Whenever I’m hitting a healthy dinner rut, Indian food is the genre that (quite literally) spices my life up once more. Recipes like this Slow Cooker Chicken Curry make me feel genuinely excited about what we are eating and proud of the flavors I can create.

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry thighs with an Indian coconut milk sauce and vegetables, served over rice

Add the fact that this crockpot Indian chicken recipe is healthy, so I know we are nourishing ourselves well and it’s great leftover. AND, the crockpot makes the situation hands-free, and my little culinary heart is full.

And, since Indian slow cooker chicken curry is richly flavored, high in protein and fiber, lusciously creamy, and super delicious, rest assured that my tummy is full too!

Indian chicken curry and I have a long and happy history. I spent a month after college traveling through India, though ironically my first taste of Indian curry wasn’t in India at all.

It was in northern Indiana at an Indian lunch buffet.

I stepped inside the tiny restaurant and was immediately intoxicated with the exotic perfume of rich spices that permeated the air. From my first bite of coconut chicken curry, Indian food became one of my favorite cuisines. Whether or not you’ve tried Indian food, this crockpot chicken curry is sure to captivate you too!

Like my favorite Slow Cooker Butter Chicken and Red Lentil Curry, this healthy slow cooker chicken curry is aromatic, and deeply spiced (in the warm, rich, flavorful way, not the hot-spicy way). It tastes exotic enough to feel exciting, but not so exotic that it will scare away the less adventurous eaters in your family.

Don’t believe me? Check the reviews for my Instant Pot Butter Chicken and Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala. Toddler (and picky husband) approval has been widely reported.

Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry thighs served over rice with naan bread

How to Make Delicious (EASY) Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

Though Americans often use the term curry to refer to a specific spice blend called curry powder (which we will get to momentarily), “curry” is a general term for a range of saucy dishes that are served over rice (try Turmeric Rice) or with naan bread. They’re especially popular in India and Southeast Asia.

I won’t pretend this is an authentic Indian chicken curry.

You’ll find various iterations of coconut milk chicken curry dishes like this one on many Indian menus. While in India, I took a cooking class. One of the most eye-opening aspects of it was the large number of spices and intense preparation that goes into authentic Indian dishes. They are fabulous. But at home for us, it’s this slimmed down, real simple Slow Cooker Chicken Curry recipe.

To make this recipe a healthy slow cooker chicken dinner, I took the classic flavor profile and lightened it up with plenty of fresh veggies, lean chicken, and light versus full-fat coconut milk.

To make the recipe accessible to home cooks, I also significantly streamlined the ingredient list, keeping only what you can find in average U.S. grocery stores.

Authentic or not, it is absolutely scrumptious and includes many of the Indian flavors and ingredients that stole my heart.

Indian Chicken Curry in a slow cooker with vegetables and coconut milk

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry Ingredients

Today’s Slow Cooker Chicken Curry Recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients to give it big-time flavor in a fraction of the time.

The base ingredients for this recipe are:

  • Coconut Milk. Making Indian chicken curry with coconut milk makes it rich and creamy and balances the spices. I use light coconut milk to make the recipe healthy, but for the full, creamy effect, you can use whole (regular) coconut milk.

I am often asked if you can put coconut milk in a crockpot—the answer is yes, but not until the end of the recipe. Do not add coconut milk to a slow cooker right at the beginning; it will curdle as the recipe cooks. If you wait until the end, however, you are good to go and will be rewarded with rich, creamy coconut milk goodness.

  • Chicken. I opt to make this a slow cooker curry chicken thighs recipe, as thighs usually perform better with crockpot cooking; they can stand up to longer stints in the crockpot without drying out. If you prefer to use chicken breasts, you can certainly make this Indian chicken crockpot recipe with those instead; check your chicken early to make sure it doesn’t overcook.
  • Red Bell Peppers + Sweet Potatoes (or Regular Potatoes). Anytime I can “one pan” a meal, I will. Adding fresh veggies to the recipe makes it a well-rounded dish, no separate vegetable side required. You can swap in other vegetables. Slow Cooker Curry Chicken with Potatoes is another one of our favorites and a classic Indian combination.

