Indian Butter Chicken (Chicken Makhani) is a take-out favorite for good reason. It’s absolutely delicious. The dish includes tender pieces of chicken floating in a creamy curry sauce flavored with onions, garlic, garam masala, chili powder, ginger, turmeric and paprika. Serve with Indian Style Rice and, if you like, Homemade Naan.
- 1 1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews – OR – 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (*See note)
- 3 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp curry powder
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you want your chicken)
- 3 tsp salt (plus more, to taste)
- 2 tsp ground black pepper
- 4 tbsp butter (Can use non-dairy vegan butter, or vegetable or olive oil)
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and diced
- 1 heaping tbsp minced garlic (about 4–5 cloves)
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated or minced
- 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup water (or chicken broth)
- 4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Serve with Indian Style Rice
- If using cashews, put them in a high-powered blender along with 1 cup of very hot water. Puree at high speed until very smooth. Set aside. If using cream, measure 1 1/2 cups and set aside.
- Add the garam masala, curry powder, chili powder, turmeric, paprika, sugar, cayenne, salt, and pepper to a small bowl and set aside.
- Add butter and chopped onions to a large saucepan and set it over medium heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger to the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes longer.
- Add the spices to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute longer.
- If using cashews, add the pureed cashews to the spices and cook, stirring constantly for 1-2 minutes. (If using cream, skip this step.)
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and water or broth. Turn the heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to medium-low and let simmer for 5 minutes to let the flavors blend. Remove from the heat. If using cream, stir it in now. Taste for seasoning and add more salt if desired. (*See note about early preparation of the sauce.)
- Add the chicken to a slow cooker and pour the sauce over the top. Stir to coat the chicken in the sauce. Cover with the lid and let cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours.
- Serve with Indian Rice.
- This recipe comes with two different options for cream – heavy cream OR “cashew cream”. I can tell you with complete confidence that both are equally delicious. But, besides being (obviously) dairy free, one of the benefits of using cashews is that they are something I almost always have in my pantry.
- The sauce can be prepared ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days before proceeding with the recipe.
- Category: Chicken
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: Indian
Keywords: butter chicken, Indian food, Indian recipe, slow cooker, crock pot, Chicken Makhani, non-dairy, crock pot