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Spice up your mid-week meal plan with this healthy, flavorful, and easy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry. Made with tender, juicy chicken thighs, coconut milk, veggies, and a zippy blend of Indian spices, it’s guaranteed to get you out of your dinnertime recipe rut.

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

Whenever I’m hitting a healthy dinner rut, Indian food is the genre that (quite literally) spices my life up once more (this Coconut Curry helps do the trick too!).

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.

Richly flavored, high in protein and fiber, lusciously creamy, and super delicious, not only is this satisfying Indian chicken recipe healthy, but it is easy too!

Seasoned chicken thighs in slow cooker for Indian Chicken Curry recipe

Made almost entirely in a slow cooker (like this Slow Cooker Butter Chicken), it’s a fuss-free, hands-off recipe perfect for the busy work week.

What is Curry?

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

5 Star Review

“This is great! Uncomplicated preparation, complex and deep flavors. The chicken thighs are delicious!”

— Eileen —

How to Make the BEST Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

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

While I love and appreciate the large number of spices and the intense preparation that goes into creating authentic Indian dishes, I like to slim down the ingredient list at home (as seen in this Instant Pot Lentil Curry).

This simple slow cooker chicken curry recipe takes the classic flavor profile of Indian curry and streamlines it to be accessible to home cooks with ingredients you can find in most average U.S. grocery stores.

If you’d like to learn more about Indian food and find great recipes, check out my friend Richa’s blog.

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

Dietary Note

  • As written, this recipe is gluten free and dairy free.
  • For Whole30 chicken curry and Paleo chicken curry, serve with cauliflower rice.
  • If you’d like a vegan or vegetarian curry, check out my Potato Curry.

The Ingredients

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

Ingredient Note

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.

I repeat, 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 since thighs usually perform better with crockpot cooking. (See this Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Chicken for another crockpot chicken thigh recipe.)

Substitution Tip

If you prefer to use chicken breasts, you can certainly make this Indian chicken crockpot recipe with those instead. However, since breasts cook faster than thighs, check your chicken early to ensure it doesn’t overcook.

  • Red Bell Peppers + Sweet 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 (but if you insist, Roasted Cauliflower would be a nice option).

Market Swap

You can swap in other vegetables. Slow cooker curry chicken with peas, potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and/or kale are other tasty options to consider.

Keep in mind the cooking time of other veggies may differ, so if you decide to experiment, keep in mind that your vegetables may be done at different points.

  • Lime Juice. For balance, brightness, and pop. Do yourself a favor and use fresh lime juice rather than the bottled stuff; it makes a HUGE difference.
  • Curry Powder. This blend of spices can be found in the spice aisle of about any standard grocery store. Every spoonful gives you mega bang for your buck (especially in these Curried Deviled Eggs).

Ingredient Note

Is curry powder the same as garam masala? No. While both spice blends are used often in Indian cooking, garam masala typically has a much bolder flavor profile. It includes slightly different spices than the usual curry powder in most American grocery stores.

In a pinch, if all you have on hand is garam masala, you could experiment with substituting it for curry powder. Just know the flavor of the dish will be somewhat different.

  • 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 dedication of toasting and grinding whole spices the way many authentic Indian recipes do.

Is Curry Spicy?

New to the wonderful world of Indian cuisine? Like my favorite Paneer Tikka Masala, this healthy slow cooker chicken curry is aromatic and deeply spiced, but in the warm, rich, flavorful way, not the hot-spicy way (although some curry recipes can be).

This curry tastes exotic enough to feel exciting, but not so exotic that it will scare away the less adventurous eaters in your family. Toddler (and picky husband) approval has been widely reported (ditto for this Chicken Tikka Masala too).

  • Rice or Quinoa. I like to serve this easy slow cooker chicken curry over a bed of fluffy brown or jasmine rice. For an extra boost of protein, quinoa is also a lovely choice.
  • Cilantro. A perfect finish of color and freshness to this slow-cooked, soul-satisfying dish.
Indian Chicken Curry in a slow cooker with vegetables and coconut milk

The Directions

  1. Place the sweet potatoes, bell peppers, water, and lime juice into a slow cooker.
raw chicken thighs on a cutting boards seasoned generously with Indian curry spices
  1. Combine the spices and salt in a small bowl, then season the chicken liberally with 2/3 of the spice mix. Reserve the remaining spice mixture.
a wok with juicy indian spiced curry chicken thighs
  1. Sear the chicken in a skillet over medium-high on both sides briefly until brown.


