Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
Main Dishes, Recipes, slow cooker

Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo — Soooo much better than it looks!


If you read The Taste Place regularly, you know we love spicy food.  One of our favorite cuisines that regularly features a bit of spice is Indian.  We both enjoy Indian restaurants, but our experience making Indian food at home has been a bit mixed.  We’ve used Trader Joe’s Curry and Masala Simmer Sauces with some success as a quick, flavorful meal, but it isn’t exactly something we can take ownership in.  We’ve also tried Food Channel’s “Aarti’s Party’s” Green Chicken Curry, which was quite authentic, quite complicated, and smelled great, but whose taste underwhelmed us. We’ve also done a grilled tandoori chicken skewers recipe, which was pretty decent, but not the sort of thing I’d seek out at a restaurant.

But we don’t give up easily, and we finally we hit on a yummy, spicy, slow cooker recipe we loved at The Perfect Pantry.  We generally like slow cooker recipes, because we can start it before work, and it’ll be ready for us when we get home that night, but this one isn’t quite that easy.  We actually did it on a day when neither of us had to work, so I was able to get it started in a leisurely way in the morning before we went off hiking, and then came home to the heavenly aroma that evening.  You could probably do all the prep the night before and just turn it on the next day, which we will almost certainly try, because we loved it so much that we’re dying to do it again—work day, Saturday, or whenever!

It was definitely spicy, so kids and wimpy adults may want to skip it, but we thought it was great.  Serve with some Basmati rice and/or some Naan, and maybe a tomato cucumber salad for a great dinner that is definitely worth the time it takes to prep it.

The picture above doesn’t look that appealing, but for once, I’m pretty sure it is more a function of the dish than our photography skills.  After all, how nice can you make chunks of chicken in a thick brown sauce look?  But I promise, it tastes better than it looks!

Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
An ingredient line-up that isn't in every kitchen pantry, but it is worth finding.
Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
Brown the onions and add the vinegar.
Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
Browned onions all processed up!
Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
The first set of spices ready to go in the food processor.
Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
This smelled sooooo good!
Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
Second group of spices ready to be ground up.
Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
Grinding your own salt, pepper and mustard is kinda cool...
Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
Onion paste, spice paste, and fresh ground spices all ready to go in slow cooker.
Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
Chicken and spices ready to be cooked in the crock.
Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
Ready to serve! Tastes better than it looks, and smells so good!
Spicy Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
Weight Watchers Info: 6 PointsPlus (rice is extra)
Recipe type: Main Dish
Serves: 6
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 3 Large yellow onions, halved and sliced
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar (we substituted rice vinegar)
  • 4 inch piece fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5-8 dried red Thai or Serrano chili peppers, stems removed (we used 8 )
  • ½ Tbsp turmeric
  • ½ Tbsp ground coriander
  • ½ Tbsp garam masala
  • ½ Tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ Tbsp black peppercorns
  • ½ Tbsp coarse sea salt
  • ½ Tbsp brown or black mustard seeds
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  1. Sauté onions in one tbsp of canola oil for 4-5 minutes, or until browned, but not burned.
  2. Stir in vinegar and cook until liquid evaporates.
  3. Transfer onion mixture to food processor, add additional tbsp oil, and puree.
  4. Scrape puree into 4 qt slow cooker. Do NOT wash food processor.
  5. Add ginger, garlic, chili peppers, turmeric, coriander, garam masala, and cinnamon to processor. Process into a paste, and scrape into slow cooker.
  6. Using a mortar and pestle or dedicated spice/coffee grinder, combine peppercorns, salt, and mustard seed and crush into a coarse powder. Add to slow cooker.
  7. Add cut chicken and ¼ cup water to slow cooker and stir everything together. (If we do this on a work day, we will probably add an extra ¼ cup water and stop here the night before)
  8. Turn slow cooker on low and cook for 6-8 hours, stirring an hour or so before serving.
Some of the ingredients (garam masala, turmeric, brown mustard seeds) are unusual, but if you like Indian and Asian food, they are worth having on hand for future dishes.
Slow Cooker Chicken Vindaloo
Served over basmati rice.


  1. Lynne @ CookandBeMerry

    This looks delicious and I am imagining how it smells with the ginger and sweet spices. Yum.

  2. Home sick all week means I get to catch up on my favorite blogs… woo! I’m also a fan of spicy food, and you’re right, photographing brown food sux. But good is good, and I’m sure this was great.


  3. I do not know what you cooks are talking about, it looks great, the picture made me want to click on the site!  Looks delish!  I also learned some tips on how to get a rich sauce using the puree of onion!

  4. Cooked it with pork instead of chicken, a truly delicious dish. My wife who is not a big curry fan, also really liked it. Will definitely be making it again.

  5. Thanks very much for the recipe. The pictures of the prep helped me get each step right. I made this dish and the flavors were very good except I didn’t find it hot enough for my liking. I added 2 Tbsp. of red chili powder and that did the trick. Also, I had fresh yellow turmeric available so I used that instead of turmeric powder. I’m lucky to have an Indian market less than a mile from my house that is well stocked.

    • It is a really easy recipe to customize based on your own heat level by just adding more dried chilis. We’re big pepperheads ourselves, so usually add to the recommended amounts as well.

  6. Adding tomato sauce can make Vindaloo look more reddish. Enjoy.

Leave a Comment, Question, or Suggestion!