Butter Chicken on rice in a rustic black bowl, ready to be eaten
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4.98 from 258 votes

Butter Chicken

RECIPE VIDEO above. This is a Chef recipe and is one of the easiest Indian curries to make. The Butter Chicken Sauce is so good that you will want it on tap! Many restaurants take it over the top by adding copious amounts of ghee or butter into the sauce, but you'll find this rich enough as it is with the rich, creamy sauce!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Chicken, Curry
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Butter Chicken
Servings: 3 - 4
Calories: 402kcal
Author: Nagi | RecipeTin Eats



  • 1/2 cup plain yoghurt , full fat
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp tumeric powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala (Note 1)
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder or cayenne pepper powder (Note 2)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ginger, freshly grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1.5 lb / 750 g chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces


  • 2 tbsp (30 g) ghee or butter, OR 1 tbsp vegetable oil (Note 3)
  • 1 cup tomato passata (aka tomato puree) (Note 4)
  • 1 cup heavy / thickened cream (Note 5)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt

To serve - choose


  • Optional blitz: for an extra smooth sauce, combine the Marinade ingredients (except the chicken) in a food processor and blend until smooth. (I do not do this)
  • Marinade: Combine the Marinade ingredients with the chicken in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or up to 24 hours (minimum 3 hrs).
  • Cook chicken: Heat the ghee (butter or oil) over high heat in a large fry pan. Take the chicken out of the Marinade but do not wipe or shake off the marinade from the chicken (but don't pour the Marinade left in the bowl into the fry pan). 
  • Place chicken in the fry pan and cook for around 3 minutes, or until the chicken is white all over (it doesn't really brown because of the Marinade).
  • Sauce: Add the tomato passata, cream, sugar and salt. Turn down to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Do a taste test to see if it needs more salt.
  • Garnish with coriander/cilantro leaves if using. Serve with basmati rice.
  • The Butter Chicken is pictured with my very easy No Yeast Flatbread and no-fry papadums (Note 5).


1. Garam Masala is a spice mix that is readily available at supermarkets nowadays. You will find it in the spice section and it costs around the same as other spices.
2. Pure chilli powder - This is not chili powder as Americans know it! American Chili Powder contains things other than ground dried chili. Use pure chili powder or cayenne pepper to add a spice kick. The spiciness is very mild.
3. Ghee is a clarified butter used in Indian cooking (see this Movie Popcorn Butter recipe for more info). For this recipe, it can be substituted with butter or almost any neutral flavoured cooking oil.
4. Tomato passata is pureed tinned tomatoes. Nowadays it is readily available in supermarkets, usually alongside pasta sauces. It costs just a tiny bit more, sometimes the same, as canned tomatoes. Called Tomato Puree in America.
If you can't find it, puree canned tomatoes using a blender. This will also work with what is called "Tomato Sauce" in America (Australia! Don't use what we call Tomato Sauce!)
5. For a lighter version, use OR for a lighter version use 3/4 cup light cream + 1/4 cup milk (full fat or low fat)
6. No Fry Quick Papadums - Place store bought raw papadums (which are really cheap - around $1 for a packet) in the microwave on the edge of the turntable. Then microwave for 45 seconds to 1 minute, or until puffed up. They will crisp up when they cool.
7. Adapted from a recipe by Luke Mangan, an Australian chef and restauranteur. The only adjustments I made was to add salt (I am sure it was inadvertently omitted from his recipe) and providing the lighter option for the cream.


Serving: 310g | Calories: 402kcal | Carbohydrates: 9.8g | Protein: 39.8g | Fat: 23.4g | Saturated Fat: 9.3g | Cholesterol: 193mg | Sodium: 928mg | Fiber: 0.9g | Sugar: 6.5g