Slow Cooker Butter Chicken

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken (Serves 8)

The Indian restaurant nearest my house changed cooks. The change was not announced, but the lunchtime buffet changed noticeably with old standards gone and new selections on offer. One constant that remained was Butter Chicken, but the new Butter Chicken did not taste as good as the old Butter Chicken and when the owner asked me how I liked the food, I reported my disappointment with… the Butter Chicken. He graciously offered to have the cook prepare me a new serving and about ten minutes later, brought it to my table. The new serving was better than what was on the buffet, but still not as good as the Butter Chicken I had become accustomed to with the previous cook. My recipe for Butter Chicken is as good and maybe better.

Prep time: 20-25 minutes
Cook time: 6.5 hours

Ingredient list:

8 tablespoons ghee or clarified butter
4 1-inch pieces of fresh ginger (peeled) or 2 tablespoons ground ginger
8 cloves garlic (peeled)
1 cup cashews, almonds, or macadamia nuts
2 large sweet yellow onions (peeled and rough chopped)
1 can coconut milk
2 teaspoons red chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons garam masala
2 tablespoons salt
1 whole chicken (mine was about 4 pounds)
8 green cardamom pods
6 cups stewed tomatoes (mine were homemade, but you could use canned)

Directions:  Set temperature to slow cook (200 degrees on my unit) and time to 6.5 hours. Add ghee to slow cooker to melt. Add to food processor – ginger, garlic, nuts, onions, coconut milk, and all spices except the cardamom pods – and grind to a smooth paste. Cut whole chicken into pieces and add to slow cooker. Pour paste from food processor over the chicken. Add cardamom pods. Pour stewed tomatoes over the paste. Place cover on slow cooker. When time on slow cooker is near its end, prepare vegetable side dish to go with Butter Chicken. When done, transfer food to plates and enjoy!

Notes: Don’t eat the cardamom pods. Pick them out when you find them on the plate.

Many veggie side dishes go well with Butter Chicken. I skillet roasted a bunch of green beans in my cast iron skillet for 30 minutes with coconut oil and spices. You might do the same with broccoli. Another good side would be wilted spinach, kale, or chard.

Cutting a whole chicken into pieces is easy with heavy-duty poultry shears. Check out the OXO brand I use in my online Store.

My slow cooker is a Cuisinart Multi Cooker that I picked up at Williams-Sonoma because my local store had one in stock and I wanted to start cooking right away. Amazon sells the Cuisinart, but seems to be out of stock frequently. The Breville Stainless-Steel 7-Quart Slow Cooker with EasySear Insert on display in my Store is similar. Check them out by clicking on the Store link in the upper right hand corner of this site. The Cuisinart has a see-through top and the Breville has a stainless steel top. I like being able to see inside without opening the lid, but the Breville sells for $75 less than the Cuisinart.

Anupy Singla’s Butter Chicken recipe in The Indian Slow Cooker inspired my recipe, but I made a fair number of changes, so don’t blame her if my version does not taste like the best Butter Chicken you’ve ever had. Check out her book in my Store.

Printer friendly version: Slow Cooker Butter Chicken


11 Responses to “Slow Cooker Butter Chicken”

  1. Omg! Absolutely loved this! Was simply divine, well done! 😀

  2. Hey Tom, can you use diced instead of stewed? I haven’t found compliant stewed tomatoes.

  3. I kind of, maybe, not really, ok fine I did, lick the computer screen. EXCITED to try this!! I’m having a hard time finding cardamom pods, though. Any advice on a substitute, or…something?


    • Tom Denham says:

      🙂 Green cardamom has a spicy-sweet flavor. There is nothing quite like it. I think the chicken would still taste good without that nuance of flavor, but you might add a little more cinnamon and a little more red chili powder to increase the spicy-sweet factor in its absence.

  4. Hi Tom

    I have just started on my WHOLE30 journey and have printed off a bunch of your recipes to keep me on track. OMG your butter chicken was absolutely to die for. I will be making a big batch of the sauce over the weekend for freezing to add meats to at my leasure. AWESOMNESS!

  5. I know what I’m making this weekend!!!

  6. This is not going to get answered in time, as I’m making this now, but 2 TABLEspoons of salt? Is that really what was meant? I think I’ll go with teaspoons to be safe.

  7. Wow, this was fantastic! This filled my old timey crock pot to the brim, so I o my used 4 cups of tomatoes. I appreciate how you stated the exact temperature. It gave me the confidence to set my control lower than the recommended level (and all was well- it was bobbling and done when I got home from work). My problem: likely overlooking, but the chicken fell apart, so there were bones, bones, bones everywhere! This led to very careful plating and eating, and perhaps more savoring of the deliciousness?!

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