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Slow Cooker Beef Madras Curry

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Slow Cooker Beef Madras Curry – chunks of tender beef in a spicy, aromatic Madras sauce. Guaranteed to become your favourite Friday night curry.

Homemade Takeaway Nights are a regular feature here at the Kitchen Shed, we ring the seasonal changes with Homemade Pizza, Homemade Chicken Kebabs or Homemade Curries.

We love a curry night and judging from the popularity of Easy Bombay Potatoes recipe on my blog, it seems a lot of other people do too.

Beef Madras ready to eat served with Homemade Garlic Naan Bread.

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I’m sharing our family favourite Slow Cooker Beef Madras today. In our opinion it’s the best Beef Madras Curry, you’ll have to let me know if you agree.

The crock pot is ideal for a beef curry as it’s long, slow cooking results in melt in your mouth beef and a rich spicy sauce. Another big crock pot bonus is that it can be left unattended all day to cook while you get on with other parts of your life, be it chores, going for a long walk, going to work or whatever else. Probably the best bit is coming back to a home filled with the aroma of fragrant Indian spices and a meal ready to eat.

Beef Curry with fresh coriander ready to serve from the slow cooker.

What Is Madras Curry ?

Traditionally a Madras is a hot curry but not too hot that you can’t taste the layers of flavour from the spices. It’s typically a redder sauce than a regular curry sauce, similar to but darker than the colour of Tandoori Chicken. The natural colour comes from the chilli, tamarind and tomatoes.

I don’t know about you but I don’t enjoy a curry that makes your eyes sweat and all you can taste is chilli. Our Beef Madras Curry really delivers on flavour with a warming heat that won’t blow your socks off. Madras spices, the sourness of Tamarind paste and the sweetness of tomatoes combine to give that umami flavour which makes a dish special.

Beef Madras served in a Balti dish with Homemade Naan Bread.

What Do I Need To Make Slow Cooker Beef Madras ?

Madras Curry Sauce Ingredients

Onions, garlic, chillies and fresh ginger are the base for the curry.


Coriander seeds
Cumin seeds
Black Mustard seeds
Fennel seeds
Fenugreek seeds

We love to toast and grind whole spices to add to Slow Cooker Beef Madras for a more authentic taste.

Luckily you can find an array of Indian spices in most supermarkets these days so you shouldn’t find it too difficult to source your spices. That said, I find I’m buying a lot of ingredients online because of the wide choice and convenience of home delivery.

However, if you struggle to source your spices or you don’t want to buy jars of spice just to make this curry, you can add 2 teaspoons of Garam Masala instead.

Tamarind Paste

Tamarind is what gives a Madras its classic tart, almost tangy note.

The fruit of the Tamarind tree and is widely used in African and Asian cooking. You can buy Tamarind pulp but I find it easier to use Tamarind paste which is more widely available in supermarkets, grocery stores or online.

You’ll find that Tamarind is the main ingredient in OH’s favourite sauce (“HP Sauce” – a British ketchup) which he loves on bacon butties !

If you can’t find Tamarind paste where you live you can use lemon juice instead. Alternatively, you could use Madras Curry Paste instead of Madras Curry Powder as it contains some Tamarind paste.


I’ve used passata / sieved tomatoes in this recipe. Added to the homemade onion, garlic, chilli and fresh ginger puree and dry spices it makes the Best Madras Curry Sauce.

Stirring the beef in the slow cooker.

What’s The Best Cut Of Beef For A Madras Curry ?

You’ll be pleased to know the secret to the best slow cooker Beef Madras is to buy inexpensive cuts of beef. Long slow cooking turns tough cuts from well used muscles into forkfuls of tender fall apart beef.

On the other hand, if you use a tender cut of beef your beef curry can end up being tough and chewy.

Can I Use Chicken Or Lamb Instead ?

Yes. The Madras Curry Sauce in this recipe makes a delicious Chicken or Lamb Madras.

Slow Cooker Chicken Madras

You can use chicken breast or boneless thighs cut into chunks.
Follow the recipe substituting chicken for beef and cook on low for four hours or two hours on high.

Slow Cooker Lamb Madras

Use the cut of lamb you would use in a stew such as middle neck/neck or boned and diced shoulder.
Substitute lamb for beef and follow the recipe as directed, cooking times are the same as for beef.

How To Make Slow Cooker Beef Madras

Beef Madras Curry ready to serve from the slow cooker.

It only takes about 15 minutes to get your Slow Cooker Beef Madras (including prepping the veg) into the slow cooker so you can set and forget it for the rest of the day.

Step 1

Toast and grind whole spices.

Sauteed onion, garlic and ginger in a pyrex jug.

Step 2

Use a microwave to cook the onion, garlic, chilli and ginger puree.
It’s so much quicker and easier this way, the onion is softened beautifully and all you have to do is whizz it up with a stick blender.

Pureed onion, garlic and chilli.

Step 3

Brown the beef.

It really is worth browning the beef in a frying pan before you add it to the slow cooker. The process caramelises the beef and seals in the flavour.

Sealing beef in the frying pan.

Step 4

Cook the spices and pastes together for a few minutes before adding to the slow cooker.

That’s it, all you have to do now is leave the slow cooker to work its magic !

Can I Put Raw Beef In The Slow Cooker ?

Yes, you can. Skip Steps 3 and 4 if you’re really pushed for time and just add the ingredients into the slow cooker instead. However, I do find that you don’t quite get the same depth flavour from the spices or the beef.

What To Eat With Slow Cooker Beef Madras

Beef Madras served in a Balti dish with Homemade Naan Bread.

