Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

I have never in my life attempted to cook Indian food but, pregnancy will make you do odd things… and I am so glad it does. Indian food might sound extremely intimidating if you’ve never attempted it yourself at home. However, it is something that EVERY level of cook can do. The only thing that is intimidating about it? Searching the spice section for some of the spices that aren’t normally in your pantry… other than that, it really is a breeze. And this Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala could not be easier but is packed with flavor.

When I do go to Indian restaurants, I always go for the classic Indian dish, Tikka Masala, also known as “creamy butter chicken”.  I figured since this is a classic, it was a good place to start.  After searching tons of recipes, hitting up the grocery store and raiding my pantry–this is what I came up with and WOW!!!!  It is absolutely delicious.  So, do me a favor and give this outside the box home-cooked Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala meal a chance! I mean, it’s in a crockpot and only takes THREE steps!  And did I mention it is whole 30 approved?  Woohoo! 

*this recipe is also included in my cookbook! Get your copy now!! 🙂

Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
  1. 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  2. 1 large onion, diced
  3. 1 tbsp. minced ginger
  4. 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  5. 6 oz. can of Tomato Paste
  6. 2 tbsp. olive oil
  7. 3/4 cup organic, free-range chicken broth
  8. 1 tbsp. curry powder (or sub Garam Masala)
  9. 1 tsp. tumeric
  10. ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust according to your heat preference)
  11. 1 tsp. cumin
  12. 1 tsp. paprika
  13. 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  14. 2 tsp. salt
  15. 1 tsp. black pepper
  16. 1 bay leaf
  17. 12 oz. can Unsweetened, full fat Coconut Milk (blended so that it is well combined)
  18. 2 tbsp. arrowroot powder
  19. Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  20. Cilantro, for garnish
  21. Prepared cauliflower Rice for serving
  1. Cut chicken into 1.5 inch cubes.  Place in the crockpot with the diced onion, the minced garlic, olive oil, the minced ginger, the tomato paste, the chicken broth, and all of the spices (except bay leaf for now).  Stir well to combine.  Place bay leaf on top and cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or on high for 4.
  2. When cooking time is done, in a bowl whisk together the arrowroot and the coconut milk.  Gently pour and stir into the crockpot with the cooked chicken. Let cook an additional 20 minutes to thicken up.
  3. Immediately before serving, stir in the juice of 1/2 a lemon.  Serve with prepared cauliflower rice and top with some freshly chopped cilantro or cilantro microgreens.
  1. *Note, Instant Pot Method: combine the chicken, broth, onion, tomato paste, olive oil, garlic, ginger, curry powder, salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, paprika, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Stir well. Place the bay leaf on top, cover and seal. Press the ‘poultry’ button and increase time to 20 minutes.
  2. When cook time is complete, release pressure manually by turning the valve to "venting". When the pressure is finished releasing, carefully open the InstantPot. Turn on the ‘saute’ function. In a medium bowl, whisk together the coconut milk and arrowroot starch. Add the mixture to the InstantPot with the cooked chicken and let simmer until sauce has thickened, about 10 more minutes.
The Defined Dish https://thedefineddish.com/


  • Reply
    Maggie Crum
    January 22, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    I accidentally dumped the coconut milk in with everything in the beginning 🤦‍♀️ But not the arrowroot! Can it be saved?!

  • Reply
    Janet Hall
    January 22, 2021 at 1:55 am

    I would like to double the recipe in the instant pot. How would the cook time differ with 4 lbs of chicken instead of 2? Thx!

    • Reply
      January 24, 2021 at 3:42 pm

      The cook time should be close to the same! maybe just add 10 minutes in the IP.

  • Reply
    January 11, 2021 at 12:05 am

    I tried making this in the IP and I got a burn notice from the IP. Have you had the same thing happen, how can I adjust to fix it? Thank you!

    • Reply
      January 11, 2021 at 1:43 am

      With so many different models and varieties of Instant Pots, this, unfortunately, happens from time to time. Try this recipe with an additional 1/4 cup of broth and that should do the trick!

