on Brown/Saute option or a medium skillet on medium heat, and spray with cooking spray. Add garlic, onions and ginger root. Stir frequently for 30 seconds. Add garam masala, curry powder, chili powder, salt, pepper, tomato paste, coconut milk, flour and whisk to combine. Cover and let cook for 3 - 4 minutes or until thickened.
  2. Add chicken to multicooker or if using the skillet transfer sauce to a large crockpot and then add chicken. Stir to cover chicken in sauce. Cover with a lid and cook on High for 3 hours or on Low for 5 hours. Serve hot on a bed of brown rice or quinoa, garnished with cilantro/scallions.
  3. Storage Instructions: Refrigerate covered for up to 3 days or freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
http://ifoodreal.com/crock-pot-butter-chicken/

Nutritional Info

Servings Per Recipe: 6

Amount Per Serving = 1 cup:
Calories: 388.5
Total Fat: 6.4 g
Cholesterol: 128.4 mg
Sodium: 306.3 mg
Total Carbs: 16.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
Protein: 63.0 g
WW Points+: 9

This post may contain affiliate links. When you buy a product I make a small commission without any extra cost to you. In return, you can enjoy free recipes as well as savings on your favourite products. I also shared Clean Eating Ingredients I Buy and Kitchen Appliances +Tools I Use. Please buy local, organic and fair trade whenever feasible.

70 Comments

  1. Aggie

    This looks delicious! I’ve never had butter chicken but I love Indian food. I love that this is in the crock pot.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Thanks, Aggie! I’m not a huge fan of Indian food but I love butter chicken and naan bread. That’s it. Everything else I can’t eat. Well, I can eat various curries but very selectively.

      Reply
  2. Helen @ Scrummy Lane

    This looks so appetizing, Olena, that I nearly abandoned my plans to make a thai chicken dish tonight and make this instead! Unfortunately tho I don’t have any garam masala and I think that might be important ;-( Oh well, another time! I have always thought butter chicken sounds delicious but probably really unhealthy, so thanks for this lighter version!

    Reply
    • Olena

      You can replace garam masala with other spices if you have them on hand. Look at garam masala recipe here. Butter chicken is very heavy but not this one.:)

      Reply
  3. Aleks

    This looks delish.. my mouth is watering! Olena – temper your yogurt with egg whites, it won’t curdle anymore (google it). Then you can use it in casseroles, curries, anything you want. 😛

    Reply
  4. Karen

    This is the recipe I’ve been searching for! My husband and I love butter chicken, but don’t order it out, or make it at home due to our clean diets, BUT, Olena, I’m making this right now in the slow cooker for dinner tonight! You forgot to say how amazing it smells! YUM! By the way, what are the little black garnishes, sesame seeds or chia?

    Reply
    • Olena

      I should hire you as a content writer LOL. Yes, the smell is terrific and I didn’t capitalize on it. That’s true. But you know it.:) Those are black sesame seeds, mostly for aesthetic purposes that’s why I didn’t mention them.

      Reply
  5. liz | carpé season

    I might be butter chicken’s number one fan. Love this crockpot version, and this is already added to our menu this week. Great looking recipe – can’t wait to try it!

    Reply
  6. Tania

    I made this with fried tofu instead of chicken, and diced sweet potato. The sauce was too thick after an hour in crock pot so added a cup of vegetable broth. It turned out delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

    Reply
    • Olena

      That was a good call. Chicken contains water and it is released during the cooking process, along with condensation => therefore needs more thickening agent like flour. Where tofu is pretty dry. Glad you enjoyed it.

      Reply
  7. Sarah Monzon

    I’d be making this with tofu as well but is there a way to make it gluten free??

    Reply
    • Olena

      Yes. Don’t add flour at all. Tofu is pretty dry. If it’s too runny at the end of cooking add a bit of xanthan gum, cornstarch or chia seeds.

      Reply
  8. Paulette

    This recipe saved me this evening! I had defrosted the chicken with another recipe in mind but didn’t have the right ingredients. Found this on Pinterest and had everything to hand! I didn’t make this in the slow cooker as I needed it in a hurry. It’s absolutely delicious and never would have thought of substituting coconut milk!!!! This will be a regular dish in my home.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Oh, good old Pinterest… I’m happy my recipe fell into a category of true and tried Pinterest recipes.:) And A+ for stovetop creativity!

      Reply
  9. Marta

    Hi, I was wondering if the nutritional info is with or without rice/quinoa? And how long the final cooking should take when I use the skillet? Thanks for your amazing recipes ! 🙂

    Reply
    • Olena

      Nutritional info is without rice or quinoa. You still need the crockpot to cook the recipe. But someone adapted this recipe to a stovetop version. I haven’t tested this recipe on the stove but I assume an hour or so to simmer in a pot.

      Reply
  10. Allison WO

    Can I make this ahead, freeze it, and then thaw & crock? I’m trying to streamline my weekend nights

    Reply
    • Olena

      Originally butter chicken is made with heavy cream. I haven’t tried that in a crock pot but maybe you can search Internet for that kind of recipe.:)

      Reply
  11. Ellen

    We’ve been clean-eating for two weeks now, just enough time for us to pout about all of the food we are missing/craving. Solid Indian food tops the list, so we googled and found this recipe. It’s the kind of recipe that made my fiance say upon tasting it, “Um, that’s so good that I question if we really made that?” It is so good. Thanks, and please adapt all of our favorite recipes? 🙂 Sidebar- our grocery store didn’t have garam masala and the internet said to sub allspice. Tastes great.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Lol. That’s is awesome! See making yummy clean food isn’t hard. What other adaptations you would like to see???

      Reply
  12. Krista

    Hi Olena! I’ve stumbled across your blog while browsing pinterest and am so glad I did! Little bit similar to you in the fact that I just had my 3rd child (he just turned 8 weeks) and my oldest child, my daughter is 3 1/2. With each pregnancy I gained between 45 and 55lbs. I am normally quite fit. The first 2 pregnancies, every bit of the weight came off within 4 months with healthy eating and working out. This time, I feel like it’s taking the scale a bit longer to budge. I gained 45lbs and have 25lbs left to lose. I know we’ve been eating a lot more processed foods, refined sugars and just bad stuff because of time, energy and all the things that come with having 3 kids 3 and under! Luckily, I’m on maternity leave until the end of February and have the time to experiment with and get used to cooking all your great recipes! I made this butter chicken a few days ago and it was delicious! The whole fam loved it :). Going into a rotation for sure!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Krista! I so hear you. Physical changes to my body were one of the main reasons I didn’t want to have a third child. I would like to get a 5 year old but mine lol. So you are my hero! Brave! 3 kids is awesome though!!! I get it about lack of time! I feel I have no time for anything. Anyways so glad to hear you are trying to eat healthy! Slow cooker will save your life when you go back to work, trust me! Glad you enjoyed this recipe.:)

      Reply
  13. Shari

    I made just a couple of slight alterations and the dish came out great! I should have taken a photo but that wouldn’t have captured the fabulous smells wafting through our apartment, nor the taste! Nice and creamy and the flavors really melded together well. Definite hit that I’ll be making again. Thanks.

    Reply
  14. Claire

    Does this taste the same as or similar to butter chicken made with fenugreek? I always thought all butter chicken was made with fenugreek. Thanks! 🙂

    Reply
  15. Jenny Drumm

    This is the same as Tikka Marsala minus the diced tomatoes; and we make it with chicken thighs as they “last longer” in the crockpot and don’t fall apart as easily

    Reply
  16. Megan

    Oops found my answer. Rice is not added in points. Mine is cooking now! I love your recipes, and have rounded up several coworkers that are now on the bandwagon! Still working on my children, my son is at least trying everything before complaining. Since birth he had feeding issues, so this is a slow process for him.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Thank you and yes keep spreading the word about health! I really stepped outside my comfort zone lately and talk to everyone about healthy eating. If we don’t talk about it afraid to hurt someone’s feelings nothing will ever change and food junk corporations will win! I really learnt people just don’t know and many love to learn about healthy food!Keep working on your children. My 4 year old is a better eater today than a month or 6 months ago and it is a fight that is possible to win!

