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Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

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Dinner tonight is Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala! This pseudo-Indian classic gets a slow cooker makeover. Let the slow cooker do the work for you! (Plus, it’s gluten free, dairy free, Paleo, and Whole30 approved!) 

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala - We LOVE this dish!

I can tell it’s getting close to the seasons changing, since it seems like I’m seeing slow cooker recipes pop up everywhere on Pinterest and Facebook. I guess I’m not the only one craving a little comfort food (and an easy idea for dinner!).

I’d originally planned to make this Chicken Tikka Masala on the stovetop, but with several appointments in a day and errands to run, I ended up making it for the slow cooker. I’m SO GLAD I did! Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala is a revelation!

Comfort is calling! Tuck into a bowl of this Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala.

It’s very much in the same family as Butter Chicken (my other slow cooker fave). It’s got a velvety sauce loaded with flavor, and tender cooked chicken that makes the whole house smell amazing. We LOVED this dish!

The spice list might look a little intense, but the combination of warm spices is mouthwatering. Savory, complex, and layered, this sauce was absolutely my favorite part.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala - One of our favorite dishes gets a slow cooker makeover!
Paleo Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala - Flavorful, fabulous, HEALTHY comfort food!

Notes on the recipe

My favorite slow cooker. If you’re looking for a slow cooker, I can’t recommend mine highly enough. It’s programmable, which is great for a recipe like this. You can set it on HIGH for 3 hours or LOW for 6 hours, and it will automatically switch to the WARM function, so you’ll never burn or overcook your dinner! (I’ve found the best prices are at Amazon or Target and you get free shipping at both!)

Serve it with…This Tikka Masala recipe is paleo friendly, which means it’s gluten, dairy, and grain free. If you’re eating paleo, you can serve it with cauliflower rice, or over steamed veggies. Otherwise, I love a little coconut rice with mine. #teamwhiterice

Let the slow cooker do the work for you with this Chicken Tikka Masala. (gluten free, dairy free)

Like this recipe? You might also like…

Slow Cooker Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala - so full of flavor!
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Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala from One Lovely Life

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

4.6 from 10 reviews

  • Author: One Lovely Life
  • Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 45 servings 1x


You do not have to do the sautéing steps as outlined. I prefer this for a softer texture on the onions, but you can absolutely put all the ingredients in the slow cooker, give it a good stir and set it to cook–your choice!


  • 11 1/2 lbs. chicken breast or thighs (boneless, skinless)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 34 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 tsp fresh turmeric (or about 1 tsp dried)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • pinch cloves
  • 23 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 (14oz) can coconut milk (I prefer full-fat)
  • 1 cup broth or water
  • 1/41/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced

Optional: if you like a thicker sauce:

  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot powder or 1 Tbsp cornstarch


  1. Place the chicken in the crock of your slow cooker.
  2. To make the sauce, heat coconut oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5-7 minutes, or until translucent.
  3. Add ginger, garlic, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, chili powder, chili flakes, cloves and salt. Cook 1-2 minutes more, or until very fragrant.
  4. Stir in tomato paste, coconut milk, and broth (or water) and stir to combine.
  5. Pour sauce over the chicken.
  6. Cook on HIGH about 3 hours or on low 5-6 hours.
  7. (If you like a thicker sauce, mix arrowroot OR cornstarch with about 1 Tbsp water. Add to slow cooker in the last 3-5 minutes before serving.
  8. Stir in cilantro right before serving.
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Category: Main Dish, Chicken
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Indian
Paleo Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala - Flavorful, fabulous, HEALTHY comfort food! (the sauce is amazing!)

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  1. I’m gluten free and dairy free due to having celiac disease and a sensitivity to dairy. Thank you for coming up with a recipe to suit this. My all time favorite Indian dish is is this one! I’m so excited to give this a try!

  2. I followed this almost exactly and it was delicious! I used trader joe’s miso ginger broth, added a nice,
    mild miso flavor and topped with coconut yogurt. Thanks for the great recipe!

  3. I made this last night.
    My husband and young child (picky eater) loved this recipe.
    They even woke up complimenting me on this dish. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    The cardamom really makes the dish special.

    We will try more of your recipes since this one was such a winner.

  4. Thank you!! CTM is one of my favorite dishes, but it usually has yogurt or cream, which I can’t do for my kid (dairy allergy). This recipe is FANTATIC and it has become a regular in our house. A rare combo of absolutely delicious and super, super easy. The only tricky part is finding the spices. If you have a local Indian market, you can them there. Don’t worry about buying the big bag – you’ll make this again. Also, the recipe doubles if you have a big slow cooker. How else can you feed 10 people a great homemade meal with 10 minutes prep??

  5. Hi I am going to try this recipe it is delicious, my friend made it and o tried it but do you have any instapot recipe?

  6. Unfortunately this was not a hit with me. One of the things I like about regular tikka masala is the richness, and this was lacking in that department. The spice mix was good but the sauce has basically come out like a broth with a kind of watered down taste; I’m currently reducing the liquid to try and get a thicker consistency and more concentrated flavor. Maybe my slow cooker is off but I’ve cooked it on low for around four hours or four and a half and the chicken is overdone, so watch that. I can’t speak for other people’s’ experience but I may just have to stick with regular dairy if I want that rich Tikka Masala taste; or maybe don’t add the broth/water and use coconut milk or unsweetened coconut cream. I’d give a score of 2-3 stars; there’s a chance I did something wrong but I think I essentially followed the recipe.

  7. Grateful for this dairy-free take! Especially helpful tip on the arrowroot powder. I used 1/2 T of it, with the 1 T of water you recommended, which gave it just a touch of thickening – just right for me. I froze some leftovers as an experiment – hoping the coconut milk is more forgiving in the freezer than a traditional cream would be. The fact that this can come together in 3 hours means dinner is still saved, even when I forget to do the crock in the morning (file under Lifesaver recipe). Cheers to great food!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I find that coconut milk is usually much better than dairy milk about freezing. Nothing a quick stir after re-heating won’t fix most of the time!

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