Stupid-Easy Recipe for Indian Butter Chicken (#1 Top-Rated)


A staple in Indian restaurants around the globe, butter chicken is practically the brand ambassador of Indian curries. This version makes good on the name with tender, juicy chicken, a subtle blend of spices, and just the right amount of butter and cream. The color of your sauce may vary depending on the color of the tomatoes, paprika, and ground chilies you use.

Satisfy your sweet tooth with this easy-to-make recipe for Indian Butter Chicken.

1. Info for Indian Butter Chicken

  • Cook Time: 2 hr
  • Total Time: 2 hr
  • Servings: 5
  • Calories: 552 kcal

2. Ingredients for Indian Butter Chicken

  • 1 inch fresh ginger (for marinade)
  • 5 garlic cloves (for marinade)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt (preferably whole milk)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. ground coriander (for marinade)
  • 1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Kashmiri chili powder (buy at Indian markets and online; or instead of 1 1/2 tsp. chili powder, use 1 1/4 tsp. paprika and 1/4 tsp. cayenne)
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp. garam masala (for marinade)
  • 1 tsp. salt (for marinade)
  • 2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 inch fresh ginger (for masala)
  • 5 garlic cloves (for masala)
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp. ground coriander (for masala)
  • One 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1 tsp. salt (for masala)
  • 1 tsp. garam masala (for masala)
  • 1/4 cup water (for blender)
  • Vegetable oil (optional, if cooking chicken in skillet)
  • 3/4 cup water (or more, for masala)
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream (for masala)
  • 1 Tbsp. dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi, optional; buy at Indian markets and online)
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream (for serving, optional)
  • Naan bread and/or steamed basmati rice (for serving)
  • Naan bread and/or steamed basmati rice (for serving)

3. Directions:

3.1 Prep

To make the marinade: Scrape peel from the ginger with a spoon, then finely grate ginger and mince the garlic. Squeeze the lemon for juice.

Put the ginger, garlic, lemon juice, yogurt, coriander, olive oil, Kashmiri chili powder, paprika, turmeric, garam masala, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to blend.

Trim and discard fat from the chicken and cut meat into bite-size pieces. Add chicken to marinade and stir to coat well. Cover bowl with a plate or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight. Meanwhile, continue with recipe.

To make the masala sauce: Put almonds and cashews in a small bowl and add enough water to cover. Set aside for 1 hour to soak.

Scrape peel from the ginger with a spoon, then finely grate ginger and mince the garlic.

3.2 Stove

Melt the butter in a Dutch oven or other large pot over medium-high heat.

Add ginger and garlic and stir briefly. Add the coriander and cook, stirring, for 20-25 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium and cook masala sauce uncovered, stirring often, until excess liquid has cooked off, 5-8 minutes.

Stir in the brown sugar, salt, and garam masala and cook for 1 more minute. Turn off heat and let masala cool for 5-10 minutes.

3.3 Prep

Drain the soaked nuts, and reserve the liquid. Grind nuts in a blender or food processor to make a smooth paste, adding small amounts of soaking liquid if needed. Discard remaining soaking liquid. Transfer cooled masala to blender with the fresh water and blend into a smooth paste. Scrape pureed masala into a Dutch oven and set aside (refrigerate up 1 day if making ahead).

3.4 Stove

Remove chicken from the marinade and thread onto skewers (omit skewers if cooking chicken in a skillet). Discard marinade. Preheat a grill pan or large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Grill chicken, turning once, until browned and almost cooked through, 5-8 minutes. (Or cook chicken in skillet, adding oil if needed to prevent sticking.) Transfer chicken to a plate.

Set Dutch oven with masala over medium heat. Stir in as much water as you like, depending on how runny you want the sauce to be. As the sauce begins to boil, add grilled chicken and cream and stir well. Cover pan and simmer about 5 minutes to blend flavors and cook chicken through.

3.5 Prep

Remove Dutch oven from heat. If using fenugreek, sprinkle it on top of the butter chicken, cover pot, and let chicken rest for 10 minutes.

3.6 Serve

Stir butter chicken well in the pot, then transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with cream if you like, and serve with naan and/or basmati rice.


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