Super fast to make, veggie-loaded and full of warm flavors, Slow Cooker/Instant Pot Butternut Squash Chicken Curry is the perfect dinner any night of the week! Heavenly over cauliflower rice, jasmine rice or completely on its own, this dinner will dazzle your tastebud while saving you time in the kitchen. Dairy-free, gluten free, Paleo and Whole30 serving option!Jump to Recipe
If you have been following me for a while, you might have heard me mention my dear friend, Cheryl. Cheryl is the whole reason The Natural Nurturer exists. Truly.
Many moons ago, when both Cheryl and I were new moms, we were struggling to stay inspired and motivated in our healthy eating during the new season of life. Both a bit concerned that we might end up living off of boxed mac and cheese and frozen pizzas, we started sending pictures of our meals to one another to keep each other inspired in the kitchen.
It started with poorly lit pictures of weird smoothie creations in my kitchen. Then it evolved to me making up one-pot dinner dishes and making Ken wait to take bit until I had a chance to take a picture to send Cheryl. And pretty soon, I discovered that I was a bit obsessed with thinking up new recipes and sending the pictures (and the recipe) over to Cheryl to try. The more I cooked and sent her way, the more inspired I was to keep cooking and sharing.
Soon, I started sharing my creations on my personal Facebook page, hoping to share my easy recipes and healthy living hacks with my other tired-and-busy parent friends. What started as a simple way of keeping myself accountable had evolved into a mission to show people that real food in busy modern day life was still possible.
“You should start a food blog for all your ideas!” Cheryl encouraged one day.
What? Me? A blogger? No way. I didn’t have any training in cooking, photography or even writing. I was just a busy mama trying to feed herself and her family healthfully and share the knowledge with others.
But Cheryl kept on encouraging. And soon Ken, my husband, joined in.
And then one day, after we were halfheartedly joking about what I would call my blog (I think Mom Munchies was a contender), Cheryl texted me.
“I did something,” she said.
“I bought you a domain. I bought you thenaturalnurturer.com…..so now you have to do this. You are supposed to,” she wrote me.
I was stunned. Beyond excited and beyond terrified of embarking on this journey, yet it felt like something I was so called to do it at the same time.
So, a few days later, I hit publish on my first recipe and The Natural Nurturer went live.
I actually don’t remember what my first recipe was (and kind of don’t want to, as any food blogger will tell you that we are like wine and only get better with age), but that day was the day this incredible journey started. And it was all because of Cheryl.
Since that day some 4 years ago, Cheryl and I still occasionally send one another pictures of our dinner or a new recipe that we think the other should try.
“This chicken curry was amazing,” Cheryl texted me one day last week, with a snap shot of her dinner. Her plate of chicken, bokchoy and potatoes smothered in curry sauce looked heavenly. Rich and warm, yet nourishing and satisfying.
As weird as it might sound, Cheryl’s plate looked so good that it kind of haunted me and I thought about chicken curry for days after. Until I couldn’t take it anymore and decided to make my own.
As amazing as Cheryl’s creation had looked, I wanted to put my own twist on this classic Indian dish. I loved the spice of curry, but wanted to balance it a bit with the creamy sweetness of butternut squash (and I happened to have a can of it in my pantry) and add a mix of different flavors. I also wanted to make it in my Instant Pot, since it truly cuts dinner prep time down and is my current favorite kitchen gadget.
And so this recipe was born. So easy, yet so incredibly flavorful. When I sent it to work with my husband to share with his coworkers (one group of unofficial taste testers that I lovingly force my new creations on), I was sent pictures of empty bowls and colorfully worded texts of approval….and requests for more.
So yeah, make this, TNNers. I’m obsessed…and so will you.
- Make it vegetarian. If Paleo or Whole30 isn’t your preferred eating style, feel free to sub the chicken in this recipe with cooked chickpeas! Also, use your favorite vegetable broth in this recipe!
- Kick up the heat! Make this recipe suit your personal taste and add more curry powder if you are looking for a spicier dish.
Other recipes you are going to love…
- Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli
- Instant Pot Creamy Tomato Basil Soup
- Slow Cooker Almond Butter Beef Stew
Did you try this veggie-loaded curry recipe and now you’re hungry for more?
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Slow Cooker + Instant Pot Butternut Squash Chicken Curry
- Instant Pot
- slow cooker
- 1 15 oz can butternut squash puree (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 1/2 pounds chicken, raw cut into bite-sized cubes
- 1 large sweet potato cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk chilled (this makes the cream rise to the top)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- the juice of 1 lime
- 2 tbsp coconut aminos (sub soy sauce if gf, Paleo or Whole30 not needed)
- 1 tbsp curry powder
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1/2 cup broth
- cilantro to garnish (optional)
For Instant Pot
- Combine chicken, butternut squash puree, garlic, sweet potatoes, coconut aminos, curry powder, ginger, salt and broth to your Instant Pot. Stir to combine.
- Open you coconut milk and scoop out the cream. Set the cream aside and add the coconut water to the mixture in the Instant Pot. Stir again to combine.
- Cook on HIGH pressure for 6 minutes, quick releasing at the end. It will take your Instant Pot about 10 minutes to get up to pressure.
