Easy Weeknight Butter Chicken

Easy weeknight butter chicken plated with rice

Butter chicken – my literal favourite. I grew up in a South Asian household, and if there is one thing I always looked forward to, it was my grandmothers butter chicken. While this easy weeknight butter chicken is not my grandmothers, but it’s pretty darn close.

Fast forward to present day, I realize that butter chicken is quite honestly, laborious to make. Is it worth it, yes. Can it be done comfortably be done after a long work/school day, probably not. Traditionally, tomatoes are cooked down until soft, blended with cashews, into a smooth, silky sauce, and simmered with spices. I find that by using tomato puree (passata), the results are quite similar with half the work.

Enter my “as close to authentic, weeknight butter chicken”! It packs all the flavours you know and love in this classic dish, taking a fraction of the time. My tip is to marinade the chicken the night before, so it is ready to go when you get home. The gravy takes little to no time!

For an even better shortcut, you can use pre-made tandoori masala (spice) to marinate the chicken, only leaving the sauce to worry about. Truthfully though, the chicken marinade is so easy that it does not add much time to the preparation of the dish.

Serve with naan or rice, and you are set for a delicious and quick dinner!

Easy Weeknight Butter Chicken

Recipe by The Sassy FoodieCourse: Mains
Cooking time






  • For the Chicken
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt ⁣⁣

  • 2 tbsp lemon juice ⁣⁣

  • 1 tbsp garlic paste ⁣⁣

  • 1 tbsp ginger paste⁣⁣

  • 2 tsp chaat masala ⁣⁣

  • 1 tsp garam masala ⁣⁣

  • 1 tsp paprika ⁣⁣

  • 1 tsp chili powder ⁣⁣

  • 1/4 tsp red food colouring⁣⁣

  • For the Sauce
  • 1 tbsp garlic paste

  • 1 tbsp ginger paste ⁣

  • 15 cashews ⁣

  • 1 cinnamon stick ⁣

  • 2 pods green cardamon ⁣

  • 2 cloves ⁣

  • 2 tsp red chilli powder ⁣

  • 1 tsp garam masala ⁣

  • 2 tsp dried fenugreek (kasoori methi)

  • 1 cup tomato passata or crushed tomatoes ⁣

  • 1/4 cup sugar ⁣

  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream ⁣

  • Salt to taste ⁣


  • Marinate chicken thighs for at least 30 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees until cooked through. Remove, and set aside. ⁣
  • In a large pot with a small amount of butter, cook the garlic, ginger, cashews, and whole spices until fragrant. Add the passata or crushed tomatoes, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the chilli powder, garam masala and salt, and combine. ⁣
  • Remove the cinnamon stick and any of the other whole spices that you can find in the mixture. Using an immersion blender, blend the tomatoes, cashews and any of the smaller spices (i.e. cloves) that you could not fish out. Reduce the heat, and add the chicken to the mix. ⁣
  • Add the whipping cream, and let the mix simmer for 5 minutes. Finish with a dab of butter and enjoy!

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