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.
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.
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.
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?
- Slow Cooker Saag Paneer
- Indian Spiced Shrimp with Mango Salad
- Quick and Easy Chana Masala
- Slow Cooker Madras Lentils
- Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
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.
Slow Cooker Chicken and Cauliflower Tikka Masala
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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
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.
* 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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