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Quick & Easy Homemade Butter Chicken

Quick & Easy Homemade Butter Chicken. A simplified version of the Indian take-out classic Butter Chicken. Deeply flavourful, rich and spicy without an overwhelming amount of heat.

Quick and Easy Butter Chicken

Quick and Easy Butter Chicken

So many people search for a really great homemade butter chicken recipe and I think this is a great one. If you are looking for the definitive recipe for butter chicken, keep looking and good luck.

There are many different recipe versions out there, geared to many different tastes. 

While most start with the essential ingredients of tomato, garlic, onions and of course butter, the spices and dairy ingredients can vary considerably.

Raw chicken thigh meat. Stock Photo

I prefer goneless chicken thighs, trimmed of all of the visible fat for this recipe. You can use breast meat if you prefer.

Some recipes use milk or cream, others yogurt and still others, combinations of all three. I like to use mostly yogurt and balance it with a finish of honey and cream.

There are also many, many different spice blends under the umbrella name of “garam masala”. I use one from my local South Asian grocery which I like very much but also to which I  add more of the spices I like best.


Quick and Easy Butter Chicken Close Up image

Quick and Easy Butter Chicken is such a great comfort food meal.

Butter Chicken to suit your own taste.

My own recipe for homemade butter chicken is one that is suited to my own taste. It is really a dish that has been created from cherry-picking the best of several recipes that I have tried or read.

Some recipes for example do not include cardamom which has become an essential spice in my version.

The bottom line is that, like many dishes I cook, I use a good recipe as only a starting point from which I add to or subtract from to suit my own taste. I encourage anyone to do the same. and lots more recipes for chicken in our

Need Naan?

The best Homemade Butter Chicken recipe needs the best Homemade Naan recipe too or try Coconut Cashew Raisin Naan

NEW SUGGESTION! Try our very quick and easy Yogurt Flatbread recipe, which is also great served with any curry dish you like.

Yogurt Flatbreads photo with title text for Pinterest

Yogurt Flatbreads


One of my other Indian favourites is of curse, Tandoori Chicken CurryWhen I have time I follow the grilling and marinade instructions in that recipe. When cooked, chop the thighs into bite sized pieces and simmer for an hour in the prepared butter chicken sauce at the end. DELICIOUS!!

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

Grilled Tandoori Chicken

Butter Chicken Update! A vegetarian option!

My daughter Olivia is home from university in Toronto for the summer, so with a vegetarian now in the house, we are making more of these types of recipes but in a meatless version.

The photo above shows the exact same sauce recipe but, instead of using chicken, right at the end in the last few minutes of cooking time, I added 2 cups each of cooked chickpeas and green lentils.

Olivia and her vegetarian friends loved it! 

Indian Butter Style Chickpeas and Green Lentils

Indian Butter Style Chickpeas and Green Lentils. Butter Chicken Sauce is also amazingly delicious with chickpeas as a vegetarian version of this take out favourite dish.

I had some the next day over steamed rice for lunch and it was quite delicious. This is one we will be adding to our meatless Monday regularly, I predict.

For another utterly delicious version of chickpea curry please check out this recipe for Coconut Chickpea Korma.

Easy Coconut Chick Pea Korma photo with title text for PinterestLooking for more chicken dinner ideas. Be sure to check out this collection of our Most Popular Chicken Recipes of the last decade.

Our top Ten Chicken Recipes of the past 10 years. Image collage for Pinterest

Like this Homemade Butter Chicken recipe?

Find many more tasty dishes like this in our Indian Inspired Dishes Category  and lots more recipes for chicken in our Chicken Recipes Category.

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Quick and Easy Butter Chicken image with title text

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Quick and Easy Butter Chicken
Yield: 6 servings

Quick & Easy Homemade Butter Chicken

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

A simplified version of the Indian take-out classic Butter Chicken; rich and spicy with not an overwhelming amount of heat.


