Vegan Slow Cooker Chana Masala

By Alexandra Caspero on March 20, 2021
One of my family's favorite recipes! Chickpeas slow-cooked in a fragrant, spiced tomato sauce.
Serves 4-6

Vegan Slow Cooker Chana Masala. Chickpeas cooked in a fragrant, spiced tomato sauce. Make in the morning for dinner at night! Vegan and Gluten-Free. 

Your favorite Indian take-out, made in the slow-cooker. Which, I’m convinced was invented by a woman. An incredible device that makes dinner happen while you are literally doing anything else? My busy-day-dream-come-true. While I work from home, I love the ability to assemble dinner in the morning so it’s ready the moment BL walks in the door.

Plus, I rely on my slow-cooker butter chickpeas recipe to get me through the cold months and it was only a matter of time before I created a masala version. As vegetarians, we rely on Indian (and Thai) take-out all. the. time. The truth is, we have two Indian restaurants within walking distance of our house, which makes it all too easy to pick up the phone on a night I’m feeling less-than-inspired to cook. 

After years of forcing it, I’m so thankful that BL has finally embraced the cuisine. Now, we can bond over a love of chickpeas, ginger, and garam masala.

Slow Cooker Vegan Chana Masala

Ingredients for this slow cooker chana masala

As easy and delicious as take-out is, I wanted to create an at-home version. Mostly for leftovers, which I could eat for days on end of this stuff. 

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Aromatics, like fresh ginger, onion, and garlic cloves. 
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper. Typically, I recommend 1/2 teaspoon of each to start, then adjust where desired. 
  • 2 Thai chilis; you can sub in serrano pepper or jalapeno pepper instead 
  • Spices, like turmeric, chana masala (or garam masala if you can’t find chana) 
  • Tomato paste (roughly half a 6 ounce can)
  • Canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Vegetable broth
  • Fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Basmati Rice and naan, for serving
Slow Cooker Vegan Chana Masala

How to Make this Vegan Slow Cooker Chana Masala Recipe

Even though this recipe is made for the slow cooker, I recommend first sautéing the onion, ginger, and garlic in a saucepan over medium heat before adding to the slow cooker. And, while this might not make the dinner entirely effortless, it adds another layer of flavor that can’t be achieved in the slow-cooker alone. After all, that magical caramelizing of onions and garlic has to happen on the stove.

Then, stir in the chickpeas, tomato paste, and your favorite vegetable broth and let the entire thing simmer for hours in the slow cooker until you are ready to eat.

Honestly, I really love basmati rice and think it’s the perfect pairing for this masala. While I usually recommend brown rice for extra fiber and nutrients, I’m OK with using the white version in this dish.

Finally, the chickpeas. In my opinion, these provide enough protein and fiber. I know I’m a dietitian, but I really prefer the flavor of white rice to brown. Especially when mixed with a handful of cilantro, salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Slow Cooker Vegan Chana Masala

So, I hope you love this slow cooker chana masala as much as our family does!

More Slow Cooker Recipes:

Remember, if you try this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment, rate it, and tag your Instagram photos with #delishknowledge . I absolutely love seeing your creations. Happy cooking! 

Slow Cooker Vegan Chana Masala

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Slow Cooker Vegan Chana Masala

Slow Cooker Channa Masala

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: chana masala, vegan, glutenfree, healthy, slowcooker


Slow Cooker Vegan Chana Masala. Chickpeas cooked in a fragrant, spiced tomato sauce. Make in the morning for dinner at night! Vegan and Gluten-Free.

