You’re going to love this wonderful version of a classic dish – this slow cooker butter chicken is creamy, warming, and comforting. Best of all, it’s dairy free and allergy friendly, but still loaded with flavor.
This recipe is one I’m really excited about. I know how tough it can be when you eliminate dairy from your diet. You might feel like all of your favorites are off limits.
You might think that creamy dishes like chicken casserole, grilled cheese, and warming curries will be no more. But that doesn’t have to be true! You can still have your favorites, and you can still love them, even though they’re dairy free.
This butter chicken is a great example of a dish that’s not lacking anything even though it’s dairy free. Tender chicken simmers in the slow cooker along with a handful of simple ingredients like coconut milk, tomato sauce, and spices.
The result is a flavorful dish that the whole family is sure to love.
- Coconut Milk – Full fat coconut milk (the kind that comes in a can) is the key to this rich and creamy sauce. I like Thai Kitchen brand or Native Forest brand.
- Vegan Buttery Spread – I use Earth Balance Soy Free Spread. You could probably any variety from Earth Balance or a different brand if you prefer.
- Spices – There are many different brands of spices out there. I use McCormick spices. Please call and check with any spice brands to make sure that they are safe for your dietary needs.
- If you don’t want to use chicken, you could make this with lamb stew meat instead.
- If you would like to make a vegan version of this dish, try using canned chickpeas and diced potatoes in place of chicken. You could also try my slow cooker lentil curry instead – it’s vegan as written.
- Full fat coconut milk is the best choice because it adds richness to the sauce, but if you can’t have coconut, you could probably use a different non-dairy milk instead. The sauce will be a little thinner, but you could thicken it with a bit of cornstarch and water.
Stove Top Variation
I love using the slow cooker for this recipe, because it’s very hands-off. I simply throw the ingredients in there, turn the slow cooker on, and it does the work for me.
If you don’t have a slow cooker, you could make this on the stove top. Saute the onion and garlic in the vegan buttery spread until tender. Then cut up the chicken, and add it and the spices, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and tomato sauce and raise the heat to high. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat and put a lid on the pan. Simmer for about 25 minutes to develop the flavor.
More Dairy Free Dinners
- Slow Cooker Lentils and Rice
- Skillet Chicken with Quinoa and Red Peppers
- Pasta with Creamy Spinach Sauce
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken (Dairy Free).
This dairy free butter chicken is so creamy and flavorful, and it's easy to make in the slow cooker.
- 2 Tablespoons vegan buttery spread use dairy butter if you prefer
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 8 ounces canned tomato sauce
- 15 ounces full fat coconut milk
- 1 ½ teaspoons cumin
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- ¾ teaspoon ginger
- ¾ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- rice for serving
Place the vegan buttery spread in the slow cooker along with the chopped onion and garlic. Turn the slow cooker on low heat and let the butter melt, and stir the onion and garlic to coat with the butter.
Add the chicken, tomato sauce, coconut milk, and all of the spices. Stir.
Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook for 6 hours on low, or 4 hours on high.
Once the cooking time is up, shred the chicken with a fork, It will be very tender and should fall apart.
Serve the butter chicken over cooked Basmati or Jasmine rice.
Stovetop Variation: Saute the chopped onion and garlic in the vegan buttery spread until tender. Cut the chicken into pieces, and add it along with the spices, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and tomato sauce to the pan and raise the heat to high. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat and cover the pan. Simmer for about 25 minutes to develop the flavor.
Store leftovers in the refrigerator. They should stay fresh for about 3-4 days.
Can I swap chicken thighs for breasts? Will the cooking time need to change? Thanks!
Yes, you can use chicken breasts. Cooking time will be the same!
This is one of my all time favorite meals!
We have really enjoyed your recipes. This was a new one for me; I’ve never had butter chicken. Smelled wonderful all day as it cooked! I do need to ask how to spice this up just a tad. To us, it was somewhat bland. Could be the lo-salt tomato sauce I used? What spice should I increase, and how much? Thanks so much for help with this.
Just increase the chili powder and garam masala. If you need a little more salt, you can just add that at the end.
Hello! It’s in the crock pot now! ☺️ Could someone tell me how big a serving is? A cup? Is the kcal for just the chicken and no rice?
Probably about 3/4 cup. The rice is not included in the nutrition facts. I hope you enjoy it!
Hi, just wondering if the slow cooker butter chicken tastes coconutty? I have family members who do not like coconut, but sometimes when coconut is used, it’s not obvious in the finished product.
It isn’t very coconutty, it’s just flavorful because there are so many spices.
this looks so good. i haven’t eat chicken yet for a long time. must try it out in a cool autumn day. one question, would its flavor change if i make it in the morning and package it for lunch for my sons?
I made this dish exactly as written and served it over jasmine rice. It smelled SO fantastic! It was really delicious but we (my family) all felt it could use more of each of the spices. I will definitely make this again!
This is a very funny story! Glad you got ice cream out of the deal! (: I love Indian food too…thus my @tspcurry handle!
Sarah @Whole and Heavenly Oven
I LOVE butter chicken so much, but I normally never make it at home and that is DEFINITELY changing as of right now because this looks that amazing, Denise! Love love how tender the chicken looks!
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice
I’ve never heard of butter chicken before, but this looks so good! Love that it’s made in the slow cooker!
I love anything that can be made in a crockpot, and this looks delicious and SO simple!
Ahh, this sounds so good! :D I’ve been wanting to make butter chicken and hooray for slow cooker recipes! <3 I gotta go get some butter and tomato sauce! :] Pinning!!
coconut allergy….what can i use as a sub for the coconut milk?
You can use a different non-dairy milk, but you may have to add something to thicken the sauce. Try 1 Tablespoon cornstarch mixed into 3 Tablespoons non-dairy milk. Add during the last hour of cooking.