Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Inspiration for Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

My office is full of people who love to cook. Monday mornings often find us chatting about what we’ve made over the weekend. If someone is a bit slow picking up a new recipe from the printer, someone else might end up making a copy. We have even created a shared Dropbox folder so that we can swap our favorite recipes. Lately we all seem to be using our slow cookers. Most of us have small households so, before one commits to making a big batch of something, it is good to know what successes and failures others have had. Hands down our go-to cookbook seems to be Slow Cooker Revolution by America’s Test Kitchen. As I have written in my top cookbook gifts post, it has great recipes and helpful tips to make your slow-cooked meals the best they can be.

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe -

This shared love of cooking inspired this recipe. A few weeks ago I printed a chicken tikka masala recipe from Table for Two. When I went to pick it up from the printer, my co-worker mentioned that she had just made the same recipe a few nights ago. She had been a bit disappointed, but couldn’t figure out quite why. Another co-worker said that he had tried a similar recipe from and had the same experience. We were still discussing this when Anna (of Anna’s Double Ginger Pie) joined the conversation. She had purchased Anupy Singla’s The Indian Slow Cookera slow-cooker cookbook dedicated to Indian cuisine. We compared the three recipes and I offered to experiment to create one master slow-cooker chicken tikka masala recipe combining the best elements of the three. Like many slow-cooker recipes, it tastes better the second day and freezes well. 

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe -

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

This recipe combines the best techniques and elements of chicken tikka masala recipes for the slow cooker to create what I hope is one of the best versions out there.
Course:  Main Course
Cuisine:  Indian


For the marinade:

  • 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 T lemon juice
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger grated
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 T smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 pounds chicken boneless and skinless, cut into 2-inch pieces

For the slow cooker:

  • 1 large yellow onion diced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 T fresh ginger grated
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 2 T garam masala (see note)
  • 1 T cumin
  • ½ T smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp black pepper
  • 1-3 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 29 ounces fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 3 T Minute tapioca
  • 1 T dark brown sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup heavy cream optional
  • chopped parsley or cilantro for garnish


  1. Whisk together yogurt, lemon juice, ginger, garlic, and spices.
  2. Add chicken and stir to coat.
  3. Cover and refrigerate at least two hours or overnight.
  4. Saute onions in olive oil until translucent and tender.
  5. Add garlic, ginger, tomato paste, and spices (garam masala through cayenne pepper) to onions and stir to combine.
  6. Spray the slow cooker with cooking spray.
  7. Add crushed tomatoes, tapioca, sugar, and bay leaves to slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  8. Add onion mixture and chicken to slow cooker. Gently stir to combine.
  9. Cook for 4-6 hours on low.
  10. If you wish, stir in heavy cream at the end.
  11. Garnish and serve over rice or with naan.

Recipe Notes

If you can't find garam masala, you can make your own. There is an easy recipe here. It calls for: 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom, 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg.

Besides My Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Please join me on my Slow-Cooker Recipes Pinterest board. Also, be sure to check out my slow-cooker chicken enchilada soup and Jake’s Slow-Cooker Sweet Potato Chickpea Curry recipe. What’s your favorite meal to prepare in the slow cooker or crock pot? I’m always happy to try a new recipe!

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2013 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.