Rich, creamy, and fragrant, this Indian Butter Chicken Recipe is just about perfect. It’s easy to prepare and just might make you think twice about running out for take-out the next time you’re in the mood for Indian food.
Indian Butter Chicken Recipe
Last week I professed my love for all things curry and this butter chicken curry is no exception. I can’t claim that this recipe is necessarily “authentic”, but it sure hits the spot when I’m craving it.
How to Make Butter Chicken
Traditionally, Indian Butter Chicken is cooked in a tandoori oven after marinating for several hours in a cream, yogurt and spice mixture and served in a mild curry sauce with a high ratio of butter.
This easy butter chicken recipe skips the marinade and cooks the chicken in the oven with a coating of garam masala. The sauce is made with butter, caramelized onion, coconut milk, tomato sauce, heavy cream and spices. I often refer to the sauce as “Indian Alfredo” because of its high butter and cream content. It’s heavenly!
What is Butter Chicken?
Butter chicken is a mild, creamy chicken curry that was actually created on accident by three Indian restauranteers at their Dehli restaurant in the 1950’s. They combined leftover chicken in a tomato gravy with a rich cream and butter sauce, and Butter Chicken was born! It’s definitely one of the more well-known and widely eaten Indian dishes in the U.S.
Can I Make Butter Chicken Without Cream?
I wish I could wave my magical calorie wand and give you instructions for making this easy butter chicken recipe without cream, but I just can’t do that in good conscience. Butter chicken without the cream or butter wouldn’t be butter chicken! The rich, velvety sauce make this dish what it is. So, my recommendation is to save up your calories, make a batch and enjoy!
Want More Easy Curry Recipes?
Tools Used In Making Butter Chicken Curry
- Ninja 3-in-1 Cooking System: I’ve owned this slow cooker for about six years (when they were first introduced), and I still love it. The stovetop feature allows me to sear and cook meats before allowing them to slow cook (fewer dishes) and there’s a bake feature as well.
Indian Butter Chicken Recipe
- 3/4 cup salted butter
- 1 onion chopped
- pinch of baking soda
- 1 tablespoon garlic minced
- 1, 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 , 14 ounce can coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper more or less if you want
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon garam masala SEE NOTE 1
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast cut into 1 1/2" pieces
- 1 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Fresh Cilantro
- Lemon Juice
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Melt butter over medium heat and add onion and pinch of baking soda. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions are golden and caramelized. Stir in garlic and cook an additional minute followed by the garam masala and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minute or until the spices are aromatic.
Stir in tomato sauce and coconut milk, salt.
Add chicken pieces to the sauce and simmer on low until chicken is cooked through and tender. About 20-40 minutes.
Stir the heavy cream into the sauce and chicken and allow to heat back up. Garnish with fresh cilantro and lemon juice, serve over steamed rice.
Slow Cooker Preparation:
Melt butter over medium heat and add onion and pinch of baking soda. Cook, stirring frequently until the onions are golden and caramelized. Stir in garlic and cook an additional minute, followed by the garam masala and cayenne pepper. Cook for 1 minute or until aromatic.
Stir in tomato sauce and coconut milk and salt. Pour sauce into slow cooker.
Cook on low for 6 hours (High for 3) or until the chicken is tender. Stir heavy cream into the slow cooker, cover and let cook an additional 15 minutes or until hot. Garnish with lemon juice and fresh cilantro. Serve over rice.
Garam Masala is a spice blend typically found in most grocery store spice aisles. If you'd like to make your own, it's pretty easy to do. This is the recipe I use. Note that not all Garam Masala spice mixes will taste the same but will give similar results in your Butter Chicken.
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight container until use.