Slow cooker butter chicken is a flavorful chicken dish, made right in your Crockpot!

Tender chicken thighs in a creamy tomato curry sauce is the perfect way to let your slow cooker do all of the work! Add in a side of rice and some naan or flatbread for an easy meal.

2 servings of Slow Cooker Butter Chicken with slow cooker behind

Why We Love this Recipe

Because we love a good butter chicken recipe and this one is so easy! Just toss all ingredients into the crockpot, set it and forget it!

The chicken comes out incredibly tender and the sauce is loaded with warm, savory flavor!

What is Butter Chicken?

Tender pieces of boneless, skinless chicken is slowly braised in a combination of warm spices, crushed tomatoes, and cream. This dish is perfect served over rice with naan or flatbread for dipping.

If you love cilantro, it’s the perfect topper.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken in a slow cooker


CHICKEN Boneless, skinless chicken thighs come out tender and are less likely to get overcooked. Chicken breast can will work great too, just be sure not to overcook it!

TOMATOES Canned crushed tomatoes, and tomato paste is both used to give the sauce a sweet and savory flavor. You can use tomato sauce if it’s what you have on hand.

SPICES Warm, exotic spices really bring this dish together. Garam Masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and more are all added to this sauce to give it a (mild) kick! Add extra jalapeno or some cayenne if you’d like some heat.

CREAM The rich, creamy consistency of the sauce is made with a good quality cream. Coconut milk is another great option that will taste delicious (but not an ingredient in an authentic butter chicken recipe)!

How to Make Butter Chicken

  1. Cook onion in butter. Add to Crockpot with remaining sauce ingredients (per recipe below) except cream and cilantro.
  2. Add chicken to Crockpot. Cook until chicken is tender.
  3. Add cream to slow cooker. Top with cilantro & serve over basmati rice.

serving of Slow Cooker Butter Chicken with slow cooker behind it

Tips For Making Perfect Butter Chicken

  • Full fat, full flavor! Use butter (instead of margarine) and full-fat heavy cream for the best results!
  • Cook in batches and freeze in meal-sized portions for a quick and easy dinner option!

What to Serve with Butter Chicken

  • Basmati or white rice is always a good option for butter chicken!
  • A light, crisp salad always goes well with a rich entrée, and a tangy vinaigrette pairs well with the rich flavor of the butter.
  • Steamed veggies like spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, or carrots make colorful and healthy side dishes.
  • Don’t forget the naan bread, or some nice crusty dinner rolls to sop up all that sauce!

Can You Freeze Butter Chicken?

Butter chicken is fine to freeze, although the sauce may separate during freezing. Try whisking it after defrosting to recombine.

After the chicken is fully cooled, place in freezer bags or containers and label with the date. Do the same with the sauce and sides.

To reheat, defrost in the refrigerator and microwave or reheat on the stovetop!

Other Great Crockpot recipes

Did you try this Slow Cooker Butter Chicken? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below! 

serving of Slow Cooker Butter Chicken with cilantro
4.87 from 137 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Chicken simmered in a slow cooker with curry spices and a mild, savory sauce!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 15 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger minced & fresh or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 14 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • cup cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon salt or to taste


  • Heat butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Place onions in a slow cooker with garlic, ginger, spices, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, lemon zest and 1 cup of the heavy cream. Stir to combine.
  • Add chicken, stir and cook on low 4-5 hours.
  • Combine remaining cream with cornstarch. Stir half of the cream into the sauce and let sit for a few minutes to thicken. Add remaining cream mixture if needed. Cover and cook 15 minutes more.
  • Sprinkle with cilantro and serve over basmati rice.


Coconut milk can be substituted for heavy cream.
Do not cut chicken before cooking, it will become too tender and fall apart in the sauce. It can be lightly broken up with a serving spoon and stirred before serving.
4.87 from 137 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 580 | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 312mg | Sodium: 606mg | Potassium: 897mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1486IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Chicken, Dinner, Entree, Main Course, Slow Cooker
Cuisine American, Indian
Slow cooker butter chicken with writing
Slow cooker butter chicken served on rice with writing
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken served over rice with text
top image - a serving of slow cooker butter chicken on rice. Bottom image - slow cooker butter chicken with writing


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. I really like your other butter chicken recipe. The stove top one. I make that one all the time. Unfortunately this one was bland still after adding extra spices. I’m not sure why. The ingredients are almost identical to your stove top one. Maybe because the chicken wasn’t marinated? Maybe I will play around with it. I love most of your recipes!3 stars

    1. Hmmm, I am not sure Tran. We didn’t seem to have that problem. But you could try marinating the chicken first, we would love to hear what you come up with!

