It’s time to pull out that Crock-Pot, whip up some Indian seasonings, and enjoy a big bowl of Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala. This healthy, gluten-free, Paleo, low-carb, and Whole30 chicken tikka masala recipe is an easy dinner for your busy weeknights!
First Indian Dish = Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe!
Who else out there tried chicken tikka masala as their very first Indian dish?
There is just something about the creamy tomato-based sauce and perfectly blended Indian spices that makes this a delicious dish for a newbie to try. Even my younger sister actually enjoyed a big bowl of chicken tikka masala 5 years ago at the height of her pickiness!
But one big downside with most tikka masala recipes at Indian restaurants is that it is normally LOADED with heavy cream.
Did you know that you can actually make slow cooker chicken tikka masala that tastes as good as the restaurant kind but is made with coconut milk instead of heavy cream?
Yup! So dive into learning how to make chicken tikka masala at home in the Crock-Pot!
Spices in Indian Chicken Tikka Masala
Making chicken tikka masala in the slow cooker is actually the best way I have found. You let the chicken simmer for hours and it gets incredibly tender and full of delicious Indian flavor!
So what spices actually go into making the chicken tikka masala seasoning?
Garam masala – this spice may be the hardest to find, but can normally be located in the bulk spices area at your grocery store!
Cumin – you should definitely have some cumin already.
Coriander – this spice is ah-maaaazing!! Trust me, grab a BUNCH because you will fall in love.
Paprika – I think you know what this is.
Turmeric – this is that bright yellow spice that will stain EVERYTHING, so be careful!
Cinnamon – optional, but gives a subtle sweetness.
How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
Now that you’ve got all of your spices whisked together, how do you make your sauce for the slow cooker chicken tikka masala?
The best blend of ingredients for the tikka masala sauce I found was a bit of tomato sauce, tomato paste, garlic, and ginger.
Mix this base together with the spices and voila!
You pour the tomato sauce mixture over the chicken and let it all cook in a 6-quart Crock-Pot for 4-6 hours.
Once the chicken is nice and tender, you can remove it from the slow cooker, add a bit of coconut milk (instead of cream!) and blend up the tikka masala sauce with an immersion blender or food processor.
This last step is optional, but I found it made the slow cooker chicken tikka masala taste the most like our favorite restaurant’s recipe!
Is Chicken Tikka Masala Healthy?
Most restaurants’ chicken tikka masala recipe is loaded with heavy cream, so it is not the “healthiest” option on the menu.
If you make your own slow cooker chicken tikka masala recipe you are able to use coconut milk instead of heavy cream and can serve it over cauliflower rice instead of basmati rice.
This will make it both dairy-free and low-carb!
Is Chicken Tikka Masala Gluten-Free?
If you are on a strictly gluten-free diet you will be happy to know that chicken tikka masala is almost always gluten-free, as is many other Indian curry dishes.
Always double check with the restaurant you are visiting, but you are probably in the clear!
How Can You Evolve this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala?
While this Crock-Pot chicken tikka masala is already gluten-free, dairy-free, Whole30, and Paleo, there are a few things you can change up:
- Make it spicy by adding in a bit of cayenne pepper or chili garlic paste.
- Bump up the nutritional value by adding in cauliflower or carrots.
- Serve the chicken tikka masala over cauliflower rice instead of regular rice to make it low-carb and ketogenic.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
It's time to pull out that Crock-Pot, whip up some Indian seasonings, and enjoy a big bowl of Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala. This healthy, gluten-free, Paleo, low-carb, and Whole30 chicken tikka masala recipe is an easy dinner for your busy weeknights!
- 1 ½ pounds chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 ½ cup sweet onion finely chopped
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 Tbsp. ginger grated
- 1 cup coconut milk full-fat
Tikka Masala Seasoning:
- 1 ½ Tbsp. Garam masala
- 1 tsp. cumin ground
- 2 tsp. coriander ground
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1-1 ½ tsp. salt to taste
- Pinch of cinnamon
Place cubes of chicken and chopped onion in a 6-quart slow cooker.
In a medium-sized bowl combine tomato sauce, tomato paste, oil, garlic, and ginger. Whisk to combine.
In a small bowl combine tikka masala seasonings. Whisk to combine. Add seasonings to tomato sauce and stir until well incorporated.
Add tikka masala sauce to slow cooker, making sure to lift up the chicken cubes so the sauce coats the bottom of the slow cooker.
Cook tikka masala on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
Once tikka masala is done cooking, remove chicken from the slow cooker and add coconut milk.
Puree the sauce with an immersion blender until smooth. (This step is not necessary but gives you the smoothest sauce!). You can also put the sauce in a high-speed blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Add the chicken back to the slow cooker and until it is heated through. Serve chicken tikka masala over basmati rice or cauliflower rice and enjoy!
*Nutrition facts are calculated without rice or cauliflower rice.
**This is a mild version of chicken tikka masala. Add cayenne pepper or chili garlic paste to bump up the spice level in this recipe.
Want more recipes like this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala recipe?
Slow Cooker Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk
Thai Yellow Chicken Curry with Carrots & Potatoes
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