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Easy Butter Chicken Recipe

Welcome to my blog, where I’ll be sharing an easy butter chicken recipe that you can make at home. If you love the flavors of homemade butter chicken but thought it was too complicated to recreate, think again.

butter chicken Recipe

With this recipe, you can achieve the same creamy butter chicken goodness in no time. Say goodbye to takeout and hello to a delicious and satisfying homemade meal.

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Discovering the Simplicity of Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a dish that embodies the harmonious marriage of flavors in Indian cuisine. Its rich and creamy sauce, tender chicken, and aromatic spices have made it a favorite around the world. In this section, we will explore the origins of butter chicken, the appeal of one-pan cooking, and the key ingredients that contribute to its authentic flavors.

A Brief History of Butter Chicken

“Legend has it that butter chicken was born out of a serendipitous mistake in a restaurant in Delhi in the 1950s. It is said that a chef, in an attempt to salvage overcooked tandoori chicken, simmered it in a tomato-based gravy with butter and cream. The result was a velvety and flavorful dish that quickly gained popularity.”

Over time, butter chicken evolved to suit different regional tastes. It became synonymous with Punjabi cuisine, known for its rich and indulgent flavors. Today, it is a beloved staple in Indian restaurants worldwide, showcasing the diversity and depth of Indian culinary traditions.

The Appeal of One-Pan Cooking

One of the reasons why butter chicken has become a go-to recipe for home cooks is its simplicity. With the use of just one pan, you can create a delicious and satisfying meal without the need for multiple pots and pans.

By cooking the chicken in the same pan as the sauce, the flavors meld together, resulting in a harmonious combination. This not only saves time but also reduces the amount of cleaning up required afterward. Whether you’re a busy parent or a cooking novice, one-pan cooking is a convenient and hassle-free way to enjoy authentic butter chicken flavors.

Choosing the Right Ingredients for Authentic Flavor

To achieve the authentic flavors of butter chicken, it’s important to pay attention to the ingredients you use. Here are some key components that contribute to the dish’s distinctive taste:

  • Fresh Ginger and Garlic: These aromatic ingredients add depth and warmth to the sauce, infusing it with robust flavors.
  • Quality Spices: The blend of spices, such as garam masala, turmeric, and chili powder, creates a well-rounded and balanced flavor profile.
  • Tomato Paste or Sauce: The tangy sweetness of tomato paste or sauce forms the base of the butter chicken gravy, providing a luscious texture and vibrant color.

By prioritizing fresh and high-quality ingredients, you can elevate the taste of your homemade butter chicken and enjoy an authentic dining experience right in your own kitchen.

Step-By-Step Guide to the Easy Butter Chicken Recipe

Making a delicious butter chicken at home is easier than you might think. Follow this step-by-step guide to create a flavorful dish that will impress your family and friends.

  1. Start by gathering all the necessary ingredients:
    • 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 1 cup of plain yogurt
    • 3 tablespoons of butter
    • 1 large onion, finely chopped
    • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
    • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
    • 1 tablespoon of garam masala
    • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon of ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon of paprika
    • 1 cup of heavy cream
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Fresh cilantro for garnish
  2. In a large bowl, combine the chicken thighs and yogurt. Make sure the chicken is fully coated in the yogurt. Cover the bowl and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, or overnight for the best flavor.
  3. Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the minced garlic and grated ginger to the skillet. Cook for another 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste, garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, and paprika. Cook for 1 minute, until the spices are well combined and aromatic.
  6. Add the marinated chicken thighs to the skillet, along with any remaining marinade. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and no longer pink in the center.
  7. Pour in the heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  8. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the butter chicken for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This will allow the flavors to meld together and the sauce to thicken slightly.
  9. Remove the skillet from the heat and garnish the butter chicken with fresh cilantro. Serve hot with basmati rice or naan bread.

Customizing Your Butter Chicken for Dietary Preferences

One of the great advantages of cooking at home is the ability to customize recipes according to your dietary preferences. With butter chicken, you can make healthier choices and adjust the spice levels to your liking. Whether you’re looking for a low-fat version or need to accommodate specific dietary restrictions, there are plenty of options to explore.

Substituting Cream for a Healthier Version

To make a healthier butter chicken, you can easily substitute the cream with alternative ingredients. Instead of using heavy cream, consider using half & half or Greek yogurt. These options provide a lighter and lower-fat alternative without compromising the creamy texture and taste of the dish. Give it a try and see how these substitutions can make your butter chicken a healthier choice.

