let’s get this out of the way upfront: i make no claims about the authenticity of this slow cooker chicken tikka masala. as is sometimes the case with highly desirable things that everyone wants to take credit for, the origins of this dish are a bit disputed, so it’s difficult to say what “authentic” is anyway.
what is not in dispute, at least in our house, is that this is some very tasty chicken tikka masala. also not in dispute is that it is easy to make, as i believe basically all slow cooker recipes should be.
maybe it’s just me, but if i’m reaching for my slow cooker, it’s because i don’t want dinner to be a big production and i’m probably short on prep time. to wit, all of those slow cooker recipes that have you sautéing vegetables and searing meat (aka dirtying pans) before you even get started with the slow cooker? i won’t have it.
(i don’t know for sure but i suspect the instant pot crowd is feeling smug right now because i think that machine can do all of those things and maybe even without supervision buuuut, i don’t have one, so instead i stick to selecting recipes carefully.)
therefore, this slow cooker chicken tikka masala uses raw chicken, canned tomatoes, and some spices to keep things simple. to keep prep streamlined, i recommend tossing the onion, garlic, ginger, and green chili into a little mini food processor, if you have something like that, to make quick work of mincing everything up. not a necessity, but as someone who is sometimes reluctant to get out one more appliance (and clean it afterwards), even *i* thought it was helpful here. (and shout out to my friend who politely asked why the heck i wasn’t using a small processor for tasks like this and got my wheels turning…)
once you have all of your ingredients assembled, you just combine them, stir, and let the machine do its thing while you do yours. oh, and if you want a dairy free version, soak some cashews so they’re ready to blend into a creamy alternative to heavy cream later.
when dinner time rolls around, i love serving this over sautéed spinach (hello, 30 second vegetable!), though rice is obviously a traditional choice (…which can easily be replaced with also-not-traditional cauliflower rice, if that’s your jam).
all of that is to say, regardless of how traditionally you serve this questionably authentic slow cooker chicken tikka masala, i feel quite confident that we have “delicious” and “easy” covered, which, let’s be honest, are way more important values to me at 6:15 on a tuesday night than hewing to a dubious heritage.
ps – i have a fun recipe coming on thursday to make use of leftovers from this slow cooker chicken tikka masala!
other indian recipes you might enjoy:
did you make this recipe? i’d love to know what you think of it! leave a comment below and share a picture on instagram with the hashtag #tastyseasons.
nutrition facts are based on using cashew cream
please note this page contains affiliate links, which means that if you make a purchase after clicking from here, i will earn a small commission from amazon at no additional charge to you. i only link to products that i use and love. thank you for supporting tasty seasons!