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Recipe | Slow Cooker Tikka Masala (Gluten & Dairy Free)

I don’t usually like to play favorites, but this Slow Cooker Tikka Masala might be my all-time favorite crockpot meal. It’s dairy free, gluten free, full of flavor, and it’s easy to tweak the spice level for any audience. So easy, inexpensive, and great for a night when you are craving something good but have limited time or energy. You can also throw in leftover grilled chicken or rotisserie chicken and it works great as well. Tag me @anniweeks when you make it and tell me what you think!

Note: This recipe is adapted from one found at The Evolving Table. It yields about 6 servings, so it is perfect for a last minute family dinner or yummy leftovers for a young couple! Also a great meal prep lunch or dinner for roommates or singles. It’s one of our new favorites!


1 ½ pounds chicken (~ 2 cups cooked & cubed)

1 sweet onion, chopped

16 oz tomato sauce (~ 2 cups)

1 Tbsp. tomato paste

2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 ½ tsp. Garlic powder

1 Tbsp. Ground ginger

1 can coconut milk (my favorite brand linked here)

Tikka Masala seasoning:

1 ½ Tbsp. Garam Masala

1 tsp ground cumin

2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp turmeric

1 ½ tsp salt

Pinch of cinnamon

Optional: ¼-½ tsp chili powder (depending on how spicy you would like it to be)


  1. Spray or grease your slow cooker (I love this cooking spray). I’ve also used crockpot liners and they work well for quick cleanup!

  2. Place cubed chicken and chopped onion in the slow cooker (the one we use, and love, is listed in 10 Favorite & Functional Items from our Wedding Registry).

  3. In a small bowl, mix together tomato sauce, tomato paste, oil, garlic, ginger, and tikka masala seasonings ( I suggest using this immersion blender with a whisk attachment).

  4. Add sauce to the slow cooker, and give it a little mix to ensure that some sauce gets below the chicken to line the bottom of the cooker.

  5. Set your cooker or timer to 4 hours on the high setting (or 6 hours for the low setting).

  6. After the tikka masala is done cooking, take a portion of the sauce out and mix the coconut milk in. Coconut milk doesn’t curdle, however this step of the process helps to heat the milk slowly before adding it to the mixture altogether. Some separation in the can of coconut milk is normal, and so this also helps to make sure the clumps are blended/mixed out before adding to the crockpot.

  7. Add the coconut milk and sauce mixture back to the slow cooker and turn to “keep warm” setting until heated through or ready to eat (about 15 minutes).

  8. Serve with side dishes like riced cauliflower (this is my favorite from Sprouts) or brown rice for a healthy combination. Enjoy!


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