by Olena

Crockpot Butter Chicken

by Olena

4.9 from 8 reviews

Crockpot Butter Chicken

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Restaurant quality healthy butter chicken with simple ingredients you have on hand right now.

Crockpot butter chicken – an ultimate Indian comfort food made light, healthy and in slow cooker for added convenience. And despite the name, this dish contains not a teaspoon of butter. Not that there is anything wrong with a bit of butter in your diet.

I don’t love all Indian food but I love butter chicken! And this healthy butter chicken delivered – creamy, rich and a tad sweet.

Healthy Simple Ingredients

I’m a strong believer that anyone can make authentic slow cooker Indian butter chicken at home. The problem with many ethnic recipes on the web are specialty ingredients no average cook has on hand.  This healthy butter chicken recipe calls for chicken, coconut milk, tomato paste, curry powder and garam masala.

Tip: You can replace garam masala with with 1 part cumin + 1/4 part allspice or any combination of coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg.

How to Make Crockpot Butter Chicken

  1. Saute garlic, onion and ginger root for 30 seconds. Use separate skillet or slow cooker with Saute option. How to Make Crockpot Butter Chicken step by step
  2. 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.
  3. Transfer to a slow cooker, add chicken and stir. Cover and cook on High for 3 hours or on Low for 6 hours. How to Make Crockpot Butter Chicken step by step

As for serving suggestions, I would recommend some basmati brown rice (you have to try making brown rice in Instant Pot or quinoa ASAP) 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.

Is It Spicy?

You can taste a hint of ginger and traditional Indian spices: garam masala and curry powder. Quality fresh spices is everything! Coconut milk prevails over the tomato sauce which makes this slow cooker butter chicken taste truly creamy without heavy cream.

In case you are wondering how spicy this crockpot Indian butter 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 served over rice and garnished with cilantro and black sesame seeds on plate

Make Ahead? Freezer Meal?

Butter chicken can be frozen and prepared in advance. You can refrigerate butter chicken leftovers for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. It can also be a freezer meal and make ahead recipe.

To make ahead: Do Step 1 and 2, refrigerate in a container for up to 3 days. When ready to cook, start with Step 3 and cook as per further instructions.

Freezer meal: Follow the recipe up to final cooking step and freeze uncooked. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before cooking. Cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours.

More Healthy Indian Copycat Recipes:

Print

Crockpot Butter Chicken

4.9 from 8 reviews

Restaurant quality butter chicken made healthy with coconut milk, tomato sauce and simple spices in your slow cooker.

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 7 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 hours 11 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Indian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 33.5 lbs boneless & skinless chicken breasts, cut into 2” pieces
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 1/2 inch ginger root, minced
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 14 oz can coconut milk, full fat
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup cilantro/scallions, chopped (for garnish)
  • Cooking spray (I use Misto)

Instructions

  1. Preheat medium skillet on medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Add garlic, onion and ginger root. Stir frequently for 30 seconds.
  2. Add garam masala, curry powder, chili powder, maple syrup, salt, pepper, tomato paste, coconut milk, flour and whisk to combine. Cover and let cook for 3 – 4 minutes or until thickened.
  3. Transfer to a slow cooker, add chicken and stir. Cover and cook on High for 3 hours or on Low for 6 hours.
  4. Serve hot on a bed of brown rice or quinoa, garnished with cilantro/scallions.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.

Make Ahead: Do Step 1 and 2, refrigerate in a container for up to 3 days. When ready to cook, start with Step 3 and cook as per further instructions.

Freezer Meal: Follow the recipe up to final cooking step and freeze uncooked. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before cooking. Cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

olena osipov in the studio

Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

What You Will Find Here

Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

A Little More About Me

Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

70 comments on “Crockpot Butter Chicken

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  1. I am very excited to try this recipe! I was wondering if anyone has tried adding veggies like mushrooms, peppers and onions? Would your recommend doubling everything but the chicken and adding the vegetables? Thank you!

    1. Hi Christina. I do not recommend to add veggies because they will add a lot of liquid to the sauce. Veggies you mentioned are quick cooking ones and you can saute them in a skillet with EVOO, salt and pepper to serve alongside. Enjoy!

  2. This was so good! I only had garlic and ginger powder and no time to cook on the stove beforehand, so everything just got dumped into the crockpot. Super quick and eaten by most of my family—not too shabby. I’ll definitely make it again! Thanks Olena!

  3. This recipe is the most beautiful disappointment of an approximation of some Canadian’s version of Indian food. It made both of my children cry, because they love Indian food, and this was just not even close to being good. My wife and I enjoyed cooking it together this morning, but with the outcome we’ve realized it’s a bland representation of something that should have been so wonderful. Just like our marriage. I think we’re getting a divorce now.

    4/5 stars.

  4. Absolutely delicious. The only thing I changed was the ginger. I took it out completely. Other than that it was amazing. There’s a place here that used to have butter chicken but since they moved I needed to find an alternative. This is great. My whole family loves it including the baby. Then add it over some rice and eat with nana bread. I like that there was enough sauce to mix with my rice. It’s a nice ratio. Again, highly recommend and super simple to make.

  5. 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…)

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

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

  7. 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!

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

    1. 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!

  11. 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

  12. 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! 🙂

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

    1. 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.:)

  15. 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.

  16. 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 ! 🙂

    1. 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.

  17. 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.

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

  18. 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.

    1. 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.

  19. 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?

    1. 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.

  20. 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. 😛

      1. I’m glad you didn’t use yogurt as I can’t have any dairy and I’m always iffy about how to substitute and keep things tasty! 🙂

  21. 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!

    1. 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.:)

    1. 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.

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