  • 8 large boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp peanut oil
  • 3 tsp + 4 tbsp garam masala
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 6 + 1 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 large white onion diced
  • 6 large ripe tomatoes, diced (about 4 cups or use 3 cups canned tomatoes)
  • 4 seeded green chilies chopped, if green chilies are not available, substitute crushed red chili paste or cayenne pepper to taste
  • ½ cup plain, unsweetened yogurt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp honey, more or less to taste
  • ½ cup cream


  1. I use boneless skinless chicken thighs in this recipe, which I cut into bite-sized pieces because it’s faster than using whole chicken pieces and because I like to simmer the chicken in the sauce for a while before serving. You can use chicken breast pieces if you like, but simmering chicken breast for any length of time will dry it out considerably, so you may just want to add it back to the sauce for only a minute or two to reheat it before serving.
  2. The chicken for this recipe can simply be sautéed as in the recipe but when I have access to the backyard grill, I like to gill it for extra smoky flavor.
  3. To a large covered Dutch oven over medium heat add the 3 tbsp butter and peanut oil. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper as well as the 3 tsp garam masala. Add to the pot and brown the pieces for 4 to 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add 6 cloves of minced garlic and the diced white onion.
  4. Sauté the onions and garlic in the butter and oil until softened. Increase the heat to medium high and add the diced tomatoes.
  5. Sauté the tomatoes until they break down and form a chunky sauce. Add the sautéed tomatoes and onions to a large blender or food processor along with the chopped green chilies, yogurt, 4 tbsp garam masala, cardamom, nutmeg, cumin, chili powder, lemon juice, ginger, 1 clove minced garlic, and ¼ cup melted butter.
  6. Puree all ingredients together and return to the pot along with the chicken stock. Simmer together until the sauce is reduced in volume by about 1/4.
  7. Add the chicken back to the pot and simmer slowly for 10 to 15 minutes. Finish the dish by adding the honey (more or less to taste) and cream.
  8. Simmer for an additional minute or two before serving over rice or with naan.


One of my other Indian favourites is of curse, Tandoori Chicken Curry! When I have time I follow the grilling and marinade instructions in that recipe. When cooked, chop the thighs into bite sized pieces and simmer for an hour in the prepared butter chicken sauce at the end. DELICIOUS!!

Grilled Tandoori Chicken


2017 UPDATE: For my vegetarian version of this recipe, just make the sauce as normal, without the chicken pieces and add 2 cups of cooked chickpeas and 2 cups of cooked lentils to the sauce in the last few minutes of simmering time.

In either the chicken or vegetarian version, adjust any of the spice amounts you like to suit your own taste. "Make it the way you like it" is my motto. Never make apologies for making what tastes good to you.

TIP: When purchasing chicken thighs, I find it best to buy them already deboned with the skin removed. In my tests, I found that over half of the overall package weight was comprised of skin and bones. This means that even at double the price, the boneless skinless thighs are probably still a better value and you save yourself all the extra work too.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 serving

Amount Per Serving Calories 562Saturated Fat 16gCholesterol 207mgSodium 469mgCarbohydrates 28gFiber 4gSugar 11gProtein 33g

The nutritional information provided is automatically calculated by third party software and is meant as a guideline only. Exact accuracy is not guaranteed. For recipes where all ingredients may not be used entirely, such as those with coatings on meats, or with sauces or dressings for example, calorie & nutritional values per serving will likely be somewhat lower than indicated.

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Tuesday 7th of April 2020

I made this recipe last night and it is delicious! I used a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh and chili garlic sauce instead of green chilies, just because that is what I had on hand. Part of me is curious to try making it with the fresh ingredients, but part of me says it is perfect as is. Whichever version I make, I will definitely make again!


Friday 31st of January 2020

Seriously good food. Warm and comforting. I couldn’t warp my head around using that much Garam Masala but after portioning, testing, adding more and so on I did use a lot! Delicious! Hope your snow is gone soon but in the meantime eat some butter chicken!


Thursday 3rd of November 2016

Phenomenal!!! Will add this to our dinner rotation. The sauce is pretty calorie rich because of the butter (I used the good stuff!!), but served over veggies or zucchini noodles balances it out. It's definitely worth the calories:)

Has anyone tried this with becel??

Barry C. Parsons

Wednesday 9th of November 2016

Oh dear lord, don't use fake butter!! Cringe! LOL! It's better to use less butter and/or cream than to ruin it with fake food.

Glad you enjoyed it. It's one of the best butter chicken dishes I've ever tasted, I love it too.


Thursday 30th of April 2015

This is delicious, I am about to make it for the second time!


Thursday 12th of March 2015

If Jen is crazy, so am I ;-) I see garam marsala twice.

Barry C. Parsons

Thursday 12th of March 2015

See my explanation to Jen above. Recipe has been updated.

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