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vegetable tikka masala in bowls with rice
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5 from 9 votes

Vegetable Tikka Masala

This slow cooker creamy vegetable tikka masala is made with caramelized onions, hot peppers, tomato sauce, and cream (or coconut cream).
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time4 hrs 55 mins
Total Time5 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 448kcal


  • 4 tablespoons butter or ghee
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced Or more, see Recipe Notes for heat levels
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne (optional) Or more, see Recipe Notes for heat levels
  • 28 ounces tomato sauce (marinara) Or use diced tomatoes
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups chopped mixed vegetables, fresh or frozen (~16-20oz) See Recipe Notes for vegetable tips
  • 2 cups heavy cream or 14oz can coconut cream See Recipe Notes to swap milk
  • To serve: basmati or jasmine rice and/or naan (Serve with cauliflower rice for a low carb option.)


On the stovetop (or using the sauté feature in a multi-cooker):

  • Melt the butter or ghee in a large pan over medium-low heat. Add the diced onion and cook until it softens, about five minutes.
    Add the diced peppers and salt, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes, or until the onions begin to caramelize. If the onions begin to stick to the pan while cooking, simply add a few drops of water and stir.
    Stir in the garam masala, paprika and cayenne.
    Add Peppers + Caramelize

Blender (Optional Step):

  • Blender Basin: Add the onion and pepper mixture to a blender basin. Add the tomato sauce and the garlic. Blend until smooth, and then pour into the slow cooker.
    Immersion Blender: If using a multi-cooker, it might be easier to use an immersion blender in the pot. (It may be easiest if you tilt the pot to the side slightly to help make the sauce thicker in one area while blending.)
    Add Tomato Sauce + Blend

Slow Cooker:

  • Add the vegetables and stir the sauce and veggies together.
    Cover the slow cooker and cook for 4 to 6 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
    Add Vegetables
  • A few minutes before serving, stir in the cream. Cover the slow cooker and cook until the sauce is warm again.
    Taste the curry. If desired, add more cayenne (for additional heat).
    Serve along with rice (or cauliflower rice). Leftovers can be refrigerated and used within three days.
    Cook Until Veggies Are Tender


Heat Level Adjustments:
  • Mild: Remove the seeds and membrane from the serrano pepper.
  • Medium-Hot: Leave the pepper seeds + membrane; add more peppers if desired.
  • Extra-Hot: Swap the serrano for a hotter type of pepper.
  • If it's not spicy enough: Taste the sauce after adding the cream.  To make it hotter, add extra cayenne to taste, and simmer another five minutes.
  • If it's too spicy: Add extra cream.
Vegetable Options: 
  • This recipe works well with vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, potatoes, and bell peppers. 
  • Frozen mixed medley vegetable bags work well here.
Use Equal Parts Milk Instead of Cream:  Mix ¼ cup cold milk with 1 tsp corn starch until there are no lumps.  Pour the mixture into the sauce, and then add the remaining milk to the curry. 
No Pre-Cooking Variation:  If you're short on time, you can also skip the onion caramelization and put all the ingredients (except the cream) in the slow cooker.  This version of the recipe will have a less intense flavor, but is still tasty.


Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 38g | Saturated Fat: 23g | Cholesterol: 129mg | Sodium: 1222mg | Potassium: 736mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 6826IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 2mg