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Easy to make Indian Butter Chicken recipe that’s so creamy and full of flavor. A low-carb chicken recipe with authentic rich flavors that will have you going for seconds. The perfect weeknight chicken dinner recipe that’s comforting, filling, and delicious all year round.

top view of Indian butter chicken in a pan with wooden spoon in pan
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Restaurant-style butter chicken recipe, also known as Murgh Makhani, is made in the comfort of your home with the same great taste. Chicken marinated in Indian Inspired spices to create juicy and tender chicken chunks, simmered in a rich and creamy sauce. The most authentic and delicious Indian butter chicken recipe you will ever have. Serve over some basmati rice, quinoa, or brown rice, and a side of Naan Bread for dipping. This healthy butter chicken recipe is dairy-free and also keto-friendly for those looking for a low-carb creamy buttery chicken meal.

Why you will love this recipe

  • Restaurant style: Enjoy great quality butter chicken right at home with the same great taste.
  • Easy to make: It is not that hard to make this butter chicken. Chicken is browned first and then added to the cooked butter marsala sauce and left to simmer.
  • Healthy and delicious: Made with healthier ingredients like coconut cream instead of heavy cream, this butter chicken is so tasty and low carb.
close up view of butter chicken in a pan with spoon grabbing some topped with fresh cilantro

Ingredients for butter chicken

Here is a list of the ingredients you will need to make this simple butter chicken recipe. The full measurements can be found further down below.

FOR THE CHICKEN MARINADE

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: or you may use coconut oil
  • Seasonings: Garlic Powder, Garam Masala, Ground Cumin, Chili Powder, Kosher Salt
  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch chunks: you may use boneless and skinless chicken breasts if you prefer.

FOR THE butter chicken SAUCE

  • Clarified Butter divided: it is not a butter chicken if we don’t add butter right? Don’t want to use butter? use coconut oil.
  • Yellow Onion: do not use purple onions. Yellow would be best.
  • Garlic Cloves minced
  • Seasonings: Garam Masala, Chili Powder, Ground Coriander, Cayenne Pepper
  • Grated Fresh Ginger
  • Tomato Sauce: use any of your favorite brands or tomato puree.
  • Coconut Cream well stirred or blended: this is the one you get in cans
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish
chopped onions, fresh ginger, and garlic on a cutting board

How to make butter chicken

  • Marinade the chicken: Start by marinating the chicken. In a large glass bowl, combine the olive oil with garlic powder, garam masala, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Add the chicken and toss to coat with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, up to 24 hours.
marinated raw chicken chunks in a round white bowl
  • Cook the chicken: Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or clarified butter in a large skillet or cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Use tongs to add the marinated chicken pieces to the skillet in a single layer, leaving behind the excess marinade, and brown on all sides. Cook the chicken in batches, if necessary, and don’t worry about cooking it all the way through at this stage. Transfer the browned chicken to a plate.
  • To make the sauce: Add another tablespoon of ghee to the skillet, and reduce to medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, garam masala, ginger, chili powder, coriander, and cayenne, and stir to combine. Cook the mixture for 45 seconds, then add the tomato sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the coconut cream, and return to a simmer.
coconut cream sauce being added over the butter chicken sauce with in a pan
  • Add in the chicken to the sauce: Return the browned chicken pieces to the skillet, along with any accumulated juices, and use a wooden spoon to settle the chicken into the sauce. Simmer for 10-15 minutes over medium-low heat, until the chicken, is tender and cooked through.
  • Garnish and serve: Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.
close up image of butter chicken in a pan topped with fresh chopped cilantro

what to serve with butter chicken

side shot of butter chicken in a pan topped with fresh cilantro

Tips and substitutes

  • Allow the chicken to marinate for a good 6 hours to get the best flavors out of this recipe. but if you are pressed on time you can skip marinating.
  • Use Ghee or any neutral flavor oil instead of butter or Ghee. For a healthier option, you may use coconut oil.
  • Cream: We used coconut cream for a healthier dairy-free option. Feel free to use heavy cream or whipping cream.
  • For a lighter version, you may use low-fat cream and milk. But it won’t be as creamy and thick. You may thicken the sauce with a bit of flour.
top view of healthy Indian butter chicken recipe in a pan

Frequently asked questions

Is butter chicken keto?

Butter chicken is high in fat and protein and thus a keto-friendly recipe. It is low in carbs and ideal for those who are on the keto diet. You may have to skip on the side of rice and Naan.

