Crockpot Butter Chicken is packed with the rich, fragrant Indian flavors you love. Deliciously creamy and sweet, it’s a restaurant quality meal made in your slow cooker.

You can also make Instant Pot butter chicken, Thai chicken curry or yellow chicken curry that’s ready in 30 minutes.

Butter chicken garnished with cilantro in Crock Pot with metal spoon.

Turn your kitchen into an Indian restaurant by making this crockpot butter chicken recipe! The ultimate Indian comfort food made light, healthy, and as a slow cooker recipe for added convenience. Enjoy!

What Is Butter Chicken?

Butter chicken, also called Murgh Makhani, is an authentic Indian curry with tender pieces of chicken simmered in a creamy sauce made with butter, tomato paste, and warm spices. Of course, this is not authentic butter chicken recipe but so good and pretty close!

I’m a strong believer that anyone can make this easy slow cooker butter chicken at home! Add flavor to your weeknight routine and save money by making butter chicken in a crockpot!

Ingredients for Crockpot Butter Chicken

This restaurant quality crockpot butter chicken recipe uses simple ingredients you have on hand right now. No unique, expensive spices needed.

Chicken breasts, coconut milk, tomato paste, cornstarch, maple syrup, butter, onion, ginger, cilantro, garlic, curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  • Chicken: Use fresh or thawed boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 2″ pieces. Chicken thighs work also, see tips and variations below.
  • Onion: A diced yellow onion or white onion adds depth of flavor to the sauce.
  • Fresh garlic and ginger: Minced garlic and grated ginger. I do not recommend dried ginger for this recipe but you can use it in a pinch.
  • Fragrant spices: Curry powder, chili powder, salt, ground black pepper. See recipe card below for measurements. If you like it spicier, add more spices.
  • Garam masala: 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.
  • Unsalted butter: Just two tablespoons used to sauté add a richness to the sauce. 
  • Coconut milk: From a can for its consistency. I used full fat Thai Kitchen coconut milk.
  • Tomato paste: Should be low sodium or no salt added. If what you have isn’t low sodium, decrease amount of salt.
  • Maple syrup or honey: Adds a tad of sweetness. Sugar will work too!
  • Cornstarch: To thicken the sauce.
  • Fresh herbs: If you love fresh cilantro, it’s the perfect garnish for this crockpot butter chicken.

How to Make Butter Chicken in Crockpot

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide of how to make slow cooker butter chicken. With just 10 minutes of prep you can enjoy a delightful restaurant dish in the comfort of your own home.

Step-by-step process how to make butter chicken in Crock Pot.
  • Sauté: Preheat a medium size skillet on medium heat and add butter. Once the butter has melted, add chopped onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally and be sure not to burn.
  • Add spices: To the same skillet, add curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Cook for another 30 seconds, stirring frequently, then transfer to a large slow cooker.
  • Add chicken and sauces: Add your chicken, coconut milk, and tomato paste on top and stir to combine.
  • Let it cook: Place the lid and cook butter chicken in crockpot on High heat for 2 hours or on Low heat for 4 hours.

You will need 15 minutes before serving to thicken the sauce. See steps below.

Step by step process how to thicken and serve butter chicken in crock pot.
  • Mix cornstarch and water: In a small bowl, whisk cold water with cornstarch. Add mixture to the butter chicken in slow cooker and stir.
  • Let sauce thicken: Cover with the lid and cook on High for an additional 10 minutes or until sauce is thickened.
  • Garnish and serve: Serve butter chicken hot on a bed of rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.

Tips for Best Results and Variations

Here are some easy tips that will make this slow cooker butter chicken recipe so good you won’t need to order in.

