Easy Butter Chicken
This Easy Butter Chicken recipe (murgh makhani) can be on your dinner table in just 30 minutes. The sauce is deliciously rich and creamy, just like butter chicken from your favorite Indian restaurant.
Butter chicken is best served with a side of steamed basmati rice (or cauliflower rice for a healthier version). If you love butter chicken, make sure to check out this chicken tikka masala recipe. You'll love it, too.
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.
The sauce is thick and rich, creamy, and full of warm Indian spices. I like that it's not as sweet as butter chicken that you get at some westernized Indian restaurants; it tastes more like the real thing.
And since it's made in only 4 easy steps there's really no reason not to treat yourself to curry tonight!
And if you love using your slow cooker, make sure to check out our crockpot butter chicken!
How to make butter chicken an easy recipe?
We've been making versions of this recipe for many years so we have had plenty of opportunities to tweak the method. Our butter chicken recipe is very easy to make but still every bit as delicious as what you'll find at your favorite restaurant. We simplify the traditional recipe in 2 ways:
- Cook the chicken in the sauce. Rather than marinating the chicken (unnecessary with such a flavorful sauce) and cooking it separately, we cook it right in the sauce. This lets the chicken poach gently so that it stays very tender.
- Simmer the sauce. Since we cook the sauce and chicken together we get to skip the time most recipes take to simmer the sauce by itself. To birds, one stone, same result.
How to make butter chicken
Over the many years of making this recipe we've refined the method so that it is very simple to make. Here's what to do:
- Cook the onions, garlic, and ginger until deliciously caramelized.
- Add the spices and tomatoes then blend the sauce until smooth.
- Now cook the chicken in the sauce so that it's flavorful and tender.
That's it! You've just made your favorite Indian curry!
Full recipe instructions in the recipe card below.
Tips for making easy butter chicken
- Brown the onions well. They add the most amazing flavor and contribute to the sweetness of the curry.
- When the onions are browning, add all the spices to a small bowl. This will make it quick and easy for you to add the spices once the onions are brown.
- 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 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 recipe. But sometimes we all run out of spices or don't want to buy one 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.
Garam masala is the most important spice here. It is a mix of different spices and adds the most flavor to the recipe. You could substitute curry powder, but I like garam masala better.
Is butter chicken healthy?
It can be! Most restaurant butter chicken recipes use copious amounts of butter, cream, and sugar. We reduce the amount of butter, have options for the cream (whipped cream, yogurt, or coconut milk – your choice!), and use just enough sweetener.
Does this easy butter chicken recipe freeze well?
Yes! We often make a double batch and put leftovers in the freezer. It's better and easier than takeout. We love these big reusable Stasher Bags for freezing leftovers.
Easy Curry Recipes
- Chicken Tikka Masala in 4 easy steps
- Easy Mattar Paneer (restaurant-style!)
- Mango Chicken Curry
- Creamy Coconut Chicken Curry
- Indian Meatball Curry
Easy Butter Chicken
If you love this recipe as much as we do, let us know with a 5-star rating!
- 2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil
- 2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
- 3 tablespoons chopped ginger
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 28 ounce can of crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 lb chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup whipping cream, plain yogurt, or coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons almond butter
- 2-4 tablespoons coconut sugar, can sub brown sugar
- 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
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Seeds from 4 cardamom pods
- Heat the oil in a large-sized frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger, and garlic and cook for about 8 minutes, until well-browned, reducing the heat if necessary. While the onion cooks, place the spices in a small bowl.2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil, 2 yellow onions, 3 tablespoons chopped ginger, 6 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 teaspoon chili powder, Seeds from 4 cardamom pods
- Add the spices to the pan and cook for 1 minute to remove their raw flavor. Pour the can of tomatoes into the pan and scrape the bottom to remove any bits that are stuck to the pan. Transfer to a blender and blend on high until smooth. Return the sauce to the pan.28 ounce can of crushed or diced tomatoes
- Add the chicken and water and bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pan, and let the chicken cook through, about 10 minutes.1 lb chicken breasts or thighs, 1 cup water
- Stir in the cream, yogurt, or coconut milk, the almond butter, and the coconut sugar. Season to taste with sea salt.¼ cup whipping cream, plain yogurt, or coconut milk, 2 tablespoons almond butter, 2-4 tablespoons coconut sugar, Sea salt
Sorry I forgot to rate the recipe before sending the comment. It is 5* for me 😀
So tasty! My kid has some allergies so I had to skip the cumin and garam masala. I used oats yoghurt instead and I think oats brought some sweetness, so I didn’t feel it needed sugar. I’m sure that with garam masala would be really nice too, but without it is also delicious. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Honestly, it was extremely bitter. I tried adding more sugar to combat it and it turned it sweet, but not in a good way.
