Creamy, perfectly spiced Crockpot Butter Chicken is an easy, dreamy dinner that you’ll be so glad you made. Our method uses skyr (a type of thick strained yogurt that’s similar to Greek yogurt) to help achieve the perfect saucy chicken that is tender and flavorful right out of the slow cooker.
This post was created in partnership with siggi’s.
What is Butter Chicken?
Indian Butter Chicken, also known as murgh makhani, is a traditional comfort food dish from India that’s made from chicken and a mildly spiced curry sauce. The signature thick, rich, and creamy sauce in Butter Chicken typically includes cream, yogurt, tomato paste, and fragrant spices. Butter Chicken, as its name implies, also contains butter to add some nice richness to the sauce. In this recipe, you dot cold butter pieces over the ingredients in the slow cooker so it melts into the sauce as it cooks … and a little goes a long way! Our version of this flavorful Indian dish is loaded up with veggies and made right in the slow cooker for ultimate preparation ease.
Recipe Highlights! Crockpot Butter Chicken
- Prep the recipe in just 20 minutes and let your crockpot do the rest!
- A thick and creamy sauce that makes every bite delicious
- Loaded up with nutritious veggies and lean protein
- A great source of calcium
- Contains fragrant spices with anti-inflammatory benefits
- Makes enough for 8 servings (and the leftovers reheat well!)
Ingredients for Crockpot Butter Chicken Recipe
Here’s what you need to make this creamy Indian Butter Chicken Recipe right away:
- Yellow onions – we’ve loaded up the onions in this recipe, which get caramelized at the bottom of the slow cooker
- Boneless skinless chicken breast – can use boneless skinless chicken thigh meat, too
- Red bell pepper
- Tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Garlic cloves – can sub 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Minced fresh ginger – fresh ginger is recommended, but you can use 1 teaspoon of dried ginger instead
- Indian spices – use curry powder and garam masala for that warm, fragrant flavor Indian Butter Chicken recipe are known for
- Salted butter – you just need 1 tablespoon of butter to create the delicious rich and creamy sauce
- Siggi’s plain skyr – we recommend siggi’s plain skyr (which is a thick, strained yogurt). We like siggi’s because it’s made from only a few ingredients and not a lot of sugar. You can use either 0% or 4% plain siggi’s skyr with great results
- Half-and-half – most Indian Butter Chicken recipes call for heavy cream, but we’ve found that the combo of yogurt and half-and-half is perfect for creating that thick and creamy texture
Find the ingredients list with exact measurements in the recipe card below.
How to make Butter Chicken
Since you can make this Crockpot Butter Chicken recipe right in the crockpot, it comes together with ease. Here are the quick steps to get it cooking:
- Layer the onions in the slow cooker: In the crock of a 6-quart or 8-quart slow cooker, place the sliced onions.
- Combine remaining ingredients and add to the slow cooker: In a large bowl, combine the chicken, bell pepper, carrots, tomato sauce, tomato paste, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, and salt; toss until well combined. Add the saucy chicken mixture to the slow cooker over top of the sliced onions.
- Add the butter: Dot the pieces of butter over top of the mixture.
- Slow cook on the low or high setting: Place the lid on the slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 ½ hours or on low for 6 ½ hours.
- Add the yogurt and half-and-half: After the cooking time is up, remove the lid. Stir all ingredients until well combined, and turn off the slow cooker. When the liquid stops simmering and steaming (after 5-10 minutes), stir in the yogurt and the half-and-half. (NOTE: If you stir in the yogurt and half-and-half before letting the mixture cool down a little, it could curdle.)
- Garnish and serve: Serve over hot cooked rice or cauliflower rice, and/or with naan bread. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro, toasted sesame seeds, and a squeeze of lime.
For the complete directions and ingredient amounts, scroll down to the recipe card below. All of our recipes include the nutrition analysis, listing calories, protein, carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, sodium, and more per serving.
