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Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Hands up if the first thing you look for an in Indian restaurant is a Chicken Tikka Masala! Yep, me too, and a Peshwari naan! You literally can’t go wrong with a slow cooker Chicken Tikka Masala – it’s a classic British Indian dish, and for a good reason. Full of flavour, healthy and a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

Picture of a slow cooker Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan bread

History of the Chicken Tikka Masala

There are many stories about the origins of the Chicken Tikka Masala – but the one I like to believe is that it was invented in a restaurant named Shish Mahal in Glasgow. Supposedly a man ordered a chicken curry, and sent it back because he thought it was dry.

The owner, a Pakistani chef named Ali Ahmed Aslam, improvised a sauce with tomato soup and spices. It was promptly sent back to the table and the man absolutely loved it – so much so that he returned again and again with his friends, and it soon became a dish on their menu. The rest, as they say, was history.

Tips for a good Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

The list of ingredients is long – but don’t be put off by thinking this is a difficult slow cooker Chicken Tikka Masala to make – it’s easy peasy! All of the ingredients are available from any good supermarket.

On that note, don’t be tempted to use spices you have had in your cupboard for years – whilst it’ll still taste good, new spices will make a massive difference to the overall flavour!

This was the very first curry I tried in the slow cooker, so the recipe you see here has had many years of tweaks and refinement…and if I may say so myself, it’s pretty damn good.

Picture of a slow cooker Chicken Tikka Masala, Naan bread and mango chutney

Difference Between Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken

The spices in a Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken are similar – the main difference is the marinated and charred meat in the Chicken Tikka Masala. Try our Slow Cooker Butter Chicken recipe for yourself and let us know what you think in the comments.

Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan bread in a metal dish

I really hope you enjoy making and eating this as much as I did, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference between this recipe and a take away.

Can I freeze leftover Chicken Tikka Masala?

Chicken Tikka Masala will keep in the freezer for up to three months. Defrost overnight in the fridge, and ensure it’s piping hot all the way through before serving. If it looks a little dry you can loosen up the sauce with a little hot water before reheating.

Alternatively, it’ll keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to three days.

How to make Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Perhaps the most well known of the classic Indian dishes! Preparing this in the slow cooker creates beautifully fused flavours and tender chicken.
5 from 15 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Marinade Time 2 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings4 people



  • 4 garlic cloves crushed
  • 1 tsp ginger ground
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli powder ground, mild
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 3 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 500 g (1 lb) chicken thighs


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion large white, chopped
  • 2 red pepper capsicum
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 400 g (2 cups) tomato passata
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp paprika not smoked, ideally ground sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp ginger ground or fresh can be used if you have it
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp dried coriander finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) can be used if available
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder mild
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 5 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 75 ml (0.32 cups) cream double or single


Marinade the chicken

  • Combine all of the marinade ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir thoroughly.
  • Roughly chop the chicken thighs into large chunks, and add to the marinade mixture, coating the meat thoroughly. Seal and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes (2-3 hours ideally).

Cook chicken and sauce

  • Heat the oil in a pan over a high heat, then briefly fry the marinaded chicken pieces. This will create a brown coating on the chicken as the marinade cooks, recreating the charred effect usually achieved in a tandoor. Add the chicken to the slow cooker, along with any marinade left in the bowl.
  • Roughly chop the onion and pepper, crush the cloves of garlic, and add to the slow cooker.
  • In a separate bowl combine the ingredients for the sauce, mixing well. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables in the slow cooker, ensuring everything is coated in the mixture. Cook for 4 hours on a high setting, or 6 hours on low, stir and then serve with rice and a sprinkle of freshly chopped coriander.


Calories: 557kcalCarbohydrates: 31gProtein: 27gFat: 38gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 153mgSodium: 1441mgPotassium: 1280mgFiber: 7gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 4592IUVitamin C: 111mgCalcium: 148mgIron: 6mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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