Posted by Amy Andrews

Categories * Make Ahead Dinners, * Slow Cooker, Main, Poultry, Soups & Stews

Comments 2 comments

Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

You could call it “butter chicken”, “balti chicken”, or even “murgh makani”, but made by your own hands, in your own kitchen, it’s really just a “chicken curry”, and there’s everything right about that.  Especially when you throw everything in a slow cooker and forget about it for hours.  The important details are the flavors of your spices and curry powders, and the quality of your meat and coconut milk – buy the best you can afford.  If you haven’t yet discovered Penzey’s, check them out.  I highly recommend their Maharaja and Vindaloo curry powders, but you can certainly grind and/or blend your own (or luck out with a friend who does – thanks again, Usha!)


I put this recipe together after salivating over Tieghan’s Butter Chicken on Pinterest and referring to a recipe I learned from Suneeta Vaswani when she was in California back in 2000.  Just this morning, while doing research on authentic “murgh makani”, I found the lovely eCurry site by Soma and her family in West Bengal, India – a comprehensive resource  for learning more about Indian Cuisine.


So, until you can get to a proper tandoor, satisfy your curry cravings by plugging in your slow cooker.  If you want to work harder, you can always make some homemade naan.


Indian Butter Chicken in the Slow Cooker (Murgh Makhani)

Yield: 6 - 8 servings


  • 8 - 12 bone-in chicken thighs (remove and discard skin and excess fat)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced and mashed with 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. garam masala, ground
  • 2 tsp. curry powder
  • 1 tsp. turmeric, ground
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 ½ tsp. cayenne pepper, ground
  • 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 13 - 14 oz. can coconut milk (Chaokoh)
  • 7 - 8 oz. container Greek yogurt (2% Fage)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • for serving: naan or rice, fresh cilantro or parsley leaves


  1. Melt butter in stove-top safe slow cooker insert set on stovetop, medium heat. (Or use sauté pan through next two steps then transfer to slow cooker/crock pot.)
  2. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes to soften, stiring now and then with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook for a minute, stiring with wooden spoon. Add tomato paste and cook for a minute, stiring with wooden spoon. Stir in coconut milk and yogurt.
  4. Add chicken thighs, transfer slow cooker insert to slow cooker, and cook on High 4 hours.
  5. Add cream and let cook a few minutes to gently heat through. Sprinkle with cilantro or parsley leaves and serve with naan and raita.


Amy’s Kitchen Coach Tips

  • I like slow cooking with the bone-in thighs and think it provides more depth to the flavors, but you can certainly use boneless chicken, and even cut into bite-sized pieces – it’s all just a matter of preference.  If you do go with the bones, it causes no problem at all at dinner time; the chicken is so tender, it falls off the bone with a touch of your fork.
  • Simple raita: stir some small diced cucumber into plain yogurt with a pinch of salt and squeeze of lemon juice.
  • I highly recommend Penzeys curry powders.  I splurge on the bright yellow Maharajah which has a mild, rich flavor without much heat –  turmeric, fennugreek, cinnamon and saffron are major players.  I also keep Vindaloo on hand, for when I want more spicy heat.  Try some and see what you like.


2 comments on “Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)”

  1. Melissa Smith

    I made this and it was so delicious – my sister and I crave it! In this heat wave – make Indian food!!!

    • Amy Andrews
      Amy Andrews

      Hi Melissa! Great to hear. Thank you. (We had it again tonight – ha!)


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