Slow-Cooker Chana Masala

Slow-Cooker Chana Masala

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Chana Masala


can (28 oz) crushed tomatoes, undrained


cans (19 oz each) chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained, rinsed


cups chopped onions (2 large)


tablespoon grated gingerroot


tablespoons curry powder


teaspoon ground red pepper (cayenne)


lime, cut into 6 wedges

Serve With, If Desired

Hot cooked basmati rice or naan

Hide Images

  • 1

    Spray 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Add tomatoes and garbanzo beans to slow cooker.

  • 2

    In 10-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions; cook until onions begin to soften. Add salt, jalapeño chile and gingerroot. Cook 1 minute. Stir in curry powder, paprika, garam masala and red pepper until fragrant and spices begin to brown. Add spice mixture to slow cooker.

  • 3

    Add 3 tablespoons water to same skillet; beat with whisk to remove all spices and browned bits left in pan; add to slow cooker. Stir. Cover; cook on Low heat setting 4 to 6 hours or on High heat setting 2 to 3 hours.

  • 4

    Serve with lime wedge and rice.

Expert Tips

  • Stir 3 cups baby spinach leaves into the Chana Masala after it is finished cooking. Cover; cook 10 minutes longer or until spinach is wilted.
  • Basmati is the traditional rice served with Chana Masala; however, feel free to use your favorite rice. If you are in a time crunch, look for bags of frozen cooked rice in the frozen vegetable section of your grocery store.
  • The spice level of this dish will depend on the size and spice level of your jalapeño chile. If you really like things spicy, increase ground red pepper to 1/2 teaspoon.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value
Total Fat
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
Vitamin A
Vitamin C

1 1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 1 1/2 Vegetable; 1/2 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 1 Fat;

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

More About This Recipe

  • Come home to dinner! Have this easy twist on the traditional Indian dish, Chana Masala, waiting for you when you walk in the door.

Slow Cooker Chana Masala

Here we are. We made it! It’s 2017. We’re right at the start of another new year, and if you’re anything like me, you’re looking back on the last month of food you consumed and are thinking “Wow. That was a lot of cheese.” Not that there’s anything wrong with cheese, but you know what I mean. The new year has arrived, and it’s time to step away from the gluttony of the holidays for a bit!

It’s hard though. It’s hard to get back into the swing of things with school, activities, work, bills, etc. etc. The holidays are magical and wonderful, but everyone seems a little bit pooped by the end of them, and getting back into routine takes some serious will power. It’s great when dinner can be something simple, and healthy…and delicious doesn’t hurt either.

I came across this recipe while looking through my new copy of Skinnytaste: Fast and Slow, the latest cookbook from Skinnytaste author, Gina Homolka. I’m a big fan of her site, and now having her cookbooks as part of my collection makes grabbing a simple, healthy, delicious recipe for dinner easier than ever.

This wonderful recipe for Slow Cooker Chana Masala caught my eye for a few reasons. It’s super easy to put together, it’s a hearty vegetarian option, and it’s good for me and my holiday-overindulged family.

I started by measuring out some coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, and cardamom. And then I chopped up an onion, some garlic, and one Serrano pepper.

A Serrano pepper packs a little more heat than a jalapeno, so I figured I’d just use one and keep the “Mom. It burns. ” commentary to a minimum.

I grabbed a nonstick skillet, heated a bit of oil in it, and then added in the onion, garlic, pepper, and a squeeze of ginger paste. I always keep a tube of Gourmet Garden ginger paste handy in the fridge, but if you’d rather grate up fresh ginger, have at it.

I let the veggies cook down a bit, until they were golden, and then reduced the heat and added in my spice mix.

I stirred the spices in, and allowed the mixture to cook and toast the seasoning for about two minutes, before I added the spiced onion-garlic mixture to my slow cooker, along with two cups of water, three cans of drained chickpeas, a can of diced tomatoes, and some tomato paste.

There’s a whole lot of flavor going on in there!

I gave it a good stir, popped the lid on the slow cooker, and allowed it to cook for a few hours on low.

After the cook time was up, I added in a good squeeze of lemon juice, some salt and a bit of chopped fresh cilantro.

The lemon at the end gives it a fresh burst of flavor. Don’t skip it!

