Butter Chicken

An easy Butter Chicken recipe which the whole family will enjoy! Make this delicious curry with step-by-step photos.

butter chicken in white cast iron pan

Easy Indian Food at Home

There are many things I miss about Australia, and one of them is good Indian take-away. Lamb Korma, Chicken Tikka Masala, Lamb Biryani … you name it, I miss it.

I often lament about all of the food which I miss from home, especially during the long bouts between visiting my home country (and 2020 has felt like a particularly long year for the obvious reasons). But then I have to remind myself that my longing for foods which are not readily available where I live is precisely what got me into cooking in the first place.

butter chicken with fresh coriander

Easy Butter Chicken

One of my favourite Indian take-aways is the classic Butter Chicken, also known as murgh makhani.

Butter Chicken is typically a mild curry consisting of chicken pieces marinated in yoghurt and spices, and cooked in a creamy tomato-based sauce.

butter chicken in pan with fresh coriander

Butter Chicken Recipe

My Butter Chicken recipe is a relatively easy one. I marinate the chicken pieces in a mixture of yoghurt and spices which will both tenderise the chicken, as well as add flavour to the sauce later.

And the Butter Chicken sauce itself is a simple tomato sauce with heavy cream to add the necessary creaminess and richness.

My children love this Butter Chicken; it’s not too spicy for them, so it’s the perfect introduction for kids to the world of curries and Indian food!

butter chicken in pan with sliced lemons

How to Make Butter Chicken

Step 1

In a large bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients.

marinade for butter chicken in white bowl

Step 2

Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and give everything a good mix. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge. If you are pushed for time, 30 minutes is fine.

But it would be preferable to marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours, and overnight is even better.

marinated chicken for butter chicken in white bowl

Step 3

Heat some oil in a non-stick pan over medium-high heat, and brown the chicken in batches until they are nicely golden and caramelised. The chicken pieces do not need to be cooked through fully at this stage (you will continue to cook the chicken in the sauce later).

cooking the chicken in non-stick pan for butter chicken

Step 4

In a large clean pan, heat some oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onions and garlic until they have softened.

sauteed onions and garlic in cast iron pan

Step 5

Add the Butter Chicken sauce ingredients and stir lightly. At this stage, the sauce will look quite pink in colour.

butter chicken sauce in cast iron pan

Step 6

Add the chicken pieces to the sauce, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked through and the sauce has thickened. At the stage, the sauce should be a lovely golden colour. Taste for seasoning.

This Butter Chicken recipe produces a generous quantity of sauce, but I find that you need a lot of sauce for each person to drizzle on their rice or to have with their naan bread. The sauce also thickens quite a bit on reheating (should you have any leftovers).

butter chicken simmering in cast iron pan

What to Serve with Butter Chicken

Served simply with some steamed Basmati rice, this Butter Chicken becomes comfort food in a bowl.

But some naan bread or Yoghurt Flatbreads to dip into the delicious Butter Chicken sauce will make this dish extra satisfying.

More Indian Recipes

For more Indian recipes, you might also enjoy:

Indian Chicken Curry with Lentil Dahl

Yoghurt Flatbreads

Print

Butter Chicken

An easy Butter Chicken recipe which the whole family will enjoy! Make this delicious curry with step-by-step photos.

  • Marinating Time: 30 mins
  • Author: Thanh | Eat, Little Bird
  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 3 to 4
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Indian

Ingredients

For the marinade

  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) natural yoghurt
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground chillies (i.e. pure chilli powder)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, coarsely grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 1 kg (2 lb) chicken breast fillets, cut into large cubes

For the sauce

  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely grated
  • 500 ml (2 cups) tomato passata
  • 500 ml (2 cups) double cream or thickened cream
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 23 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled

To serve

  • steamed Basmati rice
  • Yoghurt Flatbreads
  • coriander (cilantro), finely chopped

Instructions

Make the marinade

  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients.
  2. Add the chicken.
  3. Mix well to ensure that all of the chicken pieces are well coated.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave to marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, 3 hours if you have time, or overnight is best.

Cook the chicken

  1. Heat some oil in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Cook the chicken in batches until they are lightly brown all over. The chicken pieces do not need to be cooked through completely at this stage.

Make the sauce

  1. Heat some oil in a large skillet or pan.
  2. Sauté the onions and garlic for a few minutes until they have softened.
  3. Add the remaining sauce ingredients. At this stage, the sauce will look pink in colour.
  4. Let the sauce simmer gently for a few minutes.
  5. Add the cooked chicken pieces to the sauce and give everything a good stir. The marinade from the chicken will start to mix with the sauce to give a nice golden colour.
  6. Simmer on low-medium heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Taste for seasoning.

To serve

  1. Sprinkle the Butter Chicken with coriander (cilantro) just before serving.
  2. Serve with steamed Basmati rice and/or Yoghurt Flatbreads.

Kitchen Notes

MAKE IT CHILD-FRIENDLY
Omit or reduce the ground chillies, and maybe serve some Pickled Chillies on the side for the adults.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below and share your photos by tagging @eatlittlebird on Instagram and using #eatlittlebird

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.