Butter chicken is easy to make at home and is so much better than take-out! The chicken is juicy and flavorful due to the spiced yogurt marinade. It's perfect served over Basmati rice with a side of naan bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
Butter chicken is one of the most popular curry dishes found at any Indian restaurant, and for good reason! The sauce is out of this world and the chicken is so tender and juicy plus full of flavor from the yogurt marinade. It's incredibly easy to make at home with ingredients that can easily be found at any grocery store. It's also a perfect make-ahead recipe because the sauce tastes even better the next day!
WHAT IS BUTTER CHICKEN?
Butter chicken, also known as murgh makhani, is a popular dish that originated in Northern India. It is almost identical to chicken tikka masala, which is slightly less creamy and has a stronger tomato presence. While chicken tikka masala is also one of the most popular dishes found at Indian restaurants, it actually originated from Britain. Both of the dishes start by marinating chicken in a yogurt and spice sauce. The longer the chicken marinates the more tender and flavorful it will become. The chicken is then tossed with a creamy tomato-based curry sauce that is packed with plenty of aromatic spices.
INGREDIENTS FOR BUTTER CHICKEN:
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1" pieces: If using chicken breasts I highly recommend marinating overnight. Chicken thighs are already a lot more tender and juicy so they will be fine with a shorter marinating time.
- Plain yogurt
- Spices: Garlic powder, ground ginger, garam masala, and chili powder
- Butter Sauce:
- White or yellow onion, chopped
- Fresh minced garlic
- 1 - 14 oz. can stewed tomatoes, drained
- Tomato paste
- Spices: Chili powder, ground turmeric, ground cumin, and garam masala
- Heavy cream
- Cilantro: Chopped fresh cilantro, to garnish.
HOW TO MAKE BUTTER CHICKEN
- Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces.
- Combine the ingredients for the marinade and toss with the chicken. Marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight if time allows.
- Heat a large skillet and add 2 tbsp. of oil. Remove the chicken from the marinade and saute 3-5 minutes to brown the outside. Remove the chicken and set aside.
- Melt the butter in the pan and add the chopped onions. Saute for 5 minutes until soft, add in the minced garlic and saute an additional minute.
- Stir in the drained tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and all of the spices. Cook for about 5 minutes. Transfer the sauce to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the sauce back into the pan along with the chicken. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked through. About 8 minutes.
- Stir in the heavy cream and serve over Basmati rice along with a side of toasted naan bread. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
More Indian Dishes:
- 1 and ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts), cut into 1" pieces
For the Marinade:
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp. oil
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- ½ tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- 1 tbsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. butter
- ½ white or yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 (14 oz.) can stewed tomatoes, drained
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. chili powder
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. garam masala
- ½ cup heavy cream
- Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade and toss with the chicken. Marinate at least 1 hour or overnight if time allows.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the chicken. Discard excess marinade. Brown the chicken for 3-5 minutes, remove from the pan, and set aside.
- Add in the butter and chopped onions. Saute for 5 minutes until soft, add in the minced garlic and saute an additional minute.
- Stir in the drained stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, and all of the spices. Simmer for 5 minutes and then transfer the sauce to a blender. Blend until smooth and add back to the skillet along with the chicken.
- Cover the pot and cook until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in the heavy cream and serve over Basmati rice with a side of toasted naan bread. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro.