Butter Chicken Recipe: Easy and Authentic Homemade Recipe

butter chicken recipe

If you’re looking for a comforting and flavorful Indian dish, look no further than butter chicken. This rich and creamy recipe is a favorite for many, and with good reason – it’s absolutely delicious!

Butter chicken is a classic Indian dish that combines marinated chicken in a spiced tomato cream sauce. While it may seem intimidating to prepare at home, with this easy and authentic recipe, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family with your culinary skills.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this butter chicken recipe is perfect for anyone who loves flavorful and comforting dishes. So, let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Butter chicken is a classic Indian dish that combines marinated chicken in a spiced tomato cream sauce.
  • This easy and authentic recipe is perfect for anyone who loves flavorful and comforting dishes.
  • With expert tips and tricks, you’ll be able to achieve a restaurant-style dish right in your own kitchen.
  • Looking for a healthier version? We’ve got you covered with substitutions and modifications.
  • Don’t stop at butter chicken – try out some other delicious Indian recipes!

Ingredients for Butter Chicken

Preparing a delicious butter chicken requires a combination of various ingredients that will create an explosion of flavors. The following are the key components needed to make this recipe:

Ingredients for marinadeIngredients for butter chicken sauce
1 lb boneless chicken pieces1 cup plain yogurt2 tbsp ginger paste2 tbsp garlic paste2 tbsp lemon juice1 tsp chili powder1 tsp turmeric powder1 tsp paprika1 tsp garam masala1 tbsp butter1 can tomato sauce (14 oz)1 cup heavy cream1 tbsp ginger paste1 tbsp garlic paste1 tsp fenugreek leaves1 tsp garam masala1 tsp chili powder1 tsp cinnamon powder1 tsp ground cloves

Note: The above measurements will serve four people. Adjust the quantity of ingredients as per your requirement.

Make sure to use fresh chicken and spices for the best flavors. You can adjust the amount of chili powder and other spices as per your preference. For a milder taste, reduce the amount of chili powder used in the recipe.

Ingredients for Butter Chicken Sauce

The sauce is the heart of butter chicken, providing the dish with its signature creamy texture and rich flavors. Here are the ingredients required to make the sauce:

Ingredients for sauce
1 tbsp butter1 can tomato sauce (14 oz)1 cup heavy cream1 tbsp ginger paste1 tbsp garlic paste1 tsp fenugreek leaves1 tsp garam masala1 tsp chili powder1 tsp cinnamon powder1 tsp ground cloves

Ensure that all ingredients are available before starting the recipe. The ingredients blend together beautifully to form a flavorful sauce that complements the tender chicken pieces.

Preparing the Marinade

To make delicious butter chicken, preparing the right marinade is key. Follow these simple steps to get the most flavor out of your chicken.

  1. Ingredients:
Garliccloves, minced
Ginger1-inch piece, grated
Yogurt1 cup
Lemon Juice1 tablespoon
Spices*1 tablespoon
Chicken Pieces1 pound, boneless, skinless

*Spices: Use a combination of coriander, cumin, turmeric, paprika, and cayenne pepper to taste.

  1. Instructions:
  1. In a large bowl, combine the garlic, ginger, yogurtlemon juice, and spices. Mix well.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and stir until the chicken is fully coated.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.

With these simple steps, your chicken will have the perfect tender texture and intense flavor that butter chicken is known for.

Making the Butter Chicken Sauce

Now that the chicken is marinating, it’s time to prepare the butter chicken sauce. This rich and flavorful sauce is what separates a memorable butter chicken dish from an ordinary one.

Tip: To achieve an authentic butter chicken taste, it’s important not to rush this step. Let the spices simmer and meld together before adding the chicken to the sauce.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need to make the butter chicken sauce:

Butter2 tbsp
Tomato sauce1 cup
Cream1/2 cup
Spices (fenugreek leaves, garam masala, chili powder, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cloves)As per taste


  1. Melt the butter in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Add ginger and garlic. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomato sauce and stir to combine.
  4. Add cream and spices, stirring to combine all the ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Let the sauce simmer for about 10-15 minutes until it thickens and the flavors meld together.
  6. You can adjust the spices according to your taste preferences.

