Skip the takeout and make this easy Butter Chicken recipe at home! This recipe is perfect for beginners and includes step-by-step photos!
What is Butter Chicken?
Butter Chicken is a classic Indian dish comprised of tender chicken in a creamy sauce packed with spices! There are many different variations of this dish. Some are very complex and require hours of simmering to reach a flavorful peak, others are more straightforward. No matter how complex the recipe there are a few signature ingredients you will find in every Butter Chicken recipe, chicken, tomatoes, spices, yogurt, and of course, butter.
Ingredients for Butter Chicken
As always, this is a quick overview of the ingredients needed for this recipe. For the complete, printable recipe scroll down. To make this one pan butter chicken recipe you will need:
- Chicken: boneless skinless breasts or thighs work in this recipe.
- Produce: onion, garlic cloves, fresh ginger, and one lime.
- Spices: turmeric, garam masala, smoked paprika, and salt
- Tomato Sauce: low sodium if you can find it, regular will work if you can’t.
- Heavy cream: paired with the Greek yogurt this is what makes this dish so decadent and creamy.
- Plain Greek Yogurt: a key ingredient for delicious Butter Chicken
How to Make Butter Chicken
This recipe may seem intimidating, but it is all made in one pan and requires a few basic steps. I’ve documented the entire process below so you can see everything broken down into an easy-to-follow format.
Sauté the Onions
This recipe goes quite quickly once you get started. It is best to measure everything out before you get started so you can easily move from one step to the next. First, heat butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until translucent. This step should take about 3-4 minutes.
Add Ginger, Garlic, and Spices
Add the minced ginger and garlic, and saute for 30 seconds more until fragrant, be careful not to burn the garlic. Next, add the spices and cook for about 30 more seconds until fragrant.
Lime Juice, Chicken, and Tomato Sauce
Add the lime juice, chicken, and tomato sauce. Stir the mixture and cover. Allow the chicken to cook for 6-7 minutes until the is has cooked through. Remember, the cooking time will vary based on how big or small you slice your chicken, so use a meat thermometer to be sure. Chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F.
Add Heavy Cream and Yogurt
Whisk in the heavy cream and yogurt until completely combined. Allow the mixture to simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until everything is well combined and the sauce is hot.
Garnish this dish with cilantro or parsley. This easy butter chicken is perfect when served with warmed nann bread. It is also common to serve this dish alongside fluffy basmati rice. A low carb option would be fluffy Cauliflower Rice or a simple salad.
How to Store Chicken
- Store: Leftover butter chicken can be stored in an airtight container for up to 3 days. I do not recommend storing this recipe any longer due to the acidity in the dish.
- Reheat: Reheat any leftovers in 30-second increments until warmed. For a stove-top option add the leftovers to a pan and heat covered over medium-low heat until warmed through.
- Freeze: First allow the dish to cool completely and add the chicken to a large freezer bag. This recipe will keep for 3 months in the freezer.
Butter Chicken FAQ
Chicken breasts or thighs work well in this recipe.
No, typically Butter Chicken is marinated and grilled. This is a shortcut recipe perfect for weeknights. Even though I’ve simplified the steps I promise this makes a delicious, savory Butter Chicken you will love!
Yes, this recipe is naturally gluten and grain free.
Other Chicken Recipes
- Chicken with Bacon Cream Sauce: a one-pan dish with pan-seared chicken in a creamy bacon sauce.
- BBQ Chicken Skillet: an easy dinner loaded with chicken and vegetables!
- Buffalo Chicken Tenders: crispy chicken tenders dunked in tangy buffalo sauce!
- Chicken Fajitas: zesty fajitas that can be made on a grill or in a grill pan!
- Parmesan Chicken Sheet Pan Dinner: juicy, crispy chicken tenders are cooked with potatoes and onions for a complete meal!
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ medium onion diced
- 1 tbsp fresh minced ginger
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ lbs chicken breasts or thighs cubed
- 8 oz low sodium tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup plain greek yogurt
- Heat butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the onion and saute until translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the minced ginger and garlic, and saute for 30 seconds more until fragrant.
- Add the spices and cook for about 30 more seconds until fragrant.
- Add the lime juice, chicken, and tomato sauce, cover, and cook for 6-7 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- Whisk in the heavy cream and yogurt, and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until everything is well combined and the sauce is hot. Garnish with cilantro or parsley, and serve over rice or with naan!
- Feel free to use regular tomato sauce for this recipe, but I would recommend not adding the ¼ tsp salt as regular tomato sauce is very salty. Salt to taste when in doubt!
- Chicken thighs or breasts both work great for this recipe, just make sure they are raw and boneless/skinless for best results.