Butter chicken is a uniquely delicious comfort food everyone needs to have in their recipe box. Tender chicken pieces, creamy sauce, and an ideal blend of classic Indian spices make something so simple turn into complex layers of flavor that make your tastebuds say, "wow" with every bite. This recipe has a lot of ingredients, but don't let that list frighten you. The preparation takes some time, but the result is astoundingly delicious.
Butter Chicken Recipe
If you've ever gone to an Indian restaurant, butter chicken is one of, if not the most popular items on the menu. Typically, this is a hit with everyone, even the kids, because it tends to be easier to make with mild spice levels. The rich and creamy, and yes buttery, sauce is a perfect option to go alongside traditional rice and naan. This recipe recreates that deliciousness at home. If you want to impress, this is the recipe to add to your menu.
What Type of Yogurt Do I Use in This Recipe?
The most traditional yogurt is a simple plain whole milk yogurt. I've seen many substitutes in Greek yogurt for added protein, but I find the texture and flavor aren't as good or smooth. If you want a lower fat version, you can definitely use one, but in traditional butter chicken, whole milk full-fat yogurt is a must.
NOTE: Make sure whatever yogurt you use is PLAIN and has no added sweetener or flavors.
Where Can I Find The Curry Spices?
My best suggestion is to look for a local Asian or Indian food market. They will more likely have the different spices in bulk so you can get just what is needed for this recipe. While many of our recipes here including our green curry, classic chicken karahi curry, and others include a number of these ingredients, I know that many don't keep this in their pantry. Since some can be a bit pricey, the best choice is to look for bulk spice bins and only get what is needed until you are sure you will be making it more regularly.
Tip: Ginger garlic paste is often found in the produce section of your grocery or market in small tubes.
Add a side of this Indian potato curry to your meal for another element of delicious flavor from the East!
Ingredients for Chicken Marinade
- Chicken breasts
- Ginger garlic paste
- Lime juice
- Garam masala
Ingredients For Curry
- Cardamom pods
- Cinnamon stick
- Bay leaves
- Star anise
- Chili flakes
- Coriander seeds
- Chili powder
- Garama masala
- Garlic cloves
- Raw cashews
- Canned tomatoes
Optional: Cilantro and lime garnish
How to Make Butter Chicken
Begin by combining the ingredients for the chicken marinade in a large bowl. Mix together the yogurt, garam masala, lime juice, ginger garlic paste, and paprika, then cover the chicken breasts completely and cover. Refrigerate for 4 hours.
While the chicken is marinating, you will place the raw cashew nuts into a container and soak covered in water.
15 minutes before you are ready to begin cooking, preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF and prepare a baking sheet or casserole dish for the chicken.
When the chicken is done marinating, remove the excess yogurt mixture from the chicken, and place it on or in your baking dish, then bake for 15 minutes. The chicken will still be pink in the middle, but that is okay as you will continue cooking.
Let the chicken cool slightly, then cut it into large cubes.
Now, in a large pan, heat up the butter, cardamom, garlic, cinnamon, anise, and bay leaves. Cook this mixture until fragrant, then add all other spices to the mixture and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes. Add in the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent.
Now, you will pour in the canned tomatoes, the drained soaked cashews, and stir until combined. Cook this on low heat for 30-minutes stirring occasionally. You may add water or broth if it becomes too thick.
Remove the larger spices like the anise, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Now, you will use an immersion blender or blender to puree the sauce.
Pour back into your stockpot with the cream and chopped chicken pieces. Stir until well combined, and bring the mixture to a boil stirring occasionally.
Once at boiling point, remove from heat immediately to prevent the cream from separating and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
Chicken Marinade Ingredients:
- 2 lbs (1kg) boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
- 1 lime, juiced
- 2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp garam masala
Butter Chicken Curry Ingredients:
- 4 cardamom pods, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 stars anise, crushed
- 5 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tbsp chili flakes
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- ½ cup raw cashew nuts, soaked
- ½ cup full-fat cream
- 800 g (28 oz) canned tomatoes
- Optional: Lime slices and chopped cilantro to garnish
- In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, garam masala, lime juice, ginger garlic paste, and paprika;
- Add the chicken breasts to the marinade mixture, cover, and refrigerate for 4 hours;
- While the chicken is marinating, you can soak your cashews;
- 15 minutes before you are ready to begin cooking, preheat the oven to 230ºC/450ºF.
- Remove the chicken from the marinade and pat off any excess yogurt then place in an even layer on a baking dish to bake for 15 minutes;
- Allow the chicken to cool slightly and then cut into large cubes, the chicken will be slightly pink in the middle, this is okay;
- In a large stockpot, heat the butter, cardamom, garlic, cinnamon, anise, and bay leaves until fragrant,
- Next, add all other spices to the mixture and cook for 1-2 minutes before adding in the onion and garlic to cook until the onion is translucent;
- Now, you will pour in the canned tomatoes, the drained soaked cashews, and stir until combined. Cook this on low heat for 30-minutes stirring occasionally. You may add water or broth if it becomes too thick.
- Remove the larger spices like the anise, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Now, you will use an immersion blender or blender to puree the sauce.
- Pour back into your stockpot with the cream and chopped chicken pieces. Stir until well combined, and bring the mixture to a boil stirring occasionally.
- Once at boiling point, remove from heat immediately to prevent the cream from separating and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.
This recipe can be made with boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 558Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 176mgSodium: 1068mgCarbohydrates: 17.9gNet Carbohydrates: 13.4gFiber: 4.5gSugar: 7.5gProtein: 50.6g