Indian food is a major weakness of mine. The flavors of Indian food are OUT OF THIS WORLD! While yes, some foods can be quite spicy, this Indian Butter Chicken recipe strikes the perfect balance between flavor and spice. LOTS of flavor with a small hint of heat.

Indian Butter Chicken atop of bed of rice.

Back in my hometown, there’s an authentic Indian restaurant called Tandoori. When I’d visit home it was one of my favorite places to go and eat. Their Indian food is incredible! My favorite entree on their menu is the butter chicken. Gah! It’s so so good. One bite of it and you’ll want to swim in the sauce. I mean, their recipe is 100% perfection.

I’m pleased to report that this Indian butter chicken recipe is a copycat recipe of my favorite Indian restaurants signature dish!

Let me show you how to make it.

A bowl of Indian butter chicken with a side of naan.

How to make Indian Butter Chicken

  1. Make the chicken marinade.
  2. Par bake the chicken. You’ll par bake the chicken in a butter sauce along with some thinly sliced red onions.
  3. Bake the butter chicken.
  4. Serve!

A bowl full of the sauce to make Indian Butter Chicken.

Step 1: Make the chicken marinade

In a medium sized bowl combine the following ingredients:

  • Garlic cloves
  • Freshly grated ginger
  • cayenne pepper – I add 1/4 tsp and it gives the recipe a small “kick.” If we didn’t have young kids we were feeding I’d probably bump it to 1/2 tsp for more heat. You can do as you wish!
  • Canned petite diced tomatoes – Note: make sure you drain some of the tomato juice from the can. It’s ok if some of the juice seeps through, but you won’t need all of the tomato juice. I haven’t made this recipe using fresh tomatoes, but you definitely can!
  • Plain Greek yogurt
  • Garam Masala
  • Salt
  • Cardamom
  • Cumin

Stir in the cut up chicken. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Pro tip: you can marinade the chicken for much longer! I like to make this in the morning so that the chicken can marinate throughout the day. So my chicken sits in the marinade for about 6 hours or so.

A bowl with cubed chicken breast sitting in the Indian butter chicken marinade.

Step 2: Par bake the chicken

In a large skillet, melt some butter. We use a decent amount of butter for this recipe 6 tablespoons.

Add the thinly sliced red onions to the butter and cook over medium to medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent.

Add the chicken and the marinade to the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the heavy cream and chopped cilantro.

A skillet with butter and sliced red onions.

Step 3: Bake the butter chicken

Transfer the par baked chicken to an 8″x8″ inch baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Serve!

A square baking dish full of Indian Butter Chicken, garnished with fresh cilantro.

What to serve with Indian Butter Chicken

Serve Indian butter chicken atop a bed of rice. It can be white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice… whatever you have on hand.

My easy naan recipe comes in handy here, as naan is the perfect accompaniment to this saucy Indian dish.

A bowl of Indian butter chicken over a bed of rice with a side of homemade naan.

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Indian Butter Chicken atop of bed of rice.
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5 from 1 vote

Indian Butter Chicken

Packed with lots of FLAVOR! This Butter chicken recipe is our favorite Indian dish! It's easy to make and loved by everyone.
prep time 20 mins
cook time 25 mins
Marinate Time 2 hrs
total time 2 hrs 45 mins
servings: 4 servings
calories: 413kcal

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into 1" inch chunks

Marinade

  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 inch ginger root grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper add more if you want more heat
  • 1 14.5 oz can petite diced tomatoes juice drained (see notes)
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 3 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 red onion thinly sliced, in half moons
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro chopped
  • cooked rice for serving

INSTRUCTIONS

  • In a medium sized bowl combine the garlic loves, ginger, cayenne, diced tomatoes, yogurt, garam masala, salt, cardamom, and cumin. Stir to combine. Stir in the cut up chicken. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for 2 hours. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F.  In a large skillet melt the butter. Add the sliced onions and cook over medium to medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent. Add the chicken and the marinade to the skillet and cook for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in the heavy cream and chopped cilantro.
  • Transfer the par baked chicken to an 8x8 inch baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes, uncover and bake for an additional 5 minutes. 
  • Serve hot over a bed of rice and a side of naan bread. 

RECIPE NOTES

Notes:
  • After making this recipe tons of times since posting this, my family prefers the tomatoes pureed! So I'll just place the tomatoes in a blender and mix until smooth, then add to the sauce. 
  • You don't have to FULLY drain the juice from the tomatoes. If some falls into the marinade that's totally fine. We just don't want ALL of the juice from the can going in. 🙂 
  • Serve with a side of naan bread... it's so so good!
Nutrition Facts
Indian Butter Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 413 Calories from Fat 288
% Daily Value*
Fat 32g49%
Saturated Fat 18g90%
Cholesterol 159mg53%
Sodium 1317mg55%
Potassium 506mg14%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 27g54%
Vitamin A 1068IU21%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 62mg6%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
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