Once the sauce has thickened and the spices are well combined, it’s time to add the marinated chicken to the pan.Next up: Cooking the Chicken and Sauce

Cooking the Chicken and Sauce

Now that we have marinated the chicken and prepared the sauce, it’s time to bring them together in the pan and cook until perfection.

Heat a large pan over medium heat and add the marinated chicken pieces. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the chicken is browned and partially cooked.

Add the prepared butter chicken sauce to the pan, stir to combine with the chicken, and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low.

Let the chicken simmer in the sauce for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened to a creamy consistency.

Tip:For more intense flavors, let the butter chicken cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will allow the flavors to fully develop and give your dish a professional taste.
Tip:Be sure not to cook the chicken too long, as it can become tough and dry. Cooking on low heat and stirring occasionally will prevent this.

Once the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce has thickened to your desired consistency, remove the pan from heat and let it rest for a few minutes.

Your creamy and delicious butter chicken is now ready to be served. Enjoy with rice or naan bread to soak up all the flavors of the sauce!

Serving and Pairing Suggestions

Butter chicken is a versatile dish that can be paired with a variety of sides and accompaniments. Here are some of our favorite serving suggestions:

  • Rice: Butter chicken goes great with fluffy white rice. Basmati rice is a popular option, but you can also try jasmine or long-grain rice.
  • Naan bread: A warm piece of naan bread is the perfect side dish to soak up the delicious butter chicken sauce. You can buy naan bread at the grocery store or make your own.
  • Masala: For an extra burst of flavor, sprinkle some masala on top of your butter chicken. Garam masala is a common spice blend used in Indian cuisine and can be found at most grocery stores.

If you’re feeling creative, try pairing butter chicken with some of these other side dishes:

  • Samosas: These stuffed pastries are a popular Indian snack and go well with butter chicken.
  • Aloo gobi: This vegetarian dish made with potatoes and cauliflower is a delicious and healthy side option.
  • Mango chutney: This sweet and tangy sauce pairs well with the rich flavors of butter chicken.

Whatever you choose to serve with your butter chicken, be sure to savor every bite of this classic Indian cuisine.

Healthier Versions of Butter Chicken

If you’re trying to make healthier choices but still want to enjoy the rich flavors of butter chicken, we’ve got you covered. Here are some substitutions and modifications you can make to create a lighter version of this classic dish:

  1. Use boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs instead of dark meat. This will reduce the fat content significantly.
  2. Replace heavy cream with coconut milk. Coconut milk contains healthier fats and has a subtle sweetness that complements the spices in the dish.
  3. Add maple syrup instead of sugar. Maple syrup is a more natural and less processed sweetener that can be substituted for sugar.
  4. Reduce the amount of butter. While butter is a key ingredient in butter chicken, you can still achieve a delicious flavor by using less and adding a small amount of oil instead.
  5. Limit the use of ghee. Ghee is another ingredient commonly used in Indian cooking that is high in saturated fat. If you use it, try using a smaller amount or omit it altogether.

By making these simple substitutions and modifications, you can create a healthier version of butter chicken that still has the creamy, spicy flavors you love. Here’s an example of a recipe for a healthier version:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighsCut chicken into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
1 cup canned coconut milkIn a large skillet, heat the coconut milk over medium heat.
2 tbsp maple syrupAdd maple syrup and stir to combine with the coconut milk.
2 tbsp oilHeat oil in a separate pan and add chicken, cook until browned on all sides.
2 tbsp butterAdd butter to the skillet with the coconut milk and maple syrup.
2 tbsp tomato sauceStir in tomato sauce and spices (such as garam masala, chili powder, cinnamon, and cloves) until well combined.
1/2 cup plain yogurtAdd cooked chicken to the skillet and stir to coat with the sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Spices to taste (garam masala, chili powder, cinnamon, cloves)Stir in yogurt and remove from heat.
Fresh cilantro (optional)Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with brown rice or whole wheat naan bread.

With a few simple modifications, you can enjoy a healthier version of butter chicken that still has all the authentic taste and flavor of the original recipe.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a beloved Indian dish with a rich and creamy sauce that has an authentic taste. Whether you’re a professional chef or a home cook, these cooking tips and tricks will help you achieve a restaurant-style flavor that will impress your guests.

