Easy Butter Chicken is a perfect ‘Friday fakeaway’ recipe that brings the essence of an Indian restaurant right to your own kitchen. The dish originates in North India and is known as Murgh Makhani. After marinating the chicken, you can bring it to the table in less than 30 minutes.

easy butter chicken with cream and coriander

WHAT IS BUTTER CHICKEN

Easy Butter Chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a classic North Indian dish that has gained international popularity for its rich and creamy sauce. The dish features marinated chicken pieces immersed in a delicious sauce made from tomatoes, cream, and a lot of spices. Its vibrant orange hue and aromatic flavours make it a favourite among food enthusiasts!

easy butter chicken with cream and coriander

BEST INGREDIENTS FOR BUTTER CHICKEN

  • Chicken breast: Choose fresh, boneless, and skinless chicken breasts.
  • Natural yoghurt: Use natural yoghurt to marinate the chicken, providing a tangy base and tenderising the meat.
  • Aromatics and spices: Aromatics and spices used in this recipe help to recreate an authentic Indian flavour experience.
  • Tomato passata and puree: These ingredients form the base of the sauce, providing a rich, smooth texture and a slightly sweet undertone.
  • Ghee: After a few tests I found that ghee (clarified butter) works best in this recipe, however, it may not be easy to find. Substitution of oil and butter also works great.
  • Cream: Double cream (or heavy cream in the US) helps to achieve a very creamy, velvety sauce.
  • Basmati rice or naan bread: These are classic sides for serving butter chicken.
easy butter chicken with cream and coriander

HOW TO MAKE EASY BUTTER CHICKEN

Please note: This is just an overview – the full ingredients and directions are in the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

Step 1: Marinate the chicken: Mix yoghurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, chilli powder, coriander, paprika, and salt. Coat the chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or overnight for best results.

Step 2: Prepare the sauce: Blend onion, garlic, and ginger into a paste. Sauté in ghee (or oil and butter). Add spices, then the marinated chicken. Cook until sealed.

Step 3: Spice it up: Add tomato passata, puree, cardamom pods, salt, sugar, and kasuri methi. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 4: Add cream and serve: Pour in double/heavy cream. Adjust seasoning. Garnish and serve over rice or with naan bread.

easy butter chicken step by step

STORING AND FREEZING TIPS

If you find yourself with leftovers, Easy Butter Chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To freeze, transfer the cooled dish into freezer-safe containers, leaving some space for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently on the stove, adding a splash of cream to restore its original texture.

TOP TIPS

  • Marinate the chicken: Don’t rush the marination process. Allowing the chicken to marinate for an extended period (preferably overnight) ensures it absorbs the flavours and gets super tender.
  • Quality cream: Invest in good-quality heavy cream. It not only enhances the creaminess but also contributes to the overall richness of the dish.
  • Balance of flavours: Taste as you go. Adjust the seasoning with salt and sugar to achieve the perfect balance of sweet, savoury, and spicy notes.
  • Fresh spices: Whenever possible, use freshly ground spices for a more vibrant and aromatic flavour profile.
easy butter chicken with cream and coriander

WHAT TO SERVE WITH BUTTER CHICKEN

Besides the classic basmati rice and naan bread, consider serving it with aromatic jeera rice, fluffy pulao, or even crispy papadums for added texture. A side of refreshing cucumber raita or a tangy mango chutney can also work great with Butter Chicken.

You may also enjoy…

Juicy Garlic Parmesan Chicken Thighs with Baby Potatoes

The Best Homemade Cottage Pie

One-Pan Creamy Parmesan Tuscan Chicken

Authentic Chicken Quesadilla

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

FAQ

Can I use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts?

Absolutely! You can use chicken thighs if you prefer. Follow the same steps as per the recipe.

Is Easy Butter Chicken very spicy?

Butter chicken is one of the mildest curry recipes, but the level of spiciness can be adjusted to your preference. You can reduce the amount of chilli powder or omit it entirely.

Can I make this dish ahead of time for a dinner party?

Certainly! Easy Butter Chicken is a great dish to prepare ahead of time for a dinner party. In fact, it often tastes even better! You can prepare the dish a day in advance and refrigerate it. Reheat gently in a pan before serving, adding a splash of cream to revive its creaminess.

Easy Butter Chicken

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by Magda | Good Food Discoveries Course: DinnerCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

1

hour 
Cooking time

25

minutes
Calories

455

kcal
Total time

1

hour 

25

minutes

Easy Butter Chicken is a perfect ‘Friday fakeaway’ recipe that brings the essence of an Indian restaurant right to your own kitchen. The dish originates in North India and is known as Murgh Makhani. After marinating the chicken, you can bring it to the table in less than 30 minutes.

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INGREDIENTS

  • For the marinade:
  • 600g chicken breasts (approx. 4 medium breasts), diced

  • 120g (1/2 cup) natural yoghurt

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

  • 1/2-inch piece of fresh ginger, finely grated

  • 1 tsp garam masala

  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder

  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • pinch of salt

  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or 1 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp unsalted butter)

  • 1 large onion, peeled and quartered

  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled

  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled

  • 1 tsp ground turmeric

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp coriander

  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder

  • 2 tsp garam masala

  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 400ml (14oz) tomato passata

  • 1 tbsp tomato puree/paste

  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste

  • 1 tsp sugar

  • 3 cardamom pods

  • 250ml (1 cup) double cream (heavy cream)

  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)

  • Fresh coriander/cilantro, for garnish

  • Cooked basmati rice or naan bread for serving

DIRECTIONS

  • Marinate the chicken: In a bowl, combine yoghurt, minced garlic, grated ginger, garam masala, chilli powder, coriander, paprika and salt. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade, ensuring each piece is well coated. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or overnight for best results.
  • In a food processor, blend the quartered onion, garlic cloves, and ginger until you have a smooth paste.
  • In a large frying pan, melt ghee (or oil and butter) over medium heat. Add the onion-garlic-ginger paste and sauté for about 1-2 minutes.
  • Add the ground turmeric, cumin, coriander, chilli powder, cinnamon and garam masala. Stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  • Add marinated chicken and combine with the paste and spices. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until sealed.
  • Pour in the tomato passata and tomato puree. Add cardamom pods, salt, sugar and kasuri methi. Stir the sauce, bring to a boil, then lower the heat and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add double/heavy cream and combine well with the sauce. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning with salt and a pinch of sugar to balance the flavours.
  • Serve over basmati rice or with warm naan bread. Garnish with coriander/cilantro and a drizzle of cream if desired. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Easy Butter Chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To freeze, transfer the cooled dish into freezer-safe containers, leaving some space for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Don’t rush the marination process. Allowing the chicken to marinate for an extended period (preferably overnight) ensures it absorbs the flavours and gets super tender.
  • The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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