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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

This easy recipe for slow cooker butter chicken is a healthy version of Indian butter chicken that everyone will love. It contains simple ingredients and is a budget friendly weeknight dinner that makes great leftovers. Can easily be made Whole30 or dairy free and can be served over cauliflower rice for anyone on a low carb or keto diet. 

whole30 butter chicken in slow cooker

Butter chicken also known as murg makhani contains chicken tomato, butter and cream sauce. Indian butter chicken can easily be made in your crockpot or slow cooker making it a great option for a dump and go meal.

There are few spices involved and you can customize the ingredients to suit your needs especially if you’re dairy free or following a Whole30 reset. 

🐔Ingredients You’ll Need

Chicken Breast: You can use chicken breast or boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe. 

White Onion & Garlic: 2 classic vegetables in curry that compliment all the flavors. 

Yellow Curry Powder: This is a basic curry powder that can be found in most grocery stores and gives a light curry flavor to the dish. It is not spicy or hot. 

Garam Masala: An Indian spice blend that has more warming flavors such as cardamom and coriander. 

Crushed Tomatoes & Tomato Paste: Butter chicken sauce gets it’s classic red flavor and acidity from a mix of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. 

Ghee: This is the butter of the butter chicken. Instead of ghee, you could also use your favorite grass fed butter. 

Unsweetened Coconut Milk: This replaces the cream in a classic recipe by adding a thickness without any dairy. 

Lime: Adds a touch of acidity and freshness to the sauce. 

Freshly chopped Cilantro: A great garnish that pairs well in flavor and makes the dish pop. 

🍲How To Cook Butter Chicken In A Slow Cooker or Crockpot

1️⃣ Dice up your onion, garlic and chicken breast. Chicken breast should be in large chunks to keep it tender while it slow cooks. 

2️⃣ Add to the bottom of a slow cooker along with tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, curry powder, fresh lime juice and garam masala. Stir to combine and make sure the chicken and spices are evenly coated in the raw tomato sauce. Add the ghee on top as it will melt into the dish while it slowly cooks. 

3️⃣ Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-5 hours or until chicken is cooked all the way through. 

4️⃣ Using tongs, remove chicken and set aside. Stir in coconut milk until a creamy sauce forms. The sauce will be thin after cooking but will begin to get thicker as it cools. OPTIONAL: Use an immersion stick blender to blend the sauce into a creamier consistency if desired.

5️⃣ Add the chicken back into the slow cooker and combine it into the sauce. Serve hot over rice or riced cauliflower. 

🍎Whole30 Butter Chicken

In order to keep this Indian butter chicken Whole 30 compliant, make sure you are using ghee and coconut milk.

It is also important to make sure your crushed tomatoes and tomato paste contains all compliant ingredients.

You can also make this recipe completely dairy free by adding a dairy free butter to the top before slow cooking. 

🥑Keto Butter Chicken

If you are following a low carb or keto diet, you can still enjoy butter chicken as the average carbohydrates in one serving has about 6-8 grams of net carbs. 

crockpot butter chicken in a bowl

🔀Variations

Add a touch of cinnamon along with the spices to add a slightly sweet warming flavor to the dish.

Feel free to add diced potatoes to the crockpot to cook along with the chicken. 

You can use boneless skinless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast to make it more budget friendly. 

👩🏻‍🍳Chef’s Tips

It’s important that your chicken is cut into large 1-2” cubes as if they are smaller, the slow cooker can easily break them down into chicken that is shredded. 

The coconut milk needs to be added AFTER everything is cooking because it’s structure changes when it’s slow cooked by separating and losing viscosity making the sauce watery.

The sauce will be thin right out of the crockpot but will thicken when cooled, especially in the fridge! If you’d like to make the sauce extra thick, blend in 1-2 tsp of arrowroot starch while it is hot. 

Do NOT use light coconut milk in this recipe as it will make the sauce too thin. 

FAQ

What’s the difference between butter chicken and tikka masala?

Tikka masala has a deeper spice flavoring as it is layered in while it cooks whereas the sauce in butter chicken is more of a light curry gravy.

Is butter chicken bad for you or unhealthy?

Indian butter chicken is a calorie dense dish naturally with most of the calories coming from butter and cream, but this healthier version is much lighter. Pair it with cauliflower rice to reduce the amount of calories. 

Is it ok to put raw diced chicken in a slow cooker?

Yes! The slow cooker is hot enough to fully cook the chicken to 165 degrees F which is safe for consumption.

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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

This easy recipe for slow cooker butter chicken is a healthy version of Indian butter chicken that everyone will love. It contains simple ingredients and is a budget friendly weeknight dinner that makes great leftovers. Can easily be made Whole30 or dairy free and can be served over cauliflower rice for anyone on a low carb or keto diet.
3.91 from 22 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Chicken Breast large dice
  • 1 medium White Onion large dice
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh Garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp Yellow Curry Powder
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 14 oz can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 8 oz can Tomato Paste
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 1 cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 1 Lime juiced
  • For Garnish: Freshly chopped Cilantro

Instructions

  • Dice up your onion, garlic and chicken breast. Chicken breast should be in large chunks to keep it tender while it slow cooks. 
  • Add to the bottom of a slow cooker along with tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, curry powder, fresh lime juice and garam masala. Stir to combine and make sure the chicken and spices are evenly coated in the raw tomato sauce. Add the ghee on top as it will melt into the dish while it slowly cooks. 
  • Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 3-5 hours or until chicken is cooked all the way through. 
  • Using tongs, remove chicken and set aside. Stir in coconut milk until a creamy sauce forms. The sauce will be thin after cooking but will begin to get thicker as it cools. OPTIONAL: Use an immersion stick blender to blend the sauce into a creamier consistency if desired.
  • Add the chicken back into the slow cooker and combine it into the sauce. Serve hot over rice or riced cauliflower.

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One Comment

  1. 5 stars
    My family loves this recipe! It is easy and delicious, not to mention, it makes the whole house smell wonderful. I can’t imagine not giving this a five star rating. My husband says it is better than our very popular local restaurant’s version and, when he takes it to work for lunch, his colleagues ask if his wife is Indian. Best compliment ever!

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