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Slow-Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 15 mins
Servings 4 servings


  • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (Or vegetarian/vegan 1 14 oz. can or 1 1/2 cup dried chickpeas soaked for 30 minutes to 4 hours or more)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch piece whole ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1-2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 teasoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 28 ounce can diced tomato
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (or coconut milk)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked rice, to serve


  • Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and transfer them to a 3-quart or larger slow cooker.
  • Stir in the onion, garlic, ginger, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, paprika, and kosher salt until the chicken is evenly covered with spices.
  • Stir in the diced tomatoes with their juices.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  • Fifteen minutes before the end of cooking, stir in the heavy cream. If you prefer a thicker sauce, leave the slow cooker uncovered for the last 15 minutes.
  • Taste and add more garam masala or salt to taste.
  • Serve over rice with fresh cilantro sprinkled over the top of each serving. The tikka masala can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days or frozen for 3 to 4 months.


  • If you have the time: Marinate the chicken in 1/2 cup yogurt for up to 6 hours. Shake to remove excess yogurt before transferring to the slow cooker.
  • If you have the time: Sauté the onions and garlic in a little olive oil over medium-high heat in a skillet until softened, then stir in the ginger, tomato paste, and spices until fragrant. Transfer to the slow cooker with the chicken and diced tomatoes. This will give your tikka masala more depth of flavor.
  • Chicken breasts can be substituted for the thighs, although I find thighs hold up better over the long cooking and breasts tend to fall into shreds. Still delicious, though!
  • For a little of that smoky tandoori flavor, try using smoked paprika and roasted tomatoes.
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