This quick version of Butter Chicken is a game-changer! No marinating required, it still yields restaurant-quality, full-flavored, tender buttery chicken.

A bowl of rice topped with Butter Chicken garnished with parsley and ground cashews

There’s a good reason why Butter Chicken is one of the most quintessential and beloved Indian recipes of all time. Having eaten it at restaurants many times, I thought that because the flavors were so complex it would be difficult to recreate. Boy, was I wrong!

Just the name ‘Butter Chicken’ conjures up a vision of tender, succulent chicken in a spicy, creamy, buttery sauce with a bit of a tang from the yogurt. And yes…it’s just as luxurious and rich as it sounds! And while the word ‘butter’ is in the recipe name, heavy cream is really the jewel in the creaminess crown.

And don’t let the long list of spices and ingredients intimidate you – the Butter Chicken recipe Sanjeev Kapoor makes has many, many more! Next time you’re craving some Indian cuisine but don’t feel like going out, try this Butter Chicken recipe at home in under 30 minutes.


  • The Sauce is velvety, rich and ah-mazing!
  • Prep time is only 30 minutes.
  • The aromatic spices are spot on authentic Indian.

What Is Butter Chicken?

Indian Butter Chicken consists of chicken in a comforting sauce. It contains a medley of spices that are balanced and not overpowering. Some prepare it with chicken breasts, but most prefer the fatty goodness of dark meat chicken thighs.

Our Butter Chicken sauce has a tomato base and contains the flavors of many Indian recipes – onions, ginger, and garlic – made creamy by the addition of butter, heavy cream and yogurt. It’s a very forgiving recipe, so feel free to make adjustments to suit your taste.

With its signature orange color, versions of this dish are popular all over the world.




A piece of Butter Chicken on a fork

How To Make Butter Chicken?

While it seems like there are a lot of ingredients in this authentic Indian Butter Chicken recipe – don’t be intimidated – there aren’t many steps involved.

First, you’ll make the sauce by sautéing some onions and shallots. When tender, you’ll add the rest of the sauce ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.

While the sauce is happily simmering away, cook the chicken in oil for 10 minutes, season, and marry with the sauce. Simmer until reduced and the chicken is thoroughly cooked.


A bowl of rice topped with Butter Chicken garnished with parsley and ground cashews
4.47 from 13 votes

Butter Chicken Recipe

This quick version of Butter Chicken is a game-changer! No marinating required, it still yields restaurant-quality, full-flavored, tender buttery chicken.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 959 kcal
Author Kathleen



  • 1 Tablespoon Peanut Oil
  • 1 Shallot Finely Chopped
  • 1 Cup White Onion Finely Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoon Butter
  • 2 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 2 Teaspoon Garam Marsala
  • 1 Teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Coriander
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Cup Tomato Puree
  • 1 1/4 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Plain Yogurt
  • 2 Tablespoon Finely Ground Cashew
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Pinch Black Pepper


  • 2 Pounds 2 Chicken Thighs Boneless, Skinless, Cut Into Bite Size Pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon Peanut Oil


For Sauce:

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, heat peanut oil over medium-high heat just until the oil is shimmering. Saute onions and shallots until soft and translucent. 

  2. Add, butter, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon garam masala, ginger garlic paste, chili powder, cumin, coriander, and bay leaf to the skillet and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. 

  3. Pour tomato sauce in the skillet. Continue to cook, stirring often, for 2 minutes. Then, pour heavy cream, yogurt, and ground cashews. Reduce heat to low, stir frequently and cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and set aside. 

For Chicken:

  1. Season chicken pieces generously with salt and pepper.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, in batches so as to not crowd the pan, and brown over medium heat on both sides, about 10 minutes. Mix in the sauce and simmer until the sauce is reduced, making sure that the chicken is completely cooked.

  3. Pour the sauce over the browned chicken and simmer gently  (adding more heavy cream or water as needed if sauce gets too thick.) until the sauce is thick and the chicken is completely cooked about 10 minutes

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Nutritional Information

Nutrition information will vary based on the specific products. To be safe, check the nutrition facts labels of your products. Optional object listed above have been left out of nutritional data.

