Dinner for $10 (or Less): Slow-Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala

Slow-cooked chicken tikka masala

Why go out for Indian food when you can harness the powers of your Crock–Pot or slow cooker? (Seriously, it will save you money.) Sure, it likely won't be 100 percent authentic, but if you play your cards right, your meal will be quite memorable.


(Your taste buds should be going bonkers right about now.)

This recipe is pretty simple to conquer and will give you some pretty serious bragging rights. If anything, it can become a go-to chicken dish to keep in your arsenal of recipes. Happy cooking.

Slow-Cooked Chicken Tikka Masala (adapted from recipe in Clean Eating)


  • 5 boneless chicken thighs
  • 1 6-oz. can tomato paste
  • 1 14.5-oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Homemade garam masala (see recipe below)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro

(Homemade garam masala recipe)

  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cardamon
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon (smoked) paprika

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1. In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, ginger, cumin, garlic powder, and lemon juice. Add in chicken thighs and coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.

Slow-cooked chicken tikka masala

2. Meanwhile, turn slow cooker on low heat. Once hot, add diced onions, and half a tablespoon of ginger and cumin. Mix together and cook for five minutes.

Slow-cooked chicken tikka masala

3. Stir in tomato paste and crushed tomatoes.

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4. Preheat the broiler. Place marinated chicken on a baking sheet (use tinfoil to prevent messiness) and broil for 10 minutes.

Slow-cooked chicken tikka masala

5. Mix together homemade garam masala ingredients in a small bowl. Stir in garam masala mixture into slow cooker.

6. Add chicken thighs to the slow cooker. Make sure the sauce fully coats the chicken.

Slow-cooked chicken tikka masala

(I know, it looks amazeballs.)

7. Cover and cook for four hours.

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8. Once done, remove chicken from slow cooker. Stir in heavy cream to the sauce and re-insert chicken thighs.

Slow-cooked chicken tikka masala

(Optional: Add cilantro as garnish.)

Price of items used:

  • $5 - Boneless chicken thighs
  • $2 - Heavy cream
  • $1 - Plain yogurt
  • $1 - Crushed tomatoes
  • $0.50 - Tomato paste
  • $0.50 - Onion



Images via Tanvier Peart

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