Butter Chicken is one of the most popular Indian curry recipes around. It has seasoned chicken pieces soaked in a delicious creamy and rich curry sauce made in the comfort of your own home.

Don't be intimidated! You will love how easy this is to make in your own kitchen. You can also whip up some Homemade Garlic Naan Bread to serve along the side and then use any leftovers to make this delicious Chicken Tikka Masala Pizza.

Butter Chicken topped with red onion and cilantro.

When we go out for dinner, one of our favorite choices is Indian food! The curries! The spices! The garlic naan and basmati rice! Seriously it's so, so good!

One of the most popular Indian dishes is this butter chicken with its tender chunks of chicken thigh or breast in a savory, flavorful gravy. My version isn't spicy at all, so it's super family-friendly.

Why This Recipe Works

  • The aroma of the juicy meat simmering in the sauce alone is worth making this for dinner tonight.
  • It's a simple and easy meal to make with BIG FLAVOR! Don't be overwhelmed by the long list of ingredients - it's actually pretty quick to throw this together for a weeknight dinner.
  • Even though this is an Indian cuisine, you can find every ingredient in the recipe at your regular grocery store.
  • This is a delicious, comforting meal to cozy up to during the chilly months.

Recipe Ingredients

  • Chicken: Boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs are both great in this dish. Just cut them into bite-size chunks.
  • Plain Greek yogurt: This is to marinade the chicken in and helps with the creaminess of this recipe.
  • Spices: Garam masala, fenugreek, turmeric, cumin, red chili powder, salt, and coriander are all spices common to Indian cuisine that are also available next to the other spices in the grocery store.
  • Brown sugar: This recipe has a hint of sweetness to it which really brings it together and compliments the other Indian flavors.
  • Heavy cream: This helps create the richness and creaminess of the sauce.

How to Make This Recipe

The Chicken:

  1. Combine marinade ingredients. Whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt, turmeric, and red chili powder in a large bowl. Stir in the chicken.
  2. Allow to sit. Cover the bowl and marinade for at least 2 hours, but up to 24 hours.
  1. Prepare baking sheet. When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking tray with foil and lightly spray it with olive oil cooking spray.
  2. Bake the chicken. Arrange the chicken on the prepared tray. Bake until the chicken is fully cooked, about 10 to 12 minutes. If you want to brown the top, you can broil it briefly.
Marinated chicken beast on a baking sheet.

The Sauce:

  1. Saute' onion and garlic. Add the butter and oil to a 5-quart pot over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
  1. Stir in the spices. Add the garam masala, salt, red chili powder, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and fenugreek, and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar and tomato sauce. Bring up to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes. Turn the heat down slightly and stir in the heavy whipping cream. Heat until it’s just very gently starting to simmer.
  1. Carefully puree the sauce using an immersion blender or in batches using a regular blender. Stir in the heavy cream.
  2. Add the cooked chicken to the sauce and gently stir to combine.
  3. Serve this dish garnished with fresh cilantro and red onion, along with prepared rice and/or naan bread.

Recipe FAQ's

Can I use milk in place of whipping cream?

Yes, although keep in mind that the consistency won't be quite as thick, creamy, and rich as it would be with whipping cream. Another good option would be to use coconut milk instead, which is a little richer than regular milk.

What can I serve with butter chicken?

This recipe is amazing served over a simple rice, and homemade garlic naan bread is perfect for dunking. Some vegetable side option that would be great are zucchini salad, chopped kale salad, or this easy oven roasted cauliflower.

Can I make this recipe ahead of time?

I think butter chicken is great made up to 3 days in advance. The flavors meld as the sauce sits in the fridge. Just reheat gently on the stovetop before serving. You may need to thin out the sauce with a little bit of water or milk if it is too thick.

Recipe Tips

  • You can easily adjust the thickness of the sauce to suit your preference! If it’s too thick, add water to thin it out. If it’s too thin, add a little tomato paste to thicken it.
  • Any leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
  • If you are a fan of dark meat chicken you can easily replace chicken breast for chicken thighs.

I always do my best to research recipes from other cultures thoroughly to represent them as best I can. If this recipe is from your country or culture and you have suggestions for how I can improve its authenticity, please let me know in the comments below! It's important to us to share beloved foods of other cultures with as much accuracy as possible, while also considering things like accessibility of ingredients and ease of preparation for most home cooks.

Butter Chicken served with naan bread and rice.

Other Chicken Recipes You'll Love

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Let me know what you thought with a comment and rating below. You can also take a picture and tag me on Instagram @houseofnasheats or share it on the Pinterest pin so I can see.

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Butter Chicken

5 from 2 votes
Amy Nash
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Additional Time 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 servings
Butter Chicken is one of the most popular Indian curry recipes around. It has seasoned chicken pieces soaked in a delicious creamy and rich curry sauce made in the comfort of your own home.

Ingredients
  

Chicken

  • 4 Tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon white vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 1- inch piece fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1 to 1 ½-inch chunks
  • Olive oil cooking spray

Sauce

  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil or light olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and crushed
  • 1- inch piece fresh ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon fenugreek
  • 1 Tablespoon light brown sugar lightly packed
  • 15 ounces plain tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Serving

  • Fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • Red onion for garnish
  • Prepared rice for serving
  • Naan bread for serving

Instructions
 

For the Chicken

  • Whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt, turmeric, and red chili powder in a large bowl. Stir in the chicken.
  • Cover the bowl and marinade for at least 2 hours, but up to 24 hours.
  • When you’re ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking tray with foil and lightly spray it with olive oil cooking spray.
  • Arrange the chicken on the prepared tray. Bake until the chicken is fully cooked, about 10 to 12 minutes. If you want to brown the top, you can broil it briefly.

For the Sauce

  • Add the butter and oil to a 5-quart pot over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
  • Add the garam masala, salt, red chili powder, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and fenugreek, and cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly.
  • Stir in the brown sugar and tomato sauce. Bring up to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes. Turn the heat down slightly and stir in the heavy whipping cream. Heat until it’s just very gently starting to simmer.
  • Carefully puree the sauce using an immersion blender or in batches using a regular blender.
  • Add the cooked chicken to the sauce and gently stir to combine.

To Serve

  • Serve this dish garnished with fresh cilantro and red onion, along with prepared rice and/or naan bread.

Notes

  • You can easily adjust the thickness of the sauce to suit your preference! If it’s too thick, add water to thin it out. If it’s too thin, add a little tomato paste to thicken it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 578kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 16g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 995mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 6g
Tried this recipe? Show me on Instagram!Mention @HouseOfNashEats or tag #houseofnasheats!

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About the author

Hi, I'm Amy

I enjoy exploring the world through food, culture, and travel and sharing the adventure with mostly from-scratch, family friendly recipes that I think of as modern comfort cooking.

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