One-Pot Wonders

Slow-Cooker Butter Chicken

March 22, 2021
20 Ratings
Photo by Rocky Luten. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop Stylist: Amanda Widis.
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Serves 8
Author Notes

The warm spices combined with the fruity, sweet flavors of butternut squash and golden raisins make this classic butter chicken more modern and flavorful. As if Butter Chicken needed to be more flavorful, this recipe is my go-to when the weather gets chilly. —The Suburban Soapbox

What You'll Need
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 8 ounces canned tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely minced
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 3 serrano or jalapeño peppers, seeded and diced
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh spinach
  • Fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish
  1. In a large skillet (or your stovetop-proof slow-cooker insert), heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken, cornstarch, salt and pepper to a large bowl. Toss to coat the chicken completely.
  2. Cooking in batches, add the chicken to the skillet and brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate, and repeat with the remaining chicken.
  3. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat, and add the onion to the pan. Cook until softened and then stir in the garlic. Cook for 1 minute longer. Transfer the chicken and onion mixture to the slow cooker.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the turmeric, garam masala, cumin, cayenne pepper, tomato sauce, and ginger. Pour this mixture over the chicken mixture.
  5. Add the squash, raisins, chicken stock, cinnamon stick and peppers to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours or on High for 4 hours.
  6. 10 minutes prior to serving, stir in the half and half and spinach. Season to taste. Serve with rice and chopped cilantro, if desired.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Robin Duncan
    Robin Duncan
  • Danuta Gajewski
    Danuta Gajewski
  • Cynthia Walker Condrich
    Cynthia Walker Condrich
  • Pamela Kent
    Pamela Kent

10 Reviews

brushjl January 6, 2022
Definitely not a traditional butter chicken, but delicious. This clearly is a personal taste dish. Most of the time I have to choke back butternut squash so was more than happy for them to become part of the sauce, ditto the raisins. I wouldn't change the spice proportions, I loved the spice! But that's me. Also I used heavy cream, I really wanted the Indian butter chicken taste and not coconut milk, but this dish can be adapted to anyone's taste.
Robin D. March 31, 2021
I cut the recipe in half with great results. Added the squash and raisins at the last hour of cooking. They really didn’t even need that much time. Very pleasant, flavorful dish. Husband added a bit of Chile crunch which added a bit of heat and depth to the dish. I would make this again. Also cut the spices to 1 tbsp each for the 1/2 recipe that I made.
Linda D. January 14, 2021
After reading the reviews (thanks to all!) I swapped out the half & half for a whole can of full fat coconut milk. I added the squash and raisins with just an hour to go. Next time, I will increase the squash to three cups and the raisins to one cup. Thank you for an absolutely delicious recipe!
Danuta G. November 5, 2020
Because my shopping has been severely cut down to once a week due in part to the pandemic and also my husband and I have immunocompromised systems, I don't always have all the ingredients on hand, especially if I haven't planned ahead for a particular recipe so substitutions are a must! Last night I decided, last minute, to make this recipe to use up leftover butternut squash from another recipe, and substituted tinned coconut milk instead of the half and half (not something I ever buy) and was really pleased with the result. The coconut milk really mellowed out the sauce and we both enjoyed that "hint" of coconut flavour, even though I did cut back on the quantities of spices from reading other reviews here. So glad that you allow readers' comments and reviews - it does help when chosing new recipes! Definitely a recipe I will make again!
Olivia March 12, 2020
This was almost super great, but honestly it fell a little short for me. :( The cayenne was too much, so I'd cut back on that next time. Also the squash and raisins stewed with the other spices so long that they lost all of their own flavor and ended up kind of bland and mushy, so I'd probably add those a little later next time.
lynx60489 September 4, 2020
Thanks for the great tips! I have made this twice now and it is an awesome recipe! I added the squash and raisins with two hours left on a six hour low cycle and they were still quite soft. I think you could even go to the one and a half hour mark and it would still be fine. I too majorly cut back on spice. I skipped the pepper entirely and I probably put a little bit less than a teaspoon of cayenne. It is still delicious and you can taste the cayenne without it being spicy. If you cut back on the spice a lot, I think you can also cut back on the half and half. I put the full amount, but next time I will cut it back to one cup or 3/4 cup.
Cynthia W. March 8, 2020
Any suggestions on a substitute for sweet potatoes? I love them however husband can’t stand them. Yukon? Or another veg?
acwhitney March 8, 2020
It calls for butternut squash, not sweet potatoes. Butternut squash would have been my substitute suggestion.
don February 7, 2020
I cut back on the cayenne to a scant teaspoon, and subbed some about a tablespoon of chili paste for the jalapenos, and it still had plenty of punch, although not too much. Really liked this a lot.
Pamela K. January 22, 2020
This recipe is definitely a winner! It's one of those recipes that will quickly become a family favorite!