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

4.81 from 212 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. Excellent recipe! My son and I really loved the taste and oh the tenderness of the chicken. The sauce, Yum! It was so tasty over the rice. Thanks!

  2. I have made this butter chicken dozens of times now. To say it is a hit is an understatement. I once doubled the recipe and took it to one of the many family gatherings that happen every holiday. We are always over 20 people.
    I am asked to make it now for every family gathering no matter what we are having.
    I am glad to make it as I love it. I just double all ingredients, except I don’t quite double the jalapeños as I don’t like too much heat. I usually one and a half times the jalapeños.
    I make it quite often at home too.
    Thank you for this crazy good recipe.
    We enjoy it so, so much.
    It’s delicious!!

  3. I’ve been cooking this dish in the slow cooker for about 4 hours, I used frozen chicken breast and it has gone very watery and the sauce is a very light colour. Is there anything I can do to fix it at all?

    1. Remove the sauce, put it in a saucepan and cook it on medium heat until it reduces and thickens. Using the frozen chicken has released a lot of excess water into the slow cooker.

  4. I’m a pretty average cook, usually sticking to simple chicken or beef dishes and I didn’t have any issues making this. It was very easy. Also, it was one of my favorite things I’ve made. As a bonus, it made my house smell awesome. Absolutely great recipe. I did substitute a couple of the spices just because of what I had on hand (instead of straight cumin and paprika I used baharat and garam masala). But I imagine it would still be excellent if I used the called for spices with how the rich the sauce is and how tender it makes the chicken. I’ll definitely be making this again.

    1. I’ve never tested it before using one so I’m not sure. You might be able to find a recipe online with similiar ingredients using an instant pot and follow that as a guideline. Sorry.

  5. This was great! My 3 and 6 year old even liked it! I used chicken that was already cubed (I already had some in the freezer, so I just used that). I had 3# of chicken, so I made 1.5x the marinade & sauce, and it was pretty perfect. I didn’t add the cornstarch to thicken the sauce at the end, I instead reduced the sauce on the stove, and it tasted AMAZING. The reduction was a bit salty, but for the meal, I put white rice in the bottom of a bowl, then the (somewhat) naked chicken cubes from the crockpot, then ladled the reduction over the top– so the salty sauce actually worked pretty well…it just seemed salty as I was licking the spoon as I would stir the reduction occasionally. I actually forgot to add the cilantro. But if that’s the only thing I forgot during supper while wrangling 2 young children… It’s been a good day!

  6. 5 * I made this last night for the first time. OMG, it was the best butter chicken I’ve ever had. I would have paid for this. Straight forward instructions and amazing results. Am going to try Sabrina’s other recipes. Please keep adding more recipes, it makes my cooking brilliant!!!!!

  7. This is the bomb!

    The first time I made it, I did it on the fly and didn’t have time to leave it to marinate. I decided to go ahead with it and just leave the marinade on the chicken, cook it on low-medium for a while, then add the sauce & cornstarch slurry to it in a skillet on the stovetop. It turns out fabulous, so anyone who doesn’t have time to wait for the marinating, don’t let that stop you from trying it!

    I serve it with the Yellow Jasmine Rice recipe from Recipe Bytes. Tonight I roasted a pan of broccoli and fresh garlic tossed with olive oil and another baking sheet with zucchini and onions tossed with garlic and olive oil. I used a generic basic seasoning blend called “Hunter’s Seasoning” on the veggies, then cooked at 450 until the broccoli is charred and tender, then leave the zucchini and onions under the broiler for a few minutes after they got tender.

    I live in a rural midsized town with no Indian restaurants. The closest ones we have are 30-odd miles away, and not all that great anyway. It’s nice to have a recipe that I can do, and that is easy enough for those of us who used to be scared to try to dive into Indian cooking because it seems complicated.

    One of my coworkers even asked for this recipe, so I think you’ve sparked another southern US-Indian cook into action! 🙂

    I look forward to trying your other recipes here. Thank you for your site!

  8. What an amazing recipe! I made this for my husband, son and his two friends (ages 7 and 9). Everyone absolutely LOVED it! I will be making this again!


  9. I followed the recipe, and even added garam masala. This had ZERO flavor. I think all the spices needed to be tripled. The jalapeño I used may have been really mild, or it just wasn’t enough of them, but this also had no heat to it.

  10. Wow! This was absolutely delicious! I used Chicken Thighs instead of breast which made it way juicier! It was done around 4.5 hrs. I served over rice with naan and sliced avocados. I recommend getting a sweeter flavoured naan for this dish to break up the savory. This was absolutely amazing though! I have a very picky 6 year old who ate her whole plate this evening 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing.