I served up heaping bowls of the Chana Masala over basmati rice, and my family enjoyed a wonderfully “winter hearty” meal that didn’t leave us feeling guilty and heavy, but instead, satisfied and content.

It’s deliciously flavorful, bright and spicy, but still cozy and comforting. Exactly what I need as we break into 2017. Happy New Year, all.

Slow Cooker Chana Masala

Slow cooker Chana Masala – chickpeas cooked in the slow cooker with all the spices! Aromatic, comforting and tastes great with rice or naan!

So the clock went back by an hour yesterday. It makes me kind of sad because it starts getting really dark at 4-5 pm and I dislike that. Anyway the clock went back which means holidays are almost here and which also means it’s time to pull out your slow cooker. Now here’s a thing – this is my 1st slow cooker recipe post on the blog! And seriously what better than to share a classic like Chana Masala. This slow cooker chana masala was hands down the tastiest chana masala I have never made. The slow cooking adds so much depth to the flavor.

Now why is this my 1st slow cooker recipe, that’s because I didn’t have a slow cooker before! I still don’t have the traditional one but I have an Instant Pot now, which also has a slow cooker option. By the way I am seriously so much in love with my Instant Pot, it’s so amazing! I shared on instagram this one pot pulao which I made all in the Instant Pot over the weekend, so cool. Anyway yeah so right now I am using my slow cooker a lot to make soups and chili. I love the ease and convenience of a slow cooker, you just dump everything and let the slow cooker do the rest. Can’t get easier than that.

But this slow cooker chana masala is a little different that way. It has 1 extra step as well, outside the slow cooker – which is the tempering or tadka as call in India. So I slow cook raw chickpeas with all the whole spice overnight and then in the morning, I just cook the onion-tomato masala in a pan and then add that to the slow cooked chickpeas. Technically, yes you can just mix everything together and let slow cooker do all the work. But I am an Indian and I know how important tadka is for our dishes. I think that this extra step is really required to make your chana masala wonderful. Even now the slow cooker does all the work, but you need extra 15 minutes for cooking the masala.

I usually use ghee in my chole recipes but here I have used oil so this recipe is vegan. It’s also naturally gluten-free! This slow cooker chana masala will be a great dish on your Thanksgiving table. It’s so flavorful and your guests will love it. This whole week I will be posting vegetarian thanksgiving recipes and I am hoping you guys will find something that you like. Have a great week ahead!

In your slow cooker, add all ingredients listed under “to slow cook”. Give a stir.

Slow cook ingredients for 8 hours. I used the slow cook option on my Instant Pot.

In the morning, this is how your chickpeas will look. All done and soft. Keep it warm while you make the tempering.

Heat oil in a pan. Once hot, add chopped ginger. Saute few seconds till ginger starts turning light golden in color.

Add chopped onion, cook for 2-3 mins till raw smell goes away.

Add chopped tomatoes and salt. Mix and cook for 5 minutes.

Add red chili powder, garam masala, chole masala, cumin powder and mix.

Cook for another 6-7 minutes till tomatoes are nicely done and oil starts oozing out from the sides. [you may add 1 tablespoon of water if you think spices will burn while the tomatoes are cooking].

Transfer cooked masala to slow cooker. Add kasuri methi.

Also add 1/4 cup water (if required), I did add it. Mix everything.

Slow cook again for 2 hours.

Add in chopped cilantro and mix.

Serve this slow cooker chana masala with rice or bread of your choice.

* You can adjust the consistency to taste. Add more water once it has cooked overnight/8 hours if you want a nice curry. I liked it this way – not dry and not too much curry either.

* Chole Masala is a blend of spices used in cooking chickpeas in India. You can find it any Indian grocery store.

What is Chana Masala?

Chana Masala is a wonderful, savory, vegan Indian dish made with chickpeas, and a classic sauce, or "gravy" as Indians call it, made with onions, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and a bunch of spices.

Chana Masala, also referred to as choley, or choley masala, or channay, is a classic Punjabi dish, although it's served in Indian restaurants everywhere now.

The best-tasting channay have a great mix of savory, hot, and tart. That tart flavor comes from either tamarind or amchoor powder, or a combination of the two.

Can I Make Chana Masala In My Instant Pot?

