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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63 comments on “Indian Butter Chicken”

  1. I am Indian and I have to say that your butter chicken looks divine :-)
    Have to finish any Indian dish off with coriander

  2. This looks delicious! I remember reading somewhere that butter chicken is good Indian comfort food and I can see why after reading the recipe. I woke up to snow (yet again) this morning so I could use something yummy and warm with plenty of flavor!

  3. My Hubby will love this Indian butter chicken! I can’t wait to make it!

  4. OMG!!! This was perfect. Easy and delicious.

    Rating: 5
  5. Butter Chicken is hands down Kailey’s fave meal (and her birthday meal every year!)…. I’ve never made it home made before. I’m going to make this for her!

    • It’s super easy to make and if she’s a butter chicken fan, I think she will love it! It makes a ton of sauce as I noted so if you’re not feeling so saucy like I am lol just cut back on some of the half & half.

  6. I made this with great success today. And the ironic thing is that I eat this kind of cusine very regularly because of my ethnicity and it has to be one of the best Indian dishes I have made. But there is no way I put that much cream and butter in my dish so I reduced it but was still really good. maybe one day you can teach us how to make samosas!!

    • This is such an amazing compliment because I know you are Indian and you I’m sure do cook this way often and so it’s a HUGE compliment for you to say that it was one of the best Indian dishes you have made! That’s so amazing and thank you!!

      I figured what the heck and just went for it with the butter/cream :)

      Samosas…now that is one I have never attempted. I know they can be baked, but I’m sure are better fried, and I hate frying things in my house. A week later you can still smell it. lol

  7. I just don’t see how you can get this rich color with only 1 spoon of turmeric. I have tried it twice now, and the color is pale yellow. What is the secret? Special brand of turmeric? Food dye?

    • I use turmeric from Trader Joe’s and also the tomato sauce has color. No food dye involved. I am not sure how or why yours is pale yellow given the tomato sauce and the turmeric and I also add cayenne to mine, too. It would seem at the very least it would be reddish in color and not pale given the tomato sauce. Thanks for trying the recipe.

  8. I cook the butter Chicken for my family and they loved it. I used chicken thigh with the bone and without the skin. I made some cuts in thigh of the chicken in order for the sauce an flavor could go through the chicken. It was delicious, the flavor of the sauce were in every bite of chicken. I also prepared the Naan bread. Which were a little complicated to do, but the taste were there but not the look.

    Rating: 5
  9. When I do butter chicken I normally do the marinade first (although I don’t bother cooking it tandoori style). I tend to just blend the marinade which leads to no chopping. For the main dish I blend the tomatoes, chili (normally Serrano), and ginger which certainly cuts down on the prep time. This is the one Indian dish I prepare where I don’t use onions. Anyway, if you have any interest I can certainly give my recipe which involves almost no effort whatsoever although I do have many more spices on hand than most people.

  10. Made this recipe today & it was awesome. We’re a big family so I tripled everything but cut down a little on tomato sauce. Everyone loved it. Thank you.

    Rating: 5
  11. This butter chicken is awesome. We made it last night and we both loved the flavor. We added a bit more cayenne than the recipe called for but other than that we completely followed the recipe. Our recipe did not turn out to be that color, it was more towards greenish brown. Could that be because of the type of garam masala? The cumin is not light colored either. We did use ground ginger and not fresh. The color really doesn’t matter as the taste was awesome, but I am curious as to how this change came about. Any ideas?

    Rating: 5
    • That’s interesting about the color. Between the tomato sauce and all the yellow/orange colored spices I would think it would be almost impossible to get it to turn greenish brown but I am guessing somewhere along the line there was some sort of chemical reaction that caused a color change but that’s above me. Maybe switch brands entirely of the products you used and see if that changes the color – but as you said, not that important because the taste was awesome! Glad you loved it!

  12. I followed the recipe exactly as written and it was perfect! So rich and creamy. Would not change a thing. Will definitely make this again!!! Thank you.

