Photo: Jennifer Causey; Styling: Claire Spollen
Hands-on Time
17 Mins
Total Time
8 Hours 10 Mins
Serves 4 (serving size: 1/2 cup rice, 1 chicken thigh, 1 1/4 cups sauce mixture, and 1 tablespoon yogurt)

We love the heat level in this slow cooker take on tikka masala to fend off winter chill. If the spice kick is too much for your family, you can cut the red pepper down by half without losing any of the dynamic flavor layers.

How to Make It

Step 1

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic to pan; cook 6 to 7 minutes or until starting to brown, stirring occasionally. Stir in tomato paste and tomatoes; bring to a simmer, and cook 3 minutes. Combine 1/3 cup water and flour in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture, garam masala, paprika, curry powder, salt, and pepper to pan; stir well. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute.

Step 2

Place chicken thighs in a 6-quart slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Add tomato mixture to slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW 7 hours or until chicken is very tender and sauce has thickened. Turn slow cooker to HIGH; uncover and add coconut milk, stirring with a whisk. Cook, uncovered, 15 minutes. Turn cooker off; stir in cilantro. Let stand 10 minutes. Serve over rice. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon yogurt.

Ratings & Reviews

June 22, 2016
It is added with the other spices - it says add "curry powder and pepper". The pepper is the red.

July 28, 2016
it just says to add salt and pepper, which is the red pepper. :) 

September 11, 2016
Add flour mixture, garam masala, paprika, curry powder, salt, and PEPPER to pan;

February 06, 2017
it is in step 1. right after curry powder and salt

Tikka Masala the easy way!

January 04, 2016
Love this new recipe in January 2016 Cooking Light!  My husband and I love tikka masala, and this recipe does not disappoint.  The only substitution I made was using two chicken breasts instead of the chicken thighs.  Wonderful! 

Surprisingly good

February 19, 2016
I'm usually skeptical of CL's Indian recipes since they tend to be somewhat bland, which is something one should rarely say about good Indian food.  However, this dish was really very good.  Admittedly, it doesn't really taste like Tikka Masala, but it does taste like a very good curry.  I did use a homemade curry powder and garama masala blends (both taken from a Madhur Jaffrey book) which probably kicked it up a notch.  As other have pointed out, the cooking time is a bit long.  After eight hours the chicken was off the bone and falling apart into the sauce.  That's not exactly a bad thing, but if you wanted to have firmer pieces of chicken, you might want to check this at 6-7 hours.  This is one I'll be making again.

Great meal

January 29, 2018
I have never had chicken Tikka masala, so I can't say how authentic this is.  But it tasted great.  Very mildly spicy.  Used 6 thighs and had plenty of yummy sauce.  7 hours was perfect.  Served over the rice with a side of roasted green beans and naan.  Will definitely make again.

Has potential but not there yet

June 21, 2018
I am a huge tikka masala fan and was so excited to try this recipe so I could stop paying through the nose for it at restaurants. Sadly, this recipe didn't yield anything good enough to rival a legit Indian restaurant quality tikka masala, so the search continues. With some modifications, it's possible this recipe could get there eventually. Things I diverged from the recipe on:-accidentally got whole tomatoes instead of diced. I just diced them myself.-due to a gluten sensitivity, I substituted corn starch in the proper proportions ( .5 corn starch = 1 wheat flour)-cut down on the red pepper-used 3 chicken breasts cubed instead of bone-in thighs. I've always had white breast meat in tikka masala and don't like to hassle with bones while eating. Still had plenty of sauce for all the chicken.-cut cook time in half and chicken still ended up a bit more cooked than neededThings that didn't live up to tikka masala expectations:- very thin and watery sauce, even after 15 minutes on high uncovered. It just seeps into rice like water rather than rest on top of it like a thick sauce should. I added a few scoops of plain Greek yogurt to help thicken and cream it up. Would probably try using cream instead of coconut milk or something next time to see if that helped.- whole tomato and onion chunks still present in end result. Usually tikka masala I've had before is creamy with a more even consistency through out. Next time I'd try blending the sauce before putting it in with the chicken.- lacked the mild sweetness and saltiness I'm used to in tikka masala. Basic spices and flavors were there but it was missing those extra layers of flavor that give it depthIn a nutshell, it's decent and the basic flavor is there but it feels incomplete with respect to texture, consistency, and sweet/saltiness.


January 05, 2016
This is a few steps above a dump and cook slow cooker recipe. And the taste and texture is better for it. The tomato sauce is quite thick before it goes on top of the chicken. But then the chicken juices add to it, then the coconut milk, and it's just right. I substituted 1 can of fire-roasted diced tomatoes for flavor since we left out the ground red pepper. I also discovered at the last second that I did not have any coconut milk. Used a can of 2% evaporated milk, 1 tsp cornstarch, and a splash of coconut extract. Still turned out great. I also doubled the amount of chicken thighs but not the sauce. Still plenty of sauce. I would have found it too much sauce without the extra chicken. I also adjusted the cooking time to my slow cooker. 7 hours would have been too much.

Really yummy. Like an Indian restaurant in my house

January 06, 2016
This was delicious.  A bit more work than usual to get the ingredients ready for the slow cooker but well worth it.  I found this plenty spicy with 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper.   I will definitely be making this again!