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

4.79 from 198 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. My husband really enjoyed this; however, it did not taste like butter chicken we’ve had from many Indian restaurants. I was hoping for a similar taste. The only omission / change I made was not using jalapeño because I did not have one.

    1. So sorry it wasn’t to your taste 🙁 Feel free to play around the with the spices to make it more to what you are looking for 🙂

  2. Wonderful!! I will be adding this often to my meal plans. I was only able to marinate the chicken for 4 hours and it was still delicious.

  3. Made this yesterday – amazing. Didn’t bother to sear it – swapped out the cream for coconut milk. I did sauté the jalapeno and garlic in butter. Addictive.

  4. This was delicious!! Used coconut milk / rest as is – didn’t brown chicken before crockpot because I wanted to see how easy it could be. Just wow. Served with basmati.

  5. I love your recipe and have made it several times. Instead of jalapeno, I sometimes use Serrano for it to be spicy and more true to the traditional dish.
    I was wondering if you have a suggested time on making this in an instant pot. I just bought one not long ago and would love to make this in it.

  6. Can you use flour instead of cornstarch? If so would you add it in earlier on? I’ve heard flour does better cooking slowly and I never buy cornstarch even though I probably should

  7. Wonderful recipe! I swapped out the heavy cream and used coconut milk but kept everything the same. The only trouble I had was the chicken turned out on the dry side. I realize this is the result of overcooking in the crockpot. Do you have any suggestions for this? Perhaps adding the chicken later in the cook cycle? Thanks!

    1. It sounds like maybe your slow cooker might run a bit hot. I would suggest cutting back on the cooking time to adjust. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  8. My family loved this recipe in the slow cooker- thank you!! How do you suggest cooking it if I used a Dutch oven on the stove?

  9. This turned out delicious! I didn’t marinade overnight, omitted the cream and added in a cup of yogurt right before serving. It was a hit!! Will be a go to recipe from now on. I’ve even sent this recipe on for a friend to use

    1. I lightly browned the chicken on my George Foreman before cutting and placing in the crockpot. How much time should I reduce so as to not overcook it? I should mention that I also doubled the recipe.

  10. Hi excited to try this recipe I wanted to ask I’m making this for 1 person serving so how would I do the measurements. Thank you ??

    1. You can cut this recipe by half and use a smaller slow cooker but I wouldn’t go any smaller than that. The good news is you can have leftovers the next day. Enjoy!

  11. Do I have to scrape the marinade off before putting the chicken in the slow cooker? Is there a con to keeping the original marinade?

    Thanks for this recipe. I’m excited to try it!

        1. Since you are putting it into a slow cooker, the marinade won’t reach a high enough temp to make it safe to eat. It’s better to be safe and scrape and re-sauce.

      1. OMG!! This was the BEST!! My son and his wife absolutely loved it! (My wife isn’t big on spicy food). So good I’m making it again this weekend. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe. It’s a real keeper!!

  12. Amazing – I get rave reviews when making this, one friend says her husband prefers it to any restaurant dish he’s ever had – a firm favourite in our household 🙂

  13. Could you substitute sour cream for yogurt? Plain yogurt isn’t something I would normally have on hand or have an additional use for.

  14. This was really good. I only had two chicken breasts and decided that when I make this again I will do four pieces. We just found there was a lot of sauce left over (even if it had been three pieces) . This has A LOT of sodium so we used no salt added tomato sauce. I am not sure if I can do anything else to reduce sodium??

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I don’t see any other place to reduce the sodium in this dish besides the tomato sauce though.

        1. I’m not sure I understand your question. You remove the marinade before cooking, and then I have instructions to make a sauce when you cook the chicken.

    1. You can make tomato sauce from tomato paste by mixing ¾ cup tomato paste with 1 cup water and then season with salt, if needed. Hope this helps!

      1. You can also remove the chicken and put the sauce into a sauce pan and reduce it on the stove… it’s an extra step but no additional carbs at all and the flavor intensifies because of the reduction in volume!

  15. Can you make this a freezer meal? Would you be able to combine everything raw, freeze it, and then dump in it the slow-cooker?

  16. I was trying to surprise my boyfriend with this recipe and didn’t realize until this morning that the chicken needs to marinate overnight. Would 6 hours be okay? 🙂

  17. I’ve been living with my parents for the last couple years. This has become a family favorite. My dad says it’s one of the best dishes he can remember having in a long while.