Boiled rice
Pilau rice
Easy Bombay Potatoes
Garlic Naan Bread
Mango Chutney

Can Slow Cooker Beef Madras Be Reheated ?

Yes, Beef Madras can be made ahead, cooled and stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Reheat in a pan on the stovetop on a medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Can Slow Cooker Beef Madras Be Frozen ?

Slow Cooker Beef Madras freezes well.

Slow Cooker Beef Stew and Herb Dumplings

Slow Cooker Beef Brisket Goulash

Slow Cooker Citrus Lamb Shanks

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Beef Madras topped with coriander and chilli and served with Garlic Naan Bread

Slow Cooker Beef Madras Curry

Slow Cooker Beef Madras Curry – chunks of tender beef in a spicy, aromatic Madras sauce. Guaranteed to become your favourite Friday night curry.
4.95 from 136 votes
Print Pin Rate this Recipe Save Recipe
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 445kcal
Author: Sarah James


  • Slow Cooker


  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 4 onions, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 chilli, sliced Optional
  • 3 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 Kg beef chunks – Chuck Steak or Stewing Steak
  • 3 tbsp Madras curry powder Or Madras curry paste
  • 1 tbsp Tamarind paste Or lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 500 ml passata or sieved tomatoes
  • 500 ml Water

Serve With

  • A handful fresh coriander, chopped
  • 1 chilli, finely sliced


  • Grease or spray the inside of your slow cooker with cooking spray.
  • Toast whole spices in a large frying pan on a low heat until they smell fragrant – be careful not to burn your spices. Grind your toasted spices to a powder.
  • Cook the diced onion with 2 tablespoons of oil in a covered jug or bowl in the microwave on full power for 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, chilli and ginger to the cooked onions and cook for a further minute on full power.
  • Whizz up the onion mixture with a stick blender to a smooth puree.
  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in your large frying pan and add the beef chunks – brown well before transferring to the slow cooker. (You may have to do this in batches)
  • Return the frying pan to a gentle heat. Add the freshly ground spices, Madras Powder or Paste, Tamarind paste, tomato puree, salt and pepper and then cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add in the onion, garlic and chilli puree, passata and water and turn up the heat, stirring constantly.
  • Bring to a gentle simmer before tranferring your Madras Sauce to the slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours (low setting is best)
  • Serve with fresh coriander, sliced chillies and rice.



Madras Curry Powder – substitute with Curry Powder, just add a teaspoon of chilli powder.
Fenugreek – optional if you don’t have any in your pantry. It is already in most Madras powders or pastes – we just like a touch extra.
Tamarind – substitute 2 tablespoons of lemon juice if you can’t get hold of tamarind paste. Or use Madras Curry Paste instead of Madras Curry Powder.
Slow Cooker Beef Madras will keep in the fridge for up to four days.
Slow Cooker Beef Madras freezes well.
Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Calories: 445kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 110mg | Sodium: 542mg | Potassium: 1267mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 643IU | Vitamin C: 38mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 7mg

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Slow Cooker Beef Madras Curry - chunks of tender beef in a spicy, aromatic Madras sauce. Guaranteed to become your favourite Friday night curry.


I am linking this up to Cook Blog Share hosted by Lesley at Lost In Food and Fiesta Fridays.

Recipe Rating


Sunday 28th of May 2023

Made this twice now and the whole family love it. Even my grandson who is 5

Sarah James

Friday 2nd of June 2023

Thank you for taking time to comment, it's much appreciated. Pleased to hear your family love it including your grandson, Sarah


Saturday 14th of January 2023

I made this for Christmas dinner using sirloin steak (it was all I could get!). Unfortunately I couldn't source any black mustard seeds. Fortunately I don't like very hot curries. I added extra Madras paste to try to add the missing flavour. The final meal was mildish but full of flavours and certainly lived up to being the main course for a Christmas meal. I may make this mild form again, unless I finally find some black mustard seeds...

Sarah James

Monday 16th of January 2023

Hello Tania, pleased to hear you enjoyed our beef madras for Christmas dinner, using sirloin steak would make it a real treat. I buy a lot of my spices online as our local supermarket doesn't stock a very big range of spices. You'll find a link in the post if you do want to source some black mustard seeds, Sarah.

Wendy Capelin

Friday 9th of December 2022

I have just made this curry for the 10th time! I dont normally leave reviews but felt that as this turns out amazing every time and every one who eats loves it, felt it deserved a five star review. Only thing that I differ from the recipe is my own madras spice mix that I got from the curry man website. Amazing, thank you.

Sarah James

Wednesday 14th of December 2022

Hello Wendy, your review has made my day and thank you for taking the time to comment. I'm so pleased you have enjoyed my beef madras, Sarah.

Chris Godfrey

Saturday 8th of May 2021

Just knocked this up for this evening. Very easy and smells delicious doing the prep before adding everything together into the slow cooker. I tasted the sauce and added a spoonful of honey. Recipe bookmarked and hope to make it again if its good. Thanks Sarah

Sarah James

Saturday 8th of May 2021

You're most welcome Chris, it's a pleasure to share the recipe. Glad to hear you've found it easy to make and it's smelling delicious. It's always a good idea to have a taste and adjust to your own tastebuds, the tartness of tamarind does vary from brand to brand. I hope you enjoy our Beef madras as much as we do :-)

Chef Dennis

Wednesday 18th of November 2020

your curry looks soooooo delicious! As soon as I pick up all the ingredients I'll be making this for dinner!

Sarah James

Thursday 19th of November 2020

That's great to hear Dennis, do let me know how you get on.