Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 15 minutes

This Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken gets a healthy makeover in this quick and easy slow cooker recipe packed with warm spices like garam masala, cumin and fenugreek.

Liz squeezing lime on indian butter chicken

Some of my favorite days are where dinner is prepped or cooking away in the slow cooker before lunch. There’s just something about making dinner so early that it makes me feel so accomplished. Is it just me or do you feel this way, too?

indian butter chicken closeup

Whether it’s a quick prep on a weekday morning before school or if I spend some extra time smashing intoxicating spices from around the world with my mortar and pestle on a weekend, having this dish in the crockpot all day is simply the best.

Liz cutting cauliflower

When it comes to healthy eating on a budget, I always recommend stretching more expensive ingredients (i.e. organic chicken breasts) with inexpensive, filling vegetables like broccoli, kale or, in this case, cauliflower.

indian butter chicken plated

Curries, soups, pastas and stir-fries are ideal for this because you can really stretch a pound of meat to feed a crowd.

How to Make Indian Butter Chicken

adding spices to slow cooker

I personally think it makes a big difference grinding the spices myself. Plus, I just really enjoy it. If that’s not your thing, you can absolutely get these spices already ground at the store.

whisking indian butter chicken in crock pot

Whisking the yogurt, coconut milk, and spices together before adding the chicken and cauliflower helps ensure the flavors are even.

cubing chicken

I like to cube my chicken raw before adding to the slow cooker, but you can add them whole and cut or shred later.

adding ingredients for indian butter chicken to slow cooker

Now for the best part of a slow cooker meal – set it and forget it! You can easily freeze and save for later or set your crockpot on low for 8 hours. Stir in your green peas (or any other green veggie will do) right before serving so they don’t get mushy.

indian butter chicken vertical hero

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Indian Butter Chicken?

Chicken Makhani (aka Indian Butter Chicken) is a classic Indian dish developed in the 1950s by restaurant owners in India. They combined tomato gravy, rich in butter and cream, with leftover tandoori chicken.

Is Indian Butter Chicken spicy?

It can be. You can adjust the level of heat by reducing or increasing the amount of cayenne.

How is Indian Butter Chicken healthy?

I lightened this recipe from the original quite a bit by substituting ingredients like light coconut milk, plain yogurt, cauliflower and peas.

Can I substitute Indian chili powder?

Cayenne and Indian chili powder are pretty similar, and cayenne is more readily available. If you have Indian chili powder already, however, then I recommend using that instead of cayenne. It’ll add a more smoky flavor than just the cayenne can provide, making it taste more like tandoori chicken.

What if I don’t have all those spices?

That’s okay – you can skip a few and still get a super flavorful dish. A little curry powder goes a long way.

indian butter chicken vertical hero

Warm, aromatic, slightly spicy and totally satisfying, this healthier Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken with Cauliflower is ideal for busy weeknights. To save even more time during the dinner rush, we love using Trader Joe’s frozen brown rice but you could even skip the rice and pick up some naan bread at the store.

Liz eating indian butter chicken

Your fork is waiting.

indian butter chicken vertical hero

Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken

4.75 stars average
This Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken gets a healthy makeover in this quick and easy slow cooker recipe packed with warm spices like garam masala, cumin and fenugreek.
PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 4 hours
TOTAL: 4 hours 15 minutes
Pin
Servings4

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound chicken breasts (cubed)
  • 1 in head cauliflower (cut florets)
  • 15 ounce can coconut milk (light)
  • 1 cup whole milk plain yogurt
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 tablespoons ginger root (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 5 green cardamom pods
  • 1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • prepared brown rice (cucumber raita and fresh cilantro – to serve)

Instructions
 

  • Place cubed chicken and cauliflower florets in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together next 12 ingredients (coconut milk through cayenne.)
  • Lastly, using a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, crush together the cumin seeds, fenugreek and cardamom pods. Add to the yogurt mixture and whisk to combine.
  • Pour spiced yogurt mixture into the slow cooker and stir until chicken and cauliflower is evenly coated.
  • Heat on Low for 8 hours or High for 4 hours.
  • Five minutes before you’re ready to serve, stir in green peas. Serve over brown rice with cucumber raita and fresh cilantro if you wish.

Notes

Don’t worry if you’re missing a spice or two. A little curry powder goes a long way!

Nutrition

Calories: 358kcalCarbohydrates: 22.9gProtein: 32.2gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 12.8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5.2gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 1225mgFiber: 7.2gSugar: 9.7g

Photo of Liz Della Croce

Hi, I’m Liz!

Hey there, I’m Liz Della Croce and I’m thrilled to have you here! My aim is to motivate and ignite your passion for cooking amazing meals for your loved ones. I believe in the power of real, wholesome ingredients that are bursting with flavor and won’t break the bank. Whether it’s a traditional Lebanese recipe from my family or a culinary creation from across the globe, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to discover that nutritious food can be exciting, affordable, and easy to prepare.

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46 responses to “Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken”

  1. Rebekah Avatar
    Rebekah

    Do you think I could use plain almond milk yogurt or coconut yogurt in this to make it dairy free?

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Yes definitely! I’d recommend using coconut personally.

  2. PETRA Avatar
    PETRA

    Hi, what is red curry paste, do not think I have ever heard of it.

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Red curry paste is a Thai ingredient made with lemon grass but you can skip it.

  3. Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes Avatar
    Katie | Healthy Seasonal Recipes

    I forgot to rate in my last comment. Definitely 5 stars for sure!

    1. Liz DellaCroce Avatar
      Liz DellaCroce

      Thank you so much friend!!

Liz Della Croce eating black bean dip

Hi I’m Liz!

Hey there, I’m Liz Della Croce and I’m thrilled to have you here! My aim is to motivate and ignite your passion for cooking amazing meals for your loved ones.