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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken (What? No Butter in it?!)

I’ve been hearing Butter Chicken everywhere. During a break between classes in cooking school. At the grocery in the spice aisle. Its online presence dominates. It’s a versatile recipe that can be made in myriad ways. The recipe I’m sharing today uses the slow cooker. Have I grabbed your attention yet?

After finally making butter chicken for my family, I can understand the popularity.

The interesting twist, though, is that not every version of butter chicken uses butter. Mine doesn’t. The original recipe is from the New York Times and I varied it just a bit.  Most of the time, coconut milk gives a creamy, rich taste to the chicken. And no, it doesn’t taste like coconut.

Oh my gosh, if you like a spicy, but not too hot dish with plenty of flavor and a good amount of protein, I hope you try this.

It’s not hard to make at all.

Slow cooker butter chicken my way

The onion you use should be a regular yellow onion, not sweet, but the regular generic yellow onion. Now all I had were breasts so I used those and the chicken was done in 4 hours. Next time I’m going to use thighs, which are moister and hold up to slow cooking even better.


Olive oil

1 heaping cup yellow onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, minced – 1 generous tablespoon

3 tablespoons grated ginger

1 tablespoon garam masala

6 oz. can tomato paste

1 teaspoon salt

3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces

1 generous tablespoon lime juice

1 cup coconut milk (unsweetened)

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

Cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)

Cooked basmati or jasmine rice, for serving

Naan, for serving (optional)


In skillet, film pan with olive oil over medium heat. Add onions to skillet, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add garlic and ginger, and cook another 2 minutes. Add garam masala, tomato paste and salt; cook and stir 2 minutes.

Place chicken pieces in a sprayed slow cooker, then add tomato paste mixture, lime juice, coconut milk and chicken broth. Stir everything together, cover and cook on low heat setting for 4 1/2 to 5 hours, until the chicken is cooked through. (You may let it cook up to 7 hours if necessary, but the chicken may be very soft and shred.) Garnish with cilantro and serve with basmati or jasmine rice, and naan if you have some.

Adapted only slightly from the New York Times recipe.


What is masala?

According to friend and spice expert, Col De Stewart, masala means blend. Garam masala is a special spice blend. It is used throughout Southern Asia. Generally, garam masala is added in a small quantity at the end of cooking to add a subtle flavor to the dish. (In the recipe above, though, it’s added at the beginning).

It should be added in small quantities, or else it will overpower the dish. Many different kinds of garam masala are found depending on the region and the cook’s personal taste.
FYI I like Col De’s blend with coriander, cumin, chilies De Arbol, cloves, bay, cinnamon, ginger. Col’s site is awesome and a great way to learn about spices and herbs: http://www.colonelde.com.

What is coconut milk?

It’s the liquid that comes from the grated meat of the coconut with added water.

Substitute for fresh grated ginger

I think you could use ginger paste, but start with 1 tablespoon and go from there.

See Rita grate ginger

On my UTube channel at abouteating.com.



Permanent link to this article: http://abouteating.com/slow-cooker-butter-chicken-what-no-butter-in-it/

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