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Recipe for slow cooker tandoori pulled chicken

Slow cooker tandoori pulled chicken.

What's more fun than cooking something until it falls apart, and then coaxing it into a state of total collapse by having at it with two forks? If this sounds like your idea of a good time in the kitchen, you need to get your slow cooker on and make a batch of tandoori pulled chicken. While a slow cooker can't replicate the smoky char of a tandoor oven, the spices do a good job of mimicking the flavor. Use the shredded chicken on wedges of naan bread, as we have here, or in a salad or wrap. You can go a bit further, and dress it up with typical Indian condiments, like yogurt, chutney, or chopped nuts. When I make this chicken, I use a kabsa spice blend I found at a gourmet market; it's easy to make your own, or substitute turmeric, as indicated in the recipe. Tandoori pulled chicken freezes well, so you can make it ahead and have lunch or dinner at the ready.

Tandoori pulled chicken.

Slow cooker tandoori pulled chicken

From the pantry, you'll need: plain nonfat Greek yogurt, powdered ginger, coriander, cayenne pepper, garam masala (or tandoori masala), ground cloves, fresh black pepper, cumin, cardamom, garlic, lemon, honey.

Serves 8.


3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp tandoori masala or garam masala
1 tsp powdered ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
1 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp kabsa spice blend (or 1/4 tsp turmeric)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, or more to taste (I used 1 tsp)
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1/4 tsp cardamom
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Juice of 1 lemon


Trim the chicken thighs, and place them in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker.

In a mixing bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients. Pour the mixture over the chicken in the slow cooker, and with your hands, toss the chicken so that every piece is coated with the seasoning.

Cook on HIGH for 2 hours, stirring once or twice during the cooking time.

Remove the chicken into a large mixing bowl, leaving the liquid in the cooker. With two forks, shred the chicken, and return it to the cooker. Taste, and adjust as needed with salt and pepper.

Continue to cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, to allow the shredded chicken to absorb most of the liquid.

Serve on pieces of garlic naan, or atop salad, or rolled up with shredded lettuce in a flatbread or pita.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

More slow cooker shredded meat recipes:
Slow cooker coffee-chipotle pulled chicken roll-ups, from The Perfect Pantry
Slow cooker Middle Eastern garlic chicken, from The Perfect Pantry
Crock-pot Indian-spiced chicken with lentils and potatoes, from Chick in the Kitchen

You'll find a hundred uses for this slow cooker tandoori pulled chicken. #crockpot #glutenfree

Disclosure: The Perfect Pantry earns a few pennies on purchases made through the Amazon.com links in this post. Thank you for supporting this site when you start your shopping here.


Oh my this looks wonderful. I just bought some chicken thighs and I think I know what I am making now ;) This looks incredible. I can't wait to try this, it looks like it is full of flavor.

Stephanie, lots of flavor, and it couldn't be easier. And you get to pull it apart with two forks, which is so much fun. Enjoy!

This sounds delicious and such a creative take on pulled chicken. I can tell I would love it.

Yum! And naturally gluten free, too! :-) That spice blend is great. I love when you can easily make something that flavorful at home. And there are several very good recipes for gluten-free naan now.

Thanks, Lydia!

I can't wait to try this! I love to make naan pizzas for the kids and this would be a great topping for our pizza with a curry sauce as the base.

I usually make chicken tikka masala or a korma and put that right on top of the cooked naan with chopped fresh bell peppers and onions and then add some shredded mozzarella cheese (yeah I know..it should be paneer, but when you've got three teenage boys that can eat down the house you go with mozzarella) and slide the whole thing on a stone in the oven to firm up the naan and melt the cheese.

Family favorite!

Kalyn, I'm sure you would, and it's a fun and easy make-ahead dish.

Lisa, this would be a terrific pizza topping on naan, and I'm going to borrow that idea!

Shirley, I love knowing that another of my recipes is "naturally gluten-free"!

Lydia, your approach makes me feel I able to attempt cuisines that are unfamiliar and terrify. Time and time again, after reading your enchanting introductions, I save the recipes and know I will make them.

This is one of them. I've saved enough of your Indian cuisine recipes to invest in the needed spices. (I have an aversion to one-use ingredients or equipment).

I read a lot of food blogs. Many are nice and I save a recipe or two, but none are as appealing as what I find here. Kalyn's Kitchen is the only one that comes close.


Connie, the whole premise of The Perfect Pantry is to bring you ideas for how to use what you have in the pantry. I don't believe in one-use ingredients or equipment, so for any spice or condiment you buy, you can search the blog for more ways to use it. This recipe is easy in the slow cooker, and I hope you'll try it.

Great idea Lydia - going to have to put this on my menu plan. Love all the spices in this!

Love this idea, Lydia. I might try it with one of my Penzey's curry blends. I'm even wondering if it would be a mistake to do it with a whole roaster chicken. I'll bet it makes the house smell great when it's cooking too.

Oh, the flavors this post evokes in my taste memory. I bet it's wonderful.
I'm delighted to realize that I can scan your site for ideas on how to use the 110 pounds of ground Butch that just moved into my freezers so that I can again eat chicken.


The weather is getting cooler here. What a great recipe to enjoy this fall. I love all kinds of Indian food. Making it in a slow cooker can't get any easier. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

Jeanette, nothing like Indian food made easy!

Donna, I've never made a whole chicken in the slow cooker, believe it or not. How long would it cook for? Much longer than the boneless chicken, I assume. If you do it, please come back and let us know how it turned out.

Kirsten, 110 pounds? Oh my!

Janel, I love using my slow cooker in cool weather. And in hot weather. But there is something about long, slow cooking that just lends itself to Fall.

This is such a simple and flavor packed recipe. Love it! The slow cooking does its magic in tender meat and infusing the flavors. Thank you so much for including the link to mine. really appreciate!

Soma, ever since I started using a slow cooker for Indian recipes, I've learned how easy it is to cook things I thought were so complicated.

Wow, that looks incredibly delicious and easy too. It has been ages since I've had tandoori chicken, and I've never made it in a slow cooker before. Definitely one recipe I need to try.

This looks so appealing for the crisp turn of the weather!!!...Is it at all feasible to make this ..using a Dutch Oven (cast-iron) in the oven on a low temp?...I am...alas...crock-pot deprived...and would only be able to do this in the oven (or even stove-top?)....

Thoughts...suggestions....Tell me this wonder-recipe is a possibility!!

Thanks so much for the generous share!

Tom, I hope you love it!

Donna, of course you can make it in a Dutch oven. The timing will be very different, and you might have to add liquid to compensate for the added condensation in the slow cooker.

made this for supper. it was exquisite, just as written. thanks!

Janis, so glad you liked it!

I got my slow cooker about a week ago. So far I mostly make nine-grain cereal for breakfast in it. It does a great job. Two days ago I found a recipe for mac and cheese. Wow, my kids love it. However, this tandoori pulled chicken recipe looks especially good. I think I'm going to have to give it a try this weekend.

Hi Lydia,
This recipes sounds delicious. I have one question; for the kabasa recipe are the spices ground or left whole? The link didn't specify what to do with them except to mix together and store. Thanks for all your help Joyce

Joyce, the Kabsa spice blend is ground.

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