This chicken curry also uses a blend of spices to give it rich, authentic flavor. As promised, all of them are widely available, no specialty shopping required.

  • Curry Powder. This is a blend of a large number of spices and can be found in the spice aisle of about any standard grocery store or online here. Every spoonful gives you mega bang for your buck, because you are adding so many spices to your recipes at once.
  • Cumin and Chili Powder. The mild heat works well with the sweeter profile of curry powder. (If you’re looking for a curry recipe with more heat, check out my Jamaican Curry Chicken.)
  • Smoked Paprika. Admittedly, not super traditional in Indian cooking but SO GOOD and a game-changing shortcut. It gives you instant, intense flavor without the fuss of toasting and grinding whole spices the way many authentic Indian recipes do.
  • Fresh Lime Juice. For balance, brightness, and pop.

Seasoned chicken thighs in slow cooker for Indian Chicken Curry recipe

Recipe Secrets to Cooking the Most Flavorful Crockpot Chicken Curry

While you can put raw chicken in a slow cooker (you do not need to brown the chicken first), I find that you miss out on a major meal opportunity.

  • Browning the chicken on the stove before you put it into the slow cooker makes a big impact on the outcome of your dish, especially if you are cooking whole chicken thighs or chicken breasts. You won’t ever regret taking time for it.
  • In the case of this Slow Cooker Chicken Curry, I took the browning a step further by coating the chicken in the spices FIRST, then searing it on the stove. It activates the spices and gives the chicken a bit of a blackened effect that pops with every bite.

TIP: Work quickly! You don’t need to cook the chicken all the way through; the chicken will still be raw in the middle when you place it in the crock pot and will finish cooking with the recipe.

How to Know if Your Crock Pot Chicken is Cooked

  • An instant read thermometer like this one is the best way to tell if it’s done. I remove the chicken when it reaches 160 degrees F; the carry over cooking time takes it to the FDA’s recommended 165 degrees F (feel free to check it once more if you’d like to be 100% safe).

Juicy crockpot Indian chicken curry served over rice with vegetables.

Serving Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

The beauty of this recipe is that it is an all-in-one meal! The only thing you’ll need is something for sopping up that tasty coconut milk curry sauce.

  • Brown Rice. This is our go-to. It adds a serving of whole grains and sops up the yummy sauce. For extra protein, you can use quinoa. (Bonus: It keeps the recipe naturally gluten free for those with dietary concerns as well.)
  • Cauliflower Rice. A perfect option if you’re looking to make this Crockpot Chicken Curry low carb.
  • Naan. The fluffy bread of my Indian food dreams! You can make naan from scratch with my Homemade Naan recipe or buy it from a store (like I did for this Grilled Naan Pizza with Strawberry Chicken and Avocado).

Dietary Considerations

  • As written, this recipe is naturally gluten free, dairy free, and Whole30 chicken curry and Paleo chicken curry if served with cauliflower rice.
  • If you’d like a vegan or vegetarian curry, check out my Potato Curry, the Red Lentil Curry linked above, or my Coconut Curry with chickpeas.

How to Store Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

  • To refrigerate: Let cool completely and transfer to an airtight container. You can store the rice either with the curry or separately. Refrigerate for up to 5 days.
  • To reheat: Mix your desired portion of rice and chicken curry (if not already combined). Warm gently in the microwave or stovetop.
  • I do not recommend freezing this recipe, as the coconut milk tends to separate and become grainy.

Recommended Tools to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

I hope to return to India one day. Until I do, I’m happy to have this Slow Cooker Chicken Curry to remind me of my trip. With a prep time of fewer than 10 minutes and ingredients you can find in any grocery store, this crock pot meal is a fast, healthy way to satisfy my coconut chicken curry craving, no plane ticket or jet lag required!

If you’re love this recipe, check out my full list of other healthy crock pot chicken recipes.