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 flavor 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 the time to do it.
  • 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.
  • 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.
a slow cooker filled with vegetables and Indian spiced curry chicken pieces
  1. Transfer the seared chicken to the slow cooker and top with the remaining spices. Cover and slow cook the curry on low for 4 to 5 hours, until the chicken is cooked through.


An instant-read thermometer like this one is the best way to tell if the chicken is 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.

  1. Remove the chicken and cut into bite-sized pieces. Meanwhile, add the coconut milk and cornstarch slurry to the slow cooker.
  2. Stir, then cover and cook on HIGH until the sauce thickens slightly (about 15 minutes).
slow cooker chicken curry indian in a crokpot with sweet potatoes
  1. Return the chicken to the slow cooker and cook until the vegetables and chicken are hot and tender. Serve over rice or quinoa or with naan, topped with fresh cilantro. ENJOY!

Storage Tips

  • To Store. 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.
  • To Freeze. I do not recommend freezing this recipe, as the coconut milk tends to separate and become grainy.

What to Serve with Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

  • Programmable Slow Cooker. I like this kind because it can be automatically set to switch to warm.
  • Instant-Read Thermometer. The BEST and most accurate way to know if your chicken is done.
  • Cutting Board. An extra large cutting board like this one is ideal for seasoning the large quantity of chicken for this recipe.

The Best Programmable Slow Cooker

This 7-quart crock pot is big enough even for a large family, and perfect for roasts and holiday gatherings too. Plus, its secure locking lid can travel without spills to parties and potlucks.

Juicy crockpot Indian chicken curry served over rice with vegetables.

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!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Raw Chicken Go in a Slow Cooker?

Of course! Slow cookers are designed to cook raw meats. The searing of the chicken in this recipe does not really cook the chicken. It simply gives it some added color and flavor. The bulk of the cooking happens right in the slow cooker, where the direct heat from the pot and steam fully cook the chicken to a safe temperature for consumption.

Do You Cook Slow Cooker Chicken Curry on High or Low?

For the bulk of this recipe, you can cook this slow cooker chicken curry recipe on either LOW or HIGH. Since chicken thighs are much more forgiving than chicken breasts in a crockpot, you can adjust the temperature to suit your personal timeline. However, I recommend cooking on HIGH for the final 30 minutes of cooking to achieve the right sauce consistency.

Why Does Curry Become Watery in a Slow Cooker?

Unlike stovetop cooking which allows moisture to escape and evaporate during cooking, the moisture in a slow cooker doesn’t evaporate since a lid is kept on for the duration of the cooking process. A cornstarch slurry is added to help the curry thicken and gives the curry body.

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

4.93 from 26 votes
The BEST slow cooker chicken curry with vegetables. Juicy chicken thighs cooked in coconut milk with an Indian blend of spices. So easy!

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 hours
Total: 5 hours 15 minutes

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 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (see note below)
  • 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 remaining spices 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 them 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 cook for 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 for 15 additional minutes on HIGH, until the vegetables and chicken are hot and tender. Serve warm over rice or quinoa or with naan, topped with fresh cilantro.



  • INGREDIENT NOTE: I do not recommend chicken breasts for this recipe, as they tend 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.
  • TO STORE: Store leftovers in the refrigerator 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 until heated through.
  • TO FREEZE: DO NOT FREEZE. Coconut milk will separate and become “grainy” in the freezer.


Serving: 1(of 4) without rice of quinoaCalories: 425kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 35gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 9gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.03gCholesterol: 162mgPotassium: 906mgFiber: 5gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 12744IUVitamin C: 83mgCalcium: 69mgIron: 4mg

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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 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. 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!

  2. 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!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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?5 stars

    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” :)

  6. 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

  7. 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!

  8. 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

  9. 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

  10. 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).

  11. 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!

  12. 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!

  13. My family and I all truly enjoyed this meal, including my 15 month old daughter! Thank you, Erin. 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! :)

  14. 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!

  15. 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

  16. 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. Hope this helps!

