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Butter Chicken Recipe

4.93 from 27 votes

posted: 05/19/21

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy

This Butter Chicken Recipe is so easy and so delicious. It’s the perfect weeknight meal. Better than take out, you’ll love making this Indian Butter Chicken at home!

bowl of indian butter chicken recipe with rice and cilantro

This post was sponsored by Gold’n Plump® .

We are such huge fans of Indian cooking around here, the flavors and spices are always so perfect. Nathan and I love getting chicken dishes, especially the ones that come with a lot of sauce that we can eat with rice and warm pieces of naan. The saucier the recipe, the better.

This take on Indian Butter Chicken is an absolute favorite in our house. Every single person in my family loves it and it is on the menu at least twice every month. That’s truly saying something for a mom that is regularly developing new recipes for work.

While this recipe may vary a little from traditional butter chicken, I am certain it will become a favorite in your house as well.


“This recipe has become a go to for my family! My husband loves requesting it. It’s super easy to make and delicious so thank you!”

overhead view of pan of butter chicken recipe with rice and cilantro

How to Make Butter Chicken

  1. Sauté the onions in oil. One of the keys to this recipe is to really let the onions cook down first before you add anything else. Allowing them to cook down first prevents the chicken from over cooking and the garlic from burning.
  2. Melt in the butter. After the butter is melted, add in the garlic and ginger and cook until just fragrant.
  3. Add in the chicken. These bite sized pieces of chicken will only need a minute or two. You want them to just cook on the outside but there is no need to cook them all the way through as they will finish cooking with the sauce.
  4. Season the dish. Now add in the garam masala, chili powder, salt and black pepper.
  5. Make the sauce. Stir in tomato puree, tomato paste, lemon juice, yogurt and half and half. Allow the sauce to simmer, cooking down for 10 minutes. There will still be lots of sauce left perfect for covering rice and dipping naan.
a package of gold'n plump chicken for a butter chicken recipe

Butter Chicken Without Cream

A lot of Butter Chicken recipes call for cream, but I opted out in this version. Instead I used yogurt and half and half, which give you the nice creaminess you are looking for without the heavy cream.

What is Half and Half?

Half and half is a product sold in the United States that is literally just half heavy cream and half whole milk. If you are making this outside of the U.S. you can substitute the 1 cup half and half with 1/2 a cup heavy cream and 1/2 a cup whole milk.

overhead view of a bowl of easy butter chicken with rice and cilantro

What is Garam Masala?

Garam masala is a spice blend that is used in a lot of traditional Indian cooking. It gives the recipe a little bit of a kick and a delicious signature flavor that really can’t be found using anything else.

What Can I Use Instead of Garam Masala?

I would really encourage you to go out and buy some Garam Masala for this recipe. Without it, the dish won’t have the same flavor. If you can’t find it at your grocery store, you can certainly look for a recipe that will help you make just a small amount.

But to really enjoy this creamy butter chicken recipe, throw in some garam masala!

Is Butter Chicken Spicy?

I didn’t think this dish was spicy, but my kids thought it had a little bit of a kick to it. It is the black pepper in this recipe that gives it the slight kick. If you are making this for picky eaters, I would suggest only adding a pinch of pepper instead of the whole amount.

chicken butter masala recipe in a bowl with rice and naan

Other 30 minute Chicken Recipes

  • My Cajun Chicken Alfredo will become another favorite. It is full of delicious yet easy flavors.
  • Our Chicken Salad is a recipe you should double so you have leftovers to take to work the following day.
  • Just like with my butter chicken, these Chicken Lettuce Wraps have the taste of take out in the comfort and ease of your own home.

If you make any of these great chicken recipes, leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

pan of creamy butter chicken with rice, cilantro and naan
chicken butter masala recipe in a bowl with rice and naan
4.93 from 27 votes

Butter Chicken Recipe

Serves: 4 people
(tap # to scale)
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 35 minutes
This Butter Chicken Recipe is so easy and so delicious. It's the perfect weeknight meal. Better than take out, you'll love making this Indian Butter Chicken at home!