Yes, you can. I have this Instant Pot Chana Masala recipe right here. It does require you to make a tomato onion masala first, though.

Can I Make My Own Chana Masala Spice Mix?

  • Yes, but why? It's super complicated to make and takes 20+ ingredients to get it just right.
  • I'll tell you what I do, and what most Indians do. We buy it. This is the one that I use.

Can I Make This With Canned Chickpeas?

  • Yes, but not with this recipe because the onions and tomatoes take a while to cook and the chickpeas will be mush in that time
  • Rather, make the onion masala, and add chickpeas to it and mix.

What's With The Chana Dal In This Recipe?

Chana dal is the same as chickpeas except it's basically the skinned and halved version of it.

You're using this to add thickness to the chana masala. But you can totally skip this if you don't have it.

Although I will say, it's totally worth getting it. You can make this Chana Dal Fry with it, as well as the Chana Dal and Rice if you have it and it's utterly delicious.

If you're curious about these different versions of dals and beans, check out my lots of lovely lentils video here.

How To Make Chickpeas In A Slow Cooker

So I wanted to write a quick section on how to make the best chickpeas in your slow cooker.

It is truly hands-off and a lot easier to make chickpeas in a slow cooker or a pressure cooker. Otherwise, you have to babysit them, they take hours, they foam, the water boils dry—it’s just a total pain for me.

I don’t see a huge difference in the texture between slow cooking and pressure cooking, so you use whatever works for you.

  • Soak for an hour in hot water or soak overnight. This is important because you don’t know how old beans are, and older beans need more water. I barely know how old I am most days, so keeping up with the age of my beans is not an option for me.
  • If your beans aren’t getting soft, the most likely reason is that they are old. You should presoak, and you can also consider adding a little baking soda to the mixture to soften them. Sometimes this may cause the beans to soften too much and split, but that’s better than hard as rocks beans.
  • I have decided to also presoak in this fashion, beans I make in the pressure cooker, and for the same reason.
  • In this recipe, you want the chickpeas to cook down to a very soft, almost mush consistency. What I do is to soak them first thing. Then I go get a cup of coffee, get dressed for the day, and I get the other ingredients together. By this time they’ve soaked and all I need to do is make the sauce, pour, and go.
  • For every cup of dried chickpeas, use about 2-3 cups of water. If you are cooking them by themselves, you will need 3 cups of water. If you’re cooking them in this recipe, with the vegetables, you will likely be fine with 2 cups of water per cup of dried chickpeas.
  • You can make up a batch of chickpeas and leave them in the fridge, and use as needed throughout the week. Try my 5-minute hummus recipe or this chana salad with the plain chickpeas you make in this fashion.

Tips And Tricks For Making Slow Cooker Chana Masala

  • Be sure to soak the chickpeas for this recipe. Either soak them overnight or use my quick tip which is to soak them in hot water. Either boil the water or use the hottest water from your faucet and soak them. They plump up in an hour and it's as good as having soaked them overnight.
  • Do not add the tamarind at the beginning of cooking. It will make your chickpeas super tough and not fun.
  • Traditional chana masala uses amchoor powder. I used lemon juice in this recipe but if you have the amchoor powder, go ahead and use it.
  • Buy the chana masala spice mix for this recipe--trust me, it's a lot easier than buying 20 different spices to make your own.
  • Use split chana dal to make your chana masala thicker. If you choose not to buy this, you can either let the curry be a little thinner, mash some of the chickpeas into the final dish, or use a can of chickpeas to add thickness.
  • You can also make this with canned chickpeas, but it takes just a little more intervention. Cook the vegetable mixture with 1 cup of water for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low. Then, add in drained canned chickpeas, add in another cup of water and allow it to cook for another hour on high.
  • You can use either fresh or canned tomatoes, fire-roasted or regular canned tomatoes. Don’t bother with expensive canned tomatoes since there are so many other flavors in this that will overpower the tomatoes.
  • This recipe does very well in the fridge or in the freezer. The flavors get better and better over time. It also thickens over time though, so you may need to add some water to reheat.

Watch The video on Making Slow Cooker Chana Masala

Step By Step On Making Slow Cooker Chickpea Masala

Step 1: Make the sauce: In a blender, purée tomatoes, onions, ginger, garlic, and serrano pepper.