Adjusting the Spice Levels to Your Taste

Not everyone has the same tolerance for spice, and that’s perfectly fine. With butter chicken, you have the flexibility to adjust the spice levels according to your taste. If you prefer a milder flavor, you can reduce the amount of chili powder or omit it entirely. On the other hand, if you love a spicy kick, feel free to increase the amount of chili powder or add some crushed red pepper flakes. Customizing the spice levels ensures that your butter chicken is perfectly suited to your palate.

Alternative Cooking Methods for Dietary Restrictions

For those with specific dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or dairy-free diets, there are alternative cooking methods you can explore. Using a slow cooker or an Instant Pot can be a great option to adapt the butter chicken recipe to your needs. These appliances allow you to cook the dish without using any ingredients that may not align with your dietary requirements. Plus, using these methods can result in tender and flavorful butter chicken that suits your dietary restrictions and preferences.

Substitutions for Cream:Spice Level Adjustments:Alternative Cooking Methods:
Half & halfReduce chili powderSlow cooker
Greek yogurtOmit chili powderInstant Pot

Pairing and Serving Suggestions for Butter Chicken

When it comes to serving butter chicken, there are a few tried-and-true pairings that will take your meal to the next level. The rich and flavorful sauce of butter chicken pairs perfectly with fluffy basmati rice, allowing you to soak up every last drop of goodness. If you’re looking for a delicious alternative, consider serving the dish with warm, buttered naan bread. The soft and pillowy texture of naan provides the ideal vessel for scooping up the creamy sauce.

To complement the bold flavors of butter chicken, consider adding a refreshing cucumber yogurt salad to your meal. The cool and tangy flavors of the salad will provide a delightful contrast to the warm and spiced chicken. Another option is to serve sautéed vegetables alongside the dish. Lightly cooked bell peppers, onions, and zucchini make for a colorful and nutritious addition that will add a pop of freshness to your plate.

Remember, presentation is key when serving butter chicken. To enhance the visual appeal of your dish, consider garnishing it with a sprinkle of freshly chopped cilantro or a drizzle of creamy yogurt. These simple additions will not only make your meal look more enticing but will also add an extra layer of flavor.


Can I make this easy butter chicken recipe ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the butter chicken ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Just reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving.

Can I freeze the homemade butter chicken?

Absolutely! Butter chicken freezes well. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Is it necessary to marinate the chicken for this recipe?

Marinating the chicken is highly recommended as it helps to infuse the meat with flavor and keep it tender. However, if you’re short on time, you can skip the marinating step and proceed with the recipe.

Can I use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast?

Yes, you can use boneless chicken thighs instead of chicken breast for this recipe. Thigh meat tends to be more flavorful and moist, which can enhance the overall taste of the dish.

Can I make this butter chicken recipe vegetarian?

Absolutely! You can substitute the chicken with paneer (Indian cottage cheese) or tofu to make a vegetarian version of butter chicken. Follow the same recipe, but adjust the cooking time accordingly, as paneer or tofu may not need as much time to cook as chicken.

Can I make this butter chicken recipe dairy-free?

Yes, you can make this butter chicken recipe dairy-free by substituting the cream with a dairy-free alternative, such as coconut milk or cashew cream. The result will still be creamy and delicious, with a slightly different flavor profile.

Can I make this butter chicken recipe gluten-free?

Yes, this butter chicken recipe is naturally gluten-free. Just make sure to check the labels of your spices and other ingredients to ensure they are gluten-free as well.

What can I serve with butter chicken?

Butter chicken pairs well with basmati rice, naan bread, or roti. You can also serve it with a side of cucumber yogurt salad or sautéed vegetables for a complete meal.

How can I make the butter chicken spicier?

If you prefer a spicier butter chicken, you can increase the amount of chili powder or add a pinch of cayenne pepper to the sauce. Taste and adjust the spice level according to your preference.

Can I make this butter chicken recipe in a slow cooker or Instant Pot?

Yes, you can adapt this recipe for a slow cooker or Instant Pot. For the slow cooker, simply combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. For the Instant Pot, follow the same steps but use the pressure cooking function, setting the timer for 10 minutes.

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jenny happy muncher
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Jenny has always been passionate about cooking, and she uses her platform to share her joy of food with others. Her recipes are easy to follow, and she loves giving tips and tricks to help others create their own unique culinary creations.