Indian night at home made easy thanks to this quick & flavourful recipe for Butter Chicken. Best served up with steamed rice and naan bread but so good, you might just wanna eat it by the spoonful (we don’t judge).
Alright, folks. I give you full fledged permission to LAY IT ON ME. Give me a slap. Give me a yell. Do whatever you gotta do. Cause man, I’m embarrassed. I have to admit that for some reason, I just don’t cook (or eat, for that matter) enough Indian food. I mean, seriously. How is this Low FODMAP Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe the only Indian recipe on the blog thus far?! Why?! NO CLUE. Cause, I swear to you, that once in a blue moon time that I do take on Indian cooking, I’m without a doubt reminded of how good it is. And FULL OF FLAVOUR. And then I shamelessly find myself wishing my house could just smell as good as this recipe for Butter Chicken makes it smell forever.
You see, I just loooove food. I guess that really ain’t no secret at this point 😉 All shapes, all cultures, all forms. Just GIMMIE. I’m serious when I say I normally cook something different everyday. Cause there’s just SO MUCH OF IT and I want to cook it all! That’s why it’s seriously surprising that Indian food doesn’t find it’s way to my kitchen more often than it does. But, if there’s one lesson that this Butter Chicken recipe taught me, it’s to make more of it! Seriously! Just for the spices and smells alone.
And besides, I could seriously swim in this Butter Chicken Sauce. Just sayin’.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE FOR BUTTER CHICKEN
This recipe for Butter Chicken is made with simple, fresh and easy to find ingredients. Let’s get into them in a little bit more detail down below:
- Chicken Breast: I prefer using chicken breasts for this recipe for Butter Chicken as they’re fairly easy to cut into similar size cubes. Boneless and skinless works best in this recipe. However, you can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs instead, if you prefer or if that’s all you have on hand.
- Coconut Milk: Makes the sauce nice, thick and deliciously creamy. Keeps this recipe for Butter Chicken a little on the healthier/lighter side. Full fat works best in this recipe.
- Greek Yogurt: Tenderizes the chicken and adds texture, flavour and creaminess to the sauce. You can use regular yogurt instead, if you prefer. Either way, plain works best in this recipe.
- Tomato Sauce: Adds acidity, flavour and smoothness to the sauce. A plain tomato sauce aka a tomato purée (with nothing added), such as Passata, works best in this recipe. Or, feel free to make your own by following my homemade recipe for tomato sauce from fresh tomatoes HERE.
- Tomato Paste: Adds flavour to the sauce and helps to thicken it up as it simmers in the pan on the stove.
- Butter: The butter in “Butter Chicken!” Adds flavour, texture and umph to the sauce. Salted or unsalted works just fine in this recipe. However, obviously adjust the added salt accordingly.
- Onions: Adds texture and flavour to this recipe for Butter Chicken. White or yellow onion work best in this recipe.
- Garlic: Adds flavour. I like using fresh minced garlic for this recipe. However, if all you have on hand is garlic powder, use 1 teaspoon instead of the 4 minced cloves.
- Ginger: Adds flavour and pairs perfectly well with all the other spices. I like using minced ginger for the freshness it adds. However, if all you have on hand is ground ginger, use 1/4 teaspoon instead of the 1 tablespoon of fresh.
- Cilantro: Optional but adds a herby freshness and pop of colour to the final dish. Therefore, fresh is best in this recipe.
- Spices: As you can see, this recipe for Butter Chicken is spice heavy (aka why the house smells undeniably delicious as it cooks!). A blend of common spices used in Indian cooking make this Butter Chicken recipe come to life! Curry powder, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, chili powder and of course, salt and pepper is the secret blend!
HOW TO MAKE BUTTER CHICKEN (KEY TIPS)
- Cut the chicken into as even size pieces as you can get them to ensure even cooking in the same amount of time. Using boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs will be your best bet in achieving this easy task.
- Don’t be afraid of all the spices! YES, there are a lot of them. Perhaps even some you haven’t ever used before. And YES, we add them two seperate times (once to marinate the chicken and again during cooking). But YES, they’re all necessary and responsible for making this recipe for Butter Chicken extra flavourful and delicious.
- Marinate the chicken pieces in the yogurt and spices for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavours to mingle and develop. Aka maximum flavour. If you have the time, you can always go for longer. 8 hours or up to overnight. But, not to worry in the slightest if you don’t. 30 minutes still results in an exceptionally flavourful dish! EXTRA TIP: Be sure to mix the spices in a small bowl before adding them to the chicken and yogurt to marinate. You want to ensure all of the flavours get spread out as evenly as possible all over the chicken instead of just ending up in one place. EXTRA EXTRA TIP: Don’t discard the leftover marinade after removing the chicken to sear it. We add it to the sauce for extra flavour and to help thicken it.