  • Reply
    January 10, 2021 at 11:49 pm

    I have been looking for whole30 Indian recipes and they have all been disappointing – until this one!!! It tastes totally authentic and honestly you’d have no idea it’s whole30. I’m so happy I finally have a whole30 recipe I can make now when Im craving Indian food!

  • Reply
    Moly Z
    January 8, 2021 at 10:16 pm

    This dish is truly THE GOLDEN TICKET. I have made this 10+ times and cannot ever over how delicious it is. Its a favorite meal in our household, whether I am on whole 30 or not. Amazing flavor, makes the house smell delicious, and folks are always shocked when I tell them it is whole 30 compliant!! 10/10. THANK YOU!

  • Reply
    Jaclyn Force
    January 7, 2021 at 4:31 am

    Just made this for the one hundredth time and it is SO good! Our kids even eat it now 🥳 We definitely prefer the slow cooker method to the instant pot version, but instant pot works in a pinch!

  • Reply
    Antoonette Villaroman
    January 6, 2021 at 3:56 am

    I have time in the kitchen now thanks to COVID. How would one make this on the stove top?

  • Reply
    January 6, 2021 at 2:54 am

    Made this tonight in the instant pot and it was so easy and so good !! Thank you for all your amazing recipes! Doing first whole 30 and your recipes get me excited to cook. Served with cauliflower rice and green beans. Rave reviews all around !

  • Reply
    Claire Obryan
    January 4, 2021 at 8:37 pm

    This is one of my all time FAVORITE recipes, and as it’s pulled up on my computer to make for the 87th time I figured I’d review it and let the world know how incredible it is. We even double (tonight will try tripling) the amount of veggies because there is plenty of sauce. The flavor is AMAZING.

  • Reply
    January 3, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Delicious !!!! family loved. 5 stars always

  • Reply
    January 3, 2021 at 12:59 am

    Probably the best butter chicken recipe I’ve ever made. Followed the recipe exactly and it turned out perfectly! I’ll continue making this even after the Whole30!

    • Reply
      January 3, 2021 at 2:12 pm


  • Reply
    Glennys Rodriguez
    January 1, 2021 at 2:27 pm

    I just realized I don’t have arrowroot powder – any recommendations for a substitution? I was thinking maybe coconut flour? Thanks in advance, I absolutely love all your recipes!

    • Reply
      January 2, 2021 at 2:32 pm

      I don’t recommend Coconut Flour in this recipe; as it doesn’t act like a thickener. For reference: think of coconut flour as a baking flour. Think of arrowroot as like a cornstarch for thickening. Tapioca would work, also– but coconut flour and almond flour would not act as a thickener and it would make the sauce grainy.

      • Reply
        January 4, 2021 at 8:14 pm

        Hi Alex. If I am not doing whole 30 or paleo could i use corn starch in place of the arrowroot powder? I know that is what I have done in other recipes of yours that call for that and they turned out delicious but was just curious. Thanks!

        • Reply
          January 4, 2021 at 8:44 pm

          yes that would work fine here! 🙂

  • Reply
    Jenny B
    December 7, 2020 at 12:33 am

    Hi! Would this freeze well? After cooking?

    • Reply
      December 7, 2020 at 12:55 pm

      I would try to freeze it before you add the coconut milk, if possible. But yes, it still freezes pretty well!!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2017 at 3:59 am

    This was amazing! Your recipes are my absolute favorite! I have not been disappointed once. Thank you thank you!

    • Reply
      May 23, 2017 at 12:37 pm

      🙂 Aw thank you Melissa!!! I am so glad to hear that!

  • Reply
    Marisa Skousen
    May 8, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    This was delicious – the closest we’ve come to our favorite Indian restaurant. My husband said he’d be fine if I made it once a week. Thanks!

    • Reply
      May 9, 2017 at 12:00 am

      Awesome!! So glad!

      • Reply
        January 25, 2021 at 6:18 pm

        I’m dying to make this but no crockpot. Is it also possible in a Dutch oven?

  • Reply
    April 28, 2017 at 12:56 am

    I just made this and have yet to try it but I know you had listed the olive oil in the ingredients but not when to use it. So I didn’t use the olive oil

    • Reply
      May 1, 2017 at 1:26 am

      Thanks, i fixed that error. Im sure it tasted the same without it 🙂

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