Indian Butter Chicken
A popular Indian dish made with tender chicken simmered in a rich, Indian spiced tomato cream sauce
I love introducing my kids to unique flavor combinations and Indian food is no exception. Butter chicken is one of their most requested dishes! There is good reason why this is one of the most popular Indian food recipes.
We are huge Indian food fans in our house because it is always full of spice and flavor. When I was following a gluten-free diet, I lived on Indian and Asian foods because rice is such a staple. I fell in love with Indian food!
This Butter Chicken is so tender since it is marinated in whole milk yogurt and spices. This is a key step to allow the chicken to become moist and tender. The chicken breast is marinated in an array of spices which are popular in Indian cuisine -- turmeric, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, ginger, and garlic. You can even add a touch of cinnamon if you want to add some extra warmth to the dish.
What is Butter Chicken?
A popular Indian dish made with chicken marinated in yogurt and spices. It is sautéed and then simmered in an Indian spiced tomato cream sauce.
The tomato cream sauce is made by sautéing butter and onions together and adding in tomato puree, Indian spices, and cream. It is velvety smooth and full of rich robust flavor.
Butter Chicken can be served over rice or with a side of Naan bread. We are obsessed with naan bread in our home and have it stockpiled in our freezer at all times. I love to heat it up in a skillet with a touch of butter and dip it into the butter chicken. Trust me...it is heavenly!
How to make Indian Butter Chicken:
- Start by marinating bite-size chicken breast pieces with whole-milk yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, ginger, garlic, and salt. Place all of the ingredients in a gallon-size Ziploc bag and let marinate for at least 1 hour. Overnight is ideal.
- After marinating, sauté the chicken in a skillet, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, and set over medium-high heat, until cooked through. Set aside.
- Heat butter in the same skillet and add onion. I suggest finely dicing the onion. Saute until the onion starts to become tender. Stir in tomato puree, spices, sugar, and salt. Cook until onions are completely translucent and soft -- about 10-15 minutes. Stir in heavy cream. Taste and add more salt, if needed.
- If you desire a smooth sauce, carefully add the sauce to a blender and puree until smooth. Always be careful when using a blender with hot sauces. It can explode so make sure to slightly vent the top.
- Add chicken to the sauce and heat for 5-10 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve on top of rice or with Naan bread.
Great Flavor, easy recipe!
Great recipe! I am a sauce and rice kind of guy and this one hits the spot. Really flavorful and tastes just as good the second day as a leftover.
Delicious. Everyone had seconds.
This recipe looks delicious! I'm looking forward to making it this week.
Can you clarify what you mean by "red chili powder"? I have "chili powder" and I have "cayenne red pepper powder". All of my spices are from Penzey's.
Thanks for your help.
Hi! You would use the "chili powder" for this recipe. Sorry for the confusion!
Donna A Pollock
I made this for dinner tonight. It was really good, full of flavor. I served it over rice and NANN Bread. We love
Indian food at our house too. Thank you for both recipes, This is delicious.
My family LOVES your Indian Butter Chicken! I have been making many of your recipes and SO APPRECIATE your cooking tips!!!
The first time that I made this chicken, I wasn't sure if I cooked the thick marinade with the chicken or rinsed the marinade off of the chicken before cooking it. I empty the chicken AND the marinade into the pan after marinating the chicken overnight. Rinsing is not necessary or recommended. (Don't worry about the marinade that sticks to the bag). Also, mix the dry ingredients for your marinade together before adding them to the yogurt for a more even mix.
I make the sauce the night before since it takes some time for the onion to become translucent. As I am preparing this dish for dinner I heat the sauce on low that I made the evening before, while the chicken is cooking. This saves a lot of time if you are coming home from work and need to get dinner on the table. I also cut the salt in half for both the marinade and the sauce and don't miss it.
I almost didn't try this dish and I am so happy that I did! Thank you again!
Have tried this and it's delicious! Tastes just like butter chicken from my favourite Indian restaurant. Could you use coconut milk instead of heavy cream?
Thank you, Jamie! I am so glad you love it. You can try using canned coconut milk and let me know how it goes. It should be delicious!
I've been looking for a classic butter chicken recipe for years. This one is delicious. Thanks for sharing.
This looks amazing! All of you recipes are so amazing!
Can you just make this in the crock pot like chicken tikki masala?
This was delicious! Even my picky children loved it.
Loved this recipe! So easy and impressive.