What is the difference between butter chicken and tikka masala?

They are both popular Indian dishes, that are quite similar but yet they are different when it comes to the way they are prepared and their flavors. Butter chicken is typically made with a rich, creamy, and mildly spiced tomato-based sauce, whereas tikka masala has a spicier and tangier sauce made with a mix of various spices, yogurt, and cream. Butter chicken has a subtle smokey flavor whereas tikka masala has tangy and spicy notes.

Which is spicier tikka masala or butter chicken?

Even though they are similar, Butter chicken is milder in taste than tikka masala. So you will find that tikka masala is spicier.

What is butter chicken sauce made of?

If you are getting store-bought Butter chicken sauce, it is typically made from tomato sauce, butter, cream, and different types of warm and earthy spices like garam masala, cumin, coriander, and fenugreek, garlic, ginger, and sometimes yogurt.

top view of homemade butter chicken in a pan topped with fresh chopped cilantro

Storing and Reheating

  • Storing: Store leftover butter chicken in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can freeze butter chicken for up to 3 months Just make sure you store it in a freezer-safe bag or container.
  • Reheating: Reheating is easy. Either use the microwave or reheat in a saucepan over medium heat using your stovetop.

Chicken recipes you may like

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4.34 from 81 votes

Easy Butter Chicken Recipe

By: Rena
Servings: 8
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Marinate: 6 hours
Total: 6 hours 45 minutes
top view of a skillet with butter chicken topped with chopped fresh cilantro
Chunks of tender chicken cooked in a Rich and Creamy buttery Indian sauce.

Ingredients

For the Chicken Marinade

  • Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 2 lbs Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks

For the sauce:

  • 3 Tbsp Clarified Butter, divided
  • 1 Yellow Onion, diced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1 Tbsp Grated Fresh Ginger
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tsp Ground Coriander
  • ½ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 14 oz Tomato Sauce, one can
  • Cup Coconut Cream, well stirred or blended
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Chopped cilantro, for garnish

Instructions

  • Start by marinating the chicken. In a large glass bowl, combine the olive oil with garlic powder, garam masala, cumin, chili powder, and salt.
  • Add the chicken and toss to coat with the marinade. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, up to 24 hours.
  • To make the sauce, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee or clarified butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Use tongs to add the marinated chicken pieces to the skillet in a single layer, leaving behind the excess marinade, and brown on all sides.
  • Cook the chicken in batches, if necessary, and don’t worry about cooking it all the way through at this stage.
  • Transfer the browned chicken to a plate. Add another tablespoon of ghee to the skillet, and reduce to medium heat.
  • Add the onion, garlic, garam masala, ginger, chili powder, coriander, and cayenne, and stir to combine.
  • Cook the mixture for 45 seconds, then add the tomato sauce. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the coconut cream, and return to a simmer. Return the browned chicken pieces to the skillet, along with any accumulated juices, and use a wooden spoon to settle the chicken into the sauce.
  • Simmer for 10-15 minutes over medium-low heat, until the chicken, is tender and cooked through.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot.

Video

Notes

Substitutes:
  • You may use Coconut Oil in place of butter
  • Instead of Coconut Cream, you can use Heavy cream or whipping cream
  • Use ginger powder if you don’t have fresh ginger
Storage:
Place leftovers in a container and store them in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in the microwave when ready to eat. You can freeze for up to 3 months.
Nutritional facts:
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information is calculated using a nutrition facts calculator. It is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.

Nutrition

Calories: 385kcalCarbohydrates: 9gProtein: 25gFat: 29gSaturated Fat: 19gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 639mgPotassium: 624mgFiber: 3gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 446IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 34mgIron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Tried this recipe?Mention @healthyfitnessmeals or tag #healthyfitnessmeals!

Author

About Rena Awada

Hi, I’m Rena! I am here to help you prepare delicious, light, fresh meals that your whole family will love!

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Recipe Rating




35 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe for Easy Butter Chicken is an absolute game-changer! I tried it last night, and my family couldn’t believe I made it at home. The flavors were so rich and authentic, and the simplicity of the recipe is a huge plus. Thanks for sharing this delicious gem with us! I recommend to everyone.

  2. 5 stars
    This was fantastic! I didn’t have one ingredient , I thought I did, so I used Greek yogurt instead of coconut cream, and it was wonderful! Will make again for sure! 🙂