Indian Spiced Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken 1

For somebody who loves Indian cuisine as much as I do, I’m not quite sure how I’d gone so long without trying butter chicken, one of the most popular Indian recipes outside of India.

But now that I’ve tasted it, I can definitely understand it’s popularity.   After all, who can resist  chicken when it’s swimming in a luscious sauce made from butter, yogurt, heavy cream and Indian spices?

Butter Chicken 2

Butter Chicken 5

The hardest part about this recipe is rounding up and measuring out all of the different spices.  Otherwise, you’re just a quick saute and simmer away from a pretty great meal.

It probably goes without saying that you’re going to want something to sop up all that sauce goodness: rice or some naan would be perfect.

Butter Chicken 4


Indian Spiced Butter Chicken

Yield: 4-6 servings


* 1/3 cup whole fat plain regular or Greek yogurt
* 1/4 cup ground almonds
* 3/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
* 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
* 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
* 1/8 teaspoon ground bay leaves
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
* 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 2 cardamom pods, smashed
* 1 cup diced tomatoes in their juice
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 pound chicken breast or thighs, cut into large chunks
* 3 Tablespoons butter
* 1 Tablespoon oil
* 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 teaspoon minced or grated fresh ginger
* 2 Tablespoons heavy cream
* 1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves


In a large bowl combine the yogurt, ground almonds, cayenne, coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, tomatoes, and salt and stir to mix. Add the chicken to the yogurt mixture, stir to coat, and set aside.

Heat the butter and oil in a very large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture begins to turn golden. Add the chicken and all of the yogurt marinade and simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until the chicken has cooked through.

Add the heavy cream and half of the cilantro and stir well. Cook for another minute or two. Sprinkle with the remaining cilantro and serve.

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7 Responses to “Indian Spiced Butter Chicken”

  1. #
    Bridget — July 1, 2013 at 6:03 am

    I made this recipe this past weekend for guests and it was amazing! So simple yet so unique and delicious. I am definitely adding this recipe to my favorite list!


    • Cate — July 1st, 2013 @ 7:22 am

      So glad you liked it Bridget! Thanks so much for commenting to let me know :)


  2. #
    Michelle — July 8, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    I love your blog!
    I’m so excited to make this recipe tonight for friends :) how many people does it serve?


    • Cate — July 10th, 2013 @ 8:28 pm

      Hi Michelle- thanks so much for the catch. I’d say it would serve between 4-6 depending on how many sides you serve with it.


  3. #
    Hermione — October 30, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Tried this today with great success, thank you! Far less intimidating than I thought making a curry would be.


  4. #
    Rebecca — April 18, 2015 at 6:51 am

    How important is the heavy cream? Would something lighter work? I don’t usually have heavy cream in the house and I’m reluctant to buy it just for 2 tbsp for one recipe.


  5. #
    Cloe — August 19, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Cate, this looks much simpler than any other butter chicken recipes I’ve found. I’m definitely making it! I have IBS though and am following a low fodmap diet, meaning I’ll be using lactose free dairy. I also can’t digest onions. Are there any substitutions or changes you’d suggest if I omit the onion? Would green onion work? Thanks! Cloe


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