  11. Following this recipe, the sauce always comes out pink and weak in flavor… Not sure if I’m missing something or what, but I’ve found this pretty disappointing.

    1. Try cooking the sauce down more, if the color is off you added more liquid to the mix somewhere. Are you using chicken that was frozen before? Some chicken is full of a solution whereas others aren’t quite so full of the same solutions so it can make things more watery. Worst case take the sauce and reduce in a saucepan on medium low heat for 15 minutes. It should not be a weak sauce by any means.

  12. Love, love, love this recipe! I’ve made it twice. I made up a batch and froze individual servings it as it is too spicy for my husband. I use it for lunches over cauliflower rice and sometimes for dinner when he has a pot pie! I’m making another batch tomorrow. Thanks for sharing.

  13. I am the queen of 5 star reviews. However, this recipe was blasé. Next time I want Indian food, I will go to an Indian restaurant. Something is just missing in this recipe. And for sure, leave OUT the tomatoes.

  14. Hi! I absolutely love this recipe by the way! I have made it lots before, however, I am wondering if I would get the same results cooking it on high for 2 hours instead? Thanks!

    1. I’d be afraid the chicken breasts would dry out on that high of a heat. If you decide to try, keep an eye on it to ensure that doesn’t happen. I’d love to know how it turns out if you decide to try. Thanks!

  15. I’m sorry to say this, but all we tasted in the butter chicken recipe was cumin…it looked very good in the picture, but was disappointing when we made and tried it

  16. New staple! I love this recipe. I make it almost every week now because it’s so easy and nutritious. The chicken comes out super moist. I follow it almost to a T, I just skip the cilantro garnish.

  17. I’ve made butter chicken before (a different recipe) and was not very happy with it. I was so pleased that this turned out very good. I did not wait to cut the chicken into chunks; I chose to do it ahead of time and let them marinate in the chunked pieces. Also, I did not have jalenpeno, so I used a lot of red pepper flakes as a substitute, and my husband (who is Bangladeshi) and I were very pleased with the dish. Went great with basmatic rice or paratha.

  18. I made this and both myself and family loved it! I’m going to make it this weekend for the extended family over the holidays. If I were to triple the recipe, would I need to cook the chicken longer in the crock pot?

    1. So sorry I’m just now seeing this. Your question got caught in my spam filter.
      I’m so glad you all love it though! If you plan to triple it, it may need a bit more time (maybe 30min to an hour more). You just want to make sure you’re not overloading the slow cooker.

  19. I don’t understand the butter, garlic and jalapeño part. Do you mix it with the sauce and put over the chicken or do you just dump those three ingredients cold at the bottom of the crock pot? You say two different things so I’m a bit confused. Thanks

    1. You can do it either way depending on how much work you want to do. Sauteeing it before requires a second pan but it will make an even more awesome flavor. It’s just an extra step so it’s up to you. Sorry to confuse you.

  20. This was very tasty..but I didnt get that authentic Indian taste. I’ve had this dish many times at Indian restaurants and it was creamier and sweeter. Idk if I missed something????. Thinking about using the marinade instead of discarding it next time.

  21. You talk about a jalapeño above the recipe however you don’t list a jalapeño on the ingredient list…. I am to make this and I don’t have a jalepeno now. Please edit your work.

    1. The jalapeno adjustment was a suggestion addition to the recipe if you’d like to kick the flavor up a notch. It’s not necessary and that’s why it’s not included in the recipe card. Sorry you were confused.

  22. Made for the first time today. Very yummy and perfect for a cold winter day! I would cut back on te cinnamon in the first step. Maybe cut in half? Tasted a bit too strong for me.

  23. I made this for my husband and I. He couldn’t stop having a foodgasm over it. The jalapeño was the ultimate star here. We both loved it! Thank you! This will now be a staple in our house.

  24. Any chance you can do this recipe without the slow cooker? Just cook chicken first? My slow cooker died on me, need a plan B. Please?

  25. When i was discharged from the military due to medical reasons, i applied to many jobs. All with the same outcome, “Sorry, you are no longer an asset. You are now a liability and we can’t have a liability working with us.”. I became depressed as work was the only thing that i knew how to do since i was 7, working in the cotton, tobacco, and hog farms in the town i was raised in. To have that taken away from me was devastating and i became depressed at the thought i would be never be able to provide anything for my family ever again.

