Indian Butter Chicken


Indian Butter Chicken

When I made this dish the other night I promised a couple of friends that I would post the recipe on the blog this week so that they could make it themselves. And since I don’t want to make anyone mad at me. And since I really really really liked this chicken I figured the sooner the better so alas I am sharing it with you today. Its spicy, its buttery and, as my one of my co-workers said when I brought the leftovers in the next day, just the aroma will make your mouth water and leave you longing for that first bite.

I was first introduced to butter chicken at my local Indian restaurant. To tell you the truth I wasn’t very keen on the idea of tomatoes and butter sauce, but one night I decided to give it a try. It was love at first bite. The sauce was spicy, the chicken was tender. From then on it was the dish I ordered whenever we visited the restaurant.

Despite the fact that I loved it so much, it took me a while to finally try the dish at home. For some reason I thought that it might be hard to make. However, after asking around a bit I found out that it isn’t really that difficult and most of the ingredients are a staple in most kitchens. The only thing you might not have on hand is garam masala which is a blend of spices like cumin, cloves, star anaise, nutmeg. You shouldn’t have a problem finding it in the spice aisle of your local grocery store.

  • Serves 4
  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:


  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 pound chicken thighs, diced
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 (15 ounce can) tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup lowfat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder (optional)


  1. Combine garam masala, 1/2 teaspoon salt, ginger, garlic and olive oil in a bowl. Pour over chicken. Stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until browned. Transfer to a plate.
  3. In the same pan you cooked the chicken in melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and cook just until softened, about 5 minutes. Return chicken to the pan and stir in remaining ingredients. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 30 minutes. Serve.


  • Roxan

    Hi! First time commenting on your blog but i’ve been reading/subscribed for a while now. My friend showed me your blog and I’ve been hooked! Just wanted to say that i LOVE your recipes and your photography. great job.

  • Roxan

    PS I’m going to follow you on twitter, you’ll see me as ‘monstroxity’

  • StephenC

    We had Indian and Thai flavors last night in a curry. It reminded me of how much I like Eastern food. I’ll copy it into my “Recipes” document so I don’t lost track of it. Thanks.

  • Soma

    So utterly delicious!! i make it using light cream or even milk ( no yogurt).. basmati rice and some butter chicken = bliss.

  • Michelle

    Sounds amazing. Wish the aroma could waft right out of your photo.

    I think you can find a “homemade” recipe for garam masala online. I needed it at some point and didn’t want to buy a whole jar until I knew we liked the dish. Your chicken sounds so good that I think I need to just get some to keep in the pantry now!

  • Jenn’s Food Journey

    I can smell it now….mmmmmm! I have now seen 2 postings this week for butter chicken…maybe it’s a sign :)

  • Lisa

    This looks amazingly good. I can’t wait to try it.

  • Judy

    hey, it says garam masala in the recipe twice… once for 1/2 tsp and the other for 1 tbsp. is it a combination of both?

  • Deseree

    Wow thank you everyone! Michelle- thanks for the tips on making homemade garam masala. I have always wondered if you could make that yourself. I’ll have to try it. Judy- its a total of 1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon garam masala. Hope this helps!

  • Melissa

    Thanks for the recipe! I’ve never ordered Butter Chicken at a restaurant before, so I can’t really say how close it is. But I made this last night and it was very tasty! I added 3 more tablespoons of butter and another 1/4 cup plain yogurt to reduce the tanginess from the tomato sauce and I also added potatoes. Will definitely be making this again! The chicken and sauce is very flavorful!

  • Deseree

    I love the addition of potatoes Melissa! I’ll have to try that next time.

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  • Robyn Sheppard

    This would also go well with fresh-baked naan, and Basmati rice. I live near an Indian food store, and always can find whatever spices I need. Oh, and by the way, I buy my brown Basmati rice in 10-lb. bags. If you’ve never tried Basmati rice, you’re in for a real treat. Trust me on this!

  • Deseree

    I LOVE Basmati rice. I don’t buy it too often but I should :)

A little bit about me...

My name is Des. I’m a Mom to Kellan and Preston. Wife to Ryan. Dog mom to Pumpkin and lover of all things food. Whether it is cooking it, eating it, shopping for it or watching TV about it, food is one of my favorite things. Read more »

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