Slow Cooker Chicken and Cauliflower Tikka Masala

Slow Cooker Chicken and Cauliflower Tikka Masala is an easier way to prepare this classic Indian dish. Packed with warm spices, tomatoes, and a creamy sauce.

287 CAL 24g CARBS 7g FAT 31g PROTEIN

This crockpot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower tastes just as good as your favorite Indian takeout but is made at home with healthier ingredients. 

Don’t let this recipe fool you with its long ingredient list and unfamiliar name. I'll help you move beyond those things. And, while cooking Indian food might be way out of your comfort zone and other members of your household might make more than one questionable face when you tell them what’s for dinner, it's totally worth it.

I was introduced to Chicken Tikka Masala a few years back and it was love at first bite. However, I never even thought to attempt to make it on my own until I ran across this recipe for a slow cooker version a few months ago because you know how much I love my slow cooker! So now I get to combine two of my favorite things.

It has a few more steps than I normally like for a slow cooker recipe (dump in and turn on) but I promise, it makes up for the extra time in flavor. When it's fully cooked, what you'll have is a delicious chicken dish that is packed with flavor and will quickly become a favorite.

Crockpot chicken tikka masala with cauliflower in a dish with a creamy tomato sauce.

How do you make Chicken Tikka Masala?

As I mentioned above, this slow cooker recipe has a little more work to it than your typical recipe — but you'll forget about all that when you bite into this delicious dish!

The first thing you want to do is to cut the chicken thighs and breasts into chunks. Then go ahead and add the chicken to a bowl and toss with coriander, cumin, salt, and yogurt. Pour this mixture into the bottom of the slow cooker and then put the jalapenos on top of that.

Next, head to your stove to melt butter in a saucepan. To the butter, you'll add the onions, garlic, and salt and let that cook down for about 6 minutes or so until it all starts to brown. Then to the browned garlic and onions, you add the Garam masala and ginger and cook all of that together a minute longer.

Finally, add to the saucepan the crushed tomatoes and sugar and mix again. From here you can pour this mixture right into the slow cooker or blend it with an immersion blender (or countertop blender in batches) and then add it to the chicken for a creamer Tikka.

Set the slow cooker to cook on low for about 6 hours or until the chicken gets tender. Once you've reached that point, add in the cauliflower and continue to cook for an additional hour. From there, you can add in the evaporated milk, give the whole shebang a stir and then cook just a few more (10) more minutes to let the sauce get good and thick. Then, serve and enjoy!

Side Dish Ideas

I love to have my Tikka Masala with veggies or rice, but here are some other ideas:

  • Serve over cauliflower rice for a truly low-carb, tasty meal.
  • Try it with a side of roasted broccoli to complement the cauliflower.
  • Roasted green beans are quick and easy to make while you wait for that cauliflower to cook during the last hour.
  • For something totally different, how about trying your tastebuds with some roasted cabbage?
  • I like to serve Tikka Masala (and a lot of Indian dishes for that matter) with na'an on the side for dipping into the yummy sauce.
  • This Indian Tikka dish could also be served over wide egg noodles.
  • If you would like noodles but not the carbs, try a low-carb pasta, or spiralized vegetable noodles.

What's the difference between Tikka Masala and butter chicken?

The main difference between these two Indian chicken dishes comes down to their creaminess. Butter chicken, also called Chicken Makhani, tends to have more cream and butter than tikka masala, which tends to have more tomatoes. While the sauce for butter chicken will likely look pinkish, tikka masala tends to have a more red sauce. 

Chicken tikka masala with cauliflower in a white bowl with a spiced tomato sauce and cilantro.

What's the difference between Masala and Marsala?

"Masala," as we've used it here in this recipe, is an Indian spice blend (like Garam masala). It officially means simply a mixture of spices that are layered in their flavors.

"Marsala" is a wine made in Sicily that is named for the place from which it came (like Balsamic vinegar of Modena). Or you might have heard of a dish called Chicken Marsala which includes that very wine as one of the ingredients.

Looking for more healthy Indian recipes?

Have I convinced you to try this delicious slow cooker recipe yet? Will you be making it soon?

This recipe was originally published over six years ago but has been updated with new photos, recipe ideas, and tips.

The Recipe
Slow cooker chicken and cauliflower tikka masala in a bowl with cilantro and spices on he side.

Slow Cooker Chicken and Cauliflower Tikka Masala

287 CAL 24g CARBS 7g FAT 31g PROTEIN
COOK TIME: 6 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 6 Hours, 15 Min
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  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into chunks
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
  • 4 cups can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 lb cauliflower florets
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup nonfat canned evaporated milk

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Toss the chicken with the coriander, cumin, 1 tsp. salt, and yogurt. Add to the bottom of the slow cooker. Place whole jalapenos in with the chicken.


Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and 1/2 tbsp. salt. Cook for about 6 minutes or until they begin to brown. Stir in the Garam masala and ginger and cook 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and sugar. Either pour directly over the chicken for a chunkier sauce or use a blender to create a smoother sauce and then pour over chicken.


Cook on low for 6 hours or until chicken is tender. Add the cauliflower in one hour before you finish cooking the chicken.


Stir the cornstarch into the evaporated milk. Stir into the chicken and then cover again and cook for 10 more minutes to thicken up the sauce.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 3/4 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 287
Calories from Fat 43
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 7g
Saturated Fat 2g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 87mg
Sodium 710mg
Total Carbohydrate 24g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 14g
Protein 31g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
On Slow Cooker Chicken and Cauliflower Tikka Masala
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February 3, 2024 - 10:48
Add a Rating:
Does this recipe call for fresh (raw) or frozen cauliflower florets? Thank you!
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February 9, 2024 - 08:16
Usually I use fresh but frozen would also work!
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Jennifer Mitchell
May 21, 2023 - 13:22
Add a Rating:
This is the third time I’ve made this and it’s really great. I am an avid Indian food fan and this is a great way to lighten the fat and calories on the food that I love without sacrificing flavor. When I don’t have fresh jalapeños on hand I substitute with a tsp or two of Kashmiri chili powder
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Lindsey Lutz
November 17, 2022 - 07:52
Hi! Can I add carrots to this? And if so, do I cook them from the beginning or add to the cauliflower?
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November 17, 2022 - 11:06
I would add them at the beginning since carrots can take a long time to cook! Hope you enjoy it!
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Christine Welsh
February 6, 2020 - 10:15
Add a Rating:
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February 9, 2024 - 08:17
Lucky coworkers ;) This makes my heart happy! Thanks for sharing and so glad you enjoyed it!
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May 15, 2019 - 14:26
Add a Rating:
Oh my goodness is this delicious! As I read the ingredients I thought it was going to be too spicy but the flavors blend together beautifully. This is my first venture into Indian cooking and this recipe will be a staple in our rotation. Thank you so much!!!!!
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February 9, 2024 - 08:17
So happy you enjoyed this recipe!!
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