Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Curry

Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Curry Recipe

I love to eat Indian curries but I’m not always in the mood to cook them because they usually require a lot of time standing at the stovetop. Not this one though! This slow cooker chicken curry needs just a little bit of prep and once that’s done it’s “set it and forget it” – my favorite way of cooking. You start by briefly searing boneless, skinless chicken thighs in a Dutch oven, then fry spice seeds, pureed onion, carrot and a simple mix of a few ground spices. Next you add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth, bring everything to a boil and then transfer it to the slow cooker. Three hours later you open the lid, stir in sour cream and you’re ready to go! You can serve the curry with rice but I personally prefer naan for this one.


Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Curry Recipe

serves 2-3


  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons powdered ginger
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 4 teaspoons curry powder (see notes)
  • 4 teaspoons chili powder
  • vegetable oil
  • 4 – 5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon whole black, brown or yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1/2 carrot, sliced
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2/3 cup sour cream (or more, if desired)
  • cilantro (for garnish)
  • 3 over easy eggs (optional)



  1. Peel the onion and chop into ~ 1-inch chunks.
  2. Put onion into a pot along with 1 cup of water and boil without a lid until almost all water has evaporated. Let cool for a bit.
  3. Put ginger, garlic, turmeric, curry powder and chili powder together in a small bowl, add 3 tablespoons of water and mix with a spoon to make a paste. Set aside.
  4. Transfer the boiled onion (along with any water there may be) into a food processor and process into a puree.
  5. Heat a little bit of vegetable oil in a Dutch oven until shimmering.
  6. Lightly season the chicken thighs with salt, then sear them on both sides in the hot oil.
  7. Turn the heat down.
  8. Move the chicken thighs over to one side of the Dutch oven and add fenugreek, cumin, coriander and mustard seeds to the other side. Fry the seeds for 4 – 5 minutes (the seeds need to sizzle but be careful not to burn them).
  9. Carefully add the onion puree (be careful, this will splatter!).
  10. Add the star anise and the carrot.
  11. Turn the heat back up and fry onion and carrot for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove the star anise.
  13. Add the spice paste and stir until you have a homogeneous mix.
  14. Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth and mix well. Let the mix come to a boil, then transfer to the slow cooker and cook on low for 3 hours.
  15. Stir in the sour cream.
  16. Serve the curry with naan or rice and sprinkle with cilantro.
  17. For extra flavor and substance, fry one egg per serving either sunny side up or over easy and put it on top of the curry.



I used medium yellow curry powder from the Savory Spice Shop.


Food Photography and Styling: I chose my blue metal tray as the surface for this shot because I thought it contrasted nicely with the color of the curry. Initially I only had the napkin and the plate with the naan in the background but together with the curry pan those items formed a straight line that lead the eye out of the frame and to remedy that I added the little pewter tray with coriander seeds opposite the bread. I observed the rule of thirds and placed the horizon line on a dividing line and the sprig of cilantro on an intersection point. As always I used flags to partially block the light for a dark, moody and dramatic look.

Nikon D600, 105mm, f/5.6, 1/125 sec., ISO 100. One Hensel Integra Pro Plus 500 Monolight, 35″ x 58″ Softbox.


    • Nicole B. says:

      Thank you so much, Louise! I know what you mean about craving comfort food, we still have a few feet of snow on the ground up here. I’m looking forward to summer but until then hot stews are the thing. :)

  1. Emily says:

    We love Indian food, but it usually takes me so long to get it right. Love how to adapted this for the slow-cooker- putting it on my list of recipes to try. :) Beautiful as always, Nicole!

    • Nicole B. says:

      Thank you, Emily! It took me a while to get the original recipe right but then adapting it for the slow cooker went pretty smoothly and I was surprised how well it turned out. :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Thank you, Rachel! I have had that little pan for years and don’t use it very often but it did work in this shot. :)

  2. Melinda | Sprinkle and a Dash says:

    I think I see a common theme here, we love curry! I don’t think I have come upon a curry that I didn’t enjoy. I look forward to trying yours too. I actually have an incredible Naan recipe on my site, I only mention it, because I have had lack luster naan before and I am of the opinion that you really need good naan with curry. =D

    • Nicole B. says:

      Yes, beef and also lamb would be very good here! I actually briefly thought about cloning out the reflections in the bowl but then decided against it. :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Yes, I can imagine you may need a (brief) curry break! I’m a fan of this onion technique too with the cooking and the food processor, it’s much less painful than grating the raw onion. :)

  3. Susan L. says:

    This sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it. I do not own a slow cooker and wondered if you think after all the prep work is done if everything could be put back into the dutch oven, lid on, and put in an oven on low temp (not sure of temp) for the 3 hours? What do you think the result would be like? Or should I splurge on a slow cooker!

    • Nicole B. says:

      Hi Susan, I haven’t made it in the oven so I can’t say for sure but I imagine that this would work just fine. I was actually planning on making this curry again today and I’ll just go ahead and try it in the oven instead of the slow cooker. I’ll see how it comes out and report back here this afternoon and let you know. Stay tuned! :)

    • Nicole B. says:

      Hello again Susan,

      Reporting back here with the news that the oven method did not work. The curry burned. It’s possible that the oven temperature was too high (I had it at 325 degrees F.) but at this point I don’t recommend to make this recipe outside of the slow cooker. :)

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