Cooking Tips

Here are some essential cooking tips for perfect butter chicken:

  • Cook the chicken in a heavy-bottomed pan to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking.
  • Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs for a juicier and more flavorful dish.
  • Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes, but ideally for a few hours, to allow the flavors to meld together.
  • Be patient and allow the sauce to simmer for at least 15-20 minutes to achieve a rich and creamy consistency.
  • Don’t skimp on the spices – use fresh and high-quality spices to enhance the flavors of the dish.

Tricks for Restaurant-Style Butter Chicken

With these tricks, you can take your butter chicken to the next level:

  1. Add a pinch of sugar to the sauce to balance the flavors and reduce the acidity of the tomatoes.
  2. Use kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) to add a smoky and savory flavor to the sauce.
  3. For a richer and more decadent sauce, stir in a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup.
  4. To achieve a reddish-orange color that is typical of restaurant-style butter chicken, add a few drops of red food coloring.

Flavors and Authentic Taste

Spices are the key to achieving flavors that are both complex and authentic. Use a combination of ground spices, including garam masala, chili powder, cinnamon, and cloves, to create a robust and well-rounded flavor profile. For an even more authentic taste, use a mortar and pestle to grind whole spices.

Butter chicken is all about balancing flavors – the sweetness of the tomatoes, the creaminess of the sauce, and the warmth of the spices. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different spices and seasonings to find the perfect balance for your taste buds.”

With these tips and tricks, you can create a perfect and authentic butter chicken that will impress your family and friends. Happy cooking!

Butter Chicken Variations

Butter chicken is just one of the many delicious Indian curries that have been popularized around the world. Different regions of India have their own variations of chicken curry, which makes this cuisine diverse and exciting to explore. Below are some popular variations of butter chicken:

Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken tikka masala is a popular Indian dish that consists of marinated chicken pieces that are grilled and then added to a rich tomato-based sauce. The sauce is made with a blend of Indian spices and cream, giving it a creamy and tangy flavor. This dish is best enjoyed with naan bread or rice.

Murgh Makhani

Murgh Makhani, also known as “butter chicken,” is a favorite dish among Indian food lovers. The dish is made with boneless chicken that is marinated in a flavorful mixture of spices, yogurt, and lemon juice. The chicken is then cooked in a tomato-based sauce that is rich in butter and cream. This dish is best served with rice or naan bread.

Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken is a classic Indian dish that is traditionally cooked in a tandoor, a cylindrical clay oven. The chicken is marinated in a blend of yogurt and spices, which gives it a tangy and slightly spicy flavor. The chicken is then roasted in the tandoor until it is cooked to perfection. This dish is best enjoyed with a side of cucumber salad and some naan bread.

Chicken Curry

Chicken curry is a staple of Indian cuisine and comes in many different variations depending on the region. The dish is made with chicken that is cooked in a flavorful mix of spices and then simmered in a tomato-based sauce. This dish is best served with rice or some naan bread.

As you can see, there are many different variations of butter chicken and chicken curry to choose from. Whether you prefer it spicy or mild, with a tomato-based sauce or cream-based sauce, there is a chicken curry recipe out there that will satisfy your taste buds.

Butter Chicken Recipe FAQ

If you’re new to cooking Indian cuisine or just looking for some expert tips on making the perfect butter chicken, we’ve got you covered! Here are some frequently asked questions and answers to help you on your culinary journey:

What is butter chicken?

Butter chicken, also known as murgh makhani, is a popular Indian dish that features marinated chicken pieces cooked in a rich tomato-based sauce with butter and cream. It is a comforting and flavorful dish that is perfect for cooler weather.

What are some common queries when making butter chicken?

Some common queries when making butter chicken include:

  • What spices should I use?
  • How do I make the sauce creamy?
  • What is the best way to cook the chicken?

What are some cooking tips for making butter chicken?

Some cooking tips for making butter chicken include:

  • Marinate the chicken overnight for maximum flavor.
  • Use ghee or clarified butter for a richer taste.
  • Simmer the sauce on low heat to allow the flavors to develop.
  • Add a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.

What are some variations of butter chicken?

Some popular variations of butter chicken include:

  • Chicken tikka masala
  • Tandoori chicken
  • Chicken curry

Can I make a healthier version of butter chicken?

Yes, you can! Some substitutions you can make to create a lighter version of butter chicken include:

  • Using coconut milk instead of cream
  • Sweetening with maple syrup instead of sugar
  • Using skinless chicken breast instead of dark meat

What are some other Indian recipes to try?

