Butter Chicken

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This Butter Chicken calls for delicious spices and pays homage to an authentic Indian taste. The chicken is covered in a gloriously rich and thick, buttery sauce.

The sauce is thickened with ground cashews which also add a delightful richness to the overall flavor profile of the dish. Serve over cooked Basmati rice with some sliced Naan.

I like to bring out this recipe when I’m looking for a home cooked comfort meal. With its mild spices and creamy, buttery base, this Butter Chicken dish ought to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.

Butter Chicken served on a plate over a bed of rice.

Butter Chicken


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What is Butter Chicken?

Butter Chicken is also known as, murgh makhani. It’s an Indian dish that’s made out of chicken pieces coated in a mildly spiced curry sauce. The recipe was originally made in Delhi, in the 1950’s, by a man named Kundan Lal Gurjal.

Top view of Butter Chicken served over white rice and garnished with cashews

How Do You Make Butter Chicken?

If you’ve hesitated to make Butter Chicken at home before because you’ve heard it’s time-consuming and you need a lot of exotic spices you probably don’t have, let me tell you none of that is true.

This recipe doesn’t require a long marinating time like many others do. You can make it at home in about an hour and you really only need 4 spices besides salt and pepper. The spices you will need are chili powder, cumin, bay leaf and garam masala.

If you’re not familiar with garam masala it is a combination of spices, mixed together, frequently used in Indian cuisine. The good news is it’s now fairly commonly available commercially at most Supermarkets.

A piece of Butter Chicken on the end of a fork.

So, to prepare this dish you’ll begin to build the sauce by sauteing the aromatics until soft and tender. Then you will add the spices and toast them in the skillet with the aromatics to increase their flavors. You’ll then add the remaining ingredients for the sauce and simmer.

While the sauce is simmering, in a second skillet you will saute the cut up chicken pieces, in batches, so as not to crowd the pan, until nicely browned. The final step will be to pour the sauce over the browned chicken to unite the dish.

A close up of Butter Chicken served over white rice

This recipe is a classic Indian dish that’s been a favorite in our family for years. Your nearest and dearest will love how the creaminess of the sauce offsets the aromatic spices. It’s a melt in your mouth chicken that is going to make them come back for more!

Butter chicken on a white plate with rice garnished with parsley and cashews
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Servings: 6 servings
Butter Chicken
Prep Time:
30 mins
Cook Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 15 mins
Author: Kathleen
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken is a delicious home cooked comfort meal. With its mild spices and creamy, buttery base, this Butter Chicken ought to satisfy even the pickiest eaters. 

  • 1 tablespoon Peanut Oil
  • 1 Shallot Finely Chopped
  • 1 cup White Onion Finely Chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 3 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Corriander
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 cup Tomato Puree
  • 1 1/4 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 cup Plain Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Cashews finely ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 pounds Chicken Thighs Boneless, Skinless, Cut Into Bite Size Pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Peanut Oil
For Sauce:
  1. In a large skillet, heat peanut oil over medium-high heat just until the oil is shimmering. Saute onions and shallots until tender. 

  2. To the skillet, add, butter, lemon juice, garam masala, ginger garlic paste, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and bay leaf. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 

  3. Add tomato sauce to the skillet. Continue to cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Then, pour heavy cream, yogurt, and ground cashews. Reduce heat to low, stir frequently and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt. Turn off the heat and set aside. 

For Chicken:
  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, in batches so as to not crowd the pan, and brown over medium heat on both sides, about 10 minutes. Mix in the sauce and simmer until the sauce is reduced, making sure that the chicken is completely cooked.

  2. Pour the sauce over the browned chicken and simmer gently (adding more heavy cream or water as needed if sauce gets too thick) until the sauce is thick and the chicken is completely cooked about 10 minutes

Recipe Notes

Nutritional information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Nutrition Information
Calories: 641, Fat: 54g, Saturated Fat: 21g, Cholesterol: 227mg, Sodium: 388mg, Potassium: 641mg, Carbohydrates: 11g, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Protein: 27g, Vitamin A: 1295%, Vitamin C: 9.2%, Calcium: 74%, Iron: 2.4%

(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)

Repin this Tasty Recipe

Butter Chicken served over white rice


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Kathleen is a recipe developer, passionate home cook and the author of the blog Gonna Want Seconds. She has been married to her best friend for 32 years and has two great kids, two Bernese Mountain Dogs, a Quarter Horse and a little green parrot. She is obsessed with cookbooks, cowboy boots, red wine and vintage costume jewelry. Kathleen’s recipes are all tried and true, tested and tweaked and, most importantly, family and friend approved!

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