09.29.15

Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

This Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala could not be easier but is packed with flavor!!!

Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

Inspired by the classic Indian dish, Tikka Masala, also known as “creamy butter chicken”, I’ve created a flavorful, Whole30 crockpot dinner that only takes THREE steps! The end result is absolutely delightful and a dish that your whole family can enjoy!

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

Crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala

Serves: 4 People
Print
4.91 from 11 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 1 tbsp. minced ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 6 oz. can of tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. curry powder or sub Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp. tumeric
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper adjust according to your heat preference
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 oz. can unsweetened, full fat coconut milk (blended so that it is well combined)
  • 2 tbsp. arrowroot powder
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • cilantro for garnish
  • Prepared cauliflower rice for serving

Instructions

Crockpot Method:

  • Cut chicken into 1.5 inch cubes. Place in the crockpot with the broth, onion, ginger, garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Instant Pot Method:

  • Cut chicken into 1.5 inch cubes. Place in the crockpot with the broth, onion, ginger, garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, and all of the spices (except bay leaf for now). Stir well to combine.  Place bay leaf on top, cover and seal. Press the ‘poultry’ button and increase time to 20 minutes.
  • 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.

 

Photography by Eat Love Eats.

102 Comments

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    August 5, 2022 at 2:32 pm

    How would you make this recipe on the stove stop?

  • Reply
    Daily
    July 19, 2022 at 3:10 pm

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorite go to dishes. I add quite a bit more chicken including boneless skinless thighs. There is always plenty of sauce.
    I make this so often I’ve started measuring out a second recipe’s worth of spices and putting in a zip lock so it’s a snap the next time around.

    • Reply
      Alex
      July 19, 2022 at 4:12 pm

      Such a great tip to make cooking easier the next time!

    • Reply
      Charisse
      August 26, 2022 at 11:08 pm

      Family favorite! Want to make it this evening but I don’t have coconut milk in the pantry and don’t want to go to the store. Can I use regular milk?

      • Reply
        Alex
        August 27, 2022 at 11:29 pm

        Hi!! The best sub would be to stir in greek yogurt at the end!

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    July 16, 2022 at 6:22 pm

    Hi Alex! I made this recipe in the crockpot and it was a huge hit! The only things was the chicken was almost shredded. Can you tell me how you would make this on the stovetop?

  • Reply
    Missy
    April 11, 2022 at 1:01 pm

    curry vs garam masala? how does it change flavor and less of other spices? Thank you!

  • Reply
    Missy
    April 11, 2022 at 12:52 pm

    how does using garam masala change flavor and do you adjust other spices if you sub it? in cookbook you only call for curry powder. thank you!

  • Reply
    Danita
    April 7, 2022 at 4:35 pm

    4 stars
    This was very good. My crockpot cooks really hot which is annoying so at 6 hours of low the chicken was done, and the sauce was getting very thick and brown. I added the coconut milk w/o the thickener as the sauce was very thick already. I also added a drained and rinsed can of chickpeas since there was quite a bit of sauce. It was delicious. I saw in your recent IG you put a cinnamon stick on top of the mix, so I put half of one vs the ground cinnamon. What crockpot brand do you have?

  • Reply
    Allison
    February 4, 2022 at 7:46 pm

    Does anyone know what equals one serving size? 1.5 cups?

  • Reply
    Anne
    January 28, 2022 at 2:12 am

    5 stars
    This is one of our very favorite meals! My kids ask for it all of the time!

    • Reply
      Vanessa
      April 27, 2022 at 5:36 am

      What happens if I accidentally added the coconut milk in the beginning? Not after it was cooked? 🙁

      • Reply
        Alex
        May 2, 2022 at 5:07 pm

        it’ll still be good!

  • Reply
    CBTX
    January 25, 2022 at 12:54 am

    5 stars
    Oh my gosh, Alex, this is AMAZING!!! Love the flavor! So comforting, delish!!! SOOOO DARN GOOD!!!

  • Reply
    Adrian
    January 24, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    Hi Alex, Could I use fresh turmeric root? If so should how much should I use?