Step 2: Pour this into the slow cooker. Set aside blender container.

Step 3: Add chana masala, turmeric, salt, cayenne, coriander, cumin, and chana masala.

Step 4a: Add in drained, soaked chickpeas

Step 4b: and the chana dal (split chickpeas).

Step 5: Pour in two cups of water into the blender container, slosh it about to get all the saucy goodness, and pour this into the slow cooker.

Step 6: Cook for 6 hours. When the chickpeas are cooked and soft, add in 1 tablespoon tamarind paste.

Step 7: Add in lemon juice or amchoor, and chopped cilantro before serving.

What to serve with Chana Masala?

Now that you know how to make in easily in your slow cooker, you can enjoy this delicious Slow Cooker Chana Masala any day of the week! Make sure to share this recipe with your friends on Pinterest and Facebook so they can enjoy it as well!

★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below! Just click on the stars in the recipe card to rate. Don't forget to pin this recipe for later!

Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 green chile pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 4 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 4 cups cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • ½ cup tomato sauce
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, ginger, and green chile pepper in hot oil until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes.

Season onion mixture with cumin, paprika, coriander, garam masala, turmeric, and cayenne pepper stir. Cook onion with spices until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and tomato sauce stir and simmer until the tomatoes soften, about 5 minutes.

Stir yogurt into the mixture until the color of the mixture is even simmer until again hot, about 5 minutes more. Remove pan from heat stir lemon juice and salt into the mixture.


  • 4 cups water
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or more if you like more of a kick
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained

Chana Masala Slow Cooker Meal | Vegetarian & Vegan Dinner

Nothing’s better than a simple slow cooker dinner! And one with Indian-inspired flavors is bound to be a hit. This chana masala slow cooker meal is actually based on a classic Indian vegetarian dinner, chana masala. But, I’ve adapted it for the slow cooker!

Traditionally, chana masala is a savory chickpea dish with protein coming from chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, rather than animal protein. And, I’ve kept this chana masala slow cooker meal completely vegan, too—so take advantage of its flexibility to please any crowd!

Simplifying & Health-ifying Chana Masala

Chana masala is traditionally a lighter dish. Not only is there no meat or animal protein, but the protein-rich chickpeas, tomatoes, onion and anti-inflammatory spices make this a nutritious option for a meal, any time of day!

I keep this Indian slow cooker recipe simple by using canned chickpeas. But, I drain and rinse them so I can be in control of that sodium. This keeps my life easy, plus canned beans are pretty cheap!

Of course, if you wanted to kick this old style, you could of course soak dry beans and cook them yourself. But, if you choose to do this, don’t overcook your beans since they’ll continue to cook in the slow cooker.

Packing in Chana Masala Flavor

This chana masala slow cooker meal is so easy to toss together. And, it’s loaded with a TON of delicious flavor from the fresh ginger, chili peppers, and seasonings like paprika, turmeric and spice blends! Also, feel free to add any other spices or herbs you feel inspired by—many recipes include curry powder, ginger powder (as opposed to fresh) cilantro, etc.

Personally, I use a chana masala seasoning blend that I found pre-made. But, you can use a garam masala seasoning (available in most grocery stores) if the chana masala one is not accessible to you.

A traditional chana masala is a blend of various ingredients like dry pomegranate seeds, coriander, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, chili powder, black salt, and more!

Garam masala, on the other hand, is a blend made with much more common and accessible spices. It’s sure to do the trick for this chana masala slow cooker meal!

Making Classic Chana Masala Slow Cooker Style

This chana masala slow cooker meal makes weeknight dinners effortless—just add all the ingredients to your cooker and let it go! Slow cooking infuses all of that flavor into the protein-packed and fiber-filled chickpeas for a quick weeknight vegetarian dinner.

Serve over brown basmati or long grain white rice, with naan, or however you like! It’s delicious fresh and warm, but I actually also really enjoy this dish cold. And, it makes for great leftovers and can be enjoyed on its own, or with other warm or cold components!

Slow Cooker Chana Masala

Marrying someone from a different part of your country has it’s own perks. Especially if you come from a country like India where each region is known for it’s food and let me tell you each region has it’s own unique ways of cooking ( no kidding!). So when I married Ronak from western part of India, I knew I will get to learn and know about all sorts of different foods prepared by them. So everytime when I visit my in-laws place or they come visit us, I try to make it a point to learn few recipes from Gujarat which are both of our favorite now.

