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Best Butter Chicken Recipe

Butter Chicken is one of the recipes most frequently requested of me.

It’s one I make fairly often, so I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to post it!

This restaurant favourite is creamy, flavourful and mild on the spectrum of Indian curries. My version is simplified (read: doesn’t require a plethora of spices that you’ll buy and only need one-eighth of a teaspoon of) but doesn’t suffer in the flavour department. This is definitely a lick-your-plate dinner.

Most butter chicken recipes require cooking the chicken separately first, then simmering in the sauce.

I don’t think this extra cooking step is necessarily crucial, especially for the sake of an easy weeknight dinner. The marinade, however, is important because the chicken breasts don’t take long to cook, so they won’t absorb much of the flavour from the sauce. If you are a planner, marinate the chicken overnight for maximum benefit (but even a half-hour to mingle with the spices will make a difference). And if you are a planner AND a perfectionist, then feel free to add an extra step and char the chicken cubes a bit on a grill/grill pan, or under a broiler for a few minutes before tossing them in the sauce.

Update: I turned the leftovers into this deliciously addictive Homemade Butter Chicken Pizza – you have to try it!

Best Butter Chicken Recipe

One thing you don’t want to rush is the caramelizing of the onions – it’s a really important layer of flavour in any Indian curry, and especially in a sweeter one like this.

More Must-Try Indian Recipes

Easy (Shortcut) Chicken Samosas

Best-Ever Creamy Malai Kofta

Easy Coconut Curried Lentils

Crispy Tandoori Fried Chicken

Famous Chickpea Curry (Channa Masala)

Easy Authentic Butter Paneer

Best Butter Chicken

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Servings 6
Main Course
Indian

Ingredients
  

For chicken and marinade:

  • 2.2 lbs (1 kg) boneless, skinless chicken breast cut in 1" - 2" cubes
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

For sauce:

  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 ½ cups chopped onion about 2 medium-large
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp kosher salt or to taste
  • 2 cups diced no-salt-added canned tomatoes
  • ¾ cup heavy 35% or whipping cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Chopped cilantro to garnish (optional)

Instructions
 

  • For marinade:
    Combine all ingredients in a zip-top bag or shallow baking dish, massaging the marinade into the chicken. Let stand at room temperature while you prepare the sauce, or marinate in the fridge overnight.

For sauce:

  • Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan or dutch oven. Add onions and slowly cook until golden, about 20 minutes, reducing heat if they are getting crispy or browning quickly.
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in garam masala, paprika, cinnamon and salt; cook 1 minute more. Add tomatoes; cook 2 minutes, then add cream and carefully puree using an immersion blender (or standing blender, but do it in batches or the steam will blow the top off).
  • Return sauce to saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove chicken from marinade and it to the sauce (discarding remaining marinade). Cover, and simmer over medium-low heat until cooked through, about 12 minutes (remove a couple of pieces to make sure they are no longer pink inside). A gentle simmer is required to gently cook the breasts so they don't become tough, and you don't want to overcook them.
  • Stir in butter, taste and add more salt to taste. Serve sprinkled with cilantro, if desired.
3.4 9 votes
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nolij
nolij
2 years ago

I’m pretty sure “undefined” was 1 cup plain Greek yogurt.

Nataly
Nataly
2 years ago
Reply to  nolij

There is no yogurt in this recipe. I have cooked it hundreds of times. It’s gorgeous!

Harry Taylor
Harry Taylor
2 years ago

Hello,
This is my go to butter chicken recipe but the instructions have disappeared and one of the ingredients now says “undefined”. I’m hoping you can post the recipe again. Thanks!

Claudia C
Claudia C
2 years ago

This is awesome recipe. Just made it tonight and it’s delicious. I just ignored the “undefined”

nolij
nolij
2 years ago

I’m pretty sure “undefined” was 1 cup plain Greek yogurt.

Nataly
Nataly
2 years ago
Reply to  nolij

There is no yogurt in this recipe. I have cooked it hundreds of times. It’s gorgeous!

Harry Taylor
Harry Taylor
2 years ago

Hello,
This is my go to butter chicken recipe but the instructions have disappeared and one of the ingredients now says “undefined”. I’m hoping you can post the recipe again. Thanks!

Claudia C
Claudia C
2 years ago

This is awesome recipe. Just made it tonight and it’s delicious. I just ignored the “undefined”

Claudia C
Claudia C
2 years ago

This is awesome recipe. Just made it tonight and it’s delicious. I just ignored the “undefined”

Harry Taylor
Harry Taylor
2 years ago

Hello,
This is my go to butter chicken recipe but the instructions have disappeared and one of the ingredients now says “undefined”. I’m hoping you can post the recipe again. Thanks!

Nataly
Nataly
2 years ago

There is no yogurt in this recipe. I have cooked it hundreds of times. It’s gorgeous!

Harry Taylor
Harry Taylor
2 years ago

Hello,
This is my go to butter chicken recipe but the instructions have disappeared and one of the ingredients now says “undefined”. I’m hoping you can post the recipe again. Thanks!

Claudia C
Claudia C
2 years ago

This is awesome recipe. Just made it tonight and it’s delicious. I just ignored the “undefined”

Tracy Morgan
Tracy Morgan
1 year ago

We make this all the time in our house – it is our go to curry recipe! We have eaten it with prawns, meat and veggie (as well as chicken). Awesome!

Christine Weber
Christine Weber
1 year ago

5 stars
After preparing this recipe the first time I couldn’t find it again! Finally found my print-out and prepared it again. It took me bit longer with the preparations but this gets a full five star rating from me. Even my son who usually doesn’t like Indian food loves this and remarked how soft the meat is! Absolutely the best 🙂

Franca B
Franca B
1 year ago

Hello. I’m making the butter chicken now and am not sure if I have to drain the chicken from the marinade or use it. Advice please! Thanks

tasha
tasha
1 year ago
Reply to  Franca B

Use it

nicnaof
nicnaof
1 year ago

3 stars
this recipe sounds good but like who doesn’t like butter chicken in general

Lynster
Lynster
1 year ago
Reply to  nicnaof

That’s your comment and you left a 3 star rating but didn’t try it. Shame on you

wizdm
wizdm
1 year ago

4 stars
Keep dropping that nolij

Sam
Sam
1 year ago

Can anyone tell me what the ingredient is that makes it (curry) spicy? I love it but my family/friends are very sensitive to hot spices. Thanks.

Becky
Becky
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam

This recipe isn’t spicy at all

Dawn
Dawn
1 year ago

I made this dish a couple of years ago in a crockpot with a slightly different recipe. This recipe looks like it may be better. I plan on making it for my mom. Our first taste of Indian food was not enjoyable. My ex husband introduced me to fantastic Indian food at a restaurant in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. I now love a lot of dishes. I’m looking forward to making this dish and others. Also thanks for posting such easy directions for paneer! Looking to putting that in recipes too.

Jasmine
Jasmine
10 months ago

3 stars
Decent basic starter recipe for murgh makhani.

ryan stephens
ryan stephens
8 months ago

4 stars
Amazing! i love this recipe when its my turn to cook dinner i love doing this. the kids and wife love it. the only advise id give if your making this is head ove to the bulk barn and grab a bag of golden raisins and toss ina few generous handfuls when you add the chicken.

Angela
Angela
6 months ago

I’m about to cook this, but I was surprised that even though it’s called a curry dish, it doesn’t actually have any curry in it. Am I missing something?

Genevieve
Genevieve
6 months ago

5 stars
Best butter chicken recipe. We make it about once a month 🙂

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