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A bowl of Indian Butter Chicken overtop of white rice and garnished with cilantro.

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.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marinate Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 413kcal


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


  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 inch ginger root grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper add more if you want more heat (see notes)
  • 1 15 oz can tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 3 1/2 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


  • 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 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 (the mixture should be boiling about mid-way through). 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. 


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!
Tomato Base: You can use canned tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, both work great! If you have canned diced tomatoes you can also partially drain them, then puree the diced tomatoes in a blender. I haven't made this recipe using fresh tomatoes, but you definitely can! 
You can marinate 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.
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. We also love to serve it with buttered vegetables, frozen roasted cauliflower, or a spring mix salad. 


Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 159mg | Sodium: 1317mg | Potassium: 506mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1068IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 1mg