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.
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?
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.
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.
How to Make Indian Butter Chicken
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 the yogurt, coconut milk, and spices together before adding the chicken and cauliflower helps ensure the flavors are even.
I like to cube my chicken raw before adding to the slow cooker, but you can add them whole and cut or shred later.
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.
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.
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.
Your fork is waiting.
Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken
- 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)
- 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.