Butter Chicken

Butter chicken – oh yeah!

If I had to choose my top 5 dishes – there is no doubt in my mind that butter chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, would make the list. I love Indian curry dishes, and while I am a big fan of spicy dishes, the mild and almost sweetness of this butter chicken curry makes it a huge fan favourite.

Butter chicken is a dish I have made regularly for probably around 15 years. I have made it for many family and friends throughout that time and I regularly get requests to make it.

One thing I love about butter chicken is that my wife and kids love this meal. My three kids flip out any time I make it. In fact, this time, when they walked in the house after school, they could smell it and screamed “Yes, butter chicken!” – I mean, who does not love that kind of response from their kids.

Indian Butter Chicken Recipe Easy Curry

The first ingredient in this recipe is ghee. If you have never heard of that, do not let it scare you away from this recipe. Ghee is just clarified butter and if you cannot find it, standard butter will work just fine as well.

While I use cubed chicken breast, you could also use chicken thighs as well. There have been a few times that chicken thighs were on sale and I used them for the butter chicken and it turned out just awesome. Either one works.

One thing about this recipe is that you will find it results in a lot of sauce. Personally, I find people love the sauce and spoon a little extra on the rice. Along with the spices, the sauce is made up of a can of crushed tomatoes and some heavy cream. Over the years, I have tried yogurt (which I believe is the more traditional choice), 10% cream and heavy cream. I find that the taste and texture is best with the heavy cream. It is rich and creamy with a mild and sweet curry flavour.

Indian Butter Chicken Recipe Easy Curry

Anytime I make butter chicken, there are a couple other super tasty Indian dishes I also cook, so that we have an nice Indian dinner. Masoor dal and Bhindi Sabzi are a couple dishes that I make and go quite well with the butter chicken. Those recipes will be posted in the next week!

Check out the video to see how to make this delicious dish!

Butter Chicken

Indian Butter Chicken Recipe Easy Curry
4.50 out of 5
6 reviews
How to make Butter Chicken with this simple recipe. This mild Indian curry dish uses chicken breasts or thighs with a curry sauce made with tomatoes, cream and spices.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6


  • 1/3 cup ghee or butter
  • 1 onion thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken breast cubed
  • 1 can (28oz) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream


  • Melt ghee in a large dutch oven or pot, over medium heat
  • Add onion, garlic, ginger and all the spices.
  • Cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the cubed chicken and sauté stirring constantly until the chicken has turned white. If you find that the spices are starting to stick to the bottom of the pot, you can add a little water (around a 1/2 cup).
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes and honey.
  • Cook for 5 minutes and lower heat.
  • Pour in the cream and simmer for about 30 minutes.
  • Serve over rice and garnish with fresh cilantro.


Per serving:

Calories: 551kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 37gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 204mgSodium: 960mgFiber: 4gSugar: 11g

Nutrition Disclaimer


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Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

4.50 from 6 votes

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Recipe Rating


  • Update:
    As a favor for may daughter, who has problems tolerating dairy, I needed a cream (or any dairy) substitute. I found a can of unsweetened coconut cream, tasted it and said, “oh yeah, baby…”

    WARNING: it’s a completely different dish now. With the cream, it has a “tangy” flavor, but (as I mentioned before) “silky” as well. With the coconut cream, there’s ZERO tanginess. It now reminds me of a really weak Thai version. The only other factor I can think of was the can of crushed tomatoes. I didn’t have a can of crushed handy, but had a large can of whole tomatoes, that I crushed to smithereens and used. Perhaps there’s a difference in the total tomato content that’s the culprit?

    Oh well, live and learn… Just thought someone might want to hear my experience because I noticed someone below asked about dairy substitutes as well. Good luck!

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    I’ve always considered an Indian yellow curry, from scratch, an unobtainable feat for me, until now. You have that gift of reducing things down to the level that even I can understand. Thank you!

    I cooked this dish last weekend and it was a hit. Much more enjoyable that the canned Thai paste I’ve always felt obliged to use. Just today I stopped by an Indian restaurant (I’m out of town currently) and had a bowl of theirs and it was bang-on with your recipe, but maybe a little spicier while yours was a bit “silkier.” Both were equally enjoyable. I’m cooking another batch when I get home next week. Thanks again, Steve!

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    My family absolutely loved this recipe! Thanks so much for sharing it!

    • Reply
  • 4 stars
    This recipe tastes almost exactly like the Butter Chicken served at our local Indian restaurant (authentic mom and pop shop, not a chain). The differences are very slight and wouldn’t be noticeable without a side by side comparison. Take it for what it is worth, but no question that this recipe makes the grade as far as tasting authentic. We eat far too much of this fantastic dish!

    • Reply
    • Can the curry be frozen? It’s only my husband and myself so the recipe would make far too much.

      • Reply
  • 4 stars
    Fantastic recipe 👍 I’ve added to my most favourite meals

    • Reply
    • So glad you enjoyed it. One of our favourites as well.

      • Reply
  • 4 stars
    It looks like it is has a nice tasty home curry base, easy to make after a day’s work, but I’d be interested, even surprised, if this actually tastes like a typical butter chicken.
    It is missing several ingredients (eg green cardamom, garam masala, sometimes also mace/asafoetida), the key one (fenugreek leaves), some items are substitutions, eg paprika for deseeded long green chillies (paprika being the dried red bell pepper, but the long green ones being like fresh capsicum) and cayenne is used here rather than Kashmiri chilli powder.
    Ratio of garlic to ginger is different in your recipe (though I’ve heard you need more ginger with GMO Ginger)
    Also, broiler chicken breast, while less fatty than thigh cuts, is less forgiving. It needs very little cooking to make it succulent, almost like seafood this way, otherwise it is rubbery and tough.
    side note – It’s hard to look at a chicken breast the same way after learning the history of the broiler, being bred that way so that the breast is so heavy the chicken can’t even stand up!

    • Reply
  • Big Indian food fan here, this recipe looks and sounds delicious. My SigOther is lactose intolerant – any suggestions for what to use in place of the cream? Would lactose-free sour cream work?? Thanks!

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing! The sauce is indeed delicious.
    The second time around I wanted to make 50% more, but only had one pound of chicken. So I used a pound of potatoes and a pound of cauliflower. This was amazing as well.
    I’m going to make the next batch with just the potatoes and cauliflower for a vegetarian friend.

    • Reply
  • Fantastic recepies here.

    • Reply
  • I’ve never made anything like this, but it sounds delicious. Thanks for sharing your recipe on MM. Pinned.

    • Reply

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