A super easy slow cooker mild chicken curry recipe with coconut milk, crammed with chickpeas and lentils, that needs nothing more than a bowl of steaming white rice to complete the meal. Gluten free and dairy free, it is perfect for the whole family.
TOTAL TIME INVESTMENT: 8 HOURS 10 MINUTES
I like a little kick to my food. The Princess, not so much. Most days I ignore her and let her whinge. On the rare occasion I decide to cater to her wishes, a meal like this mild chicken curry keeps everybody happy. And as an added bonus, it is the perfect dish for the slow cooker.
Even if I am cooking a mild dish, I still need it to pack heaps of flavour: something that can be tricky to achieve in the slow cooker. But never fear, I have a few tips up my sleeve that will help you put together the best slow cooker meals ever (in my not so very humble opinion).
To make sure you always have these tips on hand as you cook, I have created a handy cheatsheet so you needn’t commit them to memory. Grab the cheatsheet from my Resource Library by requesting the password at the end of this post or by clicking the link below.
And it’s not just The Princess that likes my easy slow cooker mild chicken curry recipe. I recently made it for a curry potluck, and I came home with a clean slow cooker and loads of compliments. So you can consider this recipe very well tested indeed.
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Ingredient Substitutions for this Slow Cooker Mild Chicken Curry Recipe
This easy slow cooker chicken curry recipe relies largely on store cupboard ingredients, but don’t think that means you cannot change it up a little to make it your own.
- You can use boneless chicken thighs in place of the bone-in thighs. I prefer the bone-in thighs as I feel the bone adds flavour to the final dish, and the bone lifts straight out of the chicken at the end of the cook. However, if you prefer boneless thighs use those instead
- The chicken can be replaced with beef, lamb or even pork. Just ensure you choose cuts that are suitable for slow cooking so the meat does not dry out as it cooks.
- Your favourite vegetables can be used in place of the chicken if you want to make this curry vegetarian/vegan. Sweet potato, carrots and potatoes would all work well here.
- Olive oil or any other mild vegetable oil can be used in place in place of the coconut oil. I use coconut oil here as it pairs well with the coconut milk in the curry.
- Any mild curry paste can be used in place of the korma curry paste. Just use your family favourite.
- Moong dahl or urad dahl can be used in place of the red lentils. Alternatively you can omit the lentils completely and just use two tins of chickpeas.
- Light coconut milk can be used in place of the coconut milk.
- Coconut cream can also be used in place of the coconut milk. If using coconut cream, reduce the the volume used to 200ml ( a scant cup) and add 200ml water to the slow cooker insert with the coconut cream and curry paste.
Frequently Asked Questions About Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
Coconut milk is a great non-dairy alternative to use in the slow cooker. Select a good quality coconut milk that does not contain gums and stabilisers, as these may cause the coconut milk to curdle during cooking.
Yes, raw chicken is fine to add directly to the slow cooker. Try to submerge the chicken pieces within the liquid ingredients in the slow cooker insert if possible.
The chicken will still cook though if not submerged in liquid, as seen in my lime cilantro shredded chicken recipe.
It is not necessary to brown chicken prior to adding it to the slow cooker, although browning will add additional flavour to the final dish.
Chicken can overcook in the slow cooker so it is important to understand how fast your own machine cooks and adjust your cooking time accordingly. Chicken on the bone is less likely to overcook than chicken breast.
The easiest way to prevent chicken from drying out in the slow cooker is to select the correct cut. Chicken thighs are perfect for the slow cooker. They contain some fat and connective tissue that breaks down during the long cook, moistening the meat. Chicken thighs on the bone are the best cut for the slow cooker.
Chicken breast is not suitable for the slow cooker. It is a lean cut with no fat or connective tissue, and will dry out during the long cooking time, giving you stringy dry meat for dinner.
Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry – A Few Final Tips
This easy slow cooker mild chicken curry is the meal I will put on when I know that we are going to be home right on dinner time. The addition of the lentils and chickpeas means that you needn’t cook extra vegetables (although don’t let that stop you if you want vegetables).
I plug the slow cooker in, programme my rice cooker (and if you don’t own a rice cooker with a timer then I highly recommend you get one) and go out safe in the knowledge that when I arrive home dinner will be done.
And as I really want you to make my slow cooker chicken curry, let me leave you with a few final tips:
- I soak the lentils briefly – even 30 minutes in hot water is fine – before adding them to the slow cooker to ensure they cook properly (I have this thing about crunchy lentils). It’s not the end of the world if you forget, and to be honest they should cook properly any way. I just like to be extra sure.
- Push any stray red lentils under the liquid before you replace the slow cooker lid. Any lentils not covered in liquid will not cook (= crunchy lentils).
- You can easily make this slow cooker chicken curry in advance and reheat it when required. I have previously cooked this curry the day before, allowed it to cool slightly and then put the whole insert (with lid) in the fridge. The following day I have just put the insert back in the slow cooker on low for 3 – 4 hours to reheat it.
- Alternatively you can transfer the curry to a heat proof container and reheat it in a conventional oven for 30 – 40 minutes at 180C.
- Leftover chicken curry makes a delicious pie filling. Delicious I tell you! If you don’t own a pie maker you should definitely consider getting one just for these pies.
- The curry can be frozen for up to three months.
- Leftover chicken curry will last in the fridge for up to three days.
Other Slow Cooker Recipes You May Like
I am going to assume you are a huge slow cooker fan like me and give you a few other options just in case you are not in a mild chicken curry mood.
Why not try:
- Slow Cooker Thai Red Beef Curry
- Slow Cooker Lamb Korma Curry
- Slow Cooker Beef & Mushroom Stew
- Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup
- Slow Cooker Lime Cilantro Chicken Tacos
Made this recipe? Tell me how it went in the comments below.
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Slow Cooker Mild Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk
- 100 g (1/2 cup) red lentils
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1 large onion diced
- 1 kg (2.2 lb) chicken thighs bone in
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 Tbsp grated fresh ginger root
- 110 g (1/2 cup) korma curry paste
- 400 ml (13.5 fl oz) tin coconut milk
- 400 g (15 oz) tin chickpeas drained
- 10 g (1/2 cup) chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
- lime wedges to serve, optional
- Put the red lentils in a bowl of cold water and set aside for at least 30 – 60 minutes if possible. Alternatively pour hot water over the lentils as you start to prepare the curry.
- Place the coconut oil in a fry pan over a medium heat.
- Once the coconut oil has melted, add the onions to the fry pan and cook for 8 minutes, or until the onions have browned.
- Add the garlic and ginger to the fry pan and cook for 1 minute.
- Whilst the onions are cooking, add the korma curry paste and the coconut milk to the slow cooker insert and stir to combine.
- Scrap the onion, garlic and ginger mixture into the slow cooker insert.
- Drain the lentils and add them to the slow cooker insert together with the drained chickpeas.
- Thoroughly stir the onions, lentils and chickpeas through the curry base.
- Nestle the chicken thighs in the curry base, pushing the thighs into the liquid so they are covered.
- Push any rogue red lentils under the liquid as they will not cook unless covered.
- Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on Low for 7-8 hours or on High for 4-5 hours.
- Just prior to serving, scatter the chopped coriander over the chicken, and try to mix it into the curry sauce as you serve the curry.
- Serve with rice and lime wedges if desired.
- Even soaking the lentils for 30 minutes in hot water is beneficial. 1 hour is better. It’s not the end of the world if you forget, and to be honest they should cook properly any way. I just like to be extra sure.
- Push stray red lentils under the liquid, including those sitting proud on the chicken pieces.
- This slow cooker chicken curry can be made in advance and reheated.
- Leftover chicken curry can be stored in the fridge for up to three days.
- The chicken curry can be frozen for up to three months.