Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

11 Reviews / 4.9 Average
This Chicken Tikka Masala recipe made in the slow cooker is as close as I can get to the delicious meal I had at an authentic Indian restaurant here in Charlotte. The sauce is so good served over brown rice for an easy, delicious dinner.
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I’m excited to share a new recipe with you that I tweaked over and over again to get it right—Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala! It’s as close as I could get it to the super yummy Tikka Masala we recently had at an authentic Indian restaurant here in Charlotte (thanks to Vani for introducing it to us).

Chicken tikka masala made in the slow cooker served over rice and topped with extra sauce, sour cream and cilantro.

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I came home and immediately put it on our meal plan so I could try making it myself. The first version was nothing like the restaurant version—all we could taste was a strong cinnamon and clove flavor, and we were not fans. So, I quickly determined I’d basically have to make my own garam masala spice mix that was a little milder. I got some advice from my cousin’s wife (who grew up on authentic Indian cuisine), and after a few more takes, finally got it pretty darn close!

I hope you enjoy this one as much as we do! It’s hard not to love a recipe where all you have to do is dump it in the slow cooker and turn it on. Enjoy!

What is Tikka Masala?

It is a complex sauce that uses Indian spices, tomatoes onions, and cream.

If you enjoy this recipe, try this Creamy Vegetable Korma!

What’s the Difference Between Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken?

The main difference comes down to all of the different spices that are used in Tikka Masala. Chicken Tikka Masala will be heavier on the tomato and flavor than butter chicken.

Featured Comment

I love Indian food, and this was delicious. Pretty easy to make too, especially if you have your spices out and ready to “dump” in the crockpot.

Vegetarian Note

As I recently mentioned, my 13-year-old is trying something new and no longer eating meat at the moment! Luckily she’ll still eat the sauce from a dish like this, even if the chicken was cooked in it. I guess it’s that or make your own dinner, LOL. So, I quickly sauteed some shiitake mushrooms for her to substitute for the chicken, and she loved it. The sauce is so good that I made sure to include plenty of extra on purpose … yum!

All ingredients for slow cooker tikka masala inside the slow cooker.

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    I hate beets… I’ve tried every way…but if you put the sauce over the beets… I’d be in heaven! This is sooooooo good!! Making for the third time. It freezes well!! I also put it over couscous.
    Love your recipes! Hope all is well!

  2. 5 stars
    I love Indian food, and this was delicious. Pretty easy to make too, especially if you have your spices out and ready to “dump” in the crockpot.

  3. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! I’ve not had Tikka Masala before- but I am so glad I tried this. I prepared this recipe exactly as you stated. It is so flavorful and will be a recipe that I’ll keep coming back to.

  4. 4 stars
    I made this last night, and while it’s quite tasty, it doesn’t taste like any Tikka Masala I’ve had before. For me, the issue was the honey–perhaps I used very good quality honey (with a stronger taste?), because it overpowered the dish and made it too sweet. I did add three times as much crushed red pepper than the recipe called for, but I think real (not dried) chilis are required to give this any real heat. All this being said, I love these slow-cooker recipes, so keep them coming! As a college prof with a variable schedule, it’s so great to be able to toss stuff in between classes and not think about it until dinner time.

    1. Hi Amber, thanks for the feedback. It could possibly be the honey that is throwing you off, as we try to use only honey or 100% maple syrup as sweeteners, staying away from refined sugars that you would normally find in this type of recipe. – Nicole

  5. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I think I’d add a little more spice next time – it was very flavorful but mild.
    I also only used one cup of heavy cream – I can’t imagine it needing 2! For some more veg (and because I had one that needed to be used up) I added a large-diced eggplant about 2 hours into the cooking time, and it was delicious! Even a teen who doesn’t like veggies ate all of it and asked me to put it in when I made it again!

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve tried two other recipes, in addition to jarred tikka masala sauce. This one beats them all! It’s as yummy as our favorite Indian restaurant in Houston.

  7. Hi Lisa,

    Being of Indian-origin and hailing from the UK (Chicken Tikka Masala was voted the most popular “British” dish of the last decade – go figure) your recipe is something I’m totally going to try.

    I’m completely with you on the cloves and cinnamon though, as well as cardamom, which is used in many authentic dishes.

    In fact, enjoying my mother’s cooking as a child, and on my numerous visits to India, these spices are typically used whole during the cooking process (as well as the addition of ground garam masala).

    I cannot tell you how many times the overpowering aroma and taste of these particular spices, especially when still whole, almost put me off a meal.

    However, you seem to have created the perfect combination here and I cannot wait to try out your recipe.


  8. 5 stars
    My whole family of picky eaters loved this and they have eaten very little Indian food. I couldn’t tell you if it has an ‘authentic’ taste due to our inexperience but it was a hit. We made with a can of coconut milk so it would be dairy-free. I like the idea of serving it with roasted cauliflower or adding a can of chickpeas. It is very saucy so it has room for a few additions.

  9. 5 stars
    We really enjoyed this! We didn’t have cardamom so we substituted garam masala, still came out delicious! Why is cardamom so expensive btw? $16 at the grocery store

  10. 5 stars
    We all loved this. Next time I’m going to attempt to make it vegan by using canned coconut milk and chickpeas, though it’s perfect as written.

  11. Do you think this could be cooked on “high” in the slow cooker to cut down on the time? Maybe 3-4 hours on high? Or in an instant pot?

  12. instead of mushrooms for a vegetarian option, you could skip the chicken and add 2 drained cans of chick peas to the crockpot. might need a can of water to make up what the chicken might contribute. also stir in some spinach at the end.