  17. I ran out of time to get this into the crock pot today, so I made it entirely on the stovetop instead, browning the spice-rubbed chicken in the olive oil, then adding the veggies and remaining spice. I added a splash of chicken stock for a little moisture, along with the lime juice, and cooked everything until the chicken was done and the vegs were tender. Added some peas at the end before pouring in the slurry and coconut milk. The flavor was delicious and the curry not too spicy. Definitely a keeper and easy to do on the stovetop if that is what the schedule allows.5 stars

  18. Third time making this. The prep is so easy even though it takes me twice as long. 🙂
    The coconut milk and lime juice makes such a great addition.
    Love it!5 stars

      1. Made this today but added an onion and 2 tsp of garam masala. Used regular coconut milk couldn’t find lite. Lemon juice instead of lime as I had lemons to use up. It was delicious! Thank you I’ll be making this on the regular!4 stars

    1. Hi Lena! It’s there! It’s just the formatting of the recipe card that is a little off. Step 2 starts with “In a small bowl” Hope you enjoy the recipe!

    1. Hi Lisa, no I’m sorry I don’t. I haven’t tested it this way. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!

  19. My go to curry recipe! My family loves this dinner so much! We like to prep it in the morning (or night before) and pop it in the slow cooker in morning and come home to curry for dinner.5 stars

    1. Hi Mike! You probably could but it would give the final dish a little different taste than the one here. Hope you enjoy it!

  20. After cooking for two hours on low, it smelled like it was burning. I lifted the lid and repositioned the thighs but it doesn’t seem like enough liquid is in there. Not sure how to correct that.

  21. This was super easy and good, but not as good as we would have liked. It lacked the depth of flavor you want from a curry. When we make it again (and we will), we plan to add onion and garlic, increase the amount of all spices, and toast them before using them.

    1. Agree 100%. Definitely add an onion, double the salt, 1.5x lime juice. 1.5x spices. Been working in perfecting this for my own tastes….make it your own. Great recipe to start from though!

  22. We have made your Chicken Shawarma and Greek Chicken and recv’d rave reviews. In fact, the Shawarma is the most requested dish by family and friends alike. The added bonus is that we live in Arizona so I don’t have to turn an oven on.

    Your Chicken Curry was delicious! I followed your recipe exactly as written and it is another 5 star recipe from you and so easy to make.5 stars

    1. Hi JGP! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review! Glad you are enjoying all of the recipes!!

  23. SO good.
    As someone who loves curry and always looks for easy meals (shout out to having infant twins and being pregnant)
    -I cooked the chicken in the crockpot for 3 hours and added 1cup of chicken broth to help prevent it from being dry.
    -I also doubled the spice and added garlic
    10/10 will be making this again!5 stars

  24. Wow, I stumbled on to your site and found a real winner! I can’t wait to make some of your other recipes.

    As for this one, I improvised a little. I doubled the recipe. I had no red peppers, so I substituted green. I have to admit I was a little afraid to use two full cans of coconut milk – I had only regular and it’s quite caloric – so I used one. I had no cornstarch, so I used white flour.

    Nonetheless, it was fantastic. The spice quantities make for a bold dish, which I love. My family was expecting a routine Thursday night dinner, and everyone did a double take. I am now wondering what this would have been like as written. Thank you!5 stars

  25. This was my challenge: cooking for my daughter-in-law who is gluten free, dairy free and nightshade free. This recipe was wonderful! The only change I made was to switch the bell peppers (nightshade) with chopped onions and carrots. She loved it so much, she asked for the recipe. Also of note, I froze the leftovers in serving size portions and they are still delicious.5 stars

  26. Made this tonight for the first time. My family and I LOVED IT! I didn’t have a sweet potato so I added 4 small peeled and diced russet potatoes. I also only added a pinch of chile powder because I have kids who don’t like too much spice. This recipe was DELICIOUS. Will make again and highly recommend.5 stars

  27. I’ve made this recipe twice now and it is just so good! I followed the recipe exactly and it is just so delicious.5 stars

    1. Hi Alissa! I haven’t tested this recipe out in the instant pot. A few factors to keep in mind is that the sweet potatoes and peppers will cook quicker than the chicken. If you decide to try it, let us know how it goes!