Healthy slow cooker chicken curry is a great easy mid week dinner that you can prepare ahead when you've got a busy day. Like so many slow cooker recipes, you just have to prep the ingredients and leave the slow cooker to do the rest of the work.
What you'll love about the recipe
- This healthy slow cooker chicken curry is very easy to make. Everything goes straight into the slow cooker. There's no need to precook any of the ingredients, which means there's less washing up.
- Great for meal prep. The beauty of a slow cooker meal is that you can do the prep ahead of time, and come back later to the delicious smell of your ready cooked dinner.
- One pot/all in one recipe. There's 2 portions of vegetables in each helping of this healthy slow cooker chicken curry, so you won't have to cook any side dishes. Of course, you could also add another portion of veggies with a big handful of salad greens if you like.
- Filling. There's plenty of protein in the chicken to keep you and your family feeling full. And the sweet potatoes are a healthy carb, which is full of fibre and low GI.
For this healthy slow cooker chicken curry recipe you'll need chicken thighs with the bone in. Cooking the chicken on the bone will keep the meat more moist and add more flavour to the dish. Allow either one large or two small thighs per person. I prefer to remove the skin before adding the chicken thighs as it's quite fatty and won't go crisp.
This healthy slow cooker chicken curry recipe contains plenty of vegetables. I've included sweet potato, carrot, onion and tinned tomatoes. Sweet potatoes, unlike white potatoes, count as one of your five a day. Both carrots and sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins A and C. If you leave your vegetables unpeeled (just give them a scrub first), that will also increase the fibre and vitamins in the dish. Tomatoes, especially cooked tomatoes, are a great source of the antioxidant lycopene. Garlic and onions, both from the allium family, are also very nutritious.
PS If you've got some leftover sweet potatoes, did you know that you can bake sweet potatoes in the slow cooker?
Spices. I've used a mild curry powder in this healthy slow cooker chicken curry, as I love the flavours of spices but wanted the dish to be kid friendly, and not too hot. But if you prefer, you could use a hotter curry powder. The spices in curry powder add more than just flavour. Turmeric, one of the key components of curry powder, is well known for its anti inflammatory benefits. It can also benefit your brain and lower your risks of heart disease. There's more information about the health benefits of turmeric here. Cumin, coriander and ginger are also healthy, and are great for your digestion.
Garlic adds extra flavour. Omit it if you're not a fan.
Coconut milk or creamed coconut. I like the coconut flavour in this chicken curry to be quite subtle. So I've used just 200 ml of coconut milk which is half of a can. You can use a reduced fat coconut milk if you prefer. You can also freeze the remaining coconut milk if you don't have an immediate use for it.
However, I often use creamed coconut instead of coconut milk as I find it more convenient. Creamed coconut comes in a block, and stores very well in the fridge. Just cut off 50g from the block, grate it finely, and then add to the recipe along with 200ml of cold water. Wrap up the remainder, and pop in the fridge. Creamed coconut is a budget friendly option which stores very well.
Cornflour (or cornstarch as it is known in the US) is a quick and easy way to thicken the sauce for this healthy slow cooker chicken curry. You'll need to mix the cornflour into the coconut milk or cold water before adding it to the rest of the ingredients, to ensure that it doesn't go lumpy. It's important to add cornflour to a cold liquid.
You can switch in different veggies in this chicken and vegetable curry recipe if you prefer. If you don't have (or like) sweet potatoes you can use swede, butternut squash or white potatoes. Leeks would work well instead of, or as well as, onion. You can also add greens such as broccoli and kale. Add these for the final half hour of cooking, otherwise they will go mushy. You could also stir in some spinach leaves just before serving - they'll cook down in the residual heat of the curry.
If you like curried chicken, you might also like this healthy coronation chicken salad recipe.
How to make healthy slow cooker chicken curry
It only takes 10 minutes of hands on time to get everything ready for this healthy chicken curry.
Prep the vegetables. The sweet potatoes and carrots just need a quick scrub, then cut them into 2cm cubes. Peel and chop the onion, and peel and crush the garlic.
Try to cut the veggies into fairly even pieces to ensure everything cooks through properly.
Pop the veggies in the slow cooker and add the tomatoes, seasoning and curry powder and give it all a good stir.
Stir the cornflour into the coconut milk and stir this into the mix. If you are using creamed coconut, grate it before adding to the curry. Then stir the cornflour into 200ml cold water and mix into the other ingredients.
Then nestle in the raw chicken thighs. They don't need to be completely submerged. You'll find the chicken takes on a good colour as it cooks because of the spices and sauce.
Then set your slow cooker and get on with your day!
Slow cookers can vary, but this healthy chicken curry is very forgiving. I find that the recipe takes around 4 hrs to cook on medium in mine, but do make sure that you check that the chicken is thoroughly cooked through and the vegetables are soft. If you want, you can cook the curry for longer on a low setting - up to 8 hours will be fine.
Serving and storage
This healthy slow cooker chicken curry is a complete balanced meal. But you could also add a helping of brown rice, sauteed greens or a leafy salad. Or you could add these 15 minute wholemeal flatbreads to help mop up the delicious curry sauce.
If you don't eat all of the curry on the day it is cooked, it will store well in the fridge for a day or two and reheat perfectly. I actually find it tastes even better the following day as the flavours develop. It also freezes well, so if your slow cooker is big enough you could double the recipe.
Frequently asked questions
Yes, absolutely you can. Chicken will cook through quite safely in the slow cooker. Browning meat before you add it to the slow cooker is more for extra colour and flavour rather than food safety. But with this healthy slow cooker chicken curry, the meat will take on the colour of the sauce and spices and there's plenty of flavour.
Chicken does not need to be completely submerged to cook through properly in the slow cooker. You'll find that plenty of liquid comes out of the vegetables and chicken as it cooks, and if you add a lot of extra liquid your curry will be too watery. With this whole poached slow cooker chicken, I just add a splash of water, and by the end of cooking there's plenty of stock as the juices run out from the meat.
Yes, for sure you can make a healthy homemade curry! This combination of chicken, vegetables and spices is a naturally healthy meal with plenty of vitamins and minerals, fibre and two portions of veggies. The less healthy aspect of a curry often comes with the sauce. Coconut milk is relatively high in fat, but this healthy chicken curry uses just half a can for 4 portions.
Other health chicken recipes
If you are looking for a chicken recipe which is ready to eat more quickly, you might like to try healthy chicken tray bake which also uses chicken thighs, sweet potato and carrots. Or another great way to make the most of your slow cooker is to poach a whole chicken.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
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Healthy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry
- 4 large chicken thighs (or 8 small) skin removed
- 300 g sweet potatoes scrubbed and cut into 2 cm cubes
- 300 g carrots scrubbed and cut into 2 cm cubes
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
- 400 g canned tomatoes
- 200 ml coconut milk or 50 g creamed coconut and 200 ml water
- 2 teaspoon mild curry powder
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- salt and pepper to taste
- Add all of the prepared vegetables, tomatoes, curry powder and seasoning to the slow cooker and stir to mix.
- Stir the cornflour into the cold coconut milk and add to the slow cooker and mix well. Nestle the chicken thighs into the mixture.
- If you are using creamed coconut, grate it before adding to the slow cooker. Stir the cornflour into 200ml cold water and mix all of the ingredients together.
- Cook on medium for 4 hrs. Check that the chicken is cooked thoroughly before serving.
Please note nutritional information is per serving and is provided for guidance only.