Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken is a rich and creamy authentic Indian dish made easy in the crock pot. Tender chicken is coated in a mildly spicy tomato-tinged sauce and cooks itself in one pot.
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Table of Contents
  1. Best Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
  2. Why We Love This Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Recipe
  3. Ingredients
  4. Substitutions and Additions
  5. Recommended Tools
  6. How to Make Butter Chicken in the Slow Cooker
  7. Tips
  8. Storage Tips
  9. Frequently Asked Questions
  10. Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Recipe

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken (a.k.a. Chicken Makhani) is easily made by simmering chicken in a velvety, tomato-tinged, Indian-spiced cream sauce in the crock pot. This rich and decadent dish can be prepped in mere minutes and is packed with authentic flavors and everyday ingredients that can be found in most grocery stores; then you simply set it and forget it while it cooks low and slow.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Best Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

This Slow Cooker Butter Chicken tastes like my favorite Indian restaurant’s butter chicken, but mine is even better! Tender pieces of boneless chicken are slowly simmered in a comforting combination of fragrant spices and a creamy tomato sauce to create a mild, but full-flavored dish.

The curry-like sauce is thick and savory, the chicken is tender and juicy, and it all cooks conveniently in the crock pot. Serve it with rice and naan or flatbread to sop up the sauce, this delicious dinner is a family favorite.

Indian butter chicken recipes come in many shapes and forms; some use whole milk to create its creaminess, but I’ve opted to use a combination of heavy cream and butter because I think it tastes better. I also like to saute the onions and spices with butter and then blend it with the tomato sauce, tomato paste, and cream before adding it to the crock pot with the chicken.

This allows the aromatics to meld and brings out their unique flavors, which is lost in other slow cooker recipes where everything is “dumped” in the pot and cooked low and slow, and therefore lacks the depth of my dish. The crock pot then does the cooking and produces the most delicious meal.

For more easy Crock Pot meals, check out my Slow Cooker Chili, Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki, Crock Pot Philly Cheesesteak and Pulled Crockpot BBQ Chicken recipes.

Why We Love This Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Recipe

  • Quick and easy to prepare.
  • Uses authentic Indian spices and ingredients that can be found in your local grocery store.
  • Velvety, creamy, mildly spicy sauce that coats the tender chicken.
  • Cozy delicious dish that is simple to make with the help of your slow cooker.
  • A set it and forget it recipe that is family-friendly.
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Ingredients

  • Boneless-skinless chicken breasts
  • Onion
  • Unsalted butter
  • Tomato sauce
  • Heavy cream
  • Tomato paste
  • Minced garlic
  • Grated ginger
  • Curry powder
  • Chili powder
  • Garam masala
  • Cumin
  • Salt
  • Cornstarch
  • Jasmine rice
  • Fresh cilantro (for garnish)

Substitutions and Additions

  • Vegan Version: You can make this dish vegan by replacing the chicken with cauliflower and a can of chickpeas. Use coconut milk, vegan butter, and you can even use a plain coconut-milk-based yogurt.
  • Rice: I used jasmine rice for this recipe, however any long grain rice will be just as delicious. Just cook your rice according to its package directions. Some options include basmati rice, white rice, brown rice, or you can even use cauliflower rice.
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
  • Saute pan
  • Blender
  • Slow Cooker (Crock Pot)
  • Mixing bowl
  • Measuring tools

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How to Make Butter Chicken in the Slow Cooker

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken is the easiest way to make a traditional Indian dish that tastes rich, flavorful, and delicious! Tender pieces of chicken are slowly simmered in a combination of aromatics, warm spices, tomato sauce, and cream–it’s a simple set it and forget it meal that takes mere minutes to prep and perfectly cooks itself in the crock pot.

  1. Add the onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder, chili powder, garam masala, cumin and salt to your melted butter and saute for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat or until the onions are tender and the spices are fragrant.
    Pro-Tip: Don’t skip cooking the aromatics separately. Saute the aromatics on the stovetop before adding them to the slow cooker for optimal flavor and depth.
    saute ingredients
  2. Add the cooked onions and spices, tomato sauce, tomato paste and ¾ cup heavy cream to your blender and blend until smooth. 
    blend ingredients
  3. Add chicken to the crock pot (slow cooker) and cover with blended sauce.
    add chicken and sauce into crockpot
  4. Cook on high for 2 ½ – 3 hours.
    chicken cooked in crockpot
  5. Remove the cooked chicken pieces from the slow cooker and cut them into bite-sized, 1 inch, pieces. 
    cut chicken
  6. In a small bowl combine the remaining ½ cup heavy cream and cornstarch and stir to create a slurry.
  7. Add the slurry to the slow cooker, stir to combine, and allow the sauce to thicken.
    ingredients mixed in crockpot
  8. Place the chicken pieces back into the slow cooker and stir them around in your sauce. Turn off the slow cooker once the chicken pieces are all coated in sauce.
    Pro Tip: Be careful not to break up your chicken pieces too much. 
    add chicken in crockpot
  9. Serve your butter chicken in a bowl with 3/4 cup of rice placed one side and then spoon the slow cooker butter chicken beside the rice. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
  10. Enjoy!

