This foolproof Slow Cooker Chicken Curry is a set-it-and-forget-it meal bursting with vibrant flavors. It’s naturally gluten and dairy free, and made with simple whole foods, like juicy chicken thighs, sweet potatoes, coconut milk, and Indian spices.
This Slow Cooker Chicken Curry is an incredibly simple and flavorful meal that keeps you out of the kitchen. All you have to do is add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker, leave it to do its thing for a few hours, then enjoy!
Think of it as the meatier version of my Creamy Chickpea Cauliflower Curry. Chicken thighs surrounded by curry sauce, creamy sweet potatoes, and earthy spices cook together in the crockpot before being scooped over beds of coconut rice or bone broth rice. Add a little cilantro on top and you have a filling and comforting meal that’s perfect for dinners, meal prep, or freezing for later.
- It’s a truly “set-it-and-forget-it” meal. It requires only 5 minutes of hands-on work before the slow cooker does the rest.
- Naturally gluten free, dairy free, paleo, and Whole30 compliant.
- It feeds up to 6 people, making it a fantastic choice for family dinners, meal prep, tasty leftovers, or weekly meal prep.
- Chicken thighs - This is my meat of choice in slow cooker recipes because the long cook time better tenderizes the meat and gives all of the flavors a chance to get to know each other. I used boneless, skinless thighs, but bone-in thighs can be used instead. While chicken breasts are also an option, the lean meat isn’t as forgiving as fatty chicken thighs.
- Aromatics - The shallot, garlic cloves and red bell pepper add a deep, savory baseline of flavor. If you don’t have shallots, use red or white onion instead.
- Sweet potato - This highly nutritious root vegetable adds bulk to the curry, as well as fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
- Spices and seasonings - I used curry powder, garam masala, cumin, and coriander to create the yellow curry paste. For extra heat, add a pinch of cayenne, chili powder, smoked paprika, or red pepper flakes.
- Coconut milk - Use canned full-fat coconut milk for the thickest, silkiest consistency.
Step 1: Saute the aromatics. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet on the stove. Once hot, saute the shallot and garlic before transferring the mixture to your slow cooker.
Step 2: Add the rest. Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker and give everything a good stir.
Step 3: Cook. Cook on HIGH until the chicken is cooked through and fall-apart tender. Serve over rice and top with fresh cilantro, then enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
- The curry is done when the chicken easily falls apart and the internal temperature reaches 165°F. At this point, you can shred the pieces or leave them in bite-size chunks.
- Swap the chicken for beef if it better suits your taste buds. Stick with lean cuts with some marbling, like chuck, flank, or skirt steak. Cut the steak into bite-size cubes and brown the pieces on all sides before slow cooking. Check out my Curry Beef Bowl recipe for more tips.
- Or, if meat isn’t your thing, make a vegan yellow curry by substituting chickpeas or tofu for chicken. My Easy Tofu Curry recipe is vegan and full of protein and flavor.
- Bulk up the curry with even more vegetables, like diced carrots, white potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, kombucha squash, cauliflower, broccoli, and acorn squash. At the end of cooking, stir in green peas and leafy greens, like baby spinach, kale, and bok choy.
Can I put raw chicken in a slow cooker?
For this curry, you do not need to cook the chicken before adding it to the slow cooker. Putting raw chicken directly in the slow cooker is perfectly fine.
Can I make it in the Instant Pot instead?
Yes, making chicken curry with coconut milk in the Instant Pot is a breeze. First, use Saute mode to cook the shallots and garlic. Then add the chicken and remaining ingredients, place the lid on top (ensuring the steam valve is sealed), and pressure cook for 5 minutes. Naturally release the pressure for 10 minutes, then enjoy.
How long does it take to cook chicken curry in a slow cooker?
The precise time it takes to make curry chicken in a slow cooker will vary. If cooking on HIGH, 3 ½ to 4 hours should be plenty of time for the chicken thighs (bone-in or boneless) to cook. If you need more time, slow cook on LOW heat for 5 to 6 hours.
What should I serve with curry?
Indian curry dishes are commonly served with rice, naan, and various chutneys. I scooped this curry over rice (coconut rice is delicious, too), then garnished it with cilantro and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
You could also serve it with plain jasmine rice, basmati rice, white rice, brown rice, or quinoa. For paleo and Whole30 purposes, enjoy this chicken curry on top of warm, fluffy cauliflower rice or zoodles.
Refrigerator: Let the leftovers cool to room temperature, then refrigerate in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days.
Freezer: Transfer the cooled leftovers to freezer-safe bags or containers and freeze them for up to 3 months.
More slow cooker recipes
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Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
- Slow cooker
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large shallot minced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 red bell pepper diced, seeds removed
- 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and diced
- 2 boneless skinless chicken thighs diced
- 2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon coriander
- 14 oz. coconut milk
- 14 oz. tomato sauce canned
- cilantro for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, then add the shallot and garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes; transfer to your slow cooker.
- Add the remaining ingredients to your slow cooker, then stir everything together. Cook on HIGH for 4 hours. The chicken should fall apart easily, but if you want, you can remove it and cut it into larger chunks.
- Serve over rice and top with fresh cilantro. Enjoy!
- Refrigerator: store in a sealed container for up to 4 days
- Freezer: wait for the curry to cool, then transfer to a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months