- Once the pressure has been released, remove the lid.
- Stir in the reserved coconut cream and lime juice.
- Set Instant Pot to sauté and let the sauce simmer and thicken a bit. About 5 minutes.
- Serve warm over cauliflower rice, regular rice or enjoy on its own. Garnish with cilantro is desired.
for slow cooker
- Combine chicken, butternut squash puree, garlic, sweet potatoes, coconut aminos, curry powder, ginger, salt and broth to your slow cooker. Stir to combine.
- Open you coconut milk and scoop out the cream. Set the cream aside and add the coconut water to the mixture in the slow cooker. Stir again to combine.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 2-4 hours or until the chicken is done. Every slow cooker is different, so the length of time will depend on your slow cooker.
- Once done cooking, remove lid and stir in the reserved coconut cream and lime juice
- If you prefer your sauce to be thicker, switch to high and cook uncovered for about 15-30 minutes.
- Serve warm over cauliflower rice, regular rice or enjoy on its own. Garnish with cilantro is desired.
The nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and may vary based on the product type, servings and other factors. If you are following a diet, please consult with a professional nutritionist or your doctor. Stay healthy!
On a scale of 1-10 what’s the spice level on this curry? I usually do a jar mix of curry but would love to just use curry powder. My kids like things at a level of about .5!
This looks amazing. Could all of it be thrown into a crockpot too if no instant pot? Any adaptions?
Could I just use butternut squash diced up?
Yes I’m wondering this too. I have a raw butternut squash and I’m wondering if the cooking time would need to be increased to account for that?
I havent tried it but I think as long as the squash is small chunks, it should work just fine. You could remove the chicken after cooking and puree it up if you want!
Didn’t have any butternut squash on hand so I used up my canned pumpkin. So delicious and easy. Thanks for this great recipe. Instant pot for the win.
Thanks for the comment! Pumpkin was all I had and it turned out delicious!
Perfect, that’s what I’m gonna use too then! (Too lazy to cook and puree my own today) : )
this was delicious! i didn’t use coconut aminios because i don’t have it and it was still delicious! i did crockpot. i kept my chicken breast whole when i cooked and cut them up after i cooked it. it worked out great! spice level was perfect!
This was DELICIOUS! I’m currently dairy and soy free and I finally found a meal that was easy and didn’t leave me feeling like I was missing out! Thank you!
Looks so amazing! Do you think a couple frozen chicken breasts would work? That’s currently what I have on hand.
Hey do cook the chicken before or put it in raw? Can’t wait to make this!
I’m so excited to try this! Planning on using canned chickpeas. Would you suggest one can or two? Thanks!
Soooo good! Tried this on a whim because I didn’t have what I needed for a different recipe and it’s magical. It’s going on my regular meal rotation. Thanks you!
I am SO glad you enjoyed it!
Hi! What adaptation do I need to make if I’m cooking on a stovetop?
My baby girl loves the flavor! She was kicking her feet while asking for more. Thanks for the recipe!
Aw! I love that!
I can’t tell you how many times we have made this recipe and every time we love it a little bit more. Leftover are so good the next day! Total must make!
Made this for dinner tonight, it was so good! My husband and I enjoyed it and so did our 21 month old daughter. It was her first time having curry, so I didn’t know what to expect. She drove right in and even asked for a few more bites as I was putting away leftovers. Winner-winner!
Wooohooo! Reviews from the extra little recipe critics are my fav!
Update: Almost 3 years later and this is still my daughter’s favorite meal. It’s on regular rotation at our house!
(I use chicken tenderloins added whole, then shred with a fork when finished cooking)
I am SO glad that this recipe is just enjoyed by your daughter, but has become a true staple! Thank you for sharing.
Our entire family (Adults, toddler, & baby) love this recipe! We make it with 2 cans of chickpeas and add in diced red pepper. It’s a staple for us!
I am so glad to hear this is such a family approved recipes! I also adore this curry with chickpeas and I will have to try it with red pepper next! I have both in my fridge!
First off this is one of my FAVE recipes!! And, as a testament to just how quickly it comes together – I have a sprained ankle and am currently rocking a sweet set of crutches, I just got everything in my instant pot and cooking in less than 10 minutes. I did have several items ready in the freezer, but even without that you can basically toss everything in and turn it on!
Yes! This is one of my go-to FAST dinners. And bravo for having freezer goods to make it extra easy!
I am going to make this one again and again! It came together real easy (used canned pumpkin puree, a small sweet and half a russet potato and chickpeas) and cooked it on the stovetop. Wow, it’s delicious! Already looking forward to leftovers tonight.
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Eva!! Thanks for always taking the time to leave a comment and review on the recipes you try!
My family and I really love this recipe (4 kids from teen to toddler!). It’s a great way to sneak in vegetables too. They have no idea they’re getting butternut squash and all that good stuff! I use frozen diced sweet potatoes and frozen diced butternut squash to make it even easier and it still turns out perfectly! It smells so amazing and nourishing as well 😀
I’m so glad you all enjoy it, Megan!
My husband loves curry and I’m excited to try this but he can’t have potatoes. What would be the best replacement? Probably another root vegetable of some kind?
Carrots would be a good replacement for sweet potato in this recipe!