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.

Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

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)



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.


Heat a skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until browned. Transfer to a plate.


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.



Leave a Comment

  • Reply
    Robyn Sheppard
    July 24, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      July 26, 2014 at 10:07 pm

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

  • Reply
    October 2, 2010 at 6:48 am

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

  • Reply
    September 30, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    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!

  • Reply
    September 27, 2010 at 6:23 am

    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!

  • Reply
    September 27, 2010 at 3:35 am

    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?

  • Reply
    September 24, 2010 at 7:31 am

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

  • Reply
    Jenn's Food Journey
    September 23, 2010 at 6:43 am

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

  • Reply
    September 23, 2010 at 4:48 am

    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!

  • Reply
    September 22, 2010 at 8:06 am

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

  • Reply
    September 22, 2010 at 7:43 am

    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.

  • Reply
    September 22, 2010 at 6:47 am

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

  • Reply
    September 22, 2010 at 6:47 am

    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.