Recipe: Crockpot Butter Chicken (Murgh makhani)

I know – you are all What?? Butter chicken?  However, this recipe contains no butter at all 😀  There often is butter in this dish, but there are also plenty of versions that leave it out.  It really is a very rich dish, which is cut by using lite coconut milk and nonfat greek yogurt instead of heavy cream. I based mine on this recipe.

Crockpot Butter Chicken

I took all pictures with my phone today, too, just for fun.

Ingredients (minus the chicken):


Haha – excuse the Mickey cup! It gets hand washed instead of being putting in the dishwasher, and it was there drying. Oopsie. Just keepin’ it real.  😳

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 1.5 pounds)
  • 1 tbsp curry paste (make sure this is Indian and not Thai)
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1  can lite coconut milk
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (make sure it does not have gelatin in it)
  • 1 5.5 oz can of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp of salt

Easy peasy directions:

Cut the chicken into bite-size chunks.  Add to slow cooker and then add everything else on top.  Stir well.


Cover and cook on low for 6 hours. I was a little concerned about adding the yogurt at the start, but the recipe said to do that.

Now, when it is done, it will look like the yogurt has separated, but just mix it up.  I suppose you could always leave the yogurt until the end and stir it in, but it tasted good to me.  If you do this on the stove top, I would leave it until the last step. In fact, I might just try stirring in the yogurt at the end even with the slow cooker to see if I can get it a little creamier.

Voila – served with rice.

Crockpot Butter Chicken

I really liked this! I think the key to this dish is the cardamom. It’s a wonderful spice and smells like chai. I would wear it as a perfume if I could.  It’s worth picking up for this dish. If you don’t have it, you can try using an extra teaspoon of the garam masala, which has some cardamom in it, but it won’t taste quite the same.

I also did not put any cayenne in it for John, but next time I think I will add some. It’s also surprisingly filling.

Nutritional stats: The whole batch is 1311 calories, 60 grams of carbs, 59 grams of fat, 154 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber.  So, divided into 6 portions, it would be about 220 calories.  That will depend a bit on which coconut milk you use, so please note. The Thai lite has about 50 calories per serving versus 140 for regular coconut milk.


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17 thoughts on “Recipe: Crockpot Butter Chicken (Murgh makhani)

    1. Lori Post author

      The flavor profile is really different. The Thai ones have different spices and are more citrusy and green. Indian curry pastes are made with more earthy spices like cumin, clove and turmeric.

  1. Helen

    YUM. You know I’m reading the recipe and this has very similar ingredients to a Creamy Chicken Curry that I make, which always makes me wonder how the names for dishes are chosen. I also love using chicken thighs for this type of dish. Normally I won’t even eat dark meat chicken but I think the thighs hold up so much better than a chicken breast for this type of dish.
    Helen´s last blog post ..Giving It the Old College Try

  2. Shelley B

    The recipe sounds good but you know what struck me most about your post? Chopped frozen onions. I had NO IDEA. What a great idea (says the person cooking for two who ends up tossing onion halves after they’ve gotten icky in the fridge).
    Shelley B´s last blog post ..Friday Mishmash

  3. Qlts2Slo Jeannie

    Lori, I am so excited about this recipe! A “dump” crockpot recipe (they’re the best) AND with Indian flavors. Have yet to try making anything with coconut milk, but this one is going on the list for THIS week. Thanks to having discovered Penzey’s stores (or online at a few years ago, I have all the spices. Plus a cupboard full of other obscure ones. (It sorta became an addiction.) Always great to find a reason to use some. Oops, didn’t mean to turn this into a commercial – I have no connection to them except for the cash that goes from my pocket to theirs.

  4. Leah

    This sounds delicious!!! My husband ate in the middle east when he was deployed and brought me home some spices to try. He mocks my crock pot, but I love using it.

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