Slow Cooker Butter Chicken features tender, juicy pieces of chicken in a creamy, perfectly spiced tomato sauce. Add some basmati rice and you have a quick, easy, and super flavorful weeknight dinner!
Easy Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Recipe
I love my slow cooker. If I can put something in a slow cooker, let it cook all day, and have it ready to go by supper time, I’m all in. This slow cooker butter chicken is one of my all-time favorites because it’s so easy. Just dump everything into the crockpot and go. If you love this dish at your local restaurant, then I bet you’ll love this one just as much – if not more!
One hallmark of good butter chicken is that it’s super soft and almost melts in your mouth. I’m convinced that the slow cooker results in chicken that’s even more soft and buttery than usual, as it’s slow cooked to perfection.
Flavor-wise, this recipe is on the sweet side with just a hint of spice in the creamy tomato sauce, along with curry. Although plenty of spices are added, it’s not meant to be a spicy dish. The final product is silky and rich and pairs so beautifully with some basmati rice, for a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
What Is Butter Chicken?
Butter chicken (murgh makhani) is a popular Indian dish that originated in New Delhi. Chunks of tender, juicy chicken are cooked in a tomato-based sauce. It’s rich and creamy with a slightly sweet, savory taste. It’s typically served with basmati rice and naan.
Is Butter Chicken Spicy?
While butter chicken is made with traditional Indian spices it’s not spicy as in burn-your-mouth hot. It’s just perfectly spiced. In fact, butter chicken tends to be more on the sweet side than other Indian dishes.
What’s The Difference Between Butter Chicken and Tikka Masala?
Butter chicken and tikka masala are two types of chicken curry that are made with similar ingredients, with a tomato paste base. However, the two are not the same. Butter chicken is creamy and slightly sweet while tikka masala skips the creaminess and focuses more on the spices.
This easy butter chicken recipe is made with curry paste, coconut milk, and a handful of spices. While this recipe uses a few specific Indian spices, they are all pretty easy to find. If you don’t have any of the ingredients on hand, they can usually be found in the international section of any grocery store.
- Chicken – I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts but chicken thighs would also work.
- White onion & garlic
- Red curry paste – Curry paste is a blend of spices and oil that infuses this dish with flavor.
- Spices – Curry powder, turmeric powder, and ground ginger give this recipe traditional flavor.
- Coconut milk – Creates the creamy base to the dish.
- Tomato paste – Adds a savory element to the recipe.
- Heavy cream – Added at the end for extra creaminess.
- Basmati rice – See notes below.
What’s So Special About Basmati Rice?
This particular rice is grown in the foothills of the Himalayas in northern India and Pakistan.
Considered a super grain, it’s gluten-free and loaded with all sorts of good stuff like folic acid. The aroma and texture of Basmati are different than any other rice. Though it looks similar to white rice, it has a much nuttier flavor, which only enhances this recipe.
How to Make Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
Cooking Indian food has never been this easy! This recipe requires just a few minutes of hands-on time, then the slow cooker does the rest!
- Combine the ingredients. Add all ingredients to the slow cooker, except for the heavy cream. Stir to combine.
- Cook. Cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.
- Add the cream. Once the butter chicken has finished cooking, stir in the cream.
- Cook the rice. Cook the basmati rice according to the package.
- Enjoy. Serve and enjoy.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips for making the most flavorful butter chicken.
- Use full fat coconut milk. Light coconut milk does not have the creamy consistency and will thin out the sauce.
- Wait to add the cream. The heavy cream should be added just before serving, to add an extra level of creaminess to the dish.
- Can I use chicken thighs? Yes, boneless, skinless chicken thighs can easily be used in place of chicken breasts.
- Spice it up. This butter chicken recipe is quite mild. If you prefer some spice, add some cayennne pepper.
What Goes With Butter Chicken?
Indian butter chicken is almost always served over basmati rice with naan for dipping. If you don’t have naan, regular flatbread works too and dinner rolls will work in a pinch.
As far as side dishes go, a salad or steamed veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, or carrots are always a good option.
How to Store Leftovers
One thing I love about this dish? It tastes even better the next day!
- Fridge. Leftover butter chicken can be stored for 3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. I recommend storing the rice separately, so it doesn’t absorb all of the sauce.
- Reheat. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.
Can I Freeze Homemade Butter Chicken?
Yes! This dish is great for freezing. In fact, sometimes I make a double batch just to have some to freeze.
Allow the chicken to cool, then transfer to freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as directed above.
More Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes:
- Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs
- Pickle Chicken Thighs
- Slow Cooker Tropical Chicken
- Crockpot Chicken and Gravy
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
- 2 pounds chicken breasts boneless and skinless
- 1/2 medium white onion diced
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon red curry paste
- 2 tablespoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 14.5 ounces coconut milk
- 6 ounces tomato paste
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups Basmati Rice
- pita bread toasted
- In the slow cooker, stir all ingredients (except heavy cream) together until combined.
- Put on lid and cook on high for 3 to 4 hours or low for 6 to 8 hours.
- Stir in cream. Cook rice according to package.
- Serve on rice and with toasted pita bread.