This creamy Slow Cooker Chicken Korma has the most delicious dairy-free creamy sauce with so much Indian spice! Slightly sweet, absolutely delicious, and Keto friendly. Skip the take-out for this simple recipe that is perfect for a busy weeknight or for meal prep.
Dairy-Free Restaurant Style Chicken Korma:
Chicken Korma is my absolute favorite Indian dish to order out in a restaurant. I love it’s creamy deliciousness, subtle spice, and tad bit of sweetness.
Indian food has slowly replaced Mexican as my favorite ethnic food to enjoy out at a restaurant. I have always been a bit intimidated to cook Indian, but after the smashing success of my Chicken Tikka Masala, Indian Butter Cauliflower, and Chicken Vindaloo, I definitely wanted a Chicken Korma recipe I could make and enjoy at home!
As a nutritionist, I am always looking for ways to lighten up my favorite restaurant dishes.
I’ve been on a mission to make a dairy-free version of this favorite Indian dish of mine for MONTHS. When my friend, Michelle, asked me for the 5th or so time to get around to developing a Chicken Korma recipe, and I knew in the back of my head I also wanted my own stamp on it, I was motivated to get it right.
I created a super yummy dairy-free and creamy sauce using soaked raw cashews. It has the perfect blend of spices, tang, sweetness, and everything I wanted my sauce to taste like. It’s perfect for a Keto diet or for those who want a dairy-free Paleo option.
And I’m happy to finally shout from the roof-tops, NAILED IT!
Ingredients to make this Dairy-Free Chicken Korma
Although this list seems long, don’t be intimidated by the list of spices and other important ingredients to make this recipe taste delicious.
- Chicken breast
- Raw cashews
- Chicken broth
- Tomato paste
- Fresh ginger
- Raw honey (or use monk fruit for a Keto version)
- Garam masala
- Crushed red pepper (optional)
- Full fat coconut milk
- Yellow onion
- Raisins (optional)
- Fresh cilantro
How to make Slow Cooker Chicken Korma:
We definitely hit the easy button with this Chicken Korma Recipe. Start by placing the chicken in the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Be sure to soak your cashews in hot water for at least 15 minutes (drain the water), and they will be perfect to blend.
- In a food processor or blender, blend the soaked cashews, chicken broth, tomato paste, ginger, honey (omit for Whole30 or keto), garam masala, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, crushed red pepper (if you like a little kick), and salt. You will also add in the watery part of the canned coconut milk.
- Now we pour the sauce over the chicken, top with onion and garlic, and set on low for 4-6 hours. Once complete, stir in the coconut cream (the top of the can that you used earlier). Stir in raisins and cilantro, that’s it!!
Can you see the creamy deliciousness? As long as I have been eating Chicken Korma at Indian restaurants, it’s been hard for me to create a dairy-free, Paleo version.
Just coconut milk wasn’t cutting it. What really worked well was using cashew based sauce to create the creamy texture. Adjust your spice accordingly, you can easily make this dish non-spicy with no crushed red pepper.
Can you make this in the Instant Pot?
The answer is yes, but I definitely recommend the slow cooker over the Instant Pot. Here is why. I should mention that this recipe took me several times to get it right. One of those times included the Instant Pot!
Just be advised, with the cashew based sauce, it burned easily at high pressure. I did add in more chicken broth, and the sauce turned out to watery for my taste. With the slow cooker, it turned out perfect! However, you can also use arrowroot after the cooking process in the Instant Pot to thicken up the sauce a bit.
If you do plan on using the IP, cook at high pressure for 10 minutes and add in an additional 3/4 cup water or broth.
Serving Slow Cooker Chicken Korma:
My favorite way to serve this is over my Cilantro Lime Cauliflower Rice
My husband is such a potato guy, and really loves this over my Perfect Skillet Roasted Potatoes or Easy Oven Roasted Potatoes.
Either way, you can’t go wrong!!
Is this recipe Keto and Whole30 compliant?
To make this recipe Keto and Whole30 compliant, be sure to omit the honey. It’s not a necessary ingredient, but gives it a delicious touch of sweetness. You can also use Monk Fruit sweetener in place of honey for a Keto version.
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Slow Cooker Chicken Korma
Slow Cooker Chicken Korma is loaded with a creamy and perfectly spiced sauce! This Indian dish is dairy-free, Keto friendly, Paleo, and Whole30.
- 2 lbs raw chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
- 3/4 cup raw cashews soaked in hot water at least 30 minutes
- 1.5 cups chicken broth
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 3 tsp chopped fresh ginger
- 2 tsp raw honey*
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper optional
- 1 can full fat coconut milk divided
- 1/2 med yellow onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup raisins optional
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro for garnish
- 1/3 cup sliced or chopped almonds optional
Salt and pepper your chicken breast and place at the bottom of your slow cooker.
Now make your korma sauce: add drained cashews, chicken broth, tomato paste, ginger, honey, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, crushed red pepper (if using) and salt to a high powered blender. Poke a hole in the top of your coconut milk (the hard cream part), and pour the watery part of the coconut milk into your blender with the other ingredients. Save the coconut cream for later use. Blend until smooth, allowing the cashews to create a creamy paste. Add more broth if your sauce is too thick.
