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!

Butter Chicken being servied with rice and naan in the background

Butter Chicken

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.

Like curry-style chicken or curried chickpeas, it’s both rich and light and best served with rice and topped with cilantro.

Marinating the chicken in yogurt makes it incredibly tender, this can be done the night before if time allows.

Raw ingredients for butter chicken in a glass bowl

How To Make Butter Chicken

It’s super easy to make this rich and tasty dish!

  1. Marinate chicken at least 30 minutes, but preferably overnight.
  2. Saute onions in butter and spices until soft and fragrant (per recipe below).
  3. Add all other ingredients to the onions and cook until sauce thickens.
  4. Add cream and continue cooking.

Serve over rice topped with cilantro. Yummy!

Ingredients for butter chicken in a pot

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!

serving of Butter Chicken closeup

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

serving of Butter Chicken closeup
4.97 from 213 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Butter Chicken

This homemade Butter Chicken is savory and full of flavorful spices like garam masala, turmeric & coriander.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Marinate Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8 servings


  • 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.
4.97 from 213 votes

Nutrition Information

Calories: 444 | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 15g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 465mg | Potassium: 499mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 841IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 104mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Chicken, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Butter Chicken before and after with writing
Butter Chicken with a spoon and writing
serving of Butter Chicken with title
Butter Chicken with title being served


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Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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Recipe Rating


  1. I am going to make this tomorrow. Do you throw the yogurt marinade away or incorporate it into the sauce? Thanks,

  2. My husband’s exact words: “oh my god!” With eyes rolling back. I made this with some homemade sourdough discard naan. Absolutely delicious!5 stars

  3. I loved this recipe with its warm spices. It was an easy recipe to follow and my husband is still raving about it and devouring the leftovers. I served it with garlic and herb naan. Looking forward to making this during the fall and winter months when it’s chilly and we want delicious warm comfort food. Thank you for the recipe.5 stars

  4. it was ok. I had to tweak the recipe just so it could have more taste. added more Cinemon and sugar and a little Nutmeg. I also added cut mushrooms 3 stars

  5. First things first, they have not included the ginger or garlic in the recipe directions. There was nothing special about the final product, the flavors were serviceable but far from mind blowing. I’m assuming you add the garlic and ginger after the onions cook for a few minutes.3 stars

    1. Hi Garrett, thanks for trying this recipe! We add the ginger and garlic in step 3 when it read “add spices” but you could also add afterthe onions and cook for a few minutes.

  6. You don’t mention cutting the chicken into bite-sized pieces, but it looks as if you did. Should I have cut it up before marinating?

    1. Hi Linda, we do not cut the chicken up before marinating or cooking. If you’d like to, we would recommend doing it once cooked.

    1. Yes you can. Chicken breasts can dry out easier so you’ll want to be sure they don’t overcook.

  7. Well, I’ve made this 3 times in 3 weeks….that says it all. Absolutely delicious!!! Compliments every time. I make a double batch so there’s plenty of leftovers. One tip *follow directs exactly but allow to simmer on lowest setting for about 2 hours for the best most flavorful gravy/sauce. Well worth the patience. 5 stars