Tender chicken cooked in a rich, fragrant tomato-based curry sauce makes the perfect butter chicken. Perfect served with steamed rice and naan bread.
- Chicken. I used boneless skinless chicken breasts but boneless chicken thighs are also delicious.
- Yogurt. I used plain Greek yogurt but you could use low fat too.
- Spices: Garam Masala, ground cardamom, coriander, cumin, turmeric and a pinch of chilli powder.
- Salt and black pepper.
- Oil and butter. Ghee is also a great option, if you have it.
- Fresh garlic cloves.
- Fresh ginger.
- Tomatoes. I used canned crushed tomatoes but you can use chopped tomatoes, tomato puree (like tomato Passata) or use fresh tomatoes if you prefer.
- Cream. Heavy cream/whipping cream.
- Sugar. I add a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity from the tomatoes but this is optional.
How to make butter chicken
- Marinate the chicken: Slice the chicken into 2cm/1 inch cubes. Add the chicken to a medium bowl then add the yogurt and half of the spices. Mix well then cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours but ideally up to 24 hours in the fridge.
- Make the curry: In a large pot set over medium-high heat, add ghee or oil of your choice. Add onions and cook until soft and golden. Add the garlic, ginger and remaining spices and cook for 30 seconds then add the chicken and marinade. Pour in the tomatoes then reduce the heat, partially cover and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes until the chicken is tender. Pour in the cream and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Finish the sauce: Once cooked, stir in butter then season to taste. Serve with your choice of side dishes.
Can I use milk instead of cream?
Yes you can, however the cream adds silky richness so the finished curry won’t be quite as delicious.
Freezing and reheating
- Freezing: Allow the cooked curry to cool completely then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to three months. Allow to thaw in the fridge overnight before reheating.
- Reheating: The cooked curry or any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, transfer to a saucepan/pot and heat over medium heat until simmering.
What to serve with butter chicken
Rice is always a must when serving any form of curry. I also like serving homemade naan or roti to scoop up all that delicious sauce. A simple cucumber salad is a nice fresh addition if you want to add some vegetables to your meal.
- Chicken korma curry
- Butternut squash curry with crispy chickpeas
- Easy weeknight chicken curry
- Easy cauliflower tikka masala curry
Butter chicken curry
Tender chicken cooked in a rich, fragrant tomato-based curry sauce makes the perfect butter chicken. Perfect served with steamed rice and naan bread.Print Pin Rate Add to Shopping ListGo to Shopping List
For the marinade
- 1 kg (2lbs) Chicken Breasts cut into bite-sized chunks
- 1 cup Plain yoghurt
- 2 tbsp Garam Masala
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp salt
For the butter chicken curry
- 3 tbsp oil/ghee
- 2 onions chopped
- 6 garlic cloves
- Thumb size piece ginger grated
- 800 g (28oz) canned tomatoes
- 1 cup cream
- 2 tsp sugar
- 4 tbsp butter
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Slice the chicken into 2cm/1 inch cubes.
- Add the chicken to a medium bowl then add the yogurt and half of the spices.
- Mix well then cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours but ideally up to 24 hours in the fridge.
- In a large pot set over medium-high heat, add ghee or oil of your choice.
- Add onions and cook until soft and golden.
- Add the garlic, ginger and remaining spices and cook for 30 seconds then add the chicken and marinade.
- Pour in the tomatoes then reduce the heat, partially cover and allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes until the chicken is tender.
- Pour in the cream and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Once cooked, stir in butter then season to taste.
- Serve with your choice of side dishes.
@simplydeliciousfood My absolute best butter chicken recipe. So creamy and comforting. #butterchicken #dinnerideas #dinnerwithme ? Kayak For One - Hans Zimmer
Calories: 374kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 658mg | Potassium: 899mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 979IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 2mg
I made the Butter Chicken and it is divine. Thank you for an awesome recipe. ?
re your Butter Chicken Curry recipe – I note that for the marinade only half of the listed spices are to be added to the yoghurt. At what stage are the half of the spices used?
Updated, my apologies. You cook the remaining spices with the ginger and garlic.
I have made this curry 3 times before. This is such a favourite in our house, my husband absolutely loves it and it also freezes perfectly to heat up for a quick lunch or dinner in a hurry. I love to make this with your Naan recipe. Your website is beautiful and filled with recipes that are so easy to follow and well put together.
Thank you so much Heike. It means so much.
