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. This is such a favorite of mine and others. I’ve had so many people ask me for the recipe and I’ve given them your link. So good! And once I substituted coconut milk and dairy free yogurt for a friend who’s dairy free. Still delish!

  2. Is it ok to add the heavy cream in the crock pot and cook for the 4-5 hrs, last time I made a crock pot recipe with heavy cream it curdled?

  3. This was sooo delicious!
    I used cashew milk instead of heavy cream, and two thai peppers instead of a jalapeno.
    I would like to try with the heavy cream next time, because it adds more of that smooth creaminess I really love. But, the cashew milk was an awesome sub.

  4. Absolutely delish!! Sauteed the jalapeno and garlic in butter as suggested. Did add the cornflour/water to slow cooker as was feeling lazy. Also, I forgot to buy rice so made mashed potato instead. The flavors of this recipe were magnificent Sabrina! Thank you!

  5. My husband and I love this recipe and it’s become a staple in our household, thank you!
    My question is..can you use this recipe in an Instant Pot? If so, how long would I cook it for and will the sauce be enough for it not to burn?

    1. I haven’t tested it yet but I’m sure you could find a recipe online using similar ingredients and use that as a guideline. Good luck!

    2. I made it in the instant pot tonight, and it was great. I was tripling the recipe so that I could freeze half and have enough for 2 dinners for my (hungry) family of 5. But the liquid to chicken recipe was still the same, so I think it would be fine with the regular recipe. Put it on “poultry” and let it depressurize naturally. I did realize after I put it in that the I Love my Instant Pot cook book has a butter chicken recipe in it. I didn’t bother to see how close it is to Sabrina’s recipe. I don’t even want to try another one at this point.

  6. The cooked butter chicken recipe freezes very well!! I’ve had no issues with freezing it as I tend to make large batches of food so I can have meals for later.

  7. Very good recipe!! I tried swapping out the tomato sauce with tomato soup so I could have a slightly sweeter taste. I also added an extra bit of butter in the bottom.

    There’s something I’m struggling with however; everytime I add the water and cornstarch it creates cornstarch clumps. Any suggestions as to what I’m doing wrong? Thanks!!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. Next time you make a cornstarch slurry, make sure the water that you’re adding the cornstarch to is cold and then slowing add the cornstarch to create the slurry. This should help to avoid clumping. Hope this helps!

  8. I’ve enjoyed this recipe very much, thank you! I was wondering, is there an easy way to stir the cornstarch and water and then pour it into the mix without it settling beforehand? It has appeared as clumps and in small amounts when I’ve reheated the chicken in the microwave, and I’m not bothered by it, but this process is probably the most frustrating parts and never know if I’m doing it right.

  9. Hi I’m in the UK so not sure what you mean by tomato sauce as i know these things can mean sometihing different in US? is it passata ? Ketchup ? tomato concentrate ? help

    1. I was going to ask the same question. Tomato sauce in New Zealand is ketchup and I was thinking, surely not! Tomato puree is what we call it. Thanks for asking and thank you Sabrina for answering.

  10. Love, love, love! This is an all time favorite and a staple in my meal prep rotation! We can’t seem to go three weeks without craving your butter chicken! So simple and delicious! Even the extra tweaks you suggest to take it to the next level (browning the chicken, sautéing the garlic and jalapeño and sauce reduction) are simple enough for weekly meal prep and well worth the effort! I do have a question tho…. I always double the sauce recipe as I love to drizzle the extra over steamed broccoli and cauliflower rice, topped with extra cilantro too!….. This week I had a rather large package of chicken thighs and wish I had tripled it! Can I make additional sauce after the fact? Would I just follow the usual steps without the chicken? Or should I try making it in a sauce pan stovetop? Thank you so much for this gem, Sabrina!!!

    1. If you want the extra sauce, I would make it on the stovetop. You can always add a tsp of chicken Better than Bouillon if you want the sauce to have that chicken flavor 🙂

      Also thanks so much for the review – I’m so happy to hear how much you love it!

  11. 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. Wait. So you didn’t follow the recipe and now you’re complaining about how it came out? Sounds like it was your fault lmao

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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

  17. 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!

  18. 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?

  19. 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.

  20. 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!

  21. 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!!

  22. 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 🙂

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

  24. 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!

  25. 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?

  26. 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? 🙂

  27. 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.