The Key to That Perfect Creamy Sauce
Since you’re adding fresh dairy products, including thick yogurt and half-and-half, to a hot mixture, it’s important to follow these steps so the dairy can incorporate perfectly into the sauce without curdling:
- after the cooking time is done, turn off the slow cooker
- remove the lid and allow the mixture to stop steaming and simmering (wait about 10 minutes)
- gently stir in the yogurt and the half-and-half
Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions about Indian Butter Chicken
1. What is butter chicken? Indian Butter Chicken, also known as murgh makhani, is a traditional comfort food dish that originated from Northern India. It’s made from chicken, a mildly spiced curry sauce, and butter that melts into the sauce for a rich and creamy texture.
2. What steps can I complete ahead of time? The slow cooker does most of the work here, but you could prep all of the ingredients 1-2 days in advance so that, when it comes time to make it, all you’d need to do is dump everything in the slow cooker. You can slice the onions, chop the pepper and carrots, and measure all of the spices ahead of time.
3. Could this be a freezer-to-slow cooker recipe? Yes, you could prep all of the ingredients (except for the yogurt and half-and-half) and store them together in a freezer-safe container or bag; label and freeze for up to 3 months. When it comes time to cook, thaw the frozen bag of ingredients for several minutes under warm running water, then dump it in a slow cooker. (Alternatively, you could move the frozen bag to the refrigerator to thaw there for 24 hours before cooking). Cook as directed in the slow cooke, and add the yogurt and half-and-half during the last step.
4. Is butter chicken healthy? This recipe includes ingredients from several food groups (aka more nutrients!) and makes a nutritionally balanced meal.
How to Serve This Crockpot Butter Chicken Recipe
This Indian Butter Chicken recipe, like so many creamy and delicious Indian-inspired recipes, tastes great when serve over a grain, such as rice, and with some key garnishes.
- Cooked rice or quinoa (see our method here for cooking perfect jasmine rice in the Instant Pot)
- Naan flatbread
- For a grain-free dish, serve this butter chicken over cauliflower rice
- Perfect garnishes: We like to add fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime juice, and toasted sesame seeds.
Servings: 6–8 servings 1x
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled, cut in half, and sliced (~13 oz)
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cubed
- 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
- 3 medium carrots, diced (5-6 oz)
- 1 (15-oz) can tomato sauce
- 1 (6-oz) can tomato paste
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger (~2-inch piece)
- 3 tablespoons curry powder
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon salted butter, chilled, cut into pieces
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt or skyr (we recommend Siggi’s skyr)*
- ½ cup half-and-half
- Optional for serving: cooked white rice, naan, chopped fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and/or toasted sesame seeds
- In the crock of a 6-quart or 8-quart slow cooker, place the sliced onions.
- In a large bowl, combine the chicken, bell pepper, carrots, tomato sauce, tomato paste, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, and salt; toss until well combined.
- Add the saucy chicken mixture to the slow cooker over top of the sliced onions.
- Dot the pieces of butter over top of the mixture.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 ½ hours or on low for 6 ½ hours.
- After the time is up, remove the lid, stir all ingredients until well combined, and turn off the slow cooker. When the liquid stops simmering and steaming (after 5-10 minutes), stir in the yogurt and the half-and-half. (NOTE: If you stir in the yogurt and half-and-half before letting the mixture cool down a little, it could curdle.)
- Serve over hot cooked rice or cauliflower rice, and/or with naan bread, and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.
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*We have tested this recipe with both siggi’s plain 0% skyr and 4% skry (the only different being the amount of fat in these yogurts) and both products create delicious results and a creamy, thick sauce. We like to use siggi’s because it’s made from only a few ingredients and doesn’t contain a lot of sugar.
- Serving Size: 1/6 of the recipe (1 1/3 cups)
- Calories: 298
- Fat: 6g
- (Sat Fat: 3g)
- Sodium: 415mg
- Carbohydrate: 21g
- (Fiber: 4g
- Sugar: 13g)
- Protein: 38g
- Cholesterol: 99mg
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Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel of Half Acre House
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Jessie is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living near Denver, CO where she splits her time among nearby playgrounds, typing away at her trusty laptop, and heating up her home kitchen with delicious experiments. Her best taste tester is her husband, a Denver firefighter with a well-trained palate. A former magazine editor-in-chief, Jessie has a long career in food publishing and health writing. While she once played centerfield for the Northwestern University softball team, Jessie now prefers her fitness in the way of biking up mountain passes and chasing two busy toddlers (the latter proving to be the more exhausting activity).