  • Make it more spicy or sweet: Using quality spices, fresh make a noticeable difference in taste. You can add more maple syrup if you like sweet butter chicken like they serve at some restaurants. If you like your curry fiery hot, add some red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, or chili powder.
  • Thicken the sauce without cornstarch: If you prefer not to use cornstarch, let it simmer on high after cooking without the lid.
  • Add vegetables: Make crockpot butter chicken a healthy, veggie-loaded dish by adding vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, green beans, sweet potato, or spinach. You can keep it a one-pot meal and cook it all together! I recommend adding any tender veggies towards the end of cooking time.
  • Chicken thighs: If using boneless skinless chicken thighs, you will need to add 1 tablespoon extra of cornstarch because chicken thighs can release more juice.
  • Avoid thin sauce: Buy quality chicken that has not been injected with water as it can thin out the sauce by releasing water during cooking butter chicken in crockpot. In that case, add 1-2 tablespoons more cornstarch to the slurry.
Crock pot butter chicken served over rice and garnished with cilantro and sesame seeds.

Serving Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

As for serving suggestions, I would recommend some traditional basmati rice, brown rice or cauliflower rice to go with this butter chicken in crockpot. A warm piece of naan bread is always a favorite.

I also suggest some fresh cilantro or scallions for garnish and sesame seeds, it adds some fresh zest to a rich and creamy sauce.

Some great side veggie options are a healthy cucumber salad that lighten up the meal. Roasted sweet potatoes or garlic green beans add crunch and texture to the dish.

You can add an array of steamed vegetables for a healthy, easy option that helps use up any veggies you have on hand.

How to Store and Make Ahead

Crockpot butter chicken can be frozen, prepared in advance, and makes a great freezer meal!

  • Store: Do not leave butter chicken at room temperature longer than 2 hours. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.
  • Make ahead: Follow steps 1-3, refrigerate in a container for up to 2 days. When ready to cook, start with Step 4 and cook as per further instructions.
  • Freezer meal: Follow the recipe up to and including step 3 and freeze uncooked. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before cooking. Cook on Low for 4-5 hours or on High for 2-3 hours.

FAQs

Is butter chicken sweet or spicy?

You can taste a hint of ginger and traditional Indian spices. Coconut milk prevails over the tomato sauce which makes this slow cooker butter chicken taste moderately sweet and truly creamy without the 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.

Can I make crockpot butter chicken on the stove?

Yes. Simmer for 30 minutes after sauteing onion with spices.

Can I make it in Instant Pot?

Yes. Sauté the onion and spices, cook on high pressure for 12 minutes, then thicken the sauce. Follow my Instant pot butter chicken recipe.

Do I have to brown chicken before adding it to the crock pot?

No. Butter chicken has a deep, rich flavor so you can skip searing the chicken in this recipe.

More Crockpot Chicken Recipes

You can also browse through my entire collection of slow cooker recipes, for more inspiration!

Slow cooker butter chicken in black crock pot with metal spoon in it.
Crock pot butter chicken served over rice and garnished with cilantro and sesame seeds.

Crockpot Butter Chicken Recipe

Crockpot Butter Chicken Recipe is creamy, rich and packed with Indian flavors. It's a restaurant quality meal made in your slow cooker!
4.97 from 31 votes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 229
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes

Equipment

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

  • Preheat medium skillet on medium heat and add butter to melt. Add onion, garlic, ginger and saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Then add curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, salt, pepper, and cook for another 30 seconds, stirring frequently. Transfer to a large slow cooker.
  • Add chicken, coconut milk, tomato paste on top and give it a stir.
  • Cover and cook on High heat for 2 hours or on Low heat for 4 hours.
  • In a small bowl, whisk cold water with cornstarch, add to slow cooker and stir. Cover with a lid and let butter chicken cook on High heat for 10 minutes or until thickened.
  • Serve butter chicken hot on a bed of rice garnished with cilantro.

Notes

  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days or freeze leftovers for up to 3 months.
  • Make ahead: Follow steps 1-3, refrigerate in a container for up to 2 days. When ready to cook, start with Step 4 and cook as per further instructions.
  • Freezer meal: Follow the recipe up to and including step 3 and freeze uncooked. Thaw in the fridge for 24 hours before cooking. Cook on Low for 4-5 hours or on High for 2-3 hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 229kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 480mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    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!

  2. 5 stars
    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.

  3. 5 stars
    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!

  4. 5 stars
    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?

  5. 5 stars
    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! 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    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.:)

  7. 5 stars
    This looks delicious! I’ve never had butter chicken but I love Indian food. I love that this is in the crock pot.

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