Butter Chicken Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Perfect Indian Dish

butter chicken recipe

Are you craving a delicious and comforting meal that is also easy to make? Look no further than butter chicken, a classic Indian dish that is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

This recipe is perfect for dinner parties or a cozy night in, and it’s a great way to impress your guests or family with your culinary skills.I will walk you through the steps to make the best butter chicken recipe, from selecting the right ingredients to cooking techniques and tips.

Butter Chicken Recipe

When making butter chicken, it’s important to remember to take your time and let the flavors develop. Don’t rush the cooking process, as this can result in a dish that lacks depth and complexity. Instead, take the time to marinate the chicken and allow the sauce to simmer for a while to fully develop its flavors.

Remember, this recipe is just a starting point. Feel free to experiment with different spices and ingredients to create a butter chicken recipe that is uniquely your own. And don’t be afraid to make mistakes – that’s how you learn and grow as a cook!


To make butter chicken, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup ghee or unsalted butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add ghee or butter. Once the butter has melted, add chicken pieces and cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Remove chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  2. In the same skillet, add chopped onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add minced garlic and grated ginger to the skillet and stir for a minute or so until fragrant.
  4. Add tomato puree, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, and cayenne pepper to the skillet and stir to combine. Cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  5. Add heavy cream and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to simmer for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened and the flavors have melded together.
  6. Add the cooked chicken back into the skillet and stir to coat it evenly with the sauce. Allow the chicken to simmer in the sauce for a few minutes until fully cooked and tender.
  7. Taste the sauce and season with salt as needed.
  8. Serve butter chicken hot, garnished with chopped cilantro, alongside rice and/or naan bread.

Cooking Tips

  • To save time, you can use pre-cut chicken pieces instead of cutting them yourself.
  • For a smokier flavor, you can use smoked paprika instead of cayenne pepper.
  • If you like your sauce thicker, you can add a spoonful of cornstarch to the skillet while the sauce is simmering.
  • You can also use a mix of chicken breasts and thighs if you prefer white meat.

Health Benefits

Butter chicken may be a tasty indulgence, but it can also provide some health benefits. For instance, chicken thighs are a good source of protein and can help promote satiety and lean muscle mass.

Additionally, the spices and aromatics used in the dish, such as ginger and turmeric, have anti-inflammatory properties and may help with digestion.

Serving Ideas

Butter chicken is traditionally served over rice and/or with naan bread, but you can also get creative with your serving ideas. Some options include:

  • Serving it over quinoa for a healthier twist
  • Adding steamed veggies, such as broccoli or carrots, to the dish for some extra nutrition
  • Topping it with sliced almonds or cashews for some crunch


  1. What is butter chicken?
    Butter chicken is a classic Indian dish that consists of boneless chicken cooked in a creamy tomato-based sauce, typically seasoned with aromatics and spices.
  2. What is the origin of butter chicken?
    Butter chicken originated in Delhi, India in the 1950s, when a restaurateur named Kundan Lal Gujral came up with the recipe as a way to use up leftover tandoori chicken.
  3. Is butter chicken spicy?
    Butter chicken can be mildly spicy, depending on the amount of cayenne pepper you use. However, you can adjust the level of spiciness to your taste.
  4. Can I make butter chicken in advance?
    Yes, you can make butter chicken in advance and reheat it before serving. However, keep in mind that the sauce may thicken up when refrigerated, so you may need to add a little bit of water or cream when reheating.
  5. Can I freeze butter chicken?
    Yes, you can freeze butter chicken for up to 3 – 4 months. Just make sure to transfer it to an airtight container or freezer bag, and label it with the date.
  6. Can I use chicken breast instead of thighs?
    Yes, you can use chicken breast instead of thighs, but keep in mind that the texture and flavor may be slightly different.
  7. Can I substitute the heavy cream for coconut milk?
    Yes, you can substitute heavy cream for coconut milk if you prefer a dairy-free option. However, keep in mind that the flavor and texture may be slightly different.
  8. Can I make butter chicken in a slow cooker?
    Yes, you can make butter chicken in a slow cooker, but keep in mind that the sauce may not thicken as much as it does on the stovetop.

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