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overhead shot of two bowls of curry plated with sides and garnish
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5 from 10 votes

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

This Chicken Tikka Masala style curry is made in the slow cooker for extra depth of flavour & ultra tender chicken! Slow cooker times either 3-4hours on HIGH or 5-6hours on LOW.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 15 mins
Total Time3 hrs 25 mins
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Calories: 408kcal
Cost: £3.50 / $4


  • Slow Cooker
  • Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
  • Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
  • Small Bowl (to mix spices)
  • Medium Bowl (to combine chicken with spices)


Chicken Curry

  • 1.2lbs / 600g Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, diced into bite sized pieces
  • 2 cups / 480ml Tomato Passata (Pureed/Sieved Tomatoes in US)
  • 1/2 cup / 120ml Double/Heavy Cream, at room temp
  • 1/2 cup / 120ml Water
  • 1 medium/large White Onion, very finely diced
  • 4 cloves of Garlic, very finely diced/minced
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Puree (Tomato Paste in US)
  • 2 tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1 tbsp Ginger, very finely diced
  • 3 tsp Sugar
  • Vegetable Oil, as needed (see notes)

Spice Mix

  • 4 tsp Garam Masala (see notes)
  • 3 tsp Chilli Powder (see notes)
  • 2 tsp EACH: Ground Coriander, Cumin, Paprika, Turmeric
  • 1.5 tsp Salt

To serve

  • Cilantro/Coriander, roughly diced
  • Naan Bread
  • Rice


  • In a small bowl, combine 4 tsp garam masala, 3 tsp chilli powder, 2 tsp ground coriander, cumin, paprika and turmeric and 1.5 tsp salt. In a medium bowl, combine your chicken with half the spices. Keep other half for later.
  • Heat up around 1 tbsp veg oil in a pan over high heat. Once it just begins to smoke, space out your chicken (work in 2 batches if needed). Leave to fry until it begins to char, then flip each piece and char on the second side. You're not looking to cook the chicken at this point, this is purely to lock in the spices and caramelize the outside (a little char = extra and authentic flavour).
  • Remove chicken from pan and place into slow cooker. Lower heat to medium and add 2 tbsp butter. Add onion and fry until it begins to soften, then add ginger and garlic. Continue frying until it's all softened and beginning to catch colour. Stir in 2 tbsp tomato puree, fry for a minute or so, then scrape everything into the slow cooker.
  • Into the slow cooker pour in passata and water, then add your remaining spices and sugar. Give it a good stir then pop on the lid and cook on HIGH for 3-4hours or LOW for 5-6hours.
  • Remove lid and flick the cooker to 'warm'. Allow the curry to cool slightly, or at least stop bubbling then stir in the cream (important cream at room temp and curry cools slightly or the cream may curdle).
  • Serve with coriander/cilantro, rice and naan!



a) Chicken - Chicken thigh is more flavoursome and tender than breast, but you can sub with breast if that's what you have. 
b) Oil - Indian cooking tends to include a lot of oil and butter, so don't skimp out on the oil when frying. Important to use an oil with a neutral flavour and a high smoking point, do not use olive oil. Can also use ghee (clarified butter).
c) Garam masala - You'll find this in almost all supermarkets/grocery stores in the spice section. It's a key spice so don't sub!
d) Chilli Powder / Spice Level - 3 tsp gives a nice kick, but if you're at all weary of spice start out with 1 tsp and add another few pinches at the end if you want a bit more.  If you've gone overboard with the spice then serve the curry with yogurt or some form of dairy to tone down the spice.
e) Do I have to fry the chicken/onion before adding to slow cooker? - Frying the chicken not only locks in the spices but also adds a huge amount of flavour (light charring). Because you're cooking on high heat and only focused on charring it doesn't add much time to the process, so highly recommend doing it. Same with the onion/garlic/ginger/tomato puree, completely changes the flavour.
f) Can I make this on the stove without a slow cooker? - To make on stove continue to step 2 (remove chicken and place in a bowl). Carry on with step 3 (fry onion/garlic/ginger) and toast the leftover spices for a minute before stirring in the tomato puree. Pour in water and passata, then simmer sauce (preferably with lid on for 10-15mins, stirring occasionally). Pour in cream and sugar, then add back in chicken. Simmer until chicken is cooked through. Thin out with water if needed.
g) Calories - divided by by with no sides, using 1 tbsp veg oil to fry.


Calories: 408kcal | Carbohydrates: 14.23g | Protein: 32.2g | Fat: 24.89g | Saturated Fat: 11.479g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.985g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7.333g | Trans Fat: 0.048g | Cholesterol: 189mg | Sodium: 1046mg | Potassium: 766mg | Fiber: 1.5g | Sugar: 8.83g | Vitamin A: 1191IU | Vitamin C: 89.7mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 2.12mg