Since last few days Ronak’s mom has been visiting , I had a list of recipes I wanted to eat and learn from her and I must tell you that last few days have been amazing with so much delicious food! She made all our favorite recipes and I have been eating non stop! So after eating all that food last few days, I wanted something simple and something that wouldn’t require staying in kitchen for long. So I decided to make our favorite Chana Masala in slow cooker. Chana Masala is a famous Indian curry loved by all and now with slow cooker you can make this restaurant style curry with just 15 mins hands on work.

For making this curry, you need very few simple ingredients. It starts off by sauteing spices in oil along with onion puree. Then this sauteed spice mixture, tomato puree, boiled chickpeas and few remaining spices along with water are all added into the slow cooker and then go ahead with your usual work. Leave it in slow cooker for about 5-6 hours at high and you come home to a super flavorful curry.

I especially like it for the reasons that when I crave traditional flavorful Indian food, I can still make it with very few basic spices and in slow cooker which needs me to be in the kitchen for just 15-30 minutes.

So go ahead & give this a try! If you make these or any other recipe from our blog, do tag us by using#naivecookcooks on social media channels.

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 (1 inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped, or more to taste
  • 1 green chile pepper, seeded and chopped (Optional)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves, or more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch salt to taste
  • water as needed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish, or more to taste

Grind onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, and chile pepper together in a food processor into a paste.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry bay leaves in hot oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour the paste into the skillet and cook until the oil begins to separate from the mixture and is golden brown in color, 2 to 3 minutes. Season the mixture with chili powder, coriander, powder, gram masala, turmeric, and salt cook and stir until very hot, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir enough water into the mixture to get a thick gravy bring to a boil and stir chickpeas into the gravy. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the chickpeas are heated through, 5 to 7 minutes. Garnish with cilantro.

Slow Cooker Chana Masala

I recently got my first slow cooker, and have been loving it as a way to make great meals with less effort. I've also been trying to be more budget conscious over the last few months, and I am always looking for ways to make beans and rice type meals more exciting.

This Chana Masala (Chickpea Stew) recipe is a great addition to the repertoire of anyone looking to cut food costs and animal content. I need to give credit to the Smitten Kitchen post, which is my main inspiration for this recipe. My version has a bit more liquid than most other Chana masala recipes, but I don't mind that as it comes with lots of good flavor and the ease of Crock Pot cooking.

Yes, I did put the chickpeas in the crockpot dry, and I let them cook in the broth for the stew. This cut my costs, added flavor, and cut my prep time, though it added to the cook time of the recipe. If you are running short on time, replace the dry chickpeas with 2 cans prepared, cut the boiling water out of the recipe, and you can also cook it on the stove in this case rather than in the slow cooker.

One last note is that Indian or Asian groceries may carry a Chana Masala spice mix, and using that will ease a lot of the prep and gathering time for this recipe. If you don't have that mix handy, use the spices as indicated below:

  • 2 cups dry chickpeas, rinsed
  • 1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes &ndash Plain and fire roasted flavors fit this recipe well. Basil flavor also tastes great, but signifcantly changes the flavor of the dish. Choose what sounds best to you.
  • 1 cups boiling water
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • ½ teaspoon black salt, or table salt if black is not available
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 fresh, hot pepper, minced &ndash can be cut to reduce the heat of this recipe
  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspooons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes &ndash can be cut to reduce heat
  • 1 teaspoon ground tumeric
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  1. Add your rinsed chickpeas, crushed tomatoes, and boiling water to your crock pot and set to high.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet, and add the onions and salt. Cook the onions until translucent, then add the ginger and garlic. Cook an additional 5 minutes, but moving to the next step if the garlic starts to brown.
  3. Add the rest of your spices to the onion mixture, and cook together for 5 minutes. Turn on your oven fan, as this stage can produce some smoke.
  4. Add the onion and spice mixture to the slow cooker and stir well. Cook for approximately 3 hours, or until the chickpeas are soft. Check the stew occasionally during the cooking process, and add more water if necessary.

This stew can be served alone, or it is also great with a side of rice. Enjoy!