Indian Butter Chicken

Indian Butter Chicken – An EASY, ONE-POT recipe for a classic Indian favorite!! Juicy, BUTTERY chicken simmered in a CREAMY tomato-based sauce! Next time you’re craving Indian food, you can make it yourself in 30 minutes!!

Indian Butter Chicken – An EASY, ONE-POT recipe for a classic Indian favorite!! Juicy, BUTTERY chicken simmered in a CREAMY tomato-based sauce! Next time you’re craving Indian food, you can make it yourself in 30 minutes!!

I am by no means an expert in Indian cooking. Or for any ethnic recipes that I share from Mexican to Asian.

But after plenty of research, trial and error, and condensing some very complicated and time-consuming recipes for Indian butter chicken into this very straightforward and easy one, I can definitely say that it’s a winner that my daughter and I loved.

Butter Chicken VS. Chicken Tikka Masala

It reminds me a lot of my Chicken Tikka Masala but rather than having to marinade the chicken overnight in a Greek yogurt-based marinade, no planning ahead is required for the butter chicken. Score.

Sweet Vidalia onions are caramelized in butter before adding the chicken, garlic, and a slew of spices including garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and ginger. I am not shy when adding spices because flavor development is my goal and bland food is my nemesis.

Indian Butter Chicken – An EASY, ONE-POT recipe for a classic Indian favorite!! Juicy, BUTTERY chicken simmered in a CREAMY tomato-based sauce! Next time you’re craving Indian food, you can make it yourself in 30 minutes!!

Where To Buy The Spices

None of the spices are so exotic that they are hard to find and you can find them all in your regular grocery store. Keeping recipes convenient enough so that people actually make them is important to me.

You can can’t have butter chicken without plenty of butter. So after adding the spices and tomato sauce, you add (more) butter and heavy cream. It’s a full-fat dairy marriage in heaven that produces a buttery, creamy, full-bodied sauce that is butter chicken’s signature.

Indian Butter Chicken – An EASY, ONE-POT recipe for a classic Indian favorite!! Juicy, BUTTERY chicken simmered in a CREAMY tomato-based sauce! Next time you’re craving Indian food, you can make it yourself in 30 minutes!!

Feeling Saucy

If you’re a sauce fan, this recipe produces an abundant amount of sauce as written. If you don’t want it as saucy, you can scale back on the amount of tomato sauce and/or cream.

The sauce it good enough to slurp down as if it were a soup which I relished doing.

Garnished with cilantro and served on top basmati rice, this is a keeper that’s faster than going to your local Indian restaurant because it’s ready in 30 minutes and tastes every bit as amazing.

Indian Butter Chicken - An EASY, ONE-POT recipe for a classic Indian favorite!! Juicy, BUTTERY chicken simmered in a CREAMY tomato-based sauce! Next time you're craving Indian food, you can make it yourself in 30 minutes!!

Here’s a video demonstrating how I made the Indian Butter Chicken.


Indian Butter Chicken

Indian Butter Chicken – An EASY, ONE-POT recipe for a classic Indian favorite!! Juicy, BUTTERY chicken simmered in a CREAMY tomato-based sauce! Next time you’re craving Indian food, you can make it yourself in 30 minutes!!

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick + 1 stick), divided
  • 1 large sweet Vidalia or yellow onion, diced small
  • about 1.50 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 to 5 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger or 1+ tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (see Notes below)
  • one 8-ounce can tomato sauce (I used no-salt added; see Notes below)
  • basmati rice (or your favorite rice) for serving
  • about 1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves, or to taste for garnishing

Directions:

  1. To a large skillet add 1/4 cup butter (1/2 stick), onion, and sauté over medium-high heat until the onions begins to soften and caramelize about 5 minutes; stir intermittently. It does not have to be fully caramelized before moving on.
  2. Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes, or until chicken is done; flip and stir often to ensure even cooking.
  3. Add the garlic, stir to combine, and cook for about 1 minute, or until fragrant; stir frequently.
  4. Add the garam masala, cumin, turmeric, ginger, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (does not make it spicy but adds depth of flavor), and stir to combine.
  5. Add the remaining 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter and heat until it has melted; stir frequently to encourage melting.
  6. Add the heavy cream, tomato sauce, stir to combine, and allow mixture to simmer for about 10 minutes, or until sauce has thickened and reduced slightly. Taste and if desired, add additional salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, etc.
  7. Add rice to the serving plates and top with chicken and as much sauce as desired.
  8. Evenly garnish with cilantro and serve immediately. Dish is best warm and fresh but will keep airtight in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Recipe Notes and Tips:

  1. If you’re a sauce fan, this recipe produces an abundant amount of sauce as written. If you don’t want it as saucy, you can scale back on the amount of tomato sauce and/or cream.
  2. I used no-salt added tomato sauce and used nearly 2 teaspoons salt in total but if you’re using salted tomato sauce 1 teaspoon salt will likely be enough.
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85 comments on “Indian Butter Chicken”

  1. So good! My first Indian dish and the instructions were wonderful.

    Rating: 5
  2. It’s delicious, but mine looked more of a brown than orange/brown. How do you get that color? Please let me know. I did follow the recipe exactly as written. Thanks, Teresa

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad it tasted delicious!