Tips

  • In my opinion, full fat equals full flavor! Use butter instead of margarine and full-fat heavy cream for the best results.
  • You can easily double this to feed a larger crowd for dinner parties, it still should all fit in the same size slow cooker.

Storage Tips

  • To Store: This slow cooker butter chicken should be served warm and can be kept, on the warm setting, in your slow cooker for up to 1 hour.  This can be stored in a covered container, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. I do suggest storing your cooked rice separate from your butter chicken if not served immediately.
  • To Freeze: To freeze butter chicken, completely cool and place in a freezer-safe container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat: You can reheat individual servings in the microwave, in 30 second intervals, until desired temperature. To reheat from frozen, defrost overnight in the refrigerator and cook on the stove until heated through.
butter chicken serves with rice

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Butter Chicken?

Butter chicken is one of the richest and most popular Indian dishes recreated around the world. It includes succulent chicken pieces coated in a combination of cream, tomatoes, and aromatic spices, and of course, butter.

What does Butter Chicken taste like?

Butter chicken has a mildly sweet flavor resulting from the butter base, which cuts the intensity of the curry spices used in this dish.

What is the best type of chicken to use for butter chicken?

I like to use boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, but you can also use boneless skinless chicken thigh meat if your family prefers dark meat. You may have to cook the dark meat a little longer than you would the white meat.

Can I make this recipe dairy-free?

As a dairy alternative to heavy cream, you can use full-fat canned coconut milk for this recipe. Make sure to give the can a good shake before opening it. You DO NOT want to use the coconut milk you find in the cooler section of your grocery store that is used as a drinking version. It is much too thin and watery.

How can I make this dish a bit healthier?

By cutting down on the butter and swapping heavy cream for a combination of light coconut milk and Greek yogurt, you can still get all of the exotic flavors in a lightened-up dish. It will still have the flavors of the classic recipe, but fewer calories and fat.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
5 from 2 votes
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Serves — 6
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken is a rich and creamy authentic Indian dish made easy in the crock pot. Tender chicken is coated in a mildly spicy tomato-tinged sauce and cooks itself in one pot.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 10 mins

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds (5-6 large) boneless-skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup (1 small) onion diced
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • cups heavy cream room temperature & divided
  • 6 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • tsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice according to package directions
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions
 

  • In a saute pan, on medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder, chili powder, garam masala, cumin and salt. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until the onions are tender and the spices are fragrant.
  • In the container of a blender add the cooked onions and spices, tomato sauce, tomato paste and ¾ cup heavy cream. Blend until smooth.
  • In the insert of a slow cooker (crock pot) add the chicken. Cover with the blended sauce and cook on high for 2 ½ – 3 hours.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pieces from the slow cooker and cut them into bite-sized, 1 inch, pieces.
  • In a small bowl combine the remaining ½ cup heavy cream and cornstarch. Stir to create a slurry. *This will thicken up your sauce* Add the slurry to your sauce that is inside your slow cooker and stir to combine and allow your sauce to thicken.
  • Place your bite-sized chicken pieces back into the slow cooker and stir them around in your sauce, being careful not to break up your chicken pieces too much. Turn off your slow cooker once the chicken pieces are all coated in sauce and ready to serve.
  • In a bowl place 3/4 cup of rice (keeping most of it to one side) then spoon the slow cooker butter chicken next to the rice in the bowl. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

Jenn’s Notes

Storage:
  • To Store: This slow cooker butter chicken should be served warm and can be kept, on the warm setting, in your slow cooker for up to 1 hour.  This can be stored in a covered container, in the refrigerator, for up to 3 days. I do suggest storing your cooked rice separate from your butter chicken if not served immediately.
  • To Freeze: To freeze butter chicken, completely cool and place in a freezer-safe container. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat: You can reheat individual servings in the microwave, in 30 second intervals, until desired temperature. To reheat from frozen, defrost overnight in the refrigerator and cook on the stove until heated through.
Tips:
  • In my opinion, full fat equals full flavor! Use butter instead of margarine and full-fat heavy cream for the best results.
  • Don’t skip cooking the aromatics separately. Saute the aromatics on the stovetop before adding them to the slow cooker for optimal flavor and depth.
  • You can easily double this to feed a larger crowd for dinner parties, it still should all fit in the same size slow cooker.

Nutrition Info

Calories: 688kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 233mg | Sodium: 831mg | Potassium: 1291mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1660IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 3mg
Jennifer Fishkind

About Jenn

Jenn is a mom to three beautiful boys, wife to an amazing husband, social influencer and blogger. I love all things easy recipes, easy crafts, all things hacks, traveling EVERYWHERE and feeding my Pinterest addiction!

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