Nutrition Facts
Butter Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 /4 of the recipe)
Calories 959 Calories from Fat 729
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 81g 125%
Saturated Fat 33g 165%
Cholesterol 341mg 114%
Sodium 583mg 24%
Potassium 963mg 28%
Total Carbohydrates 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 7g
Protein 42g 84%
Vitamin A 38.85%
Vitamin C 17%
Calcium 11%
Iron 20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

A bowl of rice topped with Butter Chicken garnished with parsley and ground cashews

Recipe Notes For Butter Chicken:

Spices: If you’re not familiar with the spices in this recipe, don’t worry, they’re generally easy to find in most grocery stores. Keeping recipes convenient so that people actually make them is very important to me.

Garam Marsala: This is a primary spice blend in Indian cooking that often includes cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, peppercorns, coriander, cinnamon, and cumin. It offers a deep warm flavor but not a peppery bite. Be sure to get the best garam masala you can – it does make a difference in this recipe.

Ginger Garlic Paste: If you don’t have this on hand, you can make ginger garlic paste at home.

Ground cashews: If you have an allergy to nuts, omit this ingredient of course.

Dairy: Regardless of which cooking method you use, always add the dairy last. Heavy cream tends to split when it’s boiled, and you don’t want that!

Ground Cashews on a measuring cup

Is Butter Chicken Authentic Indian?

Yes! Butter chicken was developed in India in the 1950s as a way to extend the life of Tandoori Chicken. The incredible blend of spices will transport you straight to a kasbah in India.

What Do You Serve With Butter Chicken?

We like to serve this dish with basmati rice, naan bread or both, to make a really authentic Indian meal!  If you’re trying to cut carbs, cauliflower rice also makes an excellent accompaniment.

How Do You Make Crockpot Butter Chicken?

With its blend of warm Indian spices, Butter Chicken in the Crockpot is a delight and a great addition to your busy weekday recipe roundup. With Butter Chicken recipe slow cooker style, the sauce actually marinates the chicken as it cooks, which makes it super-moist.

Following are the steps for making my Butter Chicken recipe in the Crockpot.

  •   Put all ingredients – except yogurt and heavy cream – in the Crockpot and stir to combine.
  •      Cover and cook on a high heat setting for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours.
  •      During the last 30 minutes of cooking, stir in the dairy products and finish the cooking time.

How Do You Make Instant Pot Butter Chicken?

This Butter Chicken Instant Pot recipe is short on cooking time, but long on flavor.

It’s really all about satisfying your craving quickly in a way that will satisfy you for a long time.

  •      Set the Instant Pot setting to sauté.
  •      Add oil and aromatics and sauté until tender-crisp.
  •      Mix the spices together in a bowl.
  •      Add butter and when bubbly, add tomato puree.
  •      Add spices and chicken chunks and stir.
  •      Close the lid and switch to Manual mode and set the timer for 15 minutes.
  •      When finished, switch to Natural Release mode for 10 minutes and enjoy butter chicken instant pot!

What Is The Difference Between Butter Chicken And Chicken Tikka Masala?

Butter chicken curry is popular all over the world, although there are deviations in flavors and preparation that depend on the specific region where it is being made. There are even versions of peanut butter chicken out there!

It is believed to have been served for the first time in Moti Mahal, which was one of the most popular restaurants in Delhi. It became known as an excellent way to use chicken leftovers by kicking it up with a bold flavor.

On the other hand, while chicken tikka masala is also considered to be a curry dish, it does differ in some ways. The chicken is grilled and smothered in creamy tomato-based sauce, making it taste like an Indian form of pizza.

Although inspired by the flavors of Indian cuisine, chicken tikka masala is not really from India. Some accounts say that it was first introduced in the 1970s in Glasgow and some formally recognize it as being of British origin.

More Indian Flavored Food:

More Chicken Recipes…


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Originally Published on Centless Meals