      It could be the intensity of the pigment in the turmeric, or other spices, or tomato sauce; not sure exactly but glad the taste was great.

  3. This turned out amazing! I love the flavor profile. I am excited to make it for my family. Which vegetable or side would go well with this dish?

    Rating: 5
  4. This was a very good recipe. I did double the tomato sauce for my own tastes and it was good. I think I cut the chicken too small because with all the simmering, my chicken was tough.

    I amdefinitely going to do it again but I’ll probably cut back on the cumin….I’m not a huge fan HOWEVER, since the recipe is agood one, I didn’t mind it so much.

    Thank you for sharing this. You brokeme out of my cooking comfort zone and got me feeling a tad more adventurous with spices I normally shy away from

  5. It was delicious and easy to make. Thank you.

    Rating: 5
  6. The recipe calls for one tablespoon ground ginger or 1+ tablespoon fresh. What does the 1+ mean? Usually dried spices are more potent than fresh and you need more fresh. I’m not sure if the plus sign means heaping tablespoon or something else. The recipe looks great, but I want to make sure I know what I need before I start making this. I have fresh ginger on hand so I want to use it up.thanks.

  7. This was incredibly good. I picked this recipe since I had all the ingredients on hand. Many recipes called for cardamom pods, which I could not find in the supermarket. I made this twice. The first time I pounded out the chicken and then marinaded in buttermilk. The second time I skipped it. I really think it tasted better the first time. Also, I used fresh ginger. Definitely think that’s the way to go. Delicious.

    Rating: 5
  8. What exactly is the ingredient you are calling “tomato sauce”? I would like to make this for my son’s birthday in 3 days.
    Thanks!

  9. I tried this last week and came out so delicious!

  10. I made this for supper for my husband and I and it was delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and wouldn’t change a thing except when I make it for my vegetarian daughter. For her I’ll sub the chicken for roasted chickpeas or tofu or both. She’ll love it!! I always look forward to seeing your recipes in my inbox. I haven’t made even one that I didn’t like. Can’t wait to try more of them! God bless you for making cooking easy, fun, and delicious!

    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you loved this and will make it again (vegetarian style)!

      I appreciate that you appreciate easy, fun, and delicious recipes – that is always my goal!

      • Once the prep was done, this dish came together in minutes! I did play a little with the spices, based on what was on hand and personal taste, but the butter/cream/tomato tempering each other made this dish wonderfully silky and smooth. It’s definitely going into rotation, and I’m thrilled to find your site.

        Rating: 5
      • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this is definitely going into rotation!

        I’m glad you found me as well :)

  11. I forgot to post my stars with my first comment!

    Rating: 5
  12. This recipe is great! I doubled it for my family of 8 and we had leftovers. I paired it with some steamed cauliflower and naan. My hubby and kids all love Indian and they said it was the best homemade Indian dish I’ve made. They’ve asked me to scrap all the other recipes I’ve tried. We have a winner! Even better the next day.

    Rating: 5
  13. Followed this recipe exactly and my family loved it. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    Rating: 5
  14. Delicious! I used soy milk instead of heavy cream.

    Rating: 5
  15. I have been making Indian butter chicken on a monthly basis for the past decade, at least. But every time I do, I either try a new recipe, or try to create a new one myself, because i’ve never quite got it to a standard I could compare with one of my all time favorite restaurant dishes. Until now!!! Oh my God…this came out so completely perfect in every single way. I followed the recipe exactly except for doubling the cayenne (I like it spicy) adding one chopped fresh tomato, and I did in fact go with the fresh ginger. Anyhow, I just want to thank you, thank you so very much!!! For creating a recipe I know I will be using for years to come. My search is over!!! ❤️❤️❤️

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this came out perfect in every single way for you! Glad this will be your go to Indian butter chicken and your search is over! That’s a very high compliment since it sounds like you are quite the aficionado if you’ve been making it monthly for a decade plus!

  16. Delicious dish that everyone enjoyed! I would not change any ingredient or amount … wonderful as is! So each to make and it truly is one dish!

    Rating: 5
  17. Big hit just as written. Served on zucchini to the Keto crowd and everyone was thrilled.

    Rating: 5
  18. I used boneless skinless thighs and it was amazing!

    Rating: 5
  19. Made this last night and it was yummy. Next time I would cut back on the tomato sauce as it was too saucy. Or maybe I just need to add more chicken? Also, my own fault but my rice was little too wet, next time my rice needs to be drier for this. The good thing is you can make this recipe as hot or mild as you want. Next time I might try adding some lemon juice for a little “zing.”

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the 5 star review and I’m glad you enjoyed it overall. I did mention in the blog post under the section ‘Feeling Saucy’ and to scale back if desired on the sauce since I know that’s personal preference. Something you can do for next time. And/or just add more chicken. And yes, drier rice is best too for this.

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