Easy Butter Chicken
This Easy Butter Chicken recipe can be made in 35 minutes and is SUPER delicious. It's rich, creamy, addictive, and is very easy to make dairy-free. No more need for takeout Indian curry!
Hello, friends. I've made a big pot of easy butter chicken, and I'm here to share it with you. Food is always so much better when we share it with friends, isn't it?
This easy butter chicken recipe is one I've been making for years. I feel like I owe you a big apology for holding out on you for so long. Do you know those recipes that you make without using a recipe? The kind that you don't think to share because it's just part of your repertoire that you've grown so accustomed to making? That's this recipe for me. I made it the other day and thought, damn, I need to share this with you!
I used to make a version of this recipe when I was vegetarian; only I'd use soft tofu in place of the chicken. Even though I eat meat, I still love it that way. It can also be made dairy-free with two simple substitutions.
The sauce is thick and rich, creamy and full of warm Indian spices. I like that it's not as sweet as some butter chicken you get at westernized Indian restaurants; it tastes more like the real thing. You can also adjust the heat level to your liking by adding more or less chilies.
It might be a little more effort than picking up the phone for delivery Indian, but it's so much tastier. If you make it, will you invite me over so we can share a big pot together? I'll bring the beer!
Tips for making easy butter chicken
- You can either follow the recipe directions and cook the chicken and sauce in two separate pans, or you can use the same one. Using two pans means the recipe will be done faster, using one pan means you'll have fewer dishes. Your choice!
- When the onions are browning, add all the spices to a small bowl. This will make it quick and easy for you to add all the spices once the onions are brown.
- Once you've added the tomatoes and the sauce is cooking, add the almond butter, dairy or coconut cream, brown sugar and (if you're using it) yogurt to a small bowl. After you blend the sauce, you can quickly add everything all at once. Time saver!
- If you're serving this with rice, you can start the rice first. It will finish cooking before the butter chicken is ready, but you can remove it from the heat and set it aside, covered, until everything else is done.
Do I need to use all those spices?
Yes, and no. Each of the spices adds a layer of flavor and leaving one out will change the taste of this easy butter chicken recipe. But sometimes we all run out of spices or don't want to buy it because we don't think we'll use it often. I get it! If you're craving butter chicken and don't have any cumin on hand, don't sweat it, the curry will still taste great.
I always add fenugreek when I'm cooking Indian food. It is a little bit sweet and has a soft nutty flavor, but it is fairly subtle so if you don't have this one, you can leave it out.
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Easy Curry Recipes:
- Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
- Easy Palak Paneer
- Creamy Vegetarian Korma
- Black Chana Masala
- Indian Meatball Curry
- Chickpea Tofu and Eggplant Curry
This Easy Butter Chicken recipe can be made in 35 minutes and is SUPER delicious. It's rich, creamy and addictive and is very easy to make dairy-free. No more need for takeout Indian curry!
- 2 tablespoons neutral flavored oil
- 1 lb chicken breasts or tenders (see notes)
- 2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped ginger
- 6 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 28-ounce can of crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup cream, yogurt, or coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2–4 tablespoons coconut sugar (can sub brown bugar)
- Sea salt, to taste (I like about 2 teaspoons)
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ to 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Seeds from 4 cardamom pods
- Optional: ¼ teaspoon fenugreek
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a medium-sized frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken breasts or tenders and cook, stirring frequently, until they are cooked through and no longer pink, about 12-15 minutes. Remove them from the pan and cut them into 1-inch chunks.
- While the chicken is cooking begin preparing the sauce. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute more.
- While the onions are cooking, place all the spices together in a small bowl. Add the spices to the pan with the onions. Let the spices cook for about one minute, or until they are quite fragrant. Add the tomatoes to the pan and scrape up any stuck on brown bits. Add half a cup of water and bring the pot to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes.
- Carefully add the sauce to your blender and blend on high until it is very smooth. Add the sauce back to the pan and stir in the cream, yogurt, or coconut milk, the almond butter, and the coconut sugar. Season to taste with sea salt.
- Serve with a side of rice or cauliflower rice.
*I will typically cook the chicken tenders whole then dice them once they're cooked as I'm a little squeamish about raw chicken. You can do it either before or after they're cooked, whatever is easiest for you.