Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a popular Indian dish created in an old sweet shop in northern India. The dish has two main components: makhani masala, a butter-based creamy tomato sauce, and tandoori-spiced chicken. For this recipe, these components are cooked together in a slow cooker.

Serves: 6Hands-on: 25 minutesTotal: 7 hours 15 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 6


  • 1⁄2 tsp. whole cloves
  • 2 whole black cardamom pods
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3⁄4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 6 Tbsp. ghee or melted butter, divided
  • 3⁄4 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 3⁄4 tsp. Kashmiri chili powder
  • 2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. dried fenugreek leaves, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. tandoori spice
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1⁄2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 cups cooked rice


  • Grind cloves, cardamom pods, bay leaves, cumin seeds, and cinnamon stick together in a spice grinder. Set aside.
  • Purée tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Add 4 tablespoons ghee to a 4-quart slow cooker. Add the tomato purée, fenugreek seeds, and Kashmiri chili powder. Mix. Cover with a lid, turn the heat to high and cook for 2 hours.
  • Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon brown sugar to the reduced mixture. Stir again and cook for another hour. Once liquid is well reduced, you will see oil slowly bubbling out and separating from the sides. Add 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves and mix well. Cook for another 30 minutes. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, tandoori spice, garam masala, and remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Add the chicken. Mix and add to the slow cooker. Add ground spice mixture, 2 tablespoons ghee, and 1 tablespoon brown sugar. Mix well. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
  • Add the heavy cream and remaining 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is well cooked. Serve with rice.