Crock Pot Chana Masala

Enjoying a meatless meal every once in a while is a great way to save money and eat healthier. But just because your dinner isn’t made with meat doesn’t mean it has to lack flavour. This simple slow cooker chana masala recipe features a spicy tomato sauce over protein packed chickpeas, making it a delicious vegetarian dish everyone in the family will love.freezer bag on top, chickpeas on rice in a bowl on the bottomI was vegetarian for many years so I amassed a good variety of tasty meatless recipes. Some of my other freezer friendly meatless meals include Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas, African Thai Stew, and the Asian Rice Bowl.

Slow Cooker Chana Masala Recipe


  • 2 cans (19 oz. each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon ginger
  • 3 Thai chilies
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 5 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth

Freezing instructions:

  1. Combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, ginger, Chilies, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, tomato paste, lemon juice, and vegetable broth in a large freezer bag.
  2. Seal the bag and squish to mix all the ingredients together.
  3. Open the corner of the bag and squeeze to remove excess air, then reseal. Store the bag flat in the freezer until ready to serve.

plastic bag with chickpea stew inside

Serving instructions:

  1. Thaw the chana masala ingredients in the refrigerator.
  2. Pour the contents of the bag into the slow cooker and cook on low for four to six hours.
  3. Serve with basmati rice or naan.

collage of photos of chickpea stew going from freezer bag to slow cooker to bowl

Can I Freeze Homemade Chana Masala?

Preparing the ingredients for your chana masala (sometimes called chole masala or channay) ahead of time is a great way to speed up the prep work on your day of cooking.

So, if you’re wondering whether you can freeze this dish, the answer is yes!

You have two options when it comes to making your slow cooker chana masala ahead of time:

  • Freezing the ingredients, then cooking the chana masala. This is a good option if you’re hoping to speed up the preparation process on your meal planning day. Simply combine all the ingredients in a freezer bag and store in the freezer until you’re ready to cook your meal.
  • Cooking the chana masala, then freezing it. If you want to speed up the preparation time on your cooking day, precooking the chana masala is a great choice. Prepare the recipe in the slow cooker, then allow the ingredients to cool completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container. Keep in mind that you should not refreeze the chana masala after thawing it because the chickpeas and sauce will quickly become mushy.

grey bowl with chickpea stew on top of rice

Can You Reheat Chana Masala?

Reheating your chana masala is simple. The process depends on how you prepared your ingredients for freezing. If you opted to freeze the ingredients, just pour the contents of your freezer bag into a slow cooker and cook until the chickpeas have softened.

But if you precooked your meal and then stored it in the freezer, the chana masala can be reheated in a skillet over medium heat.

Either way, make sure to thaw the ingredients completely before cooking them. The safest way to thaw your frozen ingredients is to transfer the bag to the refrigerator the night before you plan on cooking the meal. This will give your chana masala plenty of time to thaw before you’re ready to cook it.close up of bowl with chickpea stew on rice

How Long Does Chana Masala Last in the Freezer?

When it’s stored properly, this chickpea stew will stay good for up to three months in the freezer. To keep the meal fresh for as long as possible, make sure to remove as much excess air from your container as you can.

After transferring the ingredients into the freezer bag and removing the air from the bag, lay it flat to optimize space in your freezer. And don’t forget to label the bag with the name of the recipe, date of freezing, and expected expiration date so you’ll know exactly when you need to reheat your meal before the ingredients go bad.

Chana Masala Recipe Tips & Tricks

My favourite thing about this slow cooker recipe is how easy it is to customize. On top of easily adjusting the heat of the sauce, you can also add ingredients to create a unique dish for your family. Try these recipe adjustments and additions to create a whole new dinner every time you make this crock pot meal.

  • Mix in some veggies. One of the simplest ways to customize this dish is with the addition of some vegetables. Simple greens, like kale or spinach, are a great way to mix some more vitamins into your dinner. Or add some frozen peas, corn, or carrots to the bag before freezing to make the dinner even more filling.
  • Add some jalapeños. The Thai chilies in this recipe give this Indian dish a little bit of heat. But if you want to take the spice level up a notch, you can also mix in some finely chopped jalapeños. For a milder flavour, remove the seeds before chopping. Otherwise, keep the seeds attached to create a spicy dish.
  • Stir in sour cream when serving. To give your chana masala a creamier texture, try mixing sour cream into the dish when you serve it. The cream will help thicken the sauce and balance out the heat of the peppers.
Slow Cooker Chana Masala
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Course: Main Course
Keyword: vegetarian
Servings: 6
  • 38 oz. chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ginger
  • 3 Thai chilies
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 5 oz. tomato paste
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
Assembly instructions:
  1. Combine the chickpeas, onion, garlic, ginger, chilies, seasonings, tomato paste, lemon juice, and vegetable broth in a large freezer bag.

  2. Squish to combine.

  3. Remove excess air, seal, and freeze.

Cooking instructions:
  1. Thaw.

  2. Pour the contents of the bag into the slow cooker and cook on low for four to six hours.
  3. Serve with basmati rice or naan.