Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

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Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken made with spices you already have in your cabinet with all the creamy deep flavors you’d expect from your favorite restaurant.

Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken made with spices you already have in your cabinet with all the creamy deep flavors you'd expect from your favorite restaurant.

Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken is one of my favorite meals to make when I’m feeling nostalgic about culinary school. The recipe is a slow cooker version of one of the first ethnic dishes I learned to cook in culinary school.

One thing I’ve learned when it came learning to cook different cuisines in client’s homes was that you try to pack light and use as much as possible in the client’s home. If they have great cookware that means you don’t have to bring in pots and pans (score one for your back!) and if they have spices that are fresh you use them (my clients pay for groceries so using existing spices was always preferable). Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken RecipeThere are some tweaks you can add if you’d like to take this recipe to the next level:

  • Brown the chicken quickly on a high heat before cutting into chunks (don’t worry about it cooking through, that is the slow cooker’s job)
  • Saute the jalapeno and garlic in the butter in a saucepan before adding the sauce ingredients into it. Yes, a second pan – but it will make an even more awesome flavor if you’d like to take the extra step.
  • If you want to skip the cornstarch, scoop out the sauce and reduce it in a saucepan while you’re setting the table before dinner. Again, second pan but another trick for an additional layer of flavor. Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

When cooking Asian or Indian cuisines you’ll often find that the spices you need are unique, expensive and not readily available. This of course is the chef’s problem since your clients only need to be thinking “oh my goodness this is amazing!”

This Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken is the perfect set of spices and flavors that rivals your favorite Indian restaurant with none of the hunting down spices.

And if you’re looking for an amazing Naan to go with it, check out this Homemade Naan from Domestic Superhero.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Tools Used in the making of this Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken:
Slow Cooker: This is the smaller version of my normal slow cooker, but if you’d like to make it in a larger slow cooker make a double recipe. Don’t skimp on the sauce, it thickens if you have leftovers too and it is SO good you won’t want to have to ration!
AllSpice Spice Rack: I use this spice rack and fill up the bottles with freshly purchased spices. It’s basically one of the most beautiful things in my kitchen and when you’re working with a large quantity of spices, not having to hunt and peck through your cupboards makes everything go at warp speed.



Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

4.82 from 224 votes
  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 20 minutes
  • Course: Main Course
  • Cuisine: Indian
  • Author: Sabrina Snyder
Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken made with spices you already have in your cabinet with all the creamy deep flavors you'd expect from a restaurant.


  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 8- ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


Note: click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.

  1. In a large ziploc bag the night before cooking add the yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, salt and chicken (leave the chicken breasts whole here).
  2. Zip the bag closed and work the mixture into the chicken until all incorporated. Refrigerate overnight.
  3. Scrape off a majority of the marinade that is on the chicken and discard it. You'll have plenty of the second sauce to keep the food moist and provide enough sauce.
  4. Cut the chicken into two inch chunks.
  5. When you're ready to cook the chicken, add the butter, garlic and jalapeno into the bottom of the slow cooker.
  6. In a small bowl add the 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, tomato sauce and heavy cream and stir to combine.
  7. Pour the sauce over the chicken, cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours.

  8. Stir the cornstarch into the one tablespoon of water and add to the slow cooker and stir (stir and pour quickly since you're using more cornstarch than water it will settle quickly).

  9. Cook an additional 20 minutes on high.

  10. Top with cilantro before serving.

Nutrition Information

Yield: 4 Servings, Amount per serving: 413 calories, Calories: 413g, Carbohydrates: 15g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 29g, Saturated Fat: 17g, Cholesterol: 151mg, Sodium: 1676mg, Potassium: 732mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 6g, Vitamin A: 2090g, Vitamin C: 12.4g, Calcium: 149g, Iron: 2.6g

All images and text © for Dinner, then Dessert.

Keyword: Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken made with spices you already have in your cabinet with all the creamy deep flavors you'd expect from your favorite restaurant.

Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken made with spices you already have in your cabinet with all the creamy deep flavors you'd expect from your favorite restaurant.
Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken made with spices you already have in your cabinet with all the creamy deep flavors you'd expect from your favorite restaurant.
Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken made with spices you already have in your cabinet with all the creamy deep flavors you'd expect from your favorite restaurant.

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  1. Made this for dinner tonight. I didn’t find it had a ton of flavour, but I don’t feel like I wasted three chicken breasts either. It tastes good but it seems to be missing that warmth and depth of taste I am used to. We will eat this without complaint but I don’t think I would serve it to friends who are big fans of Indian food.

  2. I have been making this recipe for YEARS and it is one of my kids favorite!! It’s easy to make ahead of time and freeze as well. Thank you so much for sharing :)!!!!

  3. Very good good result, absolutely delicious. The recipe is clear and well written. The spices used are simple to obtain and give an authentic result.

  4. Love your site glad I found you happy you have nutritional values with sugar even in desserts most sites do not one thing I wish you have is a servings calculator then I would say a perfect site thank you

  5. This was my first time making an Indian dish other than super easy Chana masala and it was DELICIOUS! I omitted ginger and cilantro because I didn’t have any but it was perfect.

  6. We loved this recipe, almost as much as the Chicken Korma (a BIG favorite of ours)! The plus for this recipe is using the crockpot of course. Also, I recently made the Meatloaf Muffins and they were great and fun too! They were easy to pack in our lunches the next day. My co-workers were asking me about them so I gave them your website and raved about your Korma and Sweet and Sour Pork which is one of the best recipes I have come across. Thanks!!

