Today, we're going to explore the wonders of creating a delicious and easy Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala that will transport your taste buds straight to the streets of India.
Slow cookers, or crockpots, are a game-changer when it comes to creating hearty, flavorful meals with minimal effort. They allow you to effortlessly infuse your ingredients with rich flavors over an extended period. And when it comes to Indian cuisine, one dish that stands out is the beloved Chicken Tikka Masala.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
At the heart of Indian cuisine lies the skillful blending of spices, and Chicken Tikka Masala is no exception. The traditional dish consists of succulent pieces of marinated chicken cooked in a luscious tomato-based gravy. The key to its irresistible flavor lies in the harmonious combination of aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, and paprika. These spices infuse the dish with layers of complexity, creating a symphony of flavors that will make your taste buds dance.
Making Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala is a breeze. Simply combine all of the ingredients and the slow cooker will work its magic, tenderizing the chicken and allowing the flavors to develop and intensify. As the hours pass, your kitchen will transform into an aromatic haven, building anticipation for the delicious feast that awaits.
Chicken Tikka Masala is a dish that can be customized to suit your preferences. You can adjust the level of spiciness, play around with the thickness of the gravy, or even substitute the chicken with vegetables or tofu for a vegetarian twist. Pair it with fragrant basmati rice or warm, flaky naan bread to complete the meal.
- Tomato sauce
- Garam masala
- Chicken thighs
- Heavy cream
- Uncooked rice
Keep scrolling to find a full, printable recipe with a detailed ingredient list.
- In the bowl of your slow cooker, combine diced onion, minced garlic, grated ginger, and ¼ cup of water. Stir well. Add tomato sauce to the mixture and stir to combine.
- In a small bowl, mix garam masala, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, salt, cayenne, and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mix over both sides of chicken thighs, coating them liberally.
- Place the seasoned chicken on top of the tomato mixture in the slow cooker.
- Cover with the lid and cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
- After cooking, use a fork to break up any large pieces of chicken.
- Turn off the slow cooker and add heavy cream. Gently stir to combine.
- Taste the sauce and adjust salt and garam masala to your liking.
- Serve the chicken and tomato sauce over cooked rice, garnished with fresh cilantro.
- Enjoy the delicious flavors of your Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can use chicken breasts if you prefer. However, keep in mind that chicken thighs tend to be more flavorful and remain tender during the slow cooking process.
Absolutely! You can adjust the level of spiciness to your taste by increasing or decreasing the amount of cayenne pepper in the spice mix. You can also add fresh chili peppers or chili powder for an extra kick.
Yes, you can make a vegetarian version by substituting the chicken with vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, or bell peppers. For a vegan option, replace the chicken with tofu or tempeh, and use plant-based yogurt and cream alternatives.
Traditionally, it is served over steamed basmati rice, but you can also enjoy it with naan bread, or even quinoa for a healthier option. A simple salad complements the dish nicely too.
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If you’ve tried this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala recipe or any other recipe on Bless This Mess, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some pictures of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced (1 tablespoon)
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon dried ground ginger
- ¼ cup water
- 1 15- ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne optional
- ¼ teaspoon cracked pepper
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 6 cups cooked rice made from 2 cups uncooked rice
- ¼ bunch fresh cilantro
- Add the diced onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger to the bowl of your slow cooker. Add ¼ cup of water. Stir to combine.
- Add the tomato sauce, and stir again to combine.
- In a small bowl, combine the garam masala, cumin, turmeric, smoked paprika, salt, cayenne, and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mix over both sides of the chicken thighs, coating them liberally.
- Place the seasoned chicken on top of the tomato mixture.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker, and turn the slow cooker on. Cook on high for 3 hours or low for 6 hours.
- After the cook time is finished, the chicken should be fall-apart tender. Use a fork to break up any large pieces.
- Turn the slow cooker off, then add the heavy cream. Stir gently to combine the cream with the tomato sauce.
- Taste the sauce and add salt if needed. I also like to adjust the garam masala to taste after the cooking time. (I generally add an additional 1 to 2 teaspoons after the chicken has cooked, before serving.)
- To serve, spoon the chicken and tomato sauce over cooked rice and top with fresh cilantro.
- The flavor of this dish depends greatly on the quality and freshness of your garam masala. If using a lower quality or older spice blend, you may want to add more spice to achieve the bold flavors.
- Feel free to serve this over sauteed zucchini if rice isn’t your thing.
You can replace the cream with canned full-fat coconut milk.
- I love that this has a high and low cooking time. Throw it in at lunch or after naps; you have lots of options. Let it cook while you are at the pool or weeding the garden!
- SERVING SUGGESTIONS: This is great with warm naan bread on the side.
Serve this with simple green veggies. I like this with frozen stir-fry veggies warmed up in a skillet or with steamed broccoli and cauliflower. It’s also great with a summer-friendly seasonal mix like stir-fried bell peppers, onions, and zucchini, all cooked together in one pan. Look for what’s on sale, what’s growing in your garden, or what’s fresh at the farmer’s market to brighten this dish.
- MEAL PREP: Mix the spices and coat the chicken. Place the chicken in a zipper-topped plastic bag or a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. You can also chop the onion and place it in a container with a lid with the garlic and prepared ginger.
Crock Pot Chicken Tikka Masala is a flavorful and convenient dish that brings the vibrant tastes of Indian cuisine to the comfort of your home, offering a tantalizing blend of tender chicken, aromatic spices, and a rich tomato-based sauce that will delight your taste buds.