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Indian Butter Chicken

Indian Butter Chicken RecipePlease do not let the ingredient list put you off from making this recipe.  It is delightful.  And full of aromatic spices and deep flavor.  I found this recipe on one of my favorite food blogs, goodlifeeats.com.  Katie posts her weekly menu on her Facebook page and when I saw this dish listed, I knew that I needed to make it STAT.  I love Indian food and love how it can bring chicken to whole new, un-boring levels.

This recipe uses a few more pots and gadgets than I usually like, but it is so good that I did not even care.  I would double the sauce and freeze half for another night when you need a bit of exotic in your life and toss it with some sauteed pieces of chicken (or even a rotisserie chicken) and call it dinner.  I love the fresh cilantro and lime at the end, it adds just enough freshness that you need to balance all of the earthy flavors going on.

My husband walked into the house while I was making this an said that it was one of the best smells that he has ever smelled.  That says a lot coming from Mr. Meat and Potato.  And, my boys loved it and both finished their plates.  I told you that it is good.

Indian Butter Chicken Recipe1 onion chopped
2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger
2 cloves minced garlic
1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (I used half, the kids were eating this too)
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 bay leaves
1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter
lime wedges
chopped cilantro
cooked Basmati rice (cook according to package directions and set aside)

Indian Butter Chicken RecipeIn a large saute pan coated with olive oil, cook the onions, jalapeno, ginger, and garlic over medium-high heat.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until slightly browned.

Indian Butter Chicken RecipeAdd the garam masala, chili powder, cardamom, and coriander.  Cook for two more minutes, stirring frequently.  This is where your house starts to smell amazing.

Indian Butter Chicken RecipeScrape the onion and spice mixture into the bowl of a food processor.  Add the tomato paste and chicken broth and process until smooth.

Indian Butter Chicken RecipeAdd the puree back into the saute pan and add the bay leaves and the cream.  Let come to a boil and reduce heat and let simmer until it has reduced to about 3 cups.  It takes about 5 to 7 minutes.  Stir frequently. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and set aside.  I clean out the pan and get it ready to cook my chicken.

Indian Butter Chicken RecipeDry the chicken well with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper.  Preheat the pan to high.  Add the chicken and 1 Tablespoon butter.  Cook the chicken until it starts to brown and turns opaque.  About 3 to 4 minutes.

Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

Add the sauce back to the pan and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through.  Add the remaining butter to the sauce and stir until it is melted and incorporated.

Indian Butter Chicken RecipeAdd some rice to a bowl and spoon the Indian Butter Chicken over top.  Squeeze a lime wedge over it and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.

Indian Butter Chicken RecipeDive in.

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Ingredients

  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly grated ginger
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and minced (I used half, the kids were eating this too)
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into small cubes
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • lime wedges
  • chopped cilantro
  • cooked Basmati rice (cook according to package directions and set aside)

Instructions

  1. In a large saute pan coated with olive oil, cook the onions, jalapeno, ginger, and garlic over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until slightly browned.
  2. Add the garam masala, chili powder, cardamom, and coriander. Cook for two more minutes, stirring frequently. This is where your house starts to smell amazing.
  3. Scrape the onion and spice mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Add the tomato paste and chicken broth and process until smooth.
  4. Add the puree back into the saute pan and add the bay leaves and the cream. Let come to a boil and reduce heat and let simmer until it has reduced to about 3 cups. It takes about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir frequently. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and set aside. I clean out the pan and get it ready to cook my chicken.
  5. Dry the chicken well with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper. Preheat the pan to high. Add the chicken and 1 Tablespoon butter. Cook the chicken until it starts to brown and turns opaque. About 3 to 4 minutes.
  6. Add the sauce back to the pan and cook over medium heat until the chicken is cooked through. Add the remaining butter to the sauce and stir until it is melted and incorporated.
  7. Add some rice to a bowl and spoon the Indian Butter Chicken over top. Squeeze a lime wedge over it and sprinkle with cilantro leaves.

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  1. Katie | GoodLife Eats

    December 7th, 2010 at 5:30 am

    Thank you so much for the kind words, Bree! This was such a nice post to wake up to. Indian Butter Chicken is probably our family’s most repeated recipe and I usually have most of the ingredients on hand already, so it’s relatively inexpensive (after you invest in the garam masala). That first photo is breath-taking – the colors look amazing against that dark background. I love it! You definitely did this recipe justice.

  2. bakedbree

    December 7th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    you are welcome! I do love your blog and everything that I have ever made is delicious and just the way you described. I am glad that you approve.