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry thighs with an Indian coconut milk sauce and vegetables, served over rice

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

4.41 from 15 votes
Slow Cooker Chicken Curry made with easy ingredients. Juicy chicken cooked in a coconut milk sauce with veggies. Not too spicy and authentic Indian flavor!

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 5 hrs
Total: 5 hrs 15 mins

Servings: 4 servings


  • 1 large sweet potato scrubbed and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 red bell peppers cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice about 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons  smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 can light coconut milk 14 ounces; (for a thicker, creamier sauce, use regular coconut milk)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch mixed with 3 tablespoons water to create a slurry
  • For serving: prepared brown rice or quinoa; chopped fresh cilantro


  • Place the sweet potatoes and bell peppers in the bottom of a 5-quart or larger slow cooker. Pour the water and lime juice over the top.
  • In a small bowl, combine the curry, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Place the chicken thighs on a large plate or cutting board, and sprinkle both sides with about 2/3 of the spice mix. Rub to coat, then set the remain spice mixture aside.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high. Once the oil is hot and shiny, add the chicken thighs and briefly pan sear on each side, just until brown— about 2 minutes for the first side and 1 minute for the second side. Place the seared chicken in the slow cooker, on top of the vegetables. Sprinkle with the remaining spice mixture. Cover and cook on low for 4 to 5 hours or high for 2 to 3 hours, until the chicken is cooked through. It should register 165 degrees F on an instant read thermometer.
  • Remove the chicken thighs from the slow cooker and transfer to a cutting board. Once cool enough to handle, cut the chicken into bite-size pieces or shred it with two forks. Set aside.
  • Pour the coconut milk and cornstarch slurry into the slow cooker, and stir to combine with the vegetables and cooking liquid. Turn the slow cooker heat to high, cover, and let cook 15 minutes, until the sauce thickens slightly. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and stir to combine and coat the chicken in the sauce.  Recover and cook 15 additional minutes, until the vegetables and chicken are hot and tender. Serve warm over rice or quinoa or with naan, topped with fresh cilantro.


  • I do not recommend chicken breasts for this recipe, as they have a tendency to dry out in the slow cooker. If you decide to use chicken breasts, watch the cooking time very carefully, as the chicken will cook more quickly and can easily become too dry.
  • Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. DO NOT FREEZE. Coconut milk will separate and become "grainy" in the freezer.


Serving: 1(of 4) with 1/2 cup prepared brown riceCalories: 398kcalCarbohydrates: 22gProtein: 35gFat: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 4g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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  1. I’ve never seen the Just Bare brand before but I have to try it now! I LOVE anything with tons of spice and coconut milk, which probably explains why I love Indian food so much. This is such a perfect recipe for summer so the house doesn’t get hot and you can “set it and forget it!” Gorgeous photos Erin!!

  2. Oh wow – your slow cooker chicken curry looks mouthwatering, Erin! I haven’t seen Just BARE Chicken at my grocery store – I find it so cool that you can trace the chicken! So cool!

  3. o delicious! I love how you can achieve so much flavor with so little hands on time using the slow cooker :)

      1. Just made this last night, it was DELICIOUS! Thank you so much for sharing. I do have one question though, after rubbing the thighs with the spice mixture, do you toss out any remaining mixture or do you include it in the crock-pot?

        1. Rita, I can’t recall exactly, but I’m pretty sure I put ALL of the spices on the thighs. If you were happy with how it turned out though, I think you should do it exactly the same way next time :) Thanks so much for letting me know that you enjoyed it. It means a lot!

          1. I so appreciate your response and next time I will use all the spices. Love the creative mindset…we are a family of weavers, bakers and quilters! Thank YOU again, your chicken curry has become part of our “rotation” :)

  4. I adore Indian food and this slow cooker curry looks incredible! I’ve got to try making this for dinner soon. My kind of meal :D

  5. Wouldn’t normally try a new recipe when we’re having company over, but did just that on Sunday. Expecting the best, I even made a double batch to have leftovers for the week. 100% hit!! Everyone especially commented on the flavor of the potatoes – cooked in the chicken broth & lime juice. (Next time I’ll do more potatoes and skip the brown rice.) This will be a repeat. Thank you for the goodness!5 stars

    1. Tami, I am so so excited to hear this (and honored that you even took a risk!). Thanks for taking time to share this kind review. It means a lot!