    • Reply
      Alex
      January 26, 2022 at 1:30 pm

      yes would be great! you could peel and grate 1 tsp or so into the mix!

  • Reply
    Tara
    January 12, 2022 at 11:42 pm

    I absolutely love this recipe, always a hit. I generally add (hide) a modest amount of veggies like frozen peas in it just to round out a health meal. SO GOOD!

  • Reply
    Amy
    December 30, 2021 at 2:51 am

    Just loved this recipe! My chicken was almost “shredded” when I spooned it out. Any suggestions?

    • Reply
      Alex
      December 30, 2021 at 11:35 pm

      Hi!! Did you make it in the IP or the crockpot? Some slow cookers get hotter than others so you can cook for alittle less time next time so it won’t fall apart if it was in the slow cooker. The Instant Pot I find it shreds more easily just because it really cooks fast.

  • Reply
    Katelyn
    December 9, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    5 stars
    I was amazed that EVERYONE in my family ate this! I stepped out of my comfort zone and so glad I did, everyone loved it-even my 2 year old! Will definitely make again! Thanks, Alex

  • Reply
    Magdalena Ardelean
    November 10, 2021 at 7:06 pm

    I dont have the poultry button on my instapot and dont know how to cook it! i have the instant pot duo plus! any suggestions how to set the settings on this insta pot?

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 16, 2021 at 6:26 pm

      I would just do 20 minutes manual high pressure. That should do the trick.

  • Reply
    Maria
    October 21, 2021 at 9:37 pm

    I love this recipe and have made it many times. I end up making it on the stove top, because my instant pot gives me the “burn” before it’s pressurized every time! I’ve tried all kinds of things, like adding more liquid, different mixing order, but it gives me the same result. Any tips on how to avoid the burning?

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 24, 2021 at 1:25 pm

      Hi Maria,
      InstantPots are so tricky to know exactly what’s going on because there are so many models/types of IP’s that vary. For example, I never have to add additonal liquid to mine and never get the burn notice; however, I know that a ton of people do get the burn notice and it’s usually fixed by simply adding 1/4 cup more of liquid. I am sorry I am not sure what to tell you than to add more liquid– since that’s not doing the trick!

      • Reply
        Tracy
        January 9, 2022 at 4:23 pm

        I figured out why some people get the burn notice, as I always do, too. It’s the size of the Instapot. Mine is the larger size, and I bet the others who are getting the burn notice is, too! The ingredients are spread thin throughout the pot..not enough depth to keep it from burning, if that makes sense. Alex – given this, how much extra liquid do you think we should add at the beginning? Still the 1/4 cup extra broth?

        • Reply
          Alex
          January 10, 2022 at 1:13 am

          yes– I add an additional 1/4 cup and see if that does the trick! maybe my Instant Pot is the smaller size!

  • Reply
    Sarah
    October 21, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    5 stars
    I cook online recipes all of the time, and this is the first recipe review I have ever left because it is THAT good! I am making it for the second time just days after we finished the leftovers from the first batch. This time, I am doubling it so that I can enjoy it even longer. I did not change a thing about the recipe, and it was absolutely perfect! I found myself scraping up every last bit of the delicious sauce even after the chicken was gone as if it were the most delicious soup I had ever had. I made it for two families (3 kids!) all with varying palates, including VERY picky, and every single one of us had seconds. Seriously, you must make this!

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 22, 2021 at 8:41 pm

      wow thank you so much for leaving a review xoxo!

  • Reply
    Alyssa
    October 10, 2021 at 7:27 pm

    5 stars
    This is now a staple – so good! I just made it on the stove top vs crock pot and served over white rice. Absolutely delish!

    • Reply
      Sarah
      October 11, 2021 at 7:07 pm

      Hi Alyssa! Can you tell us how you made it on the stove top? Would love to do that, too! Thank you!

  • Reply
    Eva
    October 7, 2021 at 3:53 am

    5 stars
    So amazing! Can’t wait to make it again soon.

  • Reply
    Abby
    October 6, 2021 at 3:12 pm

    Can I make this with frozen chicken? Or does my chicken need to be thawed before putting it in the crock pot?

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 8, 2021 at 1:11 pm

      You can definitely use frozen chicken here!

