Butter chicken is an Indian classic. If you have ever been to an Indian restaurant, or have ever asked for a recommendation of a must-have Indian dish, this is usually at the top of the list. This creamy butter chicken tastes just like restaurant quality butter chicken, with a few tweaks to make it easy and weeknight friendly. The flavour is addictive, and you'll be wondering why you didn't make it at home sooner!
Butter chicken is a popular north Indian dish. While it is not a dish that is generally enjoyed everyday at home, it is popular for a reason. Packed with tender pieces of marinated chicken, and a flavourful, creamy sauce, it's worth the extra effort.
This pairs well with my foolproof jasmine rice, or even some store-bought naan. If you are looking for a cooling element, tzatziki is similar to Indian raita, which is also a cucumber and yogurt side.
- Boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Greek yogurt
- Lemon juice
- Ginger paste
- Garlic paste
- Chaat masala
- Garam masala
- Chilli powder
- Cashew nuts
- Cinnamon stick
- Green cardamon
- Dried fenugreek [kasoori methi]
- Tomato passata
- Heavy whipping cream
A full list of ingredients with measurements is located on the recipe card, below.
- Collecting all your ingredients - This will make cooking so much easier. Gather all the spices you will need, and keep them nearby.
- Prepare your chicken - You will want to cut your chicken thighs into bite-sized chunks.
- Preheat your oven - The gravy for this butter chicken does not take long to make. To make sure your chicken is ready to go, preheat your oven to 375°F so it is waiting for you!
Combine your chicken with all the ingredients needed for the marinade. You do not need to let the chicken sit in the marinade. Transfer to a baking sheet, and bake at 375°F for 15 minutes. Because the chicken is cut into bite-sized pieces, it will cook relatively quickly.
In a large stainless steel skillet with 1 tablespoon of butter, brown garlic, ginger, cashew nuts, cardamon and a cinnamon stick until fragrant. It will not take long for the spices to brown.
Add the tomato passata to the skillet, and let it cook through until the water has evaporated, and it has thickened.
Once the passata is thick, remove the visibly large spices such as cardamon pods and cinnamon sticks, and put the sauce into a blender. Add half of the water, and blend until smooth.
Return the mixture back to the skillet, and add the remaining water. Add the ground spices and sugar, as well as the chicken. Finish with heavy whipping cream, and dried fenugreek.
- Chicken - You can opt for chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs, if you prefer white meat. Be mindful to keep the pieces uniform, and bite-sized.
- Tomato passata - You can also use canned crushed tomatoes, or diced fresh tomatoes. You will likely have to put the mixture through a strainer after blending, if using fresh tomatoes. This will yield a silky sauce.
- Dairy free - Instead of sautéing in butter, feel free to use olive oil or your oil of choice. You can also use a dairy substitute instead of heavy cream. The cashews add a good creaminess to the sauce, so you won't lose too much by using a dairy substitute.
- Spicy - Increase the amount of red chilli powder in both the chicken marinade, and the gravy. The recipe as written has a nice kick to it.
- Kid friendly - Omit the red chilli powder all together!
This is what I used to make this recipe - Please be mindful that different equipment and cooking utensils may yield varying results.
- Large stainless steel skillet
- Immersion blender in the alternative of a blender
- Sieve [if using immersion blender]
- Mixing bowls
- Oven or air fryer
Store the butter chicken in an airtight container in the fridge. This will last up to 3 days.
You can also freeze this recipe, in freezer-safe containers. Defrost, and reheat on the stove.
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Creamy Butter Chicken
For the Chicken
- 8 Chicken thighs boneless, skinless, cubed
- ¼ cup Plain greek yogurt
- 2 tablespoon Lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon Ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon Chaat masala
- ½ teaspoon Garam masala
- 1 teaspoon Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Chili powder
For the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon Garlic paste
- 1 tablespoon Ginger paste
- 15 Cashews
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- 2 pods Green cardamon
- 1 teaspoon Red chilli powder
- 1 teaspoon Garam masala
- 2 teaspoon Dried fenugreek kasoori methi
- 1 cup Tomato passata
- 2 tablespoon Sugar
- ½ cup Heavy whipping cream
- Salt to taste
- 1 cup Water
- Marinate the chicken: Marinate chicken thighs with all the ingredients for the marinade. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes, until cooked through. Remove, and set aside.
- Make the sauce: In a dutch oven with a small amount of butter, cook the garlic, ginger, cashews, and whole spices until fragrant. Add the passata, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Blend the mixture: Remove the cinnamon stick and cardamon pods from the sauce. Using a blender, blend the sauce mixture with ½ a cup of water. Return to the heat, and add another ½ cup of water. Add the spices and sugar. Reduce the heat, and add the chicken to the mix.
- Finish with Cream: Add the whipping cream, and let the mix simmer for 5 minutes. Finish with a dab of butter and enjoy!
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended