Butter Chicken is an easy recipe that’s full of savory flavor with warm spices. This mild curry has tender chunks of chicken simmered in a creamy spiced curry sauce. It’s quick to make with chicken, tomato sauce, cream, and handful of pantry spices.
Serve over rice with a side of naan bread for sopping up the delicious sauce!
In Indian cuisine makhani is a butter chicken sauce. It’s basically a gravy the chicken is cooked in with plenty of warm spices, a hint of tomato and some cream.
Marinating the chicken in yogurt makes it incredibly tender, this can be done the night before if time allows.
Butter Chicken vs Tikka Masala
Butter chicken and tikka masala are similar, but tikka masala has different spices. This butter chicken is easier to prepare and has a mild, buttery flavor with a sweeter sauce.
How To Make Butter Chicken
It’s super easy to make this rich and tasty dish!
- Marinate chicken at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight.
- Saute onions in butter and spices until soft and fragrant (per recipe below).
- Add all other ingredients to the onions and cook until sauce thickens.
- Add cream and continue cooking.
Serve over rice topped with cilantro. Yummy!
What to Serve with It
Butter chicken goes with everything because it has such a savory and mild flavor! Here are some favorite sides, salads, and bread to inspire you!
- This garlic butter kale rice is a perfect side dish for butter chicken!
- How about a Caprese salad to perfectly complement butter chicken?
- Try this delicious homemade garlic bread or cheesy garlic breadsticks.
Can You Freeze Butter Chicken?
Butter chicken can be frozen. Make sure it is chilled before freezing. Just place it in a zippered bag or and airtight container and label with the date on it. Butter chicken should keep about two months.
Favorite Chicken Recipes
- Chicken Curry – rich & aromatic
- Chicken Cacciatore – serve over pasta!
- Oven Baked Chicken Breasts
- Easy Chicken Marsala – 30 min meal!
- Creamy Chicken and Mushrooms
- Slow Cooker Butter Chicken
Did you love this Classic Butter Chicken? Be sure to leave a rating and a comment below!
Classic Butter Chicken
- 2 pounds chicken thighs
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion diced
- 1 tablespoon ginger grated
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon tumeric
- 1 cinnamon stick
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 14 ounces crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- Marinate chicken in the marinade, 30 min or overnight.
- Remove chicken from marinade allowing excess to drip off. Brown chicken in 1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil until browned on both sides, about 6 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
- Melt butter over medium heat, cook onions until tender. Add spices and cook 1 minute or until fragrant.
- Add chicken broth, browned chicken, crushed tomatoes and sugar. Simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add cream and cook an additional 5-10 minutes. Discard cinnamon stick.
- Top with cilantro and serve over rice.
(Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.)