      Reply
  17. Rachel G

    Trying this out for dinner tomorrow. Looks delicious! Thank you for the recipe. <3

    Reply
  18. Taryn

    Hi, thanks for the recipe! I made it yesterday because it looks SO incredible, but unfortunately it was the right consistency but rather tasteless :(. As far as I can tell I followed your recipe exactly… To me it seems like there should have been double the spices. Any suggestions for my second attempt?

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Taryn. Amount of spices are a matter of taste and an individual’s palette. Because this recipe tastes quite flavourful to me I don’t think I can be of any help. You can add more curry powder and other spices but how much I can’t tell. Sorry can’t be of more help.:(

      Reply
    • Jan

      I used hot curry powder – a heaping tsp. Tasting the concoction, I think it’s a little too hot but I’ll see what it’s like after it is in the crockpot a few hours. I might add a little chic broth. I did n’t add the flour – seemed thick enough with the tomato paste.

      Reply
  19. Samantha

    I can’t wait to try this! I’m going to make it tonight so I can have it tomorrow for lunch. My fiance and I love Indian food – and butter chicken is my favorite! We are both trying to eat clean though so this is perfect for us! Can’t wait to try. Would love clean versions of other Indian Dishes.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hope you like it! What other Indian dishes you are interested in? What are the popular ones? I can try to recreate.

      Reply
  20. Severine

    I also love this ! I cooked it a few times, getting friends for visit this weekend – I will cook it again! Very delicious and btw – every recipie I’ve tried from your webpage was great! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Olena

      Glad to hear that! Just don’t cook many recipes posted in 2012. Kidding LOL but I was still testing back then this new Clean Eating lifestyle. Most are good, I’m slowly taking bad ones down.

      Reply
  21. Umm Abdullah

    I’ve had butter chicken a few times in Indian restaurants and was looking for a crock pot version. I made this yesterday with quinoa, and it was great. I’m really impressed with the recipes on your website – healthy but not too complicated. Thanks!

    Reply
  22. Suzy

    I made your recipe and doubled the spices and added some crushed pepper because we like it a little hotter. It was delicious and definitely a do again (which is how we rate recipes) thank you for an easy way to cook Indian

    Reply
  23. Denise

    Thanks for the great recipe! I made this tonight (including the optional cayenne) and it is delicious. I’ll likely increase the other spices next time as others have noted, but I really enjoyed how easy and tasty it is.

    Reply
  24. Lisa

    We made this tonight and it was lacking… something. There was a nice mellow heat to it, but overall, the flavor was flat. We added salt and pepper, and even sour cream, but it didn’t help much.

    Reply
  25. Rachel Maynard

    Hi! Have you ever tried this recipe doubled? I am particularly wondering if I need double the amount of flour?

    Reply
    • Olena

      You would have to double all ingredients. And possibly increase cooking time. I haven’t tried it doubled.

      Reply
  26. Desiree

    I dont have coconut milk or heavy cream. Could i use whole milk or almond milk? Judt curious if anyone has tried this??

    Reply
    • Olena

      Unfortunately that wouldn’t work, Desiree! Don’t waste your ingredients. Rather wait and get a can of coconut milk. It will be so thin and plain and just bland with any other milk.

      Reply
  27. Lisa Doherty

    This turned out brown and a little more bitter than what I’ve had in eateries. Then again did sub the coc milk for almond milk and root for ground ginger.

    Reply
    • Olena

      Um, yeah, no. Those substitutes would not yield a tasty result. Sorry. Canned rich sweet coconut and runny watery almond milk are like day and night.

      Reply
  28. Anna

    Hi Olena! Love your website and love this recipe! Been a long time lover of butter chicken… HOWEVER, my body has developed an aversion to anything Tomato related and I was wondering how essential that tomato paste is? (Probably 100% essential as Butter chicken ain’t butter chicken without the tomato…)

    Reply
    • Olena

      Hi Anna. Oh my, that is terrible. Yes, of course tomato paste is essential. However, why don’t you try roasted pepper blended to give colour, flavour and that acid?! You can buy them jarred already peeled.

      Reply

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