  6. This was delicious and soo easy! I halved it with my Paprika app which was fairly accurate and I did need more cornstarch. There is a little added bonus to this recipe….I had leftover sauce and discovered it was a wonderful cold soup!5 stars

    1. Paula, I’m so excited that you loved this recipe so much. Thanks for the tip about the soup too. YUM!

  7. Yum. Eating this every day this week for lunch. I love your recipes. Thanks for investing your time to make such great and healthy recipes.5 stars

    1. Roxie, I can’t stop smiling since reading this comment! I’m so glad that you loved this recipe and my others too. Thank you!

  8. I’m in Indiana, and my favorite Indian place is in Fort Wayne, Taj Mahal. I could eat there for DAYS. Thanks for what looks like a great recipe! It is officially on my list for next week’s dinners. My 17 year old will be thrilled. He adores Indian food.

  9. Did anyone else find this too acidic? I’m thinking cut the lime juice in 1/2 next time but would like to know if anyone tried some other fix? I’m thinking of adding something sweet?

    1. Hi Anne! I haven’t heard that from others, but you can certainly reduce the lime next time. Otherwise a teaspoon or two of brown or coconut sugar should help balance out the flavor for you.

  10. This is great! Uncomplicated preparation, complex and deep flavors. The chicken thighs are delicious, and this recipe makes the most of their fat comteny and fall-apart texture.5 stars

  11. Hi! Did I miss when you add the low sodium chicken broth into the recipe? I read and reread but don’t see it.

    1. Hi Beth! I apologize, there shouldn’t be any chicken broth in the ingredient list. It was used in a old version of the recipe, and was left on the list by mistake. It has been removed now. Thank you so much for pointing it out!

  12. Hi, Erin. Can’t wait to try this. For the last 15 minutes, after you add in the cut-up chicken, does it get cooked on High?
    So Excited,
    Dani in HI

    1. Hi Dani! Thanks for your question! Yes, you continue cooking on high after you add the chicken back. I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  13. Chicken curry is devine. And can get all the ingredients in the UK. A big bonus. Really looking forward to trying all your healthy recipes.
    ?5 stars

  14. This was yummy! I added frozen peas for the last 15 minutes of cooking, and that worked great to add more veggies and a little green. Will definitely make again.5 stars

  15. So delicious! My dish didn’t look as pretty as yours, my chicken fell apart as soon as I took it out of the slow cooker and sweet potatoes got pretty soft. I could probably cook it a little bit shorter next time. But if was finger-licking good. And again, my son loved it. He didn’t even notice sweet potatoes, which he says he doesn’t like and doesn’t want to eat, ever :) :) :) Little did he know ;) I will definitely be making this again. Do you think this can be cooked in an Instant pot? How long would you cook it in an Instant pot?
    Thank you!5 stars

    1. I’m SO happy this recipe was a hit, Irma! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review! I use high pressure (just the regular/manual setting).

    1. Hi Chantel! I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy this recipe. I (and many other readers) enjoyed the flavors of this dish, but I know it can be frustrating to try a recipe and not have it turn out, so I really wish you would’ve enjoyed it!

  16. We LOVE this recipe! My husband and I have it almost weekly. I usually add some ground ginger, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. Lately I’ve been cutting out the sweet potato and red pepper and using sliced carrots and a whole yellow onion instead. I always serve with cauliflower rice and I throw some frozen peas in the crockpot near the end. Delicious and guilt-free! Thanks for another amazing dish!5 stars

    1. Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review, Andrea! I’m so happy to hear that this recipe has been a hit!

