Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Sliders

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Sliders |

This post was approved by Kiwi. I wouldn’t dare share an Indian recipe without his buy-in.

When I first mentioned “butter chicken,” he hesitated. And at “sliders,” he raised his eyebrows, as if to say—“could you be any whiter, my love?”

But who can resist a pile of slow-cooked shredded chicken piled high on a soft slider bun? Not Kiwi, certainly. And once he got over the whiteness of it all, he was on board and full of ideas: “oh, it would be great with a little mango chutney and some sliced red onions….oh and cilantro…definitely cilantro”.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Sliders |

I’ve always considered butter chicken to be essentially the California roll of Indian food: culturally influenced perhaps—but hardly authentic—and engineered for sensitive (read: white) palates. But if you trust what Wikipedia has to say about it, butter chicken is actually “Murgh Makani” a popular dish of Punjabi origin that is served in India. You hear that Kiwi? Served in India.

Granted the authentic Indian version isn’t typically whipped up in a crock pot, I expect. More likely slow-cooked in a tandoor and then lovingly bathed in a complexly-spiced curry.

Neither would it be piled onto soft rolls and called a “slider,” though it would be scooped up with warm fresh naan bread, which in my mind is pretty close.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Sliders |

Many recipes for butter chicken call for a mixture of garam masala and curry powder, but the combination of garam masala (which you can buy at just about any decent grocery store these days), cumin, turmeric, and fresh garlic and ginger in this recipe is almost as simple, and makes for a more layered and complex flavour, which is everything in Indian cuisine. (Incidentally, and much to Kiwi’s dismay, I do use curry powder liberally in my kitchen, a practice which I will defend in a different post!)

The slow cooker makes this recipe really easy to pull off. Saute the onions, garlic, ginger and spices, add the liquids, and then pour everything over the chicken and let it cook slowly while you sleep or work.

Butter Chicken Sliders |

Someone will inevitably ask if the onion-browning step can be skipped (everyone loves a dump and go slow cooker recipe), and while I’m sure it would be fine that way, I’m also sure it won’t be even half as good as the version that starts in a skillet. If you can’t imagine browning onions and garlic early in the morning (I’m not a fan), consider doing it the night before, then refrigerating the mixture and dumping it into the slow cooker in the morning.

If you don’t like the idea of butter chicken in a bun, it’s also delicious over rice or quinoa. And the Bean had the great idea to stuff the leftovers into corn tortillas with a dollop of sour cream and a handful of avocado. Butter chicken tacos, anyone?

Which brings me to my final point, this is a kid-pleaser if ever there was one: soft, flavourful but mild (if you skip the cayenne), rich and creamy. My little guy shovels it in with both his hands, and the Bean doesn’t ask me to wash off the sauce! Win.

Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Sliders |

4.6 from 8 reviews
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Sliders
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8-10
  • 2½ tablespoons of butter (or oil, to make this recipe dairy free)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 thumb-size pieces of ginger root, peeled and finely grated
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon cayenne (optional; leave out if you have spice-averse kids)
  • 1 398 ml / 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 1 small (156 ml / 5 oz) can tomato paste
  • 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ cup whipping cream (optional)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • For serving: small slider-sized buns or cooked rice, cilantro, shredded cabbage, mango chutney, sliced cucumber
  1. Heat the oil or butter in a medium-sized skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it is soft and starting to brown. Add garlic and ginger and continue to cook until the onion is brown and caramelized. Stir regularly so that the garlic and ginger do not burn.
  2. Add the garam masala, cumin and turmeric, and cook, stirring constantly until they become fragrant.
  3. Stir in the coconut milk and tomato paste. Bring to a boil and then take the mixture off the heat.
  4. At this point you can either transfer the mixture to the fridge or freezer and use it later, or dump it into the slow cooker and use it now.
  5. Combine the chicken thighs and coconut milk mixture in the bowl of the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken thighs are very tender.
  6. Remove the chicken thighs to a plate and shred them. Whisk the cornstarch into the sauce and turn the slow cooker to high. Stir in the whipping cream, if using. (To prevent the cream from curdling, add a little of the butter chicken sauce into the whipping cream to bring it to room temperature, and then dump the mixture into the crock pot). Add salt and pepper to taste. (You will need quite a bit of salt; I added about 2 teaspoons.)
  7. Dump the shredded chicken back into the sauce and serve on slider buns or rice with your favourite condiments and garnishes. Alternatively you can pile the shredded chicken onto the buns, and drizzle the sauce overtop.
  8. Leftovers can be cooled in the fridge and then frozen in Ziploc bags or containers.


27 Responses to Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Sliders

  1. Kay Hughes September 20, 2018 at 6:51 am #

    This is an exact recipe that what I was looking for. Thanks for sharing the amazing recipe with us! that is very simple and easy to cook and I am always searching for new recipes like this.