  3. Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon

    December 7th, 2010 at 6:09 am

    Interesting. I’ve been making a similar dish but I like that in this one you make the sauce completely separately. So yes, you could make a double batch of sauce and stash half in the freezer. Going to have to give this a try.

  4. bakedbree

    December 7th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

    thanks for the tip Wendi!

  5. Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon

    February 4th, 2011 at 9:18 am

    I made your recipe last weekend and it was fantastic. The leftovers have made lunch quite enjoyable this week. Will definitely be making this again.

  6. bakedbree

    February 5th, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    I love this recipe. So good and it tastes even better leftover.

  7. {natalie}

    December 7th, 2010 at 6:22 am

    that looks delicious. i need to pick up some spices and i’m set.

  8. bakedbree

    December 7th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Great! Let me know how it goes.

  9. Melanie

    December 7th, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I love butter chicken and this recipe looks amazing! I can’t wait to try it…because I definitely will be trying it. Your photos alone sold me.

  10. bakedbree

    December 7th, 2010 at 9:17 pm

    thank you Melanie!

  11. Matthew

    December 7th, 2010 at 11:01 am

    Butter chicken happens to be my favorite dish of all time.

    I will give your recipe a whirl.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Matthew

  12. bakedbree

    December 7th, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I love butter chicken too. This one is easy and delicious.

  13. Laura

    December 7th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Wow, sounds and looks delicious. And your boys ate it also. I have two little ones, so that is a good sign. Will give it a try.
    Thanks!
    Laura in Ludwigsburg

  14. bakedbree

    December 7th, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    please do!

  15. A Little Yumminess

    December 7th, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Looks yum. Different from what my mom taught me but I will have to try this one and see how it matches up! Beautiful photos!

  16. bakedbree

    December 7th, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    I cannot say how authentic it is, but it tastes delicious.

  17. Casey

    December 7th, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    This looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing! You have a beautiful site!

  18. bakedbree

    December 7th, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    thank you Casey!

  19. Kelly

    December 7th, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Mmmmm…will definitely be making this! Looks delish.

  20. bakedbree

    December 7th, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    great!

  21. Jun

    December 7th, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Mmmmm… gotta try making this soon.

  22. bakedbree

    December 7th, 2010 at 9:08 pm

    let me know if you like it.

  23. Cherine

    December 14th, 2010 at 9:00 am

    This chicken dish looks really tempting!!

  24. bakedbree

    December 14th, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    it is one of my all-time favorites.

  25. Antoinette

    December 14th, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Another winner! Thank you, it also was pretty easy to make. My husband couldn’t stop eating!!!!

  26. bakedbree

    December 14th, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    that makes me so happy! glad that you both liked it.

  27. Tali

    January 3rd, 2011 at 11:27 am

    I’m a newcomer to your site and SO happy to have come across this goldmine! I made this recipe last night and it has gone into the permanent collection and has been noted my by husband that this is in the top 5 dishes I’ve ever made 🙂 I love how even though there are a ton of ingredients it was super easy to make. I also found it really forgiving – I skipped ahead a couple of steps by mistake (forgot to add the heavy cream and ginger, but was able to backtrack really easily without ruining the dish. It was really Amazing and also delicious as leftovers today for lunch!

  28. bakedbree

    January 3rd, 2011 at 8:33 pm

    Wowzers! Glad that you both liked it. Glad that you found me!

  29. Food Goddess

    May 21st, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I have been using another recipe for years and always thought it could not be beat. But this recipe beats it hands down – even better than my local Indian restaurant. And the best part is that the leftovers reheated perfect. Dear Mother, who swears she does not like Indian food couldn’t get enough!

  30. bakedbree

    May 25th, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    Wow! What a compliment. I love this dish.

  31. Jennifer

    August 29th, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I made this for my family last night and it was a huge hit!! I was a little turned off by the number of ingredients, but it is super easy and only took about 30 minutes to prepare. It took longer for my rice to cook! Thanks Bree!!!

  32. bakedbree

    August 29th, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I am glad that your family liked it. It is so good, I need to make this soon.

  33. Leslie

    October 11th, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    I made this for dinner tonight and it was excellent! Thank you for a great recipe. I can now stop looking for a butter chicken recipe that works for me because this one is great.

  34. bakedbree

    October 11th, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    I am so glad that you liked it Leslie!

  35. BD

    November 7th, 2011 at 11:39 am

    I made this two weeks and it was so good!!!Yesterday I made again with two below changes and it turned out good too. Let me know about your opinion on below changes.
    1- I marinated chicken for two hours with salt, Chilli powder and coriander and cook chicken. Once it is done I removed chicken and on same pan without cleaning I made gravy because I wanted to use rest of spices for better color and texture.
    2 – I add 1/4 spoon of sugar and little bit fenugreek seed.
    Optional – add ketchup for red color. Let me know your opinion on this.
    Keep posting recepie like this. Thanks.

