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Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

Easy Butter Chicken recipe with cream instead of coconut milk. From Delhi, India.

A delightful, mild curry chicken dish enriched with cream and butter.

Indian Butter Chicken to me is a curry for beginners.  It’s not complicated, it’s spicy but not too hot.  A dish, really for everyone.  Kundan Lal Gujral invented it in the first part of the 19th century, it is also known as Murgh Makhani.  He landed in Delhi after the British partition of India in 1947 and sought out a home for his culinary talent.  Thus began the world famous Moti Mahal restaurant.

This rich, creamy dish uses cream and butter instead of the usual coconut milk for a more creamy, silky curry.  The spices are easy to find in most regular markets and are staples in an Indian grocery.  You can also order spices online.   Serve Butter Chicken with rice, crusty French bread or Mana’eesh.  This dish makes great leftovers so make it on a weekend and enjoy during the week, just make rice and re-heat, weeknight easy.  

Bon Appetit and Namaste Y’all!

A delightful, mild curry chicken dish enriched with cream and butter.
A delightful, mild curry chicken dish enriched with cream and butter.

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A delightful, mild curry chicken dish enriched with cream and butter.

Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

A spicy, authentic Indian curry that will please the pickiest eaters.


  • 1 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbs garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbs turmeric
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 pint of half & half
  • 4 Tbs butter
  • 1 cup of tomato puree (or 3 oz of tomato paste and 1 cup of broth)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • salt & pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in large stock pot and brown chicken cubes, set aside.
  2. In same stock pot add onion and sauté until soft.
  3. Add garlic, lemon juice, spices and bay leaf and cook for one minute.
  4. Add half & half, butter, tomato puree and bring to simmer.
    If the sauce is too thick, add 1 cup of additional water, bring back to simmer.
  5. Mix water and corn starch to make a slurry, add to pot.
  6. Check for seasonings and add salt & pepper if needed.
  7. Add chicken cubes and cook an additional 20 minutes to maintain simmer on low-medium.
  8. Serve over rice or with a big, crusty French loaf, or Naan bread.


Nutritional information if for Butter Chicken only, not rice or bread.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 312Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 140mgSodium: 291mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 24g

Did you make this recipe?

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Friday 18th of January 2019

Great curry recipe for my first! Aromas were wonderful and the flavors were fantastic.


Saturday 19th of January 2019

I'm so glad you liked this Hannah! It's one of the dishes that everybody in our house loves. Rich but not too spicy. I love butter chicken. Your first time making curry or Butter Chicken?

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