This Indian butter chicken is packed with flavor and quick to prepare. A great dinner to add to the Indian dish rotation.

We eat our fare share of Indian-inspired cuisine around here.

Not only are the recipes usually fairly quick, but saucy chicken and rice is right up my family’s eating alley.

A white dish with rice and Indian chicken and sauce on top.

For the record, I usually make enough modifications and changes to blow the recipes right out of the running for ethnic authenticity, but despite that, the meals still taste fantastic and my toddlers don’t know the difference between true-blue-traditional or mom’s-shortcuts-to-preserve-sanity-and-calories.

This butter chicken is another fabulous addition to our Indian rotation.

Don’t be deceived by the recipe title: the chicken doesn’t simmer in a vat of butter (although the thought happens to be quite enticing). Instead, a few tablespoons of butter are stirred into the sauce at the end of cooking to round out the flavors and give a nice silky dimension to the mixture.

Packed with flavor and quick to prepare, this dish has been well-devoured by adult and child alike each time I’ve made it in the last few months.

P.S. As you’ll notice, that is pure, lovely white rice in those pictures. After a long run of making brown rice for nearly every applicable meal, I had run plumb out and served this meal with white rice. My husband’s traitorous response when he sat down to the table: “Oh, white rice, how I have missed thee!” Here’s to trying to teach old dogs new eating habits.

White dish with white rice and chicken with Indian butter sauce on top.

What To Serve With This:

Baked Brown Rice
Steamed peas or broccoli, or this Curried Cauliflower Popcorn
Fresh fruit

One Year Ago: Perfect Roasted Asparagus
Two Years Ago: Skillet Creamy Mac and Cheese
Three Years Ago: Unbelievable Carrot Cake


Indian Butter Chicken

4.76 stars (91 ratings)


  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded, and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive or canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • ½ cup fat free or regular half-and-half
  • 1 ½ pounds about 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • Hot cooked rice for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for extra garnish


  • In a large 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over medium heat until hot. Add the onion, ginger and jalapeno. Stir often while cooking until the onion is translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Stir in garlic, garam masala, chili powder, cardamom, and coriander. Cook stirring, constantly for another minute.
  • Scrape the mixture into a blender or food processor and add tomato paste and chicken broth. Blend until the mixture is smooth. Pour the sauce back into the skillet and add the half and half.
  • Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and add the chicken pieces and the salt and pepper. Stir. Keep the sauce at a simmer, stirring occasionally, and cook for 10-15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has slightly thickened.
  • Cut remaining 3 tablespoons butter into chunks and stir into the sauce until melted. Serve the chicken and sauce over hot rice. Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro, if desired.


Cream: I lightened up the recipe using fat free half-and-half in place of the heavy cream. If you don’t want to buy a special ingredient and have heavy cream (or regular half-and-half) on hand, they will both work just fine.
Serving: 1 Serving, Calories: 273kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Cholesterol: 95mg, Sodium: 1095mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 5g

Recipe Source: inspired by this recipe from Good Life Eats