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced small
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 pound Gold’n Plump Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast Fillets diced into bit sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala read about garam masala here
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 8 ounces tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 cup half and half read about half and half here


  • In a large skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil.  Add diced onions and stir regularly, cooking until the onions are translucent – about four minutes.
  • Add the butter and allow it to melt completely.  Then stir in the ginger and garlic, cooking for about 30 seconds to a minute or until fragrant. Be careful not to burn it.
  • Add the chicken and cook, stirring often until the chicken is no longer pink on the outside, about 2 minutes. No need to cook it all the way through as it will continue cooking as you add the rest of the ingredients and simmer the recipe.
  • Now stir in the garam masala, chili powder, salt and black pepper.  Then pour in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, lemon juice, yogurt and half and half.  Stir to combine fully.  Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes to allow the sauce to reduce.
  • The sauce will reduce but still be quite saucy. Serve with rice and naan.
Calories: 401kcal (20%) Carbohydrates: 17g (6%) Protein: 31g (62%) Fat: 24g (37%) Saturated Fat: 13g (81%) Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 121mg (40%) Sodium: 435mg (19%) Potassium: 532mg (15%) Fiber: 2g (8%) Sugar: 8g (9%) Vitamin A: 1050IU (21%) Vitamin C: 39.6mg (48%) Calcium: 120mg (12%) Iron: 2.2mg (12%)
Author: Lisa Longley
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
chicken butter masala recipe in a bowl with rice and naan

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Butter Chicken Recipe

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Hi! I'm Lisa Longley, and I am committed to giving you simple dinner ideas and recipes that are easy to make; recipes that will fill your home with joy. I am the owner and author of SimpleJoy.com and I'm so glad that you are here.

Reader Interactions


    Have a question? Use the form below to submit your question or comment. I love hearing from you & seeing what you made!

    Rate This Recipe:

  1. Andrea says

    5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight and it was delicious. I will definitely be making this again. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Lisa Longley says

      I’m so happy you liked it!

    • Jane says

      5 stars
      It amazing!! Very tasty!!

      • Lisa Longley says

        So glad you liked it Jane!

  2. Nicole says

    Has anyone tried in pressure cooker? I’m wondering how I can convert it to that?

  3. Jennifer says

    Is it possible to make this into a marinade? Want to make the chicken as tenderas possible!

    • Lisa Longley says

      I haven’t tried that, if you do be sure to let me know how it goes!

    • Alyssa says

      I’ve used the yogurt with spices as a chicken marinade, makes it very tender. I’ll add more of the spices to taste as I make the sauce too.

    • Aws says

      Pre-soak the chicken in buttermilk. (Even better make your own using lemon). Soak overnight or for as little as an hour if you dice it up first. 😊

  4. Katharina says

    What is 1 pot Half and Half?

    • Lisa Longley says

      8 ounces of half and half. If that doesn’t answer your question, please do reach out again so I can help figure it out with you.

    • Celeste Duncan says

      It says cup now.

  5. Sue says

    Might sound thick but I am in the UK and not sue what half and half is.
    Is it milk?
    Thank you

    • Lisa Longley says

      Sue, I actually get this question enough that I’m going to start adding a note in my recipes every time I use it. It is something sold in the dairy section in the U.S. that is essentially half whole milk and half cream. So you could replace it with 1/2 a cup whole milk and 1/2 a cup heavy cream.

    • Neel says

      8 ounces of tomato sauce!! Is’nt it too much?

      • Lisa Longley says

        This is a very saucy recipe to be sure, but that’s how my family loves it. Perfect for soaking rice. Delicious!

      • Fiona says

        I suspect that if you’re not American, this translates to passata or tomato puree, not ketchup. A can of finely chopped tomatoes will substitute well.

  6. Shelly says

    What kind of tomato puree do you use?

    • Lisa Longley says

      It’s just a small can of tomato paste. If you can’t find it, you can leave it out of the recipe and you will still enjoy it.

  7. Germaine says

    Love the sauce – is it possible to double it when making the recipe – I generally use boneless skinless thighs as I find the breast on the dry side..

    • Lisa Longley says

      You absolutely could double it. But I wouldn’t! My husband likes the sauce more than the meat in Indian dishes, so this recipe is heavy on the sauce as it is!

  8. Tiffany says

    5 stars
    Wow!!! Made this recipe and we loved it! My husband said it’s a keeper. So I will definitely be making this again! Thank you so much, I really love your recipes!

    • Lisa Longley says

      So happy you liked it Tiffany!

  9. LaVonne says

    5 stars
    This dish is easy to prepare and healthy! My husband loves it and his idea of international recipes is pizza and pasta. I’m planning on preparing it again next week.

    • Lisa Longley says

      Hahahaha!! Thanks for the laugh, LaVonne, I love it. And thank you for taking the time to come back and let me know!

  10. Amy Knight says

    Have you ever substituted potatoes for the chicken? If so, how did you do it?

    • Lisa Longley says

      I haven’t, but that sounds really good. If you are looking to make it vegetarian, I would consider half potatoes and half cauliflower!

      • Amy Knight says

        Thank you for reminding me about cauliflower! I looked at another site and it suggested sautéing the potatoes and then adding in the sauce. I’m giving it a try tomorrow night!

        • Lisa Longley says

          Let me know how it goes!

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5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners



5 Secrets to Stress Free Dinners