    My wife is a hospice nurse, daughter of 5y/o is going to school now. The days while they were gone were the worst part of my day. I got lost on youtube one day and it linked me to this recipe. My wife loves Indian food, we just never had enough money to actually get any from a legit resturant. So i thought i could do something nice for my wife and kid to show how much i appreciate them both. I found myself in the kitchen that day, i found a purpose.

    This recipe saved my life and for that i will be forever indebted to you. If i can no longer work to help bring food home, at least i can polish my home cooking skills enough to put good food on the table to nourish my family and help them get through another day. Thank you for helping me find myself again and i appreciate every recipe i ever come across.


    1. Chris, first of all thank you for your service to our country and I hope you feel honored today on Veteran’s Day. That was absolutely the most heartfelt and thoughtful comment I’ve ever gotten and the reason I became a private chef who cooked for families in their kitchens. When I started cooking for them they would tell me I’d given them their first home cooked meals in years. Some kids would say they only knew takeout. It filled my soul to know that good home cooked food was something I could give them. When I started my own family and was unable to work in people’s homes anymore this blog became my outlet. Knowing how it has affected your life is everything and more to me. Thank you so much for leaving this comment. If you ever want a specific recipe made you just email me or comment on this comment and I will put it right into the immediate schedule just for you. -Sabrina

  26. Made this tonight. Lots of butter chicken recipes out there but I choose yours as I liked the simplicity of it as well as it not packing too much heat (didn’t use jalapeno) . The dish did not disappoint. Chicken was most tender after marinating overnight. My husband and I both enjoyed the dish very much. Added basmati rice and garlic naan to the meal. I’ll have to check out what other Indian dishes you make. Hoping I’ll find a Palak Paneer recipe ;-). Thanks for a delicious recipe!

  27. I was really looking forward to trying this, but I was unfortunately disappointed. Indian cuisine is my favorite, and butter chicken is my most ordered dish. I didn’t think this tasted anything like traditional butter chicken. It was still somewhat tasty, but I don’t think I’d make it again. Perhaps too much cumin? Typically I see garam masala used. Appreciated the recipe nonetheless.

  28. I am wondering why there is no garem masala in this recipe as is traditionally found in butter chicken. What is substituted for it?

  29. We tried this for dinner tonight and loved it. The prep of the marinade was very simple the night before and the a.m. prep to get it into the crock pot went fairly smoothly as well. I wish the hints weren’t buried above the recipe amongst the advertising. I did saute the garlic and Jalapeno in the butter in a small skillet before putting it into the crock pot, which I had decided to do on my own and then saw it in the hints. Also, I let the excess marinade drip off, but did not truly scrape it off, and we were happy with the result. I have an old barrel-style crock pot and also cooked the contents a little longer because I was afraid my chicken chunks might be too large, but it was wonderful, and fork tender. The only thing I plan to do differently next time is use a slightly larger jalapeno pepper and a tad more garlic for a little more heat. This was very good. I served it in bowls over steamed rice. Very satisfying.

  30. How can i make this more flavourful? Looks exsactly like the picture posted but dosen’t have much flavour but overall a good meal.

  31. Get off the 8 cup crap. Was a good meal or not? I haven’t made it but would like to. at we have some intelligent reviews?

  32. So excited to make this tonight! I’m going to use coconut milk instead of heavy cream (just a personal preference) and boneless thighs instead of breasts (they hold up to long periods of cooking better), and I’m serving it with coconut rice.

  33. This is by far one of the best recipes ever! I make it every two weeks
    and make sure I triple the recipe for everyone to have some later
    on in the week. I receive so many compliments. I purchase Trader
    Joe’s microwaveable brown rice, microwave 3 minutes and put the
    chicken and sauce on top. If i could give this recipe 5 stars I would!
    Compliments to the chef 🙂

  34. Made this and it was a total hit! I was a little worried after reading the comment thread. My entire family of 4 loved it (including my two kiddos!).

    I substituted tomatoe sauce with a can of diced tomatoes that I puréed. Worked great.

    I did decide to increase the butter, added coconut milk at the end, and added toasted almonds and soaked raisins (per one of my favorite dishes at a local Indian restaurant). My kids would have preferred that I leave the raisins on the side.

    I made nan out of tortillas that had gotten too hard and served this over rice ? with lots of cilantro. This is going to be a new staple!

  35. I really, really want to try this recipe! One small problem…I’m allergic to cinnamon (and nutmeg & allspice), I know that leaving it out will change the flavor, but should I give it a shot anyway?


    1. It’ll be a delicious dish but it definitley won’t be Indian Butter chicken as the spice is pretty important to the flavor. Enjoy!