Alida, I made butter chicken with buttermilk in stead of cream, also with added yoghurt, because i read that the name derives from buttermilk and not from butter as such. it gave a slightly different taste, but distinguishes it from other curry dishes. regards, Willie Viljoen
Loved this recipe, there are so many variations of butter chicken and this one really works. Top tip is serve with a little spicy mango chutney for a fruity note to cut through the richness of the cream and butter.
Michael Sales Rodgers
In the body of the blog post someone asks if they can use milk instead of cream and you give an answer. Then, in the recipe for Butter Chicken, there is no milk or cream.
Did I miss something?
I’ve amended the recipe. 🙂
About to make this just seems a lot of tomatoes 2 tins plus 400g of tomatoes puree might substitute one tin of tomatoes for a 400ml coconut milk
Because this makes a large quantity of Butter chicken (serving easily 10 people), the amount of tomatoes is correct but you could definitely use less. Coconut milk will change the flavor but it will still be very delicious.
My sauce was not nearly as deep and rich in color!! I’m not sure what I did wrong 🙁
Was the flavour good? Different varieties of tomatoes and spice brands can have an effect on the look of the sauce but if it tastes good, that’s all that matters. 🙂
Great recipe! Easy to make and delicious even for my 6 and 3 year old! Will be making this again, once we are able to dig out from all the snow that has fallen in DC. I love how easy you made it and especially appreciate the naan (beats the store bought one). The sauce is perfect. Thanks so much for posting this.
Oh, how I wish I could experience snow like that Maria. Thanks for your lovely comment, I’m so glad you and your family loved this recipe.
Marissa @ In My Yellow Cardigan
I just stumbled upon your site as I searched for curry recipes on Pinterest and OMG I CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THIS. Especially intrigued that naan is that easy to make! Pinned and will be following your blog. 🙂
Alida!! Thank you so much for this winning recipe!!
I made it last night and it was a HUGE success, and so easy to make.
Absolutely divine. 😀
I am so glad you liked it Heleen! Thanks for the lovely comment.
What is C=clove? I want to make this for the wife.
That was just a typo, thanks for pointing it out. I’ve fixed it now.
All of a sudden I find myself reading in Afrikaans while looking for a curry recipe that reminds me of home (I live in Israel) – In case I had any doubts, now I am definitely making this!
I hope you enjoy it! 🙂
Of course! Coconut milk would be lovely.
Can you add coconut milk?
Baie dankie vir jou wonderlike comment. Ek is so bly jy en jou gaste het van hierdie resep gehou. Dit bly maar ‘n wenner!
Dit is ‘n heerlike resep, dankie Alida. Ek het dit gister vir Sondag-middagete gemaak, kompleet met die naan-brood soos joune, en dit was ‘n wenner! My gaste was skoon ongelukkig toe hulle nog wil eet, maar bloot nie meer kan nie. (En ek sien uit na die oorskiet hierdie week vir aandete). Hierdie resep gaan definitief in my “go-to” resepte versameling in. (Ek het die marinade en hoender al Saterdagaand klaargemaak en in die yskas gesit, so Sondag se kook was sommer in ‘n japtrap klaar) Nogmaals dankie vir jou puik resep (en blog!).
Have you tried this recipe in the slow-cooker? If so did you need to make any adjustments to the recipe?
Emma, I haven’t (I actually don’t even own one, unfortunately) so I won’t be able to give you much advice regarding slow cooking. Perhaps just add more liquid so it doesn’t dry out?
I do cover it but you don’t have to if you don’t want to. If you find it to be too thick, simply add a splash of water until you reach your desired consitency.
Once everything is in one pot, and I lower the heat on all of the mixture, do I need to cover it? The mixture seems pretty thick right now and I cannot imagine it getting thicker.
Hi, I just wanted to say I saw the picture of this and now i have to make it, but if I may ask what is the herb did you garnish it with in your pictures? And do you put the salt sugar and vinegar in the marinade? Sorry if its there and I’m just missing it. I can’t wait to try this. Thanks
I used chopped coriander and yes, all those ingredients go into the marinade! Hope you enjoy it.
Did you use white vinegar? Would sherry vinegar work?
White vinegar is good because it doesn’t have a very strong flavour but I’m sure sherry vinegar will work just fine.
I just want to say that your photography is beautiful! Every time I click on a photo on food sharing sites due to the styling/photography it almost always brings me here! I hope to one day be this talented. Keep it up, it’s very inspiring 🙂