    Rating: 5
  13. This is incredible!!! Butter chicken is my ultimate comfort food and on a cold wintry night, I could not be happier with this dish! Bones: even my picky 8 year old cleaned his plate! I like this version even more than the local indian restaurant!Thanks so much!

    Rating: 5
  14. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE, did I say I absolutely LOVE Butter Chicken – my addition to all these wonderfully fabulous suggestions is… near the end of cooking – a cup, or so, frozen sweet peas. TRUST ME!

    Rating: 4
  15. excellent recipe!! absolutely delicious my family and I loved it!

    Rating: 5
  16. This recipe is on point. So simple and such a tasty dish. Best served with a side of basmati and naan.

  17. Another great recipe!!I’ll make it again and again! I thought the spices were overwhelming but still good.

    Rating: 4
  18. Family loved it, as did I. My only regret was not having Naan bread to serve with it. The basmati rice was the perfect complement, but I love to tear off pieces of bread and dip in the sauce. I used to live in the Middle East and had butter chicken quite frequently, but never realized how easy it was to make. Shukran and shukria, Averie!

    Rating: 5
  19. We loved this recipe! I could eat the sauce by itself, it is so good! Thank you!

    Rating: 5
  20. This is amazing!!!!! I usually don’t leave reviews, but after tasting this dish, I think everybody needs to know just how delicious and easy this meal is. Dinner was done in literally less than 30 minutes and that’s with a three year old asking a million and one questions while I cooked. The flavor is so rich and the sauce is velvety. Just fabulous! Thank you so look much for sharing this recipe.

    Rating: 5
  21. Looks delicious, your video really drew me in.

    Would you mind updating the ingredients list to specify how the onion should be prepared? Many thanks!

  22. Let me preface this review by saying my husband is from India and I myself have been to India 3 times…so I know Indian food & I’ve been cooking Indian food for the 20+ years of our marriage. Averie, this recipe is fabulous! You nailed it! Butter chicken is always a favorite among American kids because it’s not very spicy if at all and just delicious in general. My kids being no different, I’ve tried many butter chicken recipes from various Indian cookbooks and websites and they are absolutely horrible compared to this one! Actually they were horrible not compared to this one! Either really dry and tasteless or swimming in so much butter you couldn’t even eat it! The only change I made to your recipe was adding more tomato paste because for some reason mine always turns out very pale compared to usual restaurant butter chicken and your photos as well. I have made this recipe 4 times now, tonight being number 5 and even my India born & raised husband loves it! Great job Girlie!!!!

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad this is your favorite butter chicken and that you’ve been making it often! It’s a wonderful compliment and such high praise than your Indian-born husband loves this, too! Thank you!

  23. This was fantastic! This is the first time I’ve made an Indian dish and it was very easy to make. My wife is not a fan of ginger and she still liked it. I will try it with less ginger next time though.

    Rating: 5
  24. My wife and I tried the Indian Butter Chicken at a local Indian restaurant and just loved it. The next day I started looking for a recipe that we could make at home. I googled Indian Butter Chicken, and with 5 star reviews it was an easy choice to make this one. I ordered the Garam Masala from Amazon and we decided to make it today. The instructions were easy to follow and the result was OUTSTANDING!!!! It tasted as good, if not better, than the butter chicken we had at the restaurant. We did use the basmati rice and bought some Naan bread to scrape up the delicious sauce. Since we are lovers of hotter food we doubled the cayenne pepper and it was perfect. If you ever wanted to make a easy fantastic Indian dish this is the one to try.

    Rating: 5
    • Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad that this was as good or possibly better than at the restaurant!

      I am glad the recipe was easy for you to follow and that you loved it! I am a total lover of spicy/hot food BUT for my website I write things more ‘middle of the road’ but I love your idea of doubling the cayenne :)

  25. This was a very simple, very tasty dish! It was a familyfavorite that will always be in rotation.

    Rating: 5

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