    1. Hi Nicole, It can be frozen together but the sauce can somewhat separate because of the dairy. If you freeze them separately, it’s a bit easier to whisk the sauce once it’s thawed.

    1. Absolutely. I would just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t overcook as chicken breast will dry out faster than chicken thighs.

  2. It was good, but still not enough spice even after doubling all the spices like others recommended. I’ll probably play around a little bit next time I make it. But definitely a good base recipe!

  3. I’m sorry to leave a 3 but it was not nearly thick enough for a butter chicken and I followed the recipe to the letter. I added the cornstarch as instructed twice. I’m not sure what went wrong. It did taste good, my husband enjoyed it. I’m hoping tomorrow it might thicken up a bit. Thanks.3 stars

    1. Hi Gail, We have not had problems with the consistency of this sauce, we find it thick enough for our liking (almost gravy like in consistency). For a thicker butter chicken sauce, you can add additional cornstarch slurry, be sure to cover it and let it cook for at least 15 minutes so it has a chance to thicken. If you’re having trouble getting it to thicken you could transfer it to a saucepan and bring it to a low simmer whisking in additional cornstarch as needed. I hope that helps.

  4. I really wanted to love this but I found the flavor lacking and texture too runny. After following the recipe but it not turning out that great, I took out the chicken and put the rest in the blender. Added 2 tsp of salt plus another set of the initial seasonings. And it still was a bit meh. Again wanted to love it!2 stars

    1. Hi Maggie, butter chicken sauce should be on the thinner side, it is not a thick sauce. I hope this helps.

  5. The ingredients and instructions are great, but the result was lacking in flavor. It’s all about preference, but if you enjoy what you’d get from an Indian restaurant, double the spices and it’s a 5 star recipe.4 stars

  6. I used half coconut cream and half heavy Cream. I also marinaded chicken with Greek yogurt. I rounded my measurement of spices and the combination is really tasty. it is all about preference I think on the spice.5 stars

    1. I agree, personal preference definitely plays a part in spicing your recipe. Thanks for sharing your alterations, I am so glad you loved it!

  7. I have not finished making it yet! I was wondering if smart balance could be used to replace some of the butter?5 stars

    1. I haven’t tried it so I can’t say for sure Brittany. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

    2. If you’re just trying to lighten up the recipe, you can use half and half instead of heavy cream and add plain greek yogurt at the end once it’s cooled off a bit to thicken it. Comes out beautifully!4 stars

    1. If substituting coconut milk I would use unsweetened coconut milk Anne. If you try it I would love to hear how it turns out!

  8. I made this tonight for dinner and unfortunately, it was very bland. I will double the spices next time and add 2 green peppers when cooking the onions.3 stars

  9. Making it for the third time to bring to family! I added x 1.5 of seasoning & slow cooked for 4 hours, everything else I followed exactly. Yum!5 stars

  10. This was a delicious and easy recipe…
    I will definitely make it again… My husband loved it… Crockpot cooking is the best… Thank you for the delicious recipe… paired it with Basmati rice, green beans and Naan bread…

  11. Loved this recipe! I love these spices and Indian food! The chicken falls apart and is super delicious. Thank you for this recipe5 stars

  12. This looks delicious, but I don’t want to buy several spices that I might never use again. Are there one or two spices ,, or a mix that might give me a similar flavor?

    1. Hi Gail, there may be a butter chicken seasoning packet you can buy at the store. I haven’t tried it, but I would check in the spice aisle.

    2. Gail, this is an Indian dish and all the spices are required to create the butter chicken. You can replace butter with ghee, which is the traditional “butter” ingredient. As a cheat, there are several jarred butter sauces available at the grocery.