If you’re a fan of Indian food, you might want to try some other popular dishes, including:

  • Chicken biryani
  • Samosas
  • Palak paneer

Is butter chicken spicy?

Butter chicken is usually not very spicy, but you can adjust the level of spice to your liking by adding more or less chili powder or cayenne pepper.

Expert tip: If you prefer a spicier version of butter chicken, try adding a diced fresh jalapeño pepper to the sauce.

Other Indian Recipes to Try

Indian cuisine is known for its bold flavors and delicious spices. If you enjoyed making and eating butter chicken, there are many other Indian dishes to try. From north to south, Indian cuisine offers a wide variety of dishes that cater to every taste bud.

North Indian Dishes

North Indian cuisine is well-known for its richness and creamy flavors. Some popular dishes include:

Chicken Tikka MasalaChicken marinated in spices and yogurt, cooked in a tomato-based creamy sauce
Paneer MakhaniCubes of cottage cheese cooked in a tomato-based gravy with cream and spices
Dal MakhaniA lentil-based dish made with a mix of black lentils, kidney beans, and cream

South Indian Dishes

South Indian cuisine is famous for its spicy and tangy flavors. Some popular dishes include:

  • Masala Dosa: A thin rice crepe filled with spiced mashed potatoes
  • Sambar: A lentil-based vegetable stew with tamarind and spices
  • Rasam: A tangy soup made with tomatoes and tamarind, flavored with spices like mustard and cumin seeds


Indian meals are often accompanied by bread and rice dishes. Some popular options include:

  • Naan: A soft and fluffy oven-baked bread
  • Roti: A flatbread made from wheat flour, cooked on a griddle
  • Biryani: A flavorful rice dish made with aromatic spices and vegetables or meat

Exploring Indian cuisine opens up a world of exciting flavors and dishes. Whether you’re in the mood for a hearty curry or a spicy snack, there’s something for everyone. Happy cooking and eating!


Congratulations, you’ve made it to the end of our journey into the world of butter chicken!

We hope you’ve enjoyed learning about this delicious and comforting dish, and that our easy and authentic recipe has inspired you to try making it at home.

Remember to gather all the necessary ingredients, prepare the marinade, make the sauce, cook the chicken, and serve with your choice of rice or naan bread. Don’t forget to share your feedback and let us know how it turned out!

Final Thoughts

Butter chicken is a classic Indian dish that has gained worldwide popularity for its rich and creamy flavor. By following our recipe and tips, you too can create a restaurant-style dish that will impress your friends and family.

If you’re looking for healthier options, try our suggestions for lighter versions using ingredients like coconut milk and maple syrup. And don’t forget to explore the different variations of butter chicken and other Indian recipes to expand your culinary horizons.

Thank you for joining us on this culinary adventure, and we hope to see you again soon for more delicious recipes and cooking tips!


What is butter chicken?

Butter chicken is a popular Indian dish made with tender chicken cooked in a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce.

What are the key ingredients in butter chicken?

The key ingredients in butter chicken include chicken, butter, tomato sauce, cream, spices like garam masala and chili powder, ginger, garlic, and fenugreek leaves.

Is butter chicken spicy?

Butter chicken can be customized to your preference in terms of spiciness. The amount of chili powder used can be adjusted to make it milder or spicier.

Can I make a healthier version of butter chicken?

Yes, you can make a healthier version of butter chicken by using substitutions like coconut milk instead of cream and maple syrup as a sweetener. You can also modify the recipe to reduce the calorie content.

How do I serve butter chicken?

Butter chicken is typically served with rice or naan bread. It pairs well with other Indian dishes such as masala and curry. Popular accompaniments include raita and pickles.

What are some tips for making perfect butter chicken?

To achieve the perfect butter chicken, marinate the chicken for at least 30 minutes, cook it on medium heat to allow the flavors to develop, and simmer the sauce to achieve a creamy consistency. Adding a touch of honey can enhance the flavors.

Are there variations of butter chicken?

Yes, there are variations of butter chicken in Indian cuisine. Some popular variations include chicken tikka masala, murgh makhanitandoori chicken, and regional variations with unique spice blends.

What are some other Indian recipes I can try?

If you enjoy Indian food, you can explore other delicious recipes like chicken curry, masala dosa, biryani, samosas, chole bhature, and paneer tikka.

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