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: chana masala, vegan, glutenfree, healthy, slowcooker
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: chana masala, vegan, glutenfree, healthy, slowcooker


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • Large onion, very finely chopped (you can use a food processor to finely chop it, if needed)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced into a paste (mince garlic cloves with a microplane, then use the back of your knife to press into a paste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Thai chilis (red or green), diced (omit or reduce for mild version)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons chana masala seasoning (or garam masala if you can’t find chana)
  • 3 ounces tomato paste (roughly half a 6 ounce can)
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
  • Basmati Rice, for serving
  • Naan, for serving


  1. First, in a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil, ginger and onions over medium heat. Then, cook until onion is very browned and reduced, about 15 minutes. Next, stir in the garlic, salt, pepper, chilis, turmeric and chana masala seasoning. After that, cook another 2-3 minutes until chilis are soft and mixture is fragrant.
  2. Next, pour the mixture into the base of a slow cooker along with the tomato paste, chickpeas and vegetable broth. Then, cook over low heat for 4-6 hours until thickened.
  3. Note, if you’d like a thinner sauce, thin with more vegetable broth.
  4. Finally, serve with rice and naan, garnish with cilantro.

did you make this?

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This slow cooker chana masala recipe was first published in 2016 and updated in 2021.

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Meet Alex Caspero

Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Chef, and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

(45 comments) leave a comment

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    1. Sally
      September 16, 2022 AT 6:39 pm

      This is a really good recipe. I added additional Indian spices that I had on hand and also added cubed medium firm tofu (high protein/low carb). I’ll definitely make this again.

    2. Mare
      March 15, 2022 AT 1:08 pm

      Made this today whole family enjoyed and simple expected thicker, any ideas, more tomato paste, less broth??

    3. sarah s
      February 6, 2022 AT 6:57 pm

      I made this as a dump freezer meal, so without precooking to just dump in the slow cooker 6hrs on low and it worked out well! I’m sure it looses some depth but so easy.

    4. Nikita Tanwar
      April 2, 2021 AT 11:30 pm

      I just tried this recipe and it was so delicious. Thanks for sharing!

    5. laurelie campeau
      January 29, 2021 AT 10:51 am

      I just made this and it is lovely! I used chicken stock instead of vegetable because I did not have any but will see if I can start to stock that too. It is a wonderful budget stretcher and on top of that is full of fibre and so good for you, thank you!

    6. kate
      March 6, 2020 AT 11:34 am

      Thank you for sharing a great recipe! I swapped Thai chilis for a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis and it still turned out delicious. Also, I used dried chickpeas that had been soaked overnight and simmered for 1 hour prior to adding them to the crockpot, which I set to low for 7 hours; the chickpeas are nice and meaty. I made my own garam masala which I highly recommend for anyone willing to take the 5+ minutes to make it. Thank you again for sharing a great recipe!

    7. Jen
      December 27, 2019 AT 8:04 am

      Hi Alex,
      Trying to prep meals as a soon to be momma! How would I make this ahead of time to freeze? Cook the onions and everything? Thanks!

      1. Alex
        January 2, 2020 AT 11:19 am

        Hi Jen- congrats! Yes, I’d cook it as is, then let cool and freeze. I’ve popped this one in the freezer when I have extras and it thaws/reheats well. Just might need to add a little broth as you warm it.

    8. Gloria
      July 19, 2019 AT 9:21 am

      I made this last night and it tasted amazing. I cooked it on high heat tho and it came out kinda watery. Is it because I used high heat ? I cooked it 4 hours.

    9. Allison
      March 2, 2019 AT 11:41 am

      I don’t think you can say that the prep time is 10 minutes when you have to cook the onions for at least 15 minutes in step 1. Other than that, absolutely delicious!

      1. chanel
        January 13, 2022 AT 10:11 am

        This is my second time making this recipe and i LOVE IT!!!! This time around i have fresh ginger and im using purple onion instead of white, i think its going to taste even better then the last time! thank you for this recipe , taste very authentic

        1. Alex
          January 13, 2022 AT 12:07 pm

          So glad to hear!

    10. Ravyn
      December 10, 2018 AT 10:37 pm

      Hey Alex,

      How long should I cook this on the stovetop and in an instant pot? I don’t have a slow-cooker and my instant pot acts up sometimes so it would be nice to know how to cook this dish using both. Thanks!