- Sear the chicken for a few minutes on each side for extra crisp and flavour. RECIPE NOTE: Be advised that the spices and yogurt on the chicken will blacken if the pan is too hot or there isn’t enough oil before adding them in. Not to worry if this happens as it won’t affect the flavour of the final dish (unless of course, you burn them…) however, just be mindful and keep the pan on a medium heat and flip the chicken to ensure even searing on both sides. EXTRA TIP: Work in batches if you have to as you don’t want to overcrowd the pan. I had to do 3 batches in total. Simply transfer the semi-cooked chicken to a plate while you go through the rest. Then, when adding them back into the sauce, be sure to do so with all of their juices. EXTRA EXTRA TIP: Don’t worry about cooking the chicken all the way through in this step. The purpose is to simply get a nice sear or browning and the chicken will finish cooking through in the final steps.
- Allow the sauce to simmer on the stove for 15-20 minutes before adding the semi-cooked chicken pieces back to the pan. This will allow the Butter Chicken sauce to reduce and thicken making it the perfect consistency. It also helps in allowing the flavours to develop to their maximum potential. EXTRA TIP: Keep the sauce on low to medium low heat and use a splatter screen if you have one.
- Serve it up with steamed rice (try my pressure cooker white rice recipe!) and the easiest homemade naan bread for the ultimate Indian Butter Chicken experience!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Butter chicken sauce is so easy to make! It’s made with fresh, simple and easy to find ingredients. It’s a tomato based sauce made with butter, fresh tomato sauce (with nothing added) or tomato purée, coconut milk (in this case, heavy cream in others) and a ton of delicious smelling spices that pack it full of flavour! A chopped onion and fresh minced garlic and ginger are also added to the mix making this Butter Chicken Sauce extra flavourful and super delicious.
Allow the Butter Chicken Sauce to simmer over medium low heat for at least 15-20 minutes. This will reduce and thicken it making it the perfect consistency. Stir it a few times throughout this process and let it go slightly longer if it’s still not thick enough or to your liking.
The yogurt, tomato paste and coconut milk also help in thickening up this recipe for Butter Chicken.
Store any leftover Butter Chicken in an airtight container and keep it in the fridge. It will be good for up to 4 days. When ready to eat again, simply reheat in a pan on the stove or in the microwave. Alternatively, you can freeze it for up to 4 months.
FOR THE CHICKEN MARINADE
- 2 pounds Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (or Thighs)
- 1/2 cup Plain Greek Yogurt
- 1 tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 tbsp Curry Powder
- 1 tsp Ground Coriander
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Turmeric
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
FOR THE BUTTER CHICKEN SAUCE
- 2 cups Tomato Sauce or Purée (such as Passata)*
- 1 can Full Fat Coconut Milk
- 3 tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp Fresh Ginger, minced
- 1 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Coriander
- 1 tsp Curry Powder
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Fresh Chopped Cilantro, for garnish, optional
- Naan Bread, for serving
- Rice, for serving
- Cut the chicken into even size chunks or cubes and mix the spices under the chicken marinade in a bowl.
- Add the greek yogurt and mixed spices to the chicken and stir to coat all the pieces. Marinate for at least 30 minutes (or up to overnight, if time allows).
- Heat the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the chicken (working in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan) and sear 2-3 minutes per side until lightly browned but not all the way cooked through. Be sure to save any excess marinade as we add it to the sauce in a few steps. Transfer the semi-cooked chicken to a plate and set aside until ready to use.
- In the same pan (adding more oil if needed), add the onions, garlic and ginger. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add the spices and stir until fragrant, about 20-30 seconds. Then add the butter and cook until melted, stirring frequently.
- Add the coconut milk to the pan and use your spatula to scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Then add the tomato sauce, paste and any remaining yogurt marinade (there should be about 1-2 tbsp worth). Stir to combine. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce the heat and allow to simmer, stirring occassionally, for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
- Add the chicken and all their juices back to the pan and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through. The sauce should be nice, thick and bubbly at this point! Remove from the heat and season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed.
- Transfer to bowls with hot steamed rice, naan bread and garnish with fresh chopped cilantro, if desired.
Try making your own tomato purée to use in this recipe by following my homemade recipe for tomato sauce using fresh tomatoes (don't season it).
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 862Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 209mgSodium: 1629mgCarbohydrates: 43gFiber: 6gSugar: 9gProtein: 82g
Nutrition is only an estimate and calculated using Nutritionix.
LOVE INDIAN FOOD? TRY MY RECIPE FOR LOW FODMAP CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA NEXT!
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