  • Reply
    Sara
    September 30, 2021 at 6:35 pm

    Hi Alex! I bought coconut cream by accident. Is this still okay to use?

    • Reply
      Alex
      October 1, 2021 at 6:51 pm

      I haven’t really used coconut cream much– but I think it should be okay as long as it’s not sweetened!

      • Reply
        Sara
        November 2, 2021 at 9:17 pm

        5 stars
        Thanks Alex! Tired to coconut cream it came out great! This recipe is fantastic!!! It is SO easy to make too, which is such a plus! It’s in my current rotation along with so many of your others!!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    September 29, 2021 at 9:16 pm

    If I want to use cornstarch instead of arrowroot powder is it still 2 tbsps?

    • Reply
      Alex
      September 30, 2021 at 5:25 pm

      yes you can!!

  • Reply
    Jenny
    September 28, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    5 stars
    Hi, does this recipe require 1.5 cups of chicken stock? It’s listed twice? 3/4 cups of chicken broth? I’m in the middle of making this so hopefully there will be a quick response 🙂

    • Reply
      Alex
      September 29, 2021 at 4:36 pm

      It is 3/4 cup!!

  • Reply
    Ellen
    September 28, 2021 at 4:59 am

    Hi! How much chicken broth should I use? I’m assuming 32oz but I wanted to be sure- I don’t see it in the ingredient listing. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Alex
      September 28, 2021 at 2:45 pm

      So sorry about that, it is 3/4 cup of low-sodium chicken broth!

    • Reply
      Brittany
      November 6, 2021 at 4:38 pm

      I’ve been a DefinedDish fan for years and this recipe knocks it out of the park like they all do! I’ve tried multiple tikka masala recipes, but they don’t compare to this one. So easy to put together and the flavors are wonderful. I always make extra for freezer meals 😋

  • Reply
    Madeleine
    September 26, 2021 at 2:57 pm

    Suggestions on what to use instead of coconut milk? I am dairy free and my husband is allergic to tree nuts

    • Reply
      Alex
      September 27, 2021 at 11:43 am

      You can use Heavy Creamer or stir in a cup of greek yogurt.

    • Reply
      Colleen
      September 27, 2021 at 6:56 pm

      I used creamy oat milk! (Also dairy free and allergic to coconut)

  • Reply
    Autumn
    June 1, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    Best Chicken Tikka Masala recipe I have ever had! It tastes just like an Indian restaurant’s Tikka Masala. The chicken is so tender and the flavors are perfect. I am amazed that it is healthy too! I have made this numerous times now for guests and they all love it! Thanks Alex!

  • Reply
    Leigh
    May 17, 2021 at 6:14 pm

    We love tikka masala, and I have tried lots of recipes – this one has to be my favorite!! The flavors are spot on, and the creaminess makes it seem decadent. Thank you for such a delicious recipe – especially one for the crockpot. I froze the leftovers and can’t wait to have it again!!

    • Reply
      Alex
      May 17, 2021 at 7:52 pm

      Thank you, Leigh!!

  • Reply
    Julie
    March 27, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    Uh ohh! I added the lemon juice at the beginning instead of the end! Do I need to start over?

  • Reply
    Hillary
    February 21, 2021 at 4:03 pm

    Could I assemble the ingredients uncooked and freeze to make an easy dump in the crockpot recipe?

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 22, 2021 at 4:58 pm

      yes!!! for sure.

      • Reply
        Tiffany
        April 6, 2021 at 8:55 pm

        I can’t find arrowroot powder anywhere! Would xantham gum work or baking paleo flour?

    • Reply
      Lauren
      September 26, 2021 at 2:59 pm

      Could I sub almond milk for the coconut milk? Thanks!!

      • Reply
        Alex
        September 27, 2021 at 11:44 am

        I personally don’t think almond milk has enough fat in it to really work here– I’d opt for Heavy creamer or stir in a cup or so of greek yogurt at the end.

  • Reply
    Rachel
    February 13, 2021 at 8:14 pm

    Any chance there’s a substitution for the tomato paste? I’ve made this recipe before and LOVE it but unfortunately don’t have any tomato paste right now!