  36. bakedbree

    November 7th, 2011 at 8:20 pm

    I would keep the ketchup out, I think that it is a little less than authentic. 🙂 The rest of the changes sound great though.

  37. Emese

    May 19th, 2012 at 12:24 am

    I really loved it, but just wonder what made it smell and taste like cinnamon?

  38. bakedbree

    May 22nd, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    there is cinnamon in garam masala. Depending on the brand, it might have a lot of cinnamon in it.

  39. Kim Farrar

    June 26th, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    This is even better than the butter chicken my Indian neighbor makes. Absolutely delicious!!

  40. bakedbree

    June 27th, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Wow! Thank you Kim!

  41. Genevieve

    September 25th, 2012 at 6:57 am

    This was just devine. I can’t wait to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I substituted a red chilli for the jalapeno and homemade vegetable stock for the chicken broth and didn’t salt the chicken before frying it but it still tasted awesome!

  42. bakedbree

    September 26th, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I am so glad that you liked it, it is even better the next day.

  43. Shaik Shazeel

    December 13th, 2012 at 8:56 am

    Butter chicken recipe is amazing & easy instructions

  44. bakedbree

    December 16th, 2012 at 2:41 pm

    thank you!

  45. Colleen Jobe

    April 2nd, 2013 at 4:36 am

    This is on my menu for this week. Can’t.wait.

  46. bakedbree

    April 2nd, 2013 at 7:05 pm

    You will love it Colleen! How is Belgium treating you?

  47. Simon Jensen

    April 6th, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    This recipe is more like a onion less chicken tikka masala. The traditional way of making this dish uses fewer spices, and fresh tomatoes.

    Authentic murgh makhani contain chicken tikka pieces. And the gravy uses tomato, cardamom pods, methi (fengureek leaves), kashmiri red chili powder, sugar/honey and cinnamon.

    At times they also use cashew nut paste for thickening the gravy.

  48. Praj

    October 4th, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Hi Bree,

    Authentic butter chicken actually doesn’t use onions at all. Its a tomato based sauce. Here’s a version from one of India’s most famous chefs, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor. https://www.sanjeevkapoor.com/butter-chicken.aspx

    Cheers!

    Praj

  49. Simon @ Rice & Sticks

    October 11th, 2013 at 6:09 am

    Some chefs use onions as well. But this dish is seasoned more like a Tikka Masala. People sometimes think that Tikka Masala and Butter chicken is the same dish, which it’s not.

    Harpal Singh Sokhi also got a excellent version and so do chef Thumma at Vahrehvah. He also stated once that sometimes chefs use onions for the purpose of increasing quantity of the gravy.

    A chef in Maharashtra made a version pretty similar to Sanjeev Kapoors. He confirmed that this is the Authentic way of doing it.

  50. Tammy F.

    January 26th, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Wow…I don’t know if this tastes like “authentic” Indian Butter Chicken or not…all I know is that it’s absolutely heavenly! I made some yesterday and because some of my spices were a bit old, I added some extra heat by putting in a small amout of an african hot pepper spice blend…no need, lol! It was almost too much. 🙂 Next time I will leave it out as your recipe is just perfect! Thank you…will be making this often!

  51. bakedbree

    January 26th, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    I am so glad! Definitely not the most authentic, but every time I eat it in an Indian restaurant it is always different. It’s a version. 🙂

  52. Jessica

    June 27th, 2014 at 8:12 am

    Hi ! I have a question. It says to purée the sauce in a food processor … However I only have a blender. Could I put the sauce in the blender to mix everything together?

  53. bakedbree

    June 30th, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Yup!

  54. bristol plasterer

    April 14th, 2015 at 8:16 am

    I love this recipe. One of my favorites. Thank you for sharing this.

    Simon

  55. bakedbree

    April 14th, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    You are welcome Bristol! I’m so glad that you like it so much.

  56. Madi

    August 4th, 2017 at 8:38 am

    This is literally my favorite recipe ever. I even made it for myself on my birthday. Haha! So delicious and intense, but in a simple way. Thanks for sharing!

  57. bakedbree

    August 17th, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I am so glad! This makes me happy.

  58. Michelle Farell

    August 28th, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Oh my goodness, this is the best butter chicken recipe ever! I follow it exactly (except I have to double it for my family!) and everyone loves it. Amazing.

  59. bakedbree

    September 5th, 2018 at 9:00 am

    I’m so glad, thanks for letting me know!

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