Wowowowowowww!! Wow! This recipe is to die for. When I put away some extra sauce for the freezer I actually wrote “amazing butter chicken sauce”. I don’t eat chicken, so I did this recipe with tofu. I fried it separately and then added it in at the end. I also am not a big onion fan.. so to make things easier on my self I cooked the minced garlic and ginger in butter for a few minutes and then added a regular sized can of tomato sauce so I didn’t have to blend anything. I used chicken broth instead of water (for chicken flavour – I’m Canadian, pardon the u in flavour), and I didn’t have any coriander or cardamom so I didn’t add any. I used 3 tbsps of brown sugar and the rest I followed to a tee. It was as I said.. AMAZING. Thanks for the great recipe, I can’t wait to make it again!
Good flavor! I used chicken bone broth instead of water and added a cornstarch slurry at the end to try and thicken it up. It was quite thin. I like my curry to be thick. Also didn’t add sugar as I don’t feel it needs any!
This turned out fabulous.
Absolutely easy and more importantly delicious!!!
Thank you, love your recipe’s instructions. Very well explained. I am really excited to make this one with my sister.
This is so quick and easy and was a great family meal. Thank you so much ☺️ 💗
Almond butter as in the nut butter?
This recipe definitely takes more than 30min, however it was worth the time and effort. So cool learning how to make the sauce in a blender! I’ve never done that before! It really is delish. I will make this again for sure.
I cooked this recipe exactly as written. While it wasn’t a hit, I appreciate that it was fairly healthy. The recipe took me much longer than 30 minutes to make. Transferring a large volume of hot liquid from a pot to a blender and back does not make for an easy recipe.
Also, the option to use coconut cream, full fat yogurt, or dairy cream was confusing because each of those ingredients will produce a very different end product. The yogurt has tang, the coconut milk has a distinctly coconut taste, and the dairy cream has a higher fat content. I unfortunately used yogurt, which amplified the tomatoes’ tanginess. Regardless, the fat content of the recipe is nowhere near enough to give it the creamy Makhani taste that I was hoping I could cheat my way to. Looks like you can’t. Regardless, it’s fun watching people creating new recipes.
This is seriously a crowd pleaser! It’s so easy to make and everyone loves it. Thank you for another awesome recipe!
This was delicious and so easy compared to other butter chicken recipes. I didn’t have almond butter, loved it anyway.
I have Cardamom seeds, not pods. How much do I use?
¼ teaspoon should be all you need. 🙂
This is the best recipe for butter chicken I have ever tried.
An absolutely delicious, and easy recipe thank you so much…. This is my new take on Butter Chicken with my whanau (family)…
Yummo defiently will make this again didnt have cardamom so will buy some next time but still was delicious
Oh my life!!!
Could have been from a shop ?
Maybe just a “little” less coconut sugar otherwise right on point!!!
I don’t keep almond butter around and don’t want to buy a whole jar. What would you substitute, or should i just leave it out? Add a bit of extra yogurt or cream?
You can omit it and add a little extra cream.
I used this recipe. Amazing, absolutely delicious, thank you,
Made this for dinner and its a winner! Substituted almond butter with Tahini and left out sugar and it tastes sublime!