This slow cooker Indian chicken curry is full of flavor from both ground spices and spice seeds that are traditional in Indian cooking. It has a flavorful, thick, rich and creamy tomato sauce and the chicken thighs are fall-apart tender.
For more curry favorites, check out this Thai pineapple curry and this chicken tikka masala!
What spices are in this curry?
Notes on the spices in this dish:
- Use mild or spicy chili powder and yellow curry powder, depending on how spicy you like the dish.
- As always, I highly recommend that you use high-quality spices from a dedicated spice shop for this recipe. High quality spices make a huge difference in any dish and that is especially true for curries.
How to make it:
See full ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below!
Although this dish is made in the slow cooker, there is a bit of prep work involved but the curry is so flavorful that it is worth the effort.
Make an onion puree:
The recipe starts with the preparation of an onion puree, a common ingredient used in Indian cooking. The puree gives the sauce its structure and is easily made by boiling chunks of onion in water and then pureeing them in the food processor.
Step 1. Chop a white or yellow onion into 1- to 2-inch chunks and boil (uncovered) in water until almost all the water has evaporated. Let cool a bit.
Step 2. Process the onion into a puree, then set aside.
Make a curry spice paste:
The next step is the curry spice paste. It’s made with ground spices along with fresh garlic that are mixed together with a few tablespoons of water.
Step 3. While the cooked onion is cooling, grab a small bowl and add the spices.
Step 4. Mix the spices with water to make a paste, then set aside.
Prepare the chicken:
Step 5. In a Dutch oven, sear boneless, skinless chicken thighs in vegetable oil.
Step 6. Move the chicken thighs over to one side of the Dutch oven, then add the spice seeds and fry.
Step 7. Add the onion puree, carrot and a star anise.
Step 8. Fry for 10 minutes, then take out the star anise.
Slow cook the chicken:
Step 9. Add the spice paste, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and chicken broth.
Step 10. Bring to a simmer, then transfer and cook in the slow cooker on low for 3 hours. Stir in sour cream, then season to taste with salt.
Frequently asked questions:
You can serve the curry with naan or with rice and garnish with fresh cilantro. For extra substance and additional flavors, fry one egg per dish and serve on top of the curry.
The spiciness of this curry is determined by the ground spices. Use a mild chili powder and a mild yellow curry powder for a milder dish and medium for a spicier one.
Transfer any leftovers into an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to 2 days.
Yes, you can make the curry up to 2 days ahead and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Yes, this curry freezes well and you can transfer it into a freezer bag after letting it cool to room temperature, seal and put in the freezer.
More delicious curry recipes:
- Chicken Tikka Masala (Dutch Oven & Grill)10 Hours 40 Minutes
- Thai Pineapple Yellow Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk50 Minutes
- Curried Corn with Basil and Coconut Milk (with frozen corn)20 Minutes
- Grilled Curry Chicken Bites Appetizer with Mango Basil Sauce1 Hours 10 Minutes
See all recipes with curry powder →
Did you make this recipe? Please leave a star rating or comment! Thanks!
Full Printable Recipe
Slow Cooker Indian Chicken Curry with Chicken Thighs
- measuring cups and spoons
- knife and cutting board
- garlic press (optional)
- food processor
- rubber spatula
- mixing bowl
- Dutch oven
- kitchen tongs
- wooden spoon
- slow cooker
- 1 medium-large white or yellow onion (about 10 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons powdered ginger
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 4 teaspoons mild or medium yellow curry powder* (depending on how spicy you would like the dish)
- 4 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed through a garlic press
- ½ tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs**
- ¼ teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
- ¼ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
- ¼ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- ¼ teaspoon whole brown or yellow mustard seeds
- 1 whole star anise
- ½ carrot, sliced
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes (8 ½ ounces)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ⅔ cup full-fat sour cream or more, if desired
- cilantro, for garnish
- 2 over easy eggs, optional
- Peel the onion and chop into 1- to 2-inch chunks. Add the chunks to a pot along with 1 cup of water and boil uncovered until almost all water has evaporated. Let cool for a bit.
- Transfer the boiled onion along with any remaining water into a food processor and process into a puree. Set aside.
- Combine ginger, turmeric, curry powder, chili powder and garlic in a small bowl.
- Stir 3 tablespoons of water into the spices and mix with a spoon to make a paste. Set aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a Dutch oven until shimmering. Sear the chicken thighs on both sides in the hot oil.
- Turn the heat down, 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).
- Carefully add the onion puree, then the star anise and the carrot.
- Turn the heat back up a bit and fry the onion and carrot for 10 minutes. Remove the star anise and discard.
- Add the spice paste, 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.
- Stir in the sour cream, then season to taste with a little bit of salt.
- Serve the curry with naan or rice and sprinkle with cilantro.
- For extra flavor and substance, fry one egg per serving (either sunny side up or over easy) and serve on top of the curry.
Nutrition Information (Estimated):
Nutrition values provided on this website are generated from a nutrition database and are estimates only. The accuracy of the nutrition information for any recipe on this website is not guaranteed. Nutrition values can vary quite a lot depending on which brands are used.
Nicole B: I am most eager to try your recipe but one ingredient baffles me – what is yellow curry powder? Thanks
Yellow curry powder is a spice blend. The exact ingredients differ slightly from recipe to recipe but the commonly used spices are coriander, turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, cumin, cinnamon, black pepper, yellow mustard seeds and more. You can get a yellow curry powder blend at a spice shop; I like to use this one from The Savory Spice Shop: https://www.savoryspiceshop.com/products/medium-yellow-curry-powder?variant=41271571579067
Kevin | Keviniscooking
I just returned from 2 weeks in India and I may wait a week before I try, this, but I’m liking your slow cooker version here Nicole. I like the onion technique in this too. Sounds quite tasty. :)
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. :)
How can you possibly use dried ginger? Fresh ginger adds another dimension!
I like dried ginger! But I’ve got nothing against fresh ginger either. :)
Melinda | Sprinkle and a Dash
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
I agree completely with you, Melinda! I’ll check out your naan recipe.
Marisa Franca @ All Our Way
The photo is gorgeous — like your curry everything blends together beautifully for a great shot. I am anxious to get home so that I can get my hands on my spices. This will be one of the first dishes I make. YUM!!
Thank you so much, Marisa! Hope you like the curry. :)
Mary Ann | The Beach House Kitchen
I just LOVE Indian curries too Nicole! Cannot wait to give this gorgeous dish a try!
I agree, Indian curries (and also Thai curries) are awesome! :)
Wow, I’m crazy for Indian food and THIS curry looks to-die-for!!!!!
Thank you, Tori! I absolutely love Indian food too! :)