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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

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close up overhead shot of slow cooker butter chicken garnished with cilantro in a slow cooker
Your whole family will enjoy this slow cooker butter chicken recipe. Full of rich spiced flavors and tender chicken, this dish will become a go-to addition to your menu.
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Table of Contents
  1. Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Ingredients
  2. How to Make This Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Recipe
  3. How to Serve
  4. Storage
  5. More Recipes You’ll Love
  6. JUMP TO RECIPE

One of my new favorite dishes is this slow cooker butter chicken recipe. This dish has a blend of warm spices and flavors combined with cream and tomato to create a flavorful sauce; it’s hard to believe something so simple can be so tasty. 

For more slow cooker recipes, try our crockpot chicken and dumplings and crockpot orange chicken.

close up shot of slow cooker butter chicken garnished with cilantro in a slow cooker

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Ingredients

slow cooker butter chicken raw ingredients that are labeled

You’ll need:

  • 3 pounds (5 to 6 large) boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup (1 small) onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2½ teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream, room temperature & divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice, according to package directions
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

PRO TIP:

For the best results in this recipe, use full-fat ingredients rather than low-fat. It gives the sauce the creamiest texture.

SUBSTITUTIONS AND ADDITIONS

RICE: I used jasmine rice for this easy recipe; however, any long grain rice (like Basmati rice) will be just as delicious. Just cook your rice according to its package directions.

CREAM: As a dairy alternative to heavy cream, you can use full-fat coconut milk from the can for the cream sauce in this traditional butter chicken recipe. Make sure to give the can a good shake before opening it. You DO NOT want to use the coconut milk you find in the cooler section of your grocery store that is used as a drinking version. It is much too thin and watery.

CHICKEN: I like to use boneless skinless chicken breast meat for this recipe, but you can also use boneless skinless chicken thighs if your family prefers dark meat. You may have to cook the dark meat a little longer than you would the white meat.

How to Make This Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Recipe

STEP ONE: In a saute pan on medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder, chili powder, garam masala, cumin and salt. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions are tender and the spices are fragrant.

slow cooker butter chicken process shot of ingredients in a pot

STEP TWO: In the container of a blender, add the cooked onions and spices, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and ¾ cup heavy cream. Blend until smooth. 

slow cooker butter chicken process shot of ingredients in a blender

STEP THREE: In the insert of a slow cooker, add the raw chicken. Cover with the blended sauce and cook on high for 2½ to 3 hours.

PRO TIP:

Make sure to wait to cut the chicken until it has cooked. The small pieces will fall apart if you cut the chicken before cooking, and you want pieces of chicken rather than shredded chicken for the final result in this recipe.

slow cooker butter chicken process shot of chicken covered with sauce in a slow cooker

STEP FOUR: Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pieces from the slow cooker and cut them into bite-sized, 1-inch pieces. 

slow cooker butter chicken process shot of chicken cut up into bite size pieces

STEP FIVE: In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup heavy cream and cornstarch. Stir to create a slurry. This will thicken up your sauce. Add the slurry to your sauce that is inside your slow cooker and stir to combine and allow your sauce to thicken.

slow cooker butter chicken process shot of sauces whisked together in a slow cooker

STEP SIX: Place your bite-sized chicken pieces back into the slow cooker and stir them around in your sauce, being careful not to break up your chicken pieces too much. Turn off your slow cooker once the chicken pieces are coated in butter chicken sauce and ready to serve.

slow cooker butter chicken process shot of chicken added to the sauce in a slow cooker

STEP SEVEN: In a bowl, place ¾ cup of rice (keeping most of it to one side), then spoon the slow cooker butter chicken next to the rice in the bowl. Garnish the finished dish with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

PRO TIP:

This slow cooker butter chicken dish should be served warm and can be kept, on the warm setting, in your slow cooker for up to 1 hour. 

slow cooker butter chicken process shot of chicken placed into bowls with cooked jasmine rice and garnished with cilantro

How to Serve

Enjoy this authentic Indian butter chicken beside or on top of your cooked rice. Don’t forget to spoon any rich sauce from the bottom of the slow cooker on top of the chicken and rice. I like to add a couple of pieces of naan bread to my meal to mop up all the creamy sauce.

Storage

IN THE FRIDGE: This slow cooker chicken recipe can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. You can reheat individual servings in the microwave, in 30-second intervals, until the desired temperature. I do suggest storing your cooked rice separate from your butter chicken if not served immediately.

close up overhead shot of bowls of slow cooker butter chicken garnished with cilantro and served with jasmine rice

My favorite Indian food dish is a classic butter chicken, and this sure hits the spot. I love how it only requires a few simple ingredients to make such a delicious dish. The creamy sauce flavors the juicy chicken in such a complex and flavorful way, and your slow cooker does all the work instead of having to slave over the stove.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Where can I find garam masala?

You can find most Indian spices and spice blends in bulk food or specialty food stores. 

Can I freeze butter chicken?

This Indian chicken can be frozen, although the sauce tends to separate. Give it a good stir when you thaw it before reheating.

Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts in this recipe?

This crockpot butter chicken recipe will be delicious with either chicken breasts or thighs.

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close up overhead shot of slow cooker butter chicken garnished with cilantro in a slow cooker

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

5 from 2 votes
Your whole family will enjoy this slow cooker butter chicken recipe. Full of rich spiced flavors and tender chicken, this dish will become a go-to addition to your menu.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pounds large boneless-skinless chicken breasts (5 to 6)
  • 1 cup onion diced (1 small onion)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • cups heavy cream room temperature and divided
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 4 cups cooked jasmine rice according to package directions
  • fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions
 

  • In a saute pan on medium-high heat, melt the butter and add the onions, garlic, ginger, curry powder, chili powder, garam masala, cumin and salt. Saute for 2 to 3 minutes or until the onions are tender and the spices are fragrant.
  • In the container of a blender, add the cooked onions and spices, tomato sauce, tomato paste, and ¾ cup heavy cream. Blend until smooth.
  • In the insert of a slow cooker (crockpot), add the chicken. Cover with the blended sauce and cook on high for 2½ to 3 hours.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove the pieces from the slow cooker and cut them into bite-sized, 1-inch pieces.
  • In a small bowl, combine the remaining ½ cup heavy cream and cornstarch. Stir to create a slurry. This will thicken up your sauce. Add the slurry to your sauce that is inside your slow cooker and stir to combine and allow your sauce to thicken.
  • Place your bite-sized chicken pieces back into the slow cooker and stir them around in your sauce, being careful not to break up your chicken pieces too much. Turn off your slow cooker once the chicken pieces are all coated in sauce and ready to serve.
  • In a bowl, place ¾ cup of rice (keeping most of it to one side), then spoon the slow cooker butter chicken next to the rice in the bowl. Garnish with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

Notes

PRO TIP: For the best results in this recipe, use full-fat ingredients rather than low-fat. It gives the sauce the creamiest texture.
 
PRO TIP: Make sure to wait to cut the chicken until it has cooked. The small pieces will fall apart if you cut the chicken before cooking, and you want pieces of chicken rather than shredded chicken for the final result in this recipe.
 
PRO TIP: This slow cooker butter chicken dish should be served warm and can be kept, on the warm setting, in your slow cooker for up to 1 hour. 

Nutrition

Calories: 688kcal | Carbohydrates: 43g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 233mg | Sodium: 831mg | Potassium: 1291mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1660IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 3mg
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  1. Stephanie says

    Looks amazing!!

    Do you think I could substitute coconut milk for the heavy cream at all? It’s all I have on hand right now! Thanks!!