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
4.86 from 129 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.
4.86 from 129 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

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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. The stove top version of your recipe calls for the chicken to be maranaded. I was wondering if marinading the chicken before doing the rest of this recipe for the crock pot would be a good thing?

  2. Good recipe…I substituted for real tomatoes and cornstarch with real cashews grinded into a paste. My friends enjoyed it.5 stars

  3. It was good, but it was rather bland… I’ll definitely make again, but I might tweak the spices… doubling might be aggressive, maybe increase 50%. The baby should be able to eat this for dinner though!

    1. Sorry to hear that, Coleman! We loved the flavors in this recipe but would love to hear what you think of increasing the spices in it.

  4. This is a great recipe. However if you really wanna make it pop. Add 2 tblsp of chicken bouillon to it. Really brings it to life.

  5. My goodness, I love this recipe!!! So delicious. To the ones who said it was “bland”, you must have skipped something. Will be making this for many years…5 stars

  6. I absolutely love your recipes! I always find google sending me here, even when I am trying my hardest to give someone else a try LOL!
    So I see this is freezable, but are you suggesting that (after cooked of course) the chicken is frozen separately withOUT the sauce in the same bag?
    Thank you for your clarification!

    1. So glad you’ve enjoyed the recipes Beth! 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.

  7. Hi, just wanted to make sure the amount of crushed tomatoes was 14 oz, not 24 oz or 28 oz, which is the size of a typical can at my local grocery store in central Virginia, I’m looking forward to making this today.

  8. Smells great but I only have 3 hours for a late dinner so cooking on medium and hoping it turns out okay.5 stars

    1. It turned out decent, little too spicy for the kids and I was wanting another layer to the flavor. Husband loved it minus the onions, they don’t set well with his stomach. Any recommendations you might have would help. I am going to play but Indian food is quite new to me.

      1. To remove the spice, I’d suggest omitting the chili powder. We also add a dollop of sour cream (or raita if you have it) for the kids to help cut the spice. It also adds a nice flavor too. You may want to check the “spicy” level of the garam masala you have as well, and possibly start with a little less. Serving butter chicken with naan bread is always a hit too!

      2. Tried this for dinner tonight and was sadly disappointed. Chicken was tender but the sauce was totally bland. Not sure how it has such high reviews.2 stars

    1. As mentioned in the post, coconut milk is another great option that will taste delicious (but not an ingredient in an authentic butter chicken recipe)! Enjoy Bella!

  9. This dish is INCREDIBLE!!! This was our first time trying butter chicken, but it definitely set the bar. I found this recipe while searching for gluten free recipes to make for friends with food sensitivities and this fit the bill. It was a tremendous hit all around (served with basmati rice) and we will be making it again and again! I doubled everything except the onion, butter and chicken. There was PLENTY of food for 4 very hungry people and we had enough left over for a couple of lunches for 2 people. We couldn’t be happier with this recipe. Thank you!!!5 stars

  10. Wow that was good. So easy! Unfortunately there was not enough left to freeze for later.5 stars

  11. Oh this was soooo delish! Perfect balance of spices and the chicken was incredibly tender. Served with steamed jasmine rice and cilantro. Will DEFINITELY be making again5 stars

    1. Check that your spices are fresh. You can use a little bit extra if you’d like or even toast them a little bit dry in a frying pan until fragrant before adding to the recipe. You can also try browning the chicken if you’d like.

  12. This smelled amazing!! However it didn’t taste as sweet as it smelled.i used cream not coconut milk is that why

    1. Hi Elaina, Coconut milk would definitely be a bit sweeter in flavor so that may have affected the final flavor!

  13. This is absolutely delicious – perfect taste! Easy and just so good. I didn’t have lemon for lemon zest and don’t like cilantro , but it was amazing without those two ingredients- my family loves butter chicken and this is perfect – Thankyou!!5 stars

  14. Really Delish! I used chicken breast instead of thighs and canned lite coconut milk instead of heavy cream. When the initial cooking was complete, I shredded the chicken before adding the additional coconut milk and cornstarch. The dish was a big hit with the family.5 stars