  17. I made this last night and it was a hit! I’ve been searching for the perfect curry recipe and this turned out great! I added golden potatoes and carrots and a little extra water to account for the additional veggies and cooked on low for 6.5 hrs and it turned out tender and delicious. 5 stars

    1. I’m so happy to hear that this recipe was a hit, Jackie! Thank you for taking the time to share this kind review!

  18. I’m very sorry that I cannot recommend this recipe. I followed the recipe exactly except that I did add a handful of golden potatoes. The sauce tasted like cornstarch and vaguely of red pepper. The chicken, I admit, was overcooked as I left it in for 2.5 hours on high instead of checking on it at 2 hours. Regardless, the smoked paprika overwhelmed the curry spice dramatically; I could taste nothing else. Perhaps my palate is too sensitive to the smoked paprika, but this did not taste like an Indian chicken I have ever tasted out or cooked myself. I would try this recipe again but make several alterations and choose the low slow cooker option given instead of the high. I would add garlic, onions, regular instead of smoked paprika, turmeric, a dash of ginger, and some tomato paste.1 star

    1. Hi Jessica, I’m so sorry to hear that this recipe wasn’t to your tastes. I (and many other readers) enjoyed the flavors of this dish, so I really wish it would’ve been a hit for you too. I hope it goes better next time if you decide to try it again!

      1. Hi Erin,

        I sincerely apologize for commenting prematurely and in a rush! I could’t figure out how to edit my comment or rating, so I’m just hitting reply here and hoping that the rating edit makes it to my original comment. I made the mistake of writing my first comment before adding the chicken back into the sauce, which is of course where all the spices were. I tasted each separately and was so disappointed, but the magic happened once I added the chicken back in. After about 15 minutes, both the sauce and the chicken were delicious. I did add more curry, turmeric, garlic powder (normally I’d use fresh, but for the sake of time used dried), and a dash of ginger. However, I think if I had added that last 1/3 of spices (left over from browning the meat) to the sauce directly before putting the chicken on top originally, I may not have felt the need to make any modifications. I will definitely make this recipe again and just try adding in the left-over spices before the chicken.

        My family and I all truly enjoyed this meal, including my 15 month old daughter! Thank you, Erin, and I hope you forgive my initial hasty and negative comment. I will be certainly be coming back to Well Plated to enjoy more of your recipes!4 stars

        1. Thank you SO much for taking the time to report back, Jessica! I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed it! :)

  19. What size slow cooker did you use? That much chicken doesn’t seem like much to fill a mine…but if it doesn’t freeze well I can’t double the recipe. And have you added other veggies…I’m thinking hunks of cauliflower?

    1. Hi Amos! You should use a 5-quart slow cooker or larger for this recipe. And you’re correct, this does not freeze well due to the coconut milk. I haven’t tried cauliflower in this recipe, but you could experiment with it. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

        1. Hi Kyle! I haven’t tried this myself, so it would be an experiment. As long as everything fits nicely into your slow cooker, I think you could try it (though it may take longer for it to cook). I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  20. My husband loves curry, but does not like dark chicken meat (sad trombone) so even though it’s not recommended, I did make this today with chicken breasts and it turned out great so I thought I’d share what I did.  As Erin suggests, you need to be really careful about how long you cook the chicken breasts so that they don’t over cook.  I browned the chicken breasts in a skillet covered in the spices (as in the recipe) and put them in the slow cooker on LOW and I started to check their temperature at around 1.5 hours; mine hit 165 degrees at around 2 hours and at that time I removed the chicken breasts and continued to cook the veggies for the remaining time.  I then added in the shredded chicken breast at the end for the last 15 minutes (where the recipe suggests you add the chicken back in) just to let the flavors come together.  I also took someone else’s suggestion to add in peas with the coconut milk.  It tastes delicious, thank you Erin!5 stars

  21. SO DELICIOUS! It seriously cured my craving for take-out Indian, and so much healthier! The recipe was also so easy to follow. I served it with brown rice and naan bread- can’t wait to make it again. 5 stars

    1. Hi Erica! I’ve not tested this curry recipe without chicken so it would be an experiment to leave it out. You might be interested in some of my other curry recipes. I have a few that don’t require chicken and are vegetarian. https://www.wellplated.com/?s=curry Hope this helps!