Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

1 Nov

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

“Oh my Catholic God. This is so good.” Nom, nom, nom. “I lurve leftovers…Hmmm…maybe I should blog about this.”

That was my conversation to myself about 10 minutes ago. I still have the savory taste of Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala in my mouth (and the warmth of the spices in my chest) so I deemed this to be the best time to write all about it. Yes, a recipe is involved. And no, I did not make the recipe up myself. Click on the above picture for a link to the blogger who was genius enough to concoct this recipe.

I found this gem on Pinterest, which ultimately led me to the aforementioned blogger. I had this recipe printed (click here for the recipe straight out of my cookbook! —> Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala) for almost 6 months before attempting it. It was partly because I found the recipe when it was nearing Spring, which is when my slow-cooker begins its hibernation. Another reason is because I wanted to wait to cook it for guests who loves Indian food. Hey, I’m all for the encouragement of people’s taste buds to explore new cuisines…I just don’t want them to explore when my ego is on the line. First-time recipes can be tricky. YaknowwhatImean? And then there’s time: the chicken needs to bathe in a marinade overnight. I rarely plan meals ahead of time to marinate something. Anyway, the stars lined up and I told myself, “Self…it’s time to attempt Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala.”

Time to shut up, Middlest, and get to the good stuff. Do not be discouraged by the ingredient list. A lot of spices are listed more than once because they’re used at different times during the cooking process. It’s super easy; pinky promise! The recipe below is what I did. My tweaks are highlighted in italics.

This is a 2 step process…just like a folk dance. Let’s dance!

Ingredients for Chicken Tikka.

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 6-8 chicken thighs, skin on; bone-in. (I used a whole damn roasting chicken: thighs, wings, breasts & discarded the skin)


  1. Stir all ingredients except chicken into the bottom of a large plastic container.
  2. Add the chicken and coat the chicken completely with the marinade, cover and place in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight.

Ingredients for Masala.


  • 1 can 28 oz. diced tomatoes. I used my own canned diced tomatoes. NBD.
  • 1 can 5.5 oz tomato paste
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp garam masala (Whole Foods has this for $2.99)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 2 inches fresh ginger, grated (store your ginger in the freezer for easy grating)
  • 1 tbsp tikka paste…you could use mild curry paste instead, but then also add about a tbsp of lemon juice. <– I used red curry paste and forgot the lemon juice. Whoops!


    • 1/2 tsp cumin
    • 1/2 tsp chili powder
    • 1/2 tsp garam masala
    • Salt
    • 1 cup cream <—nope. I used yogurt.
    • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped. I used about 1-2 cups of this stuff. I love fresh cilantro!


    1. Turn oven to broil.
    2. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place a rack over top.
    3. Take the chicken out of the marinade (discard the marinade – That’s wasteful…I poured the marinade all over the chicken) and place on the baking rack.
    4. Place under the broiler about 6-10 inches from the heating element and broil on each side about 10 minutes until browned. You do not need to cook the chicken all the way through, friends. That’s what the slow-cooker is for.
    5. Meanwhile, in a pan over medium high heat, add about a tsp or two of oil.
      1. Add the onion and sauté for a few minutes to soften.
      2. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for a few more minutes until the mixture is nice and fragrant.
      3. Place the mixture into your crockpot.
        1. To that, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, garam masala, tikka paste, cumin, chili powder and coriander.
        2. Stir together.
        3. When the chicken is done broiling, add them straight to the slow cooker. (I de-boned the chicken at this time. I never feel like working for my food once it is on my plate)
        4. Stir chicken into the masala (sauce). Slow cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low 6-8 hours.
        5. Before serving stir in 1/2 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala and salt.
        6. Stir in the cream (yogurt) and fresh cilantro.

    6. Serve the chicken tikka masala sauce over rice.

    Meghan’s Rice.

    1. Using a rice maker (Godsent), add 1 cup of brown rice to 2 cups of water. Turn the rice cooker on. Wow. That was easy.
    2. Once rice cooker turns to “warm” mode, add a tablespoon of olive oil (or thyme-infused olive oil if you’re me) and a half cup of fresh cilantro.

    The only thing I regret is not picking up Naan for this meal. Pretzel bread was used for this recipe (thanks to Whole Foods), which was a nice substitute. The recipe could easily forgo the bread, but I think that scooping up the sauce with a piece of bread is a lot sexier than licking my bowl clean with my tongue.

    And that’s it. The recipe is delicious and a great way to curb your Indian Cuisine cravings until the next time you’re at your favorite Indian restaurant. My Milwaukee fave is: Maharaja on Farwell.

    Happy Eating! Nom, nom, nom…



4 Responses to “Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala”

  1. Youngest November 2, 2012 at 8:17 am #

    I hope there are leftovers!

    • Meghan (@megAYCHan) November 2, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

      I will freeze some! Looks like I’m having popcorn for dinner tonight 😉

  2. aLi C (@aLiYoOp906) November 2, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

    Question: How spicy is this? My stomach nor my bowels can handle real spice foods after surviving you.know.what.

    Great post sister!

    • Meghan (@megAYCHan) November 12, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

      It has a kick to it, but it’s not too spicy. I think your bowels will survive 😉

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