Ready in under 45 minutes, this Indian butter chicken is an easy weeknight dinner recipe your family will gobble right up!
There is a glaring omission in the recipe repertoire of FoodieCrush which I am in the process of remedying as we speak. Chicken. Simple, easy and basic chicken.
While this recipe for Indian butter chicken tastes far from basic, it’s one I really can’t forget to share and is so simple to bring together that it works great as a weeknight meal. Even the picky kids will love its creamy, tomato flavor. Well, minus those pesky peas of course.
I’m such a fan of chicken thighs. I know, everyone boasts about the virtues of boneless chicken breast but where’s the flavor? It’s all in the thighs, people.
What other veggies I could throw into the butter chicken mix. Broccoli? Mmm, maybe. Carrots for sure. Mushrooms are an absolute yes, but I love mushrooms. Maybe even zucchini? Mmmm, I think so.
What is Butter Chicken?
If you’ve never tried Indian butter chicken before, I’m so sorry. Because you’ve been missing out your whole life!
Essentially, butter chicken is a creamy chicken dish that’s made with a spiced tomato sauce. As the name suggests, it’s made with a healthy amount of butter and heavy cream. It’s not super spicy, but you’re welcome to amp up the heat if desired.
What’s in This Butter Chicken?
Most of the ingredients needed for this easy butter chicken recipe are spices and other aromatics. You may have to buy a few for this recipe, but they can all be used in lots of other recipes too.
For this Indian butter chicken, you’ll need:
- Vegetable oil
- Tomato paste
- Tomato sauce
- Bay leaf
- Chicken thighs
- Salt and pepper
- Frozen peas
- Fresh cilantro
How to Make Butter Chicken
To make this Indian butter chicken, first cook the diced onion in a little olive oil and butter until translucent. Add the spices to the skillet and continue cooking until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste and sauce, along with the bay leaf.
Slowly stir in the cream, then bring to a boil before turning down the heat and simmering for 5 minutes.
In a separate skillet, cook the diced chicken in a buttered and oiled skillet until it’s brown on all sides. Transfer the chicken to the tomato cream sauce and continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink on the inside.
Add the peas and remaining butter to the sauce and continue cooking until the peas are heated through. Serve the butter chicken over basmati rice, then garnish with lime and cilantro.
Is There a Cream Substitute I Can Use?
If you’re trying to make this butter chicken recipe a little healthier, you may be able to use full fat plain Greek yogurt in place of all or part of the cream. I’ve never made this recipe as such, but you can give it a shot. Let me know if you make it this way!
Can I Prep This in Advance?
As with most recipes, Indian butter chicken is best the day it’s made, but leftovers reheat well thanks to the tomato cream sauce. If you have leftovers or want to meal prep this recipe, I recommend reheating it in a saucepan with the lid on to prevent the chicken from drying out.
Depending on how much sauce you have left over, you may need to add a splash of cream to the pan as well to loosen up the leftover chicken.
Tips for Making Indian Butter Chicken
If you only have chicken breasts on hand, go ahead and use them in this easy butter chicken recipe. Thighs have the most flavor though, I’m telling you!
If you prefer spicy Indian dishes, you can add a dash of cayenne to this recipe. A little goes a long way, so be careful.
Finally, you can add in lots of other veggies to this butter chicken, if desired. I kept things super simple with frozen peas, but pretty much any vegetable tastes divine in the tomato cream sauce.
More Easy Chicken Recipes You’ll Love
- Easy Tandoori Chicken with Vegetables
- 7 Spice Teriyaki Chicken Rice Bowls
- Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon Rosemary Butter
- Easy Shredded Chicken and Zucchini Tacos
- Honey Mustard Chicken
- The Best Baked Chicken Breasts
Indian Butter Chicken
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil divided
- 4 tablespoons butter divided
- 1 onion diced
- 3 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 pound boneless chicken thighs cut into 1 inch pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup frozen peas defrosted
- ½ lime
- Cilantro leaves for garnish
- In a large, high-sided skillet or 6-quart pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter. Add onion and cook for 4-5 minutes or until translucent.
- Add garam masala, ground ginger and chili powder and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.
- Stir in tomato paste, tomato sauce and bay leaf and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add cream, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, season chicken with kosher salt and pepper. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter to a large skillet over medium-high heat and add chicken. Cook for 4-5 minutes or until chicken is lightly browned on all sides.
- Transfer chicken to tomato cream sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
- Add peas and remaining butter to sauce and cook until peas are warmed through and butter is melted. Garnish with lime and cilantro leaves and serve with basmati rice.
This week started off slightly off-kilter thanks to a flu bug that will keep me from enjoying Mexican food again for a good long while. Such a shame.
Thanks to this bug-imposed cleanse, I spent the entire day of Monday bed-bound which gave me the chance to catch up on all residual episodes of the new season of Real Housewives of OC plus reruns of BH and Atlanta. Sometimes you just need to let your mind not think. Which makes a perfect match with anything on Bravo. I heart Bravo.
After a full day mind-suck filled with 4-inch heels and plenty of contrived circumstances (shockingly placed hand to heart as my jaw drops at just the right banal beat) I balanced out the vixen-fest with my DVR’d episodes of Dr. Oz.
I find myself intrigued with his cheesy visuals of fat expanding in the body or how the liver detoxifies that circle the really good, solid health information he actually delivers. Even if my husband says it’s more like an informercial and some of it simply isn’t pretty. I on the other hand, can’t keep from perusing through each and every episode.
By Wednesday I figured I may as well keep the unscheduled cleanse going which resulted in this:
With a swift print of a 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath and Beyond and not much food yet in my stomach, the decision to buy the tricked out 900 Watt Breville Juice Fountain was easily made. My justification was food blogger research —aka tax write-off —and hey, it’s almost Mother’s Day. Plus, I WAS SICK!
We’ll see how long this juicing thing lasts. But with husband on board and his obsession with cucumber juice in full swing with a 7-iron in hand as we speak, this Very Green Juice with kiwi and cucumber is at the top of the weekend’s recipe list. After we get our tomatoes planted.
If they would have taught music history like this I may have actually stayed awake because I would have been singing and along.
In for the save! An on-demand aka printable Mother’s Day card that’ll get you that extra piece of pie.
A future contender on The Voice and she’s only eleven years old. Proud to say she’s a Utahn too.
My mom and Oprah told me I should read this book about loss and healing through inner strength. And a lot of hiking boots.
Schmooze or lose: a lesson in business that doesn’t have to be cheesy. Unless, like me, you love cheese.
After perusing blogs heavy on photos of cupcakes, chicken wings and barrels of pasta, I sometimes like to lose myself in these short stories that bring me along on the journey of two brothers in search of simple adventures.
Have you fallen victim to fellow diners who always want to split the meal but then stiff the tip? This free tip calculator app lets you leave the table still as friends and with your head held high.
I am such a bath whore, savoring my nightly ritual no matter what time I go to bed. These DIY bath salts will make my soak that much more stellar.
Craving more life balance, less stress, and better health? Check out my Nourished Planner, the daily planner to help create simplicity and under-schedule your life.
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