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Butter Chicken

Indian-inspired Butter Chicken recipe with tender chicken in a rich, creamy tomato sauce, served over basmati rice or with naan bread - try it tonight!

Butter Chicken, the quintessential Indian dish that’s a staple in many restaurants and homes alike! Rich, creamy, and packed with flavor, this indulgent delight is a symphony of spices, tender chicken, and velvety sauce, all perfectly balanced to tantalize your taste buds.

Ready Time

2 hrs


8 servings


  • For the marinade:
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish


In a large bowl, combine the chicken, yogurt, lemon juice, ghee or oil, garam masala, cumin, smoked paprika (if using), salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper (if using). Mix well to coat the chicken evenly, then cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Heat 1 tablespoon of ghee or oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Remove the chicken from the marinade, letting any excess liquid drip off, and cook until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 6-8 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and set aside.

In the same skillet, heat another tablespoon of ghee or oil over medium heat.

Add the sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Stir in the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, butter, flour, chicken broth, heavy cream, garam masala, salt, and pepper.

Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Add the cooked chicken back to the skillet and stir to coat with the sauce.

Simmer for an additional 2-3 minutes to warm the chicken through.

Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot over basmati rice or with naan bread.


For the marinade, make sure to refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld with the chicken, but don’t let it sit for more than 2 hours or the acid in the lemon juice might start to break down the chicken. When browning the chicken, make sure to not overcrowd the skillet, cook in batches if needed, and don’t stir too much to allow for nice browning.

For the sauce, use high-quality canned diced tomatoes for the best flavor, and don’t skip the step of stirring in the flour to thicken the sauce.

If using smoked paprika, keep in mind it adds a slightly sweet and smoky flavor, but feel free to omit if you don’t have it on hand. If you prefer a lighter sauce, you can reduce the amount of heavy cream or substitute with half-and-half or whole milk.

To make this dish ahead, cook the chicken and sauce separately, then refrigerate or freeze until ready to reheat and serve.

This recipe serves 8, so feel free to scale up or down depending on your crowd size.

Nutrional Value

  • Calories: 540
  • Total Fat: 34g
  • Saturated Fat: 18g
  • Cholesterol: 80mg
  • Sodium: 650mg
  • Total Carbohydrates: 32g
  • Dietary Fiber: 4g
  • Sugars: 8g
  • Protein: 35g
Butter Chicken
Butter Chicken

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