Indian Butter Chicken

A super easy, full flavoured butter chicken recipe that rivals any restaurant or take out!

Similar to Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken is one of the most popular curries at any Indian restaurant around the world. Aromatic golden chicken pieces in an incredible creamy curry sauce, this Butter Chicken recipe is one of the best you will try! You will love how easy it is to make in the comfort of your own home, especially with garlic butter rice and fresh homemade Naan bread

Tender and juicy chicken thanks to a deliciously spiced yogurt marinade, Butter Chicken is ridiculously easy to make. The curry sauce is out of this world!

I know you all love food with beautiful, bold flavours, and nothing beats sitting down to a good great curry to finish off a chaotic day. The aromas alone transport you to a completely different world.

The best part about cooking up Butter Chicken at home is the ingredients list. Every ingredient is easy to find from any grocery store or supermarket.

why is it called butter chicken

Butter chicken originated from Northern India in 1948. Created by Kundan Lal Gujral, you may notice that Butter Chicken (known as murgh makhani — chicken with butter), is similar to British tikka masala.

Prepared in a buttery gravy with the addition of cream gives the curry sauce a silky smooth rich texture. Most restaurants are known to add in copious amounts of butter, which as a result can leave you feeling bloated or ill from the slick of grease.

However, we found while recipe testing that we prefer to start the sauce off in Ghee (clarified butter, or you can use a combination of half regular butter and half oil).

Adding cream at the end of cooking provides enough of that richness you look for in an authentic butter chicken. Our less oily version leaves you feeling good and satisfied.

how do you make homemade butter chicken

A milder curry when compared to other Indian curries makes Butter Chicken a favourite among families with little ones. You can certainly add as much or as little chili as you wish. In other words, YOU are in total control of how spicy you make it.

what spices go in butter chicken

Easy to find spices, for example: Garam masala, Tumeric, Cumin, Red Chili Powder and Salt, are all you need to make a great sauce. You may even already have some of these in your kitchen cupboards! If you don’t, there’s no doubt you may use them again.

what is butter chicken sauce made of

It’s all about that sauce when it comes to authentic butter chicken. You’ll be surprised to find that you only need an onion, a can of crushed tomatoes, garlic and ginger, and some added spices to continue those beautiful flavours in the sauce.

The trick to making a great sauce is to let the tomatoes cook off for at least 10-15 minutes, until they are almost dry on your pan. Additionally, you can add in a couple tablespoons of water if it dries to early.

After that, blend until smooth and add in your cream (heavy whipping cream or thickened cream). You can use evaporated milk or half and half for a lower calorie option.

If you want a richer sauce, feel free to add a couple tablespoons of butter (or ghee) right at the end, letting it melt though the sauce, before serving.

make ahead option

The beauty of this gravy/sauce is that you can prepare it ahead of time if you want or need to. Allow it to cool completely, store it in an airtight glass jar or container and refrigerate for up to 48 hours.

Those deep flavours will have plenty of time to develop and shine through before adding your chicken. Of course, this is completely optional.

If there’s any Indian recipe that’s worth making at home, its Butter Chicken, and this is the BEST butter chicken you’ll make!

Butter Chicken

Butter chicken the ultimate comfort food your entire family will love! Make the best flavor-packed, creamy and delicious authentic Indian Butter Chicken at home with this easy recipe. Serve butter chicken with basmati rice & naan.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Marination 12 hours
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 5


Chicken Marinade

  • 28 oz boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup plain yogurt (we like using Greek yogurt)
  • 1 ½ tbl minced garlic
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbl minced ginger (or finely grated)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt


  • 2 tbl olive oil
  • 2 tbl ghee (or 1 tbs butter + 1 tbs oil)
  • 1 lg onion, sliced or chopped
  • 1 ½ tbl garlic, minced
  • 1 tbl ginger, minced or finely grated
  • 1 ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1 ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 14 oz crushed tomato
  • 1 tsp red chili powder (adjust to your taste preference)
  • 1 ¼ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbl sugar
  • ½ tsp kasoori methi (or dried fenugreek leaves)


  • In a bowl, combine chicken with all of the ingredients for the chicken marinade; let marinate for 30 minutes to an hour (or overnight if time allows).
  • Heat oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When sizzling, add chicken pieces in batches of two or three, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry until browned for only 3 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm. (You will finish cooking the chicken in the sauce.)
  • Heat butter or ghee in the same pan. Fry the onions until they start to sweat (about 6 minutes) while scraping up any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. 
  • Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant, then add ground coriander, cumin and garam masala. Let cook for about 20 seconds until fragrant, while stirring occasionally.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, chili powder and salt. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and becomes a deep brown red colour.
  • Remove from heat, scoop mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add a couple tablespoons of water to help it blend (up to 1/4 cup). Work in batches depending on the size of your blender.
  • Pour the puréed sauce back into the pan. Stir the cream, sugar and crushed kasoori methi (or fenugreek leaves) through the sauce. Add the chicken with juices back into the pan and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and bubbling.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with fresh basmati rice and fresh homemade Naan bread!



OPTIONAL: To thin out the sauce, add a couple tablespoons of ghee or butter at the end of cooking, and gently simmer it through. Alternatively, add a small amount of water.
Keyword Butter chicken, chicken, Indian cuisine

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