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 19, 2021 at 6:17 pm

      do you have canned tomato sauce? maybe a 1/4 cup of that would work!

  • Reply
    Margaret
    February 12, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    Can I use a dutch oven if I don’t have a crockpot?

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 19, 2021 at 6:29 pm

      definitely!!!! I’d do low heat for 3-4 hours

      • Reply
        Brandie
        August 9, 2021 at 4:16 pm

        What is considered a low heat if using a Dutch oven?

        • Reply
          Alex
          August 18, 2021 at 7:06 pm

          Low heat is usually around 200 if you are cooking for a long period of time (like you would in the crockpot)

      • Reply
        Katie
        January 21, 2022 at 6:25 pm

        5 stars
        Can I make this in a regular pot? If so, how long do I cook it for?

  • Reply
    Rob
    February 7, 2021 at 3:16 am

    Can this be made with two pounds of chicken thigh instead? I always make it with chicken breast but I accidentally bought thigh. Such a great dish,by the way!!

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 8, 2021 at 12:18 pm

      yes for sure!!

  • Reply
    Sydney
    February 2, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    Best crockpot recipe of all time! Always have to make a double batch

  • Reply
    Carol
    February 2, 2021 at 1:25 pm

    Hi! Love this recipe with chicken but want to use frozen/thawed shrimp tonight. Any tips on how to modify the IP cooking time, and whether I should put the shrimp in frozen or thawed? Thank you!!

    • Reply
      Alex
      February 2, 2021 at 1:38 pm

      I’ve honestly never cooked shrimp in the IP before and worry it would overcook easily– i’d feel more comfortable doing this stovetop and it shouldn’t take but 5-10 mins from frozen.

  • Reply
    Brittany K
    January 31, 2021 at 5:32 pm

    First time making tikka masala and this was soooo good – and easy! Even my kids said it “smelled good” and they don’t usually compliment any food I cook 🙂 the spice list seemed long, but I was surprised that I already had most of it. Served it with broccoli and cauliflower to keep it whole30. Definitely will make again!

    • Reply
      Kelly
      August 29, 2021 at 1:58 am

      Did you put the broccoli in the crock pot with everything or cooked separately? I’d love to add another veggie to this! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Laura
    January 26, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    Can I double this in a crock pot?

    • Reply
      Alex
      January 31, 2021 at 8:55 pm

      absolutely!! you probably won’t need double the sauce (it makes a lot).. i’d double the chicken and just 1.5 the sauce.

  • 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
      Alex
      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
    Aubrey
    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
      Alex
      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
        Krista
        February 21, 2021 at 8:01 pm

        I have made this recipe twice and got the burn notice each time. I will try adding extra broth this time but also – I don’t have a “poultry” button so have been doing the pressure cook on “high”. Maybe I should try low or medium pressure cook?

        It’s my fave crock pot recipe but looking to master it in the IP since it’s much faster!

        • Reply
          Allison Ellison
          June 30, 2021 at 12:24 am

          I have the same problem. I tried adding the 1/4 extra broth this time and it is still burning. Any suggestions?

  • Reply
    Anaïs
    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
    Jessica
    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
    Carly
    January 3, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Delicious !!!! family loved. 5 stars always

  • Reply
    Hannah
    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
      Alex
      January 3, 2021 at 2:12 pm

      yay!

  • 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
      Alex
      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
        Robin
        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
          Alex
          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
      Alex
      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
    Melissa
    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
      Alex
      May 23, 2017 at 12:37 pm

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

    • Reply
      Christen Sparks
      September 21, 2021 at 9:29 pm

      Can you add veggies into the crockpotwith everything? Was going to do at the end. Thanks!

      • Reply
        Alex
        September 22, 2021 at 11:59 am

        I think it depends on what veggies you’re using– but I would opt to add them at the last hour or 30 minutes of the cook time to prevent them from getting soggy.

  • 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
      Alex
      May 9, 2017 at 12:00 am

      Awesome!! So glad!

      • Reply
        Renee
        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
    MARCELA VASQUEZ
    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
      Alex
      May 1, 2017 at 1:26 am

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

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