This easy to make, flavorful Butter Chicken recipe is perfectly spiced and creamy. It rivals anything you can get out of a jar or from takeout and is surprisingly simple to do. Serve with rice and naan for a complete meal you will want to make again soon!
Since the very first time I tried it, I absolutely loved butter chicken! Easily my favourite dish to order at an Indian restaurant and one my whole family enjoys.
The trouble is, when I developed food sensitivities, ordering at my favourite Indian restaurant became a thing of the past. I can no longer eat garlic and it is next to impossible to find restaurants that can accomodate this sensitivity. Garlic is in freakin everything, I’ve discovered!
The need to perfect my recipe of butter chicken at home was a natural consequence. I’d whipped up this dish before but, although it was good, it wasn’t as perfect and decadent as the ones I use to enjoy in restaurants.
It has taken me some time to adjust the recipe to suit my tastes and make a super saucy at-home version (because that’s the only way I like my butter chicken) that rivals takeout. Super saucy, easy to make with ingredients that I usually have on hand at home and absolutely delicious!
Easy Steps to the perfect Butter Chicken
If you have never made butter chicken at home before, it may seem intimidating. The ingredient list is relatively long and can make it seem daunting. Don’t be discouraged! It is actually pretty easy to do!
To simplify things, I like to start by making the spice mix first. I use it in the marinade and then the rest is used when I am cooking the chicken later too. It helps to have it pre-mixed and so I do not have to measure out spices while I am cooking.
Once your spice mix is done, I prep my chicken. I cut it up into bite sized pieces and then place it in a bowl mixed with spices and yogurt. Then, I cover it and let it marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes but you can leave it to marinade overnight.
I highly recommend doing this all the night before. It makes things so much easier and the longer the chicken marinates, the more tender it will be. I sometimes decide to make this dish on a whim, though, so a 30 minute marinade will do in a pinch.
When you are ready to cook, start by cooking the chicken in some butter and oil. Then add tomato passata and the remaining spices and let it simmer away for 20 minutes with a lid on the pot. Do not make the mistake of leaving the lid off as you will end up with a stove splattered in tomato sauce! I learned that the hard way once!
The final step is to stir in some cream and the remaining butter. If you do not have cream, you can sub milk here. The sauce will be a teensy bit thinner but I think it’s just fine and actually prefer it that way.
I like to taste my sauce in the end and adjust the seasonings or sugar to suit my tastes.
Then butter up that naan, spoon some rice into a bowl and top it with this creamy masterpiece!
I ate a serving before typing out this recipe because, obviously, I couldn’t wait to dig in and I am already eyeing the leftovers in the pot for seconds. It is so good.
Hope you give it a try and enjoy it! Bon appetit!
P.S. if you do not have naan and don’t feel like whipping some up, my quick go-to is to make Yogurt Flatbread. Its quick and easy to do last minute.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- 3/4 teaspoon ginger powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 lb skinless chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
- 1/2 cup yogurt
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 teaspoons spice mix (see above)
- 4 tablespoons ghee or butter, divided (I often just use butter)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 cups tomato passata
- 1/2 cup cream
- coriander to garnish
- Begin by mixing all of the ingredients for the spice mix in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Pat the chicken dry and cut into bite sized cubes. Place yogurt and 2 teaspoons of spice mix into a medium sized bowl and mix well. Add the chicken and mix to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let it marinade in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil and a tablespoon of ghee in a large pot or dutch oven. Add the chicken and cook, ensuring it browns on all sides about 5-6 minutes. Add the passata and remaining spice mix. Bring it to a simmer and then cover and let it continue simmering for 15 minutes.
- Uncover pot and stir in cream and remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Simmer for 5 minutes. Taste and adjust as needed. If the sauce feels to acidic, add more brown sugar. If more spice is needed or salt, adjust accordingly.
- Sprinkle with coriander. Serve with basmati rice or naan.