Easy Butter Chicken

Bowl off easy butter chicken on a wooden board

This easy butter chicken recipe is so delicious! It’s my husband’s favorite Indian dish. Indian should probably be in quotation marks, because I’m sure this is a thoroughly Americanized version. But that’s okay, because everyone enjoys it!

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Another plus is that except for one ingredients, you probably already have everything in your kitchen or can grab it inexpensively at your local grocery store. So don’t the list of ingredients scare you! This easy butter chicken recipe is so simple and comes together quickly.

Plate with spices on it

Garam masala, cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and bay leaves.

What’s the one special ingredient? Garam masala. This spice mixture smells amazing. You can find it at an Indian store or even try to make your own blend. You’ll find flavors like cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon in the blend along with others! Doesn’t it sound intriguing?! Of course, it’s also available on Amazon!

You can also use garam masala in this delish appetizer: Indian Layer Dip.

Butter Chicken is a favorite in our house. It is even one of our go to options for company. Most of our guests haven’t had it before but this dish is loved by everyone.

Serve over rice (or cauliflower rice if you prefer). Of course it’s amazing with naan or you can simply have a salad or roasted broccoli to round out the meal.

pot of butter chicken on the stove

The leftovers taste just as amazing as the first day, so this is a meal you could prepare the night before and pull out and gently reheat on the stove while the rice is cooking on a Sunday after church.

Aren’t those types of meals the best?

You will want to be sure to check out this recipe for homemade naan, as well! The prepackaged super market variety doesn’t compare. My kids love it.

Easy Butter Chicken Recipe

A plate of easy butter chicken served over rice

4.5 from 2 reviews
Butter Chicken
Recipe type: Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 T. finely minced garlic or garlic paste
  • 1 T. finely minced ginger or ginger paste
  • 2 T. butter
  • 2 T. lemon juice
  • 2 t. garam masala
  • 1½ t. cumin
  • 1 t. chili powder
  • ¼ cayenne pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1½ cups tomato puree
  • 1½ cups half and half
  • ¼ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 t. salt
  • pepper
  • oil
  • 1½ pounds chicken cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 t. garam masala
  • ⅛ t. cayenne pepper
  • salt
  • 1 T. arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • ¼ cup water
  • Cooked rice for serving
  1. In a large pan saute onions until tender. Add in ginger, garlic, butter, lemon juice, garam masala, cayenne, cumin, chili powder, and bay leaf.
  2. Cook until ginger and garlic are done.
  3. Add tomato puree and stir and heat through.
  4. Add in half and half and yogurt. Let simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust other seasonings if needed.
  1. In a skillet heat a small amount of oil and brown chicken.
  2. Add garam masala, cayenne pepper, and a little salt
  3. Add a few spoonfuls of cooked sauce and let the chicken finish cooking.
  4. Add cooked chicken to the sauce mixture.
  1. Combine and arrowroot powder and water and add to the butter chicken. Cook until the mixture thickens and is heated through.
  2. Serve over hot cooked rice.

Bowl of butter chicken with a gray dish towel in the background

45 thoughts on “Easy Butter Chicken

  1. Naomi@WhatJoyIsMine

    Deanna…I have never heard of Butter Chicken but it does look delicious. I will have to try it for sure. Grateful you shared it at WJIM’s Monday’s Musings. (BTW…I pinned it, too.) Blessings.N

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      It is sooo good! One of my favorite Indian dishes to eat and make. Some are so time consuming, but this one is pretty easy. The flavors are also pretty mild so it’s great for serving to company. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for hosting and for pinning!

  2. Laurie

    Well, we don’t eat dairy, but I’m guessing I could sub almond milk for the half n half and just leave out the yogurt. It won’t be as thick, but it looks so good, I want to try it out anyway!

      1. Laurie

        Yes, more arrowroot! I think I have all this on hand. I might even try it out tonight. I’ll try to remember to stop back and let you know how it goes. 🙂

        1. Laurie

          I’m back to report my great success with this recipe!! 🙂 I did make a few changes. I used tomato paste instead of puree which helped a lot with the thickness right there! I did switch out the cream for almond milk, and I left out the yogurt entirely. I didn’t have garam masala, so I left that out. Also, I served it over quinoa instead of rice. I doubled the recipe, anticipating that it would be good, and I wanted some left over… Well, not much is left over! Every single one of my kids (well the 5 that eat… not the baby) ate their entire plate full, and three of them asked for a second helping. My husband and I enjoyed it too. So, thanks for a great recipe! 🙂

          1. Deanna Michaels Post author

            Woot!SO glad it worked out. The paste was a great idea, I’m going to remember that if I ever need to make it dairy free. It is one of our favorite recipes. Love quinoa! I use it for lunches for myself a lot and occasionally for supper but not super often because my husband isn’t the biggest fan. Thank you so much for letting me know how it turned out!

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  4. Carrie Groneman

    HEY, it’s you! Stopping by from Happiness is Homemade party and the pic looked amazing and there you are – it isn’t surprising though. Great pic and wonderful blog!!! Carrie, A Mother’s Shadow

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  8. Mommy on Demand

    This sounds amazing, I need to make this soon! Thanks for sharing at The Happiness is Homemade Link Party, you are being featured so make sure you to come back on Sunday and grab our button!

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  11. Nicole

    I love Indian food but I haven’t gotten around to trying butter chicken. What better way to try it than making it myself? Thanks for sharing.

  12. Debbie

    My husband loves indian food so I am going to make this for him. For the minced garlic and ginger , can i use the stuff in the jar that’s already minced/pureed?For Tomato puree, coud i use tomato sauce instead? Thanks

    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      We LOVE this recipe. Hope that you guys too. Yeah, you can use the preminced/pureed garlic and ginger. I think tomato sauce would work too – it just has some salt and seasonings already added in so you might want to not add quite as much salt. Let me know what you think!

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