Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken (Lighter and Healthier than Indian Takeout!)

Okay, so Indian is my hands down all time favorite food. There is something about Indian food that is unlike every other cuisine, and my mouth is literally watering just thinking about it. I know that for a lot of people who haven’t been exposed to Indian food, it’s an acquired taste, but I maintain that everyone has to give it a chance. My husband used to be on the “take it or leave it” side, but now he loves it almost as much as I do!

So authentic Indian from a restaurant is obviously the best, but most dishes are packed with ghee and not something you would really consider “healthy and light eating.” But the good news is, I’ve got some easy homemade Indian recipes that ARE light and can help you fill that Indian craving without falling off the wagon with your clean eating.

This recipe is also so great for freezer meals! Like every other slow cooker dinner I make, I whip up a batch much larger than my husband and I can actually eat and freeze the rest! All you have to do later is reheat and serve over freshly prepared rice.


I have to admit I steered clear of cooking Indian at home for a really long time because of all of the ingredients/spices I didn’t have in my pantry. I didn’t feel like spending 20 bucks on a bunch of spices only to have a recipe not turn out. If you’re like me and have these apprehensions, I’m here to tell you, there are only 3 exclusively “Indian cooking” spices/ingredients you’ll likely have to buy on this list, you can use them for TONS of recipes, and they last a really long time. You can probably find them at your local grocery store, but I just buy mine on online. Click on the pictures below to see the same ones I buy on Amazon.


Did I forget to mention one of the best parts of this recipe is that it takes 5 minutes of prep. Seriously. How much easier does it get?!

All you need to do is put all of your ingredients except the chicken and heavy cream into the slow cooker. Stir together so everything is well mixed, and then add the chicken. Stir so the chicken is well coated in the mixture, then turn the slow cooker on low. After about 6 hours, the chicken will be fully cooked and will easily shred, though you can allow this to simmer even longer if you want.

Shred the chicken with a fork, then add the heavy cream. Mix well, and then taste to add additional salt, cayenne, or hot sauce if need be. Allow to simmer for 30 additional minutes after adding the heavy cream. Serve over basmati rice and with naan. If you’re like me and try to eat low carb, I only have about a half a cup of rice and load up on the chicken and sauce!

Your leftovers will keep in the freezer for months. All you have to do is allow the leftovers to cool on the counter before transferring to a freezer bag. Refrigerate for a couple hours, then move to the freezer.


By the way, my one year old LOVED this dinner.


Indian Butter Chicken

  • Servings: 2-3 Dinners
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

2 medium yellow onions, diced
4 tbsp butter
3 tsp minced garlic
12 chicken thighs
1 6oz can tomato paste
1 cup plain greek yogurt
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp of chili powder
1 1/2 tbsp curry paste
2 tsp tandoori masala
2 tsp curry powder
2 tsp salt
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 cup heavy cream
Additional Salt, Cayenne Pepper, and Hot sauce to taste
Cilantro for garnish (optional)

1. Add all ingredients (except chicken and heavy cream) to slow cooker. Stir until well combined.
2. Add chicken to slow cooker and mix until coated in sauce.
3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the chicken is fully cooked and shreds easily.
4. Shred chicken with fork and add heavy cream. Taste sauce and add more salt, cayenne pepper, or add hot sauce to taste if necessary.
5. Allow to simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Serve over basmati rice and/or with naan. Garnish with cilantro.
*To Freeze: Allow leftovers to cool on counter before transferring to freezer bag. Refrigerate for a couple of hours, then move to freezer.

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