Butter chicken is one of the most famous and popular Indian Curry recipes. Tender chicken stewed in a creamy and buttery sauce. And this recipe becomes even better prepared in the slow cooker (and did I mention it’s much easier this way). The flavors and the smell are so yummy! You’ll be going to love this!
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani in India) is a mild curry and one of the best chicken recipes in India. Marinated chicken is stewed in a buttery tomato sauce. It’s a traditional recipe from the North of India and a very popular dish.
It’s believed that it originated between 1930 - 1935 in a restaurant in Delhi. This restaurant prepared a lot of tandoori chicken but sometimes had some leftovers, which became too dry. By stewing these chicken in a creamy tomato sauce they were soft and moist. And Murgh Makhani became a beloved dish.
Its preparation is quite the same as chicken tikka masala. Aromatic golden chicken pieces in a creamy curry sauce. The big difference is that the spices get a lot of attention with chicken tikka masala. With Butter chicken, the buttery sauce is specific for this recipe.
Butter Chicken is delicious when served with Naan bread (like this garlic naan bread), papadums, or pilav rice. Serve a green salad, sugar snaps, cucumber raita, or green beans as a veggie side dish.
What do you need for Chicken Makhani?
To prepare this slow cooker butter chicken, you need the following ingredients. You can find the correct amounts in the recipe card at the bottom of the blog:
- Chicken breast - Use boneless and skinless chicken breast.
- Butter - Use unsalted butter to give the sauce creaminess. You could also use ghee. Ghee is clarified butter that is often used in the Indian kitchen.
- Onions, ginger, and garlic - As usual, are the three spices used to give a base flavor.
- Garam Masala - An Indian roasted spice mix. Every region got its style of preparation. You can get it in almost any supermarket nowadays.
- Spices - This recipe contains a few spices to flavor the chicken marinade and the sauce. For the chicken marinade, turmeric, cumin, chili, and salt are used. The sauce contains cumin, coriander, chili, and salt. All spices are available at the supermarkets (one of the best things about this butter chicken).
- Yogurt - Add yogurt to the marinade to make the meat more tender. The sour will decrease proteins in the chicken breast. And thus, your chicken will become softer.
- Whole peeled tomatoes - for the buttery tomato sauce. Use canned tomatoes because they’ve got the optimal flavor. You could use sieved tomatoes (or passata), but that isn’t necessary because you prepare this in the crockpot.
- Sugar - a bit of sugar will enhance the flavor of this sauce and will sweeten it.
- Cream - to give the sauce that creamy touch. If you want a lighter version, you could opt for ¾ cup light cream and ¼ cup milk.
How do you prepare Crockpot Murgh Makhani?
You can find a printable recipe with a step-by-step description at the bottom of this blog.
- Mix the yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, chili, and salt. Add the chicken cubes and let them marinate for at least 3 hours (but you can marinate them overnight).
- Fry the onions until translucent, and add garlic and ginger. After a minute, add coriander, cumin, and garam masala. Stir-fry for three minutes and add to the slow cooker.
- Sear the chicken in the remaining butter until golden brown. Add that to the crockpot.
- Add the tomatoes, chili, salt, cream, and sugar. Put a lid on the slow cooker and turn it on—low heat for 6 hours or high heat for 4 hours. I’ll serve it like this. But you could remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and purée the sauce with a blender (or immersion blender). Then, add the chicken to the puréed sauce.
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Slow Cooker Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)
- ½ cup yogurt plain
- 3 garlic squeezed
- 1 inch fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin ground
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 pounds chicken breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion large, peeled, and finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic squeezed
- 1 inch fresh ginger peeled and grated
- 1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin ground
- 1 ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander ground
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 14 oz. Whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 cup cream
Ingredients you need per step are listed below the step in Italic
- Mix the yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, and salt in a large bowl.½ cup yogurt, 3 garlic, 1 inch fresh ginger, 2 teaspoons garam masala, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt
- Add the chicken and stir, so all chicken cubes are covered with marinate.2 pounds chicken breasts
- Cover the bowl with plastic foil. Let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours (but you can marinate overnight).
- Heat one tablespoon of butter in a skillet and add the onion. Fry until translucent on medium-high heat for about 3 minutes.3 tablespoons butter, 1 onion
- Add garlic and ginger and stir-fry for a minute.3 cloves garlic, 1 inch fresh ginger
- Add cumin, garam masala, coriander, chili powder, salt, and sugar to the skillet. Stir-fry for another 3 minutes. Put everything in the slow cooker.1 ½ teaspoon ground cumin, 1 ½ teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, ½ teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon sugar
- Melt the remaining two tablespoons of butter and add the chicken. Take the chicken out of the marinade, but don’t pat it dry (add the adherent marinade). Don’t pour the remaining marinade into the skillet.3 tablespoons butter
- Fry the chicken until golden brown. Add the chicken and scrapes to the crockpot.
- Add tomatoes and cream to the slow cooker, stir it well, and put on the lid.1 cup cream, 14 oz. Whole peeled tomatoes
- Turn it on to low and stew for 6 hours.
- Optional: you could remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and puree the sauce with a blender (or immersion blender). Add the chicken to the pureed sauce.
- Marinate - The chicken can be marinated for up to 48 hours in the refrigerator. You could also add chicken and marinate it in a freezer box or bag. When defrosting, the chicken will marinate (let it defrost in the fridge)
- Refrigerator - Store the stewed butter chicken covered for three days in the fridge.
- Freezer - Freeze the Murgh Makhani for up to three months in the freezer. Let it thaw in the refrigerator.
- Reheat - Reheat the curry in the microwave or put it in a pot with a bit of water and reheat on medium