  2. Sj June 20, 2018 at 10:49 pm #

    Made this tonight for dinner. Amazing! Thank you for sharing, have been looking for the perfect butter chicken recipe (Bonus that it’s in the slow cooker!)

  3. Law Coursework Help June 1, 2018 at 12:29 am #

    The recipe beneath is my go to favorite way of making slow cooker this recipe I used chicken breast, however I additionally use pork, chicken thighs, and red meat. in case you follow the steps because the recipe proven underneath and keep the flavor and herb profile, you could alternate up the protein and greens however nevertheless get a brilliant wet and flavorful stew:

  4. Karena Minh October 11, 2017 at 12:09 am #

    Why is it okay to stereotype white people and their pallets?

  5. Anita April 1, 2016 at 11:03 am #

    Would this work with chicken breast instead ? Any modifications ?

    • Sarah April 4, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

      Hi Anita — I wouldn’t put chicken breasts in the slow cooker. They dry out too easily.

  6. Sonia January 26, 2016 at 9:20 pm #

    Just made this today, it was awesome!

    • Sarah February 10, 2016 at 8:11 am #

      Glad you enjoyed!

  7. Eva September 3, 2015 at 11:15 am #

    Made the dairy free version of this and it turned out amazing!

    • Sarah September 15, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

      Hooray! So glad to hear it!!!

  8. CurryCook August 17, 2015 at 2:14 pm #

    “More likely _slow cooked_ in a tandoor”.

    Nothing is “slow cooked” in a tandoor. The temperature in a tandoor is hotter than any conventional oven in a typical American kitchen.

    Wikipedia: Temperatures in a tandoor can approach 900 degrees F.

    • Sarah August 31, 2015 at 12:53 pm #

      Ha ha good point CurryCook! 🙂

  9. Agata August 13, 2015 at 1:35 pm #

    Sounds like a great summer party dish. I bet my friends would go mad for this sliders

  10. Karen Kelly | August 12, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

    This looks like a great dish for a crowd. I love pulled pork or chicken when I have lots of people over. It’s so easy! And I would love to see my little ones shovel it in. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Donna August 12, 2015 at 3:28 pm #

    Yum, this sounds (and looks) so amazing! I don’t care if its not ‘traditional’ 🙂 Pinned for sure!

  12. whitney August 12, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    Absolutely gorgeous! You know what? People may roll eyes when you use curry powder…but I mean if you make your own, it’s pretty much just an easier and shorter way of adding spices to curries! Why keep 20 jars when you can have one? I wouldn’t use a market bought curry powder, unless I have a good look at the ingredients. But it does come in handy! Especially for people who don’t cook a lot of Indian food. I have a cabinet full of Indian spices, but every now and then I bust out the curry powder 🙂

    • Sarah August 12, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

      Love this! Good point Whitney :-). Thanks for making me feel less guilty about my curry powder habit. Ha.

  13. Kathleen | Hapa Nom Nom August 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

    Butter chicken, yes! Sliders, yes! Each one on it’s own is incredible, but the combination of the two is phenomenal! I absolutely LOVE this dish – I seriously want to do a face-plant into the screen! And when it’s hot outside, nothing beats a slow cooker!

    • Sarah August 12, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

      Agree re. slow cooker! I’ve always considered it more of a fall or winter thing. But it’s actually a perfect way to cook meat in the summer. Thanks for stopping by Kathleen :-).

  14. Claudia | The Brick Kitchen August 8, 2015 at 5:32 am #

    Oh my goodness this looks gorgeous! I think authenticity is always very debatable, so just go for what tastes the best!! What do you think the best way of cooking the chicken would be without a slow cooker? Very keen to try but don’t own one as yet… would love to know your thoughts!

  15. Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits August 8, 2015 at 12:59 am #

    Sarah, I’m so glad you stopped by my blog! It’s great to be meeting another fellow lawyer turned food blogger! These slow cooker sliders look absolutely scrumptious. I just want to grab one and eat it now!

  16. Thalia @ butter and brioche August 7, 2015 at 11:36 pm #

    I love that you’ve turned the flavours of butter chicken into a slider! This is such an awesome and I bet delicious recipe. Totally craving one of these to devour now.

  17. Felesha August 7, 2015 at 8:14 pm #

    You had a me at butter! 🙂 Looks great and yummy!!

  18. Chris @ SimpleFood365 August 7, 2015 at 7:11 pm #

    Love the way this looks and sounds! This is going on the must try list!

  19. Meredith @ The Weekday Gourmet August 7, 2015 at 6:59 pm #

    I love butter chicken! The sliders are such a cute idea!

  20. Alex from Sew, Simmer, and Share August 7, 2015 at 6:39 pm #

    These look absolutely delicious!! I must be even whiter than you though, because I’ve never had butter chicken. Well, at least I think so? People just hand me things and say, “It’s __insert food__ curry” and then I eat it.

  21. I think I can eat a dozen of these… your sliders look deliciious and I like the fact that you used red cabbage along with the other ingredients.

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