Butter Chicken


The sauce for this butter chicken recipe is made with tomato paste, ginger, garlic, garam masala, and cream.

butter chicken on teal platter

Brie Goldman

Prep Time:
25 mins
Cook Time:
25 mins
Marinate Time:
1 hrs
Total Time:
1 hrs 50 mins

Kundan Lal Gujral, the Indian chef who created tandoori chicken at his Moti Mahal restaurant, made another worthy contribution to the world’s embrace of Indian cuisine. This dish was created as a clever way to revive day-old tandoori chicken: Stir it into a rich, buttery tomato curry. Our version starts with fresh chicken but is just as indulgent. For the best flavor, Marinate at least one hour or overnight.

Serve this butter chicken recipe with additional fresh cilantro, rice, and naan bread. If you'd like to make butter chicken in your pressure cooker or slow cooker, this helpful butter chicken recipe breaks down both cooking methods. This easy butter chicken recipe can be prepped the night before you plan to serve for easy weeknight cooking. We recommend using chicken thighs or drumsticks for this recipe. They cook up tender and juicy in the butter chicken sauce.


  • 6 to 8 bone-in chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, skinned


  • 1/2 cup plain whole milk greek yogurt

  • 1 tablespoon ground coriander

  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne


  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • 3/4 cup whipping cream

  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut up

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

Serve With

  • Cooked basmati rice (optional)

  • Additional chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

  • Naan (optional)



  1. In a large bowl whisk together the greek yogurt, coriander, cumin, lemon juice, turmeric, salt, and cayenne. Add the chicken pieces, turning to coat well with the marinade. Cover; marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour or overnight.


  1. In a 12-inch skillet, cook the onion in hot oil over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic and ginger. Add the chicken to skillet, reserving any marinade that remains in the bowl. Cook the chicken for 6 to 8 minutes or until browned, turning once (marinade may stick to skillet). Add any remaining marinade from the bowl to the skillet with chicken.

  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the broth and tomato paste until smooth. Add to the skillet with the chicken along with whipping cream. Bring just to boiling, stirring to scrape up any browned bits from bottom of skillet; reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the chicken is done (175°F), stirring occasionally.

  3. Transfer the chicken to a serving platter, reserving the sauce in the skillet. Add butter, cilantro, and garam masala to sauce. Whisk until the butter is melted and sauce is well-combined. Serve chicken with sauce and (if using) basmati rice, additional cilantro, and naan.

    Test Kitchen Tip: Garam masala is an Indian spice blend that often contains cumin, coriander, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, and cinnamon. You can often find it in the spice aisle of your grocery store.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

413 Calories
32g Fat
9g Carbs
24g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 6
Calories 413.1
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 32.5g 42%
Saturated Fat 13.7g 68%
Cholesterol 155.1mg 52%
Sodium 424mg 18%
Total Carbohydrate 9.4g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1.7g 6%
Total Sugars 4.3g
Protein 24.2g
Vitamin D 0.7mcg 4%
Vitamin C 4.9mg 25%
Calcium 87.1mg 7%
Iron 2.6mg 15%
Potassium 478.1mg 10%
Fatty acids, total trans 0.7g
Vitamin D 30.6IU
Alanine 1g
Arginine 1.2g
Ash 2.6g
Aspartic acid 1.8g
Caffeine 0mg
Carotene, alpha 1.7mcg
Choline, total 95.3mg
Copper, Cu 0.2mg
Cystine 0.2g
Energy 1729kJ
Fluoride, F 1.1mcg
Folate, total 13.8mcg
Glutamic acid 3.1g
Glycine 0.8g
Histidine 0.5g
Isoleucine 0.9g
Leucine 1.5g
Lysine 1.6g
Methionine 0.5g
Magnesium, Mg 41.7mg
Manganese, Mn 0.4mg
Niacin 5.6mg
Phosphorus, P 249.1mg
Pantothenic acid 1.2mg
Phenylalanine 0.7g
Phytosterols 20.2mg
Proline 0.8g
Retinol 166.9mcg
Selenium, Se 30.3mcg
Serine 0.7g
Starch 0g
Theobromine 0mg
Threonine 0.8g
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) 1.6mg
Tryptophan 0.2g
Tyrosine 0.7g
Valine 0.9g
Vitamin A, IU 856.6IU
Vitamin A, RAE 182mcg
Vitamin B-12 0.6mcg
Vitamin B-6 0.5mg
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) 12.9mcg
Water 147.8g
Zinc, Zn 2mg

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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