Pour sauce on top of the chicken. Top with onion and garlic. Set your slow cooker to low and cook for 4-6 hours (depending on your slow cooker).
Stir in the coconut cream, add salt to taste and raisins (if using). Serve over cauliflower rice, or basmati rice. Top with cilantro and almonds (if using).
*You can omit the honey for a Whole30 option
All my people (five kids + my husband and I) really liked this – including the pickiest two. Thank you!
I am allergic to tomatoes. Does leaving the tomato paste out make a big difference?
No, you can leave it out!
Larry Gabbard says
This recipe was a WINNER! Absolutely delicious…even though I forgot the coconut cream at the end, and nixed the raisins, I served it over cauliflower and broccoli rice and it was the best meal of the week! I took it to work for leftovers and the office was jealous.
YESSSS!! So happy to hear you loved it!
Looks super tasty- but I am highly allergic to Coconut 🙁 What would you use instead (I am not dairy-free so I could use a milk product if needed). But would cashew milk work (or would it be too thin)?
I would use heavy cream or half and half. Don’t worry about the watery part of coconut in the sauce, you can use additional broth if it needs to be thinned out.
Jasper Garde says
This looks great, can’t wait to try it. How much is a serving size?
I was very pleased with the recipe. I made one little change and only added 1 cup of broth instead of 1 1/2 because I feared the sauce would be to watery. The flavor was very good. The addition of the coconut at the end really made the flavor rich.
LOVE to hear that!!
The instructions call for including corriander in the blender, but I don’t see it in the ingredients list- should I be adding corriander as well?
No, I will change that. You don’t need coriander.
FINALLY! I have checked and checked and re-checked for a good slow-cooker korma recipe that wasn’t incredibly complex and that also had coconut milk in it. You’re a star!
So happy to hear that!!
Can you make this in the Instant Pot?
So unfortunately, it didn’t work in the IP because the cashew sauce burned. However,I did try it with an additional 3/4 cup of broth and it worked. It was just too runny for me so I prefer the Slow Cooker.
chelsea hillier says
I was just wondering whether this would be suitable for freezing and once frozen could you reheat in the slow cooker?
I think you definitely could freeze and reheat in the IP! I haven’t done this yet and would be curious to see if the cashew base would be affected. Let me know!
How much coriander?
Hi Chas, no coriander. I had it in the instructions, but meant to take it out. I just fixed it! Use fresh cilantro at the end instead.
Jon Osborn says
How about using a pre-made cashew butter, then adding those other ingredients into that? My blender is somewhat underpowered.
You could try that, the cashew sauce is more of a runny sauce as opposed to a nut butter.
Karen Stewart says
WE don’t eat any meat–plant-based do you think would work with tofu (if using tofu maybe not on a slow cooker)
Yes, you could definitely use tofu. I would still do the slow cooker and add toward the end.
Allergy to cashews and most nuts severe – is there an alternative?
Hi Connie, if you can tolerate dairy, you can still make this a creamy sauce. The cashews are there to provide you with a “cream” based sauce, that no other nut or ingredient (besides dairy itself) can replicate. You can substitute the cashews and chicken broth with 2/3 cup heavy cream or half and half, and 2/3 cup chicken broth. Hope that helps!
Sliced almonds are listed in the ingredients but I didn’t see them used in any part of the directions. Did I miss where those are supposed to go?
You add them as a garnish if using! They are in the last line (easy to miss it) under the directions.
Hi Amy, just about to make this today, can it be frozen please or how long can i leave it in the fridge?
Thank you, so excited about dinner tonight.
Hi Tracy, it can freeze, but the coconut milk and cashew sauce are not ideal for freezing as it will change the texture. It holds up well in the fridge for up to a week.
Can I use curry powder and cumin as a substitute for the other spices? If so how much do you recommend?
You can, but it would be more of a curry recipe rather than a Korma. Use the same amount of cumin as listed, and use curry in place of the Garam masala.
This is delicious!! My kids loved the chicken korma from a local Indian restaurant that recently closed. I told the kids I would try to find a recipe similar to theirs, and this was it. The sauce is so yummy, and versatile too. I increased the chicken broth to 2 cups and used the sauce as the broth to make a lentil and roasted cauliflower soup that was also delicious. Thank you for such a great recipe.
Amy Rains says
I love hearing that! I agree, just like the restaurant style. Thank you, Paige!
Scott Ferguson says
Is there a calorie count for the recipe, i can’t see it 😁
Amy Rains says
Yes, I just updated it at the bottom of the recipe card.
Emily R says
Is there a way to use plain Greek yogurt to reduce fat content?
Amy Rains says
Yes, but I haven’t tried with greek yogurt. Not sure how it changes the taste!
I’ve been searching for a recipe that tastes just the way I like it from the Indian takeaway – this is definitely being saved as it’s the closest if not on the money, very happy to be able to make such a sweet & gorgeous dish at home now!
Amy Rains says
That makes me so happy! This is one of my favorites, too!
Simple and delicious. I omitted the honey and raisins, because I have diabetes. I used chicken thighs, no skin, but also not cut into small pieces. I left it in the slow cooker for 6 hours. Amazing.
Amy Rains says
Love hearing that, thank you!