    1. Some brands pump their chicken with a sodium based liquid so that might be adding the saltiness to the dish. Look for organic chicken next time and see if that helps.

  7. This came out extremely delicious, a very good first experience with Indian food.

    I swapped breasts for thighs and swapped the cumin in the marinade for curry powder (though kept the cumin in the actual sauce) because I’ve overdone it on cumin before and didn’t want a repeat. I followed your tips to saute the jalapeño and garlic in butter and browned the chicken before placing in the slow cooker, can’t say how much of a difference it made I just know the end product was delicious. My marination time was about 18 hours and the thighs were incredibly tender and juicy (cooked to 160°F with a bluetooth thermometer after about 4 hours). Perfect level of spice as well and great over rice.

    Also, instead of the cornstarch I blended the tomato sauce with half a teaspoon of xanthan gum which made the sauce the perfect consistency once ready to serve.

    Left out the cilantro because I unfortunately have the bad cilantro genetics that make it taste like stink bugs.

    1. I’m not sure why you would incorporate it. I haven’t tested it before so I’m not comfortable giving a recommendation. If you decide to try, I’d love to know how it turns out. Thanks!

  8. Hello!

    Just trying to work out what the equivalent of can tomato sauce is in Australia? Is it a can of tinned tomatoes? Or tomato passata? Help!

    (Tried googling, but everyone has a different t opinion!)

  9. I have made this more than once,lol!
    Love how easy it comes together.
    The grandparents loved it and so do the parents and grandchildren under five!
    That says a whole lot!
    Thank you for making my life easy&delicious!
    Nureia ??

  10. This is my first time making my husband Indian food. He always tells me he likes it but never can tell me “ what” he likes.
    I can’t say that I have ever really had a lot of Indian food but LOVE to try different things from different places..
    I want to say that this was excellent! I paired it with white rice and some Naan bread. I did throw in some chickpeas halfway through and cut back slightly on the cayenne pepper some.
    I really enjoyed the flavors and my husband was extremely happy with this dish!
    Thank you for sharing this!!

    1. Spice is subjective but I tend to make things on the tamer level to work for most people’s taste level. Feel free to adjust to your preference.

  11. This looked so yummy. I prepped the chicken last night and now it is in my slow cooker as I type this. I do have one question, though. Will the sauce change colors as it cooks? The pictures and the traditional Dish is more of an orange color. Right now my sauce is white, with a small tint of pink. It looks nothing like the pictures. Does that change as its cooked? I used the same ingredients listed on the recipe. Not sure if I did something wrong.

  12. We love this recipe at our house! Is there a way to convert this to an instant pot recipe instead of a slow cooker?

    1. I haven’t tested it yet but you might be able to find a recipe online using similar ingredients and use that as a guideline.

  13. Better than takeout! Making it myself ensures fresh ingredients and quality cuts of meat. This recipe is part of the biweekly rotation at our house, and we’re always competing for leftovers.

  14. Hello,
    I was wondering can I sub the chicken breasts for bone in chicken thighs? If so, how long would I cook it in the slow cooker on low?

    1. Yes, you can substitute with breasts instead. You may need to cut the cook time down by about 30 minutes so they don’t dry out. Enjoy!

  15. OMG!! This is so good! I love it! I made it a little different than the recipe. I added black olives and I (more than) doubled the amount of jalapenos. It came out fantastic!

  16. One of the absolute BEST Indian dishes I have ever tasted. Easy, authentic, creamy and full of flavor. If you like spice definitely use the 1tsp cayenne and full pepper with seeds. If you want a little more mild, do 1/2 tsp cayenne and scoop out pepper seeds, only add in flesh. Aside from that I would not change a thing about this recipe, we make it once a month and all 4 of my kids ages 6 and under love it!

  17. My slow cooker doesn’t have a low 4hr setting. It’s only settings for low are 8 or 10 hours.
    High seating is 4 or 6 hours. Can I cook it on high for 4? Advice? Thanks!!

  18. The recipe says to add the cumin and salt to the yogurt marinade and then again to the heavy cream sauce. Is it both? So a total of 4 tsp of cumin and 2 tsp of salt?

  19. I made this and added some potatoes chopped into 1in chunks (just as filler) from the beginning of cooking it, and it turned out great! This dish reheats super well and I liked to add some frozen peas stirred in when I reheat it. I’m cooking on a budget and this recipe is super inexpensive for how great it is! If anyone else is on a budget and trying to find inexpensive spices, I recently found out that a lot of dollar stores have spices for cheap. I’m trying this recipe again today, and this time I’m going to include some more veggies.

    1. Tomato sauce can be found in cans in the pasta aisle. It’s a tomato based sauce containing tomato puree, diced tomatoes and seasonings. Enjoy!

  20. I want to try this for a work potluck. I need to feed 12 people. If I triple this recipe, how long will I need to cook it for? Also, does the chicken need to be marinated overnight or can it be for a few hours?


    1. I would recommend splitting into two batches and using 2 slow cookers to make that much. Doing so might only require you to add on an additional 30 minutes to the cook time. If you lessen the marinade time, the flavors might not be as pronounced. Good luck!

    2. Love this recipe! Would you recommend 2 separate batches if you were to double the recipe? Or would it be fine in one batch, also any additional time needed for that? Thanks!

  21. My first time at making this. I forgot to do the cornstarch and water thing. It was still good but I would of liked a little bit more fire. So I added coriander chutney to it when I made my bowl of it.

    What do you recommend adding to recipe to make it a little more spicy? I did the jalapenos and garlic and butter ahead of time also.