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.

Butter chicken in an Indian pot.

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!

A close up of a wooden spoon stirring a pot of 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. Cook the onions, garlic, and ginger until deliciously caramelized.
  2. Add the spices and tomatoes then blend the sauce until smooth.
  3. 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.

A rich Indian chicken curry served over rice in a white bowl.

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.

Butter chicken in a pan with a wooden spoon.

Easy Curry Recipes

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This easy butter chicken recipe served over rice.

Easy Butter Chicken

  • Author: Kristen Stevens
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Description

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.

☆ If you love this recipe as much as we do, make sure to give it a 5-star review in the comments below!


Scale

Ingredients

The curry:

  • 2 tablespoons butter or cooking oil
  • 2 yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons chopped ginger
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 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
  • 24 tablespoons coconut sugar (can sub brown sugar)
  • Sea salt, to taste (I like about 2 teaspoons)

The spices:

  • 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

Instructions

  1. 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. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Stir in the cream, yogurt, or coconut milk, the almond butter, and the coconut sugar. Season to taste with sea salt.

Notes

Pair with steamed basmati rice or cauliflower rice

Perfect basmati rice in a pot.cauliflower rice in a pan with a wooden spoon.

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Butter chicken in an Indian pot with the recipe title on top of the picture.