butter chicken recipe

Butter Chicken Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Creamiest Indian Dish

Butter chicken is a much-loved dish from India that has won the hearts of food lovers everywhere. Known for its creamy texture and tasty spices, it’s a dish that brings joy to any meal.

The story of butter chicken begins in Delhi, India, around the 1950s. It’s said that chefs at the famous Moti Mahal restaurant created it by chance, using leftover tandoori chicken. They simmered the chicken in a rich tomato sauce with cream and butter, giving birth to this iconic dish.

In this blog, we’ll take you on a journey through the world of butter chicken. From its humble origins to its modern-day popularity, we’ll explore every aspect of this delicious dish. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, there’s something here for you. So, join us as we dive into the spices, flavours, and techniques that make butter chicken so special. Stick around until the end for expert tips, mouth-watering butter chicken recipe, and everything you need to know to master this classic Indian dish.

Understanding the Ingredients

Assorted Indian spices including turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder, etc.

Explore the fundamental elements that makeup butter chicken, one of India’s most adored dishes. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the essential ingredients responsible for imparting the dish’s distinctive flavour and texture.

From succulent boneless chicken thighs to fragrant garam masala and velvety coconut milk, each component plays a vital role in achieving the perfect harmony of tastes. Join us as we delve into the significance of using fresh ingredients in Indian cuisine and uncover the secrets behind the allure of butter chicken!

Essential Ingredients for Butter Chicken

  1. Boneless Chicken Thighs: Tender and succulent skinless chicken thighs are the star of this dish.
  2. Boneless Chicken Breast: Chicken Breasts are also used quite a lot in butter chicken and can be a good and healthy option.
  3. Garam Masala: A fragrant blend of spices that lends warmth and depth to the dish.
  4. Coconut Milk: Creamy and rich, coconut milk adds a luxurious texture to the sauce.
  5. Chili Powder: Red Chili Powder Provides a subtle kick of heat and adds complexity to the flavour profile.
  6. Lemon Juice: Offers a hint of tanginess to balance the richness of the sauce.
  7. Fresh Ginger and Garlic: Aromatic and pungent, these ingredients infuse the dish with bold flavours.
  8. Tomato Puree: Puree from fresh tomatoes forms the base of the sauce, imparting a vibrant colour and tangy sweetness.
  9. Heavy Cream: Adds velvety smoothness and richness to the sauce, creating that signature buttery taste.

Importance of Fresh Ingredients in Indian Cooking

Fresh ingredients are the cornerstone of Indian cuisine, and their quality plays a crucial role in the final dish. Using fresh produce ensures vibrant flavours, aromatic richness, and nutritional value in every bite. Whether it’s the plump tomatoes for the sauce, the fragrant ginger and garlic, or the tender chicken, fresh ingredients elevate the taste and authenticity of Indian dishes like butter chicken. By prioritising freshness, you can truly capture the essence of Indian cooking and delight your senses with each mouthful.

Preparing the Chicken Marinade

Tender marinated chicken fillets ready for cooking

Marinating the Chicken: Key Steps

Marinating the chicken is a crucial step in preparing homemade butter chicken. Follow these essential steps to ensure maximum flavour:

  1. Mixing Spices: Combine garam masala, chili powder, ginger, garlic, lemon juice, and yogurt in a bowl.
  2. Coating Chicken: Rub the spice mixture onto the chicken pieces, ensuring they are evenly coated.
  3. Refrigeration: Cover the marinated chicken and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, allowing the flavours to infuse.

Incorporating Yogurt Marinade for Tender Chicken

Yogurt serves as a tenderising agent in the marinade, ensuring the chicken remains juicy and succulent. Its acidic properties help break down proteins, resulting in tender and flavourful meat.

Balancing Spices for Authentic Flavours

Achieving the perfect balance of spices is essential for an authentic butter chicken experience. Garam masala adds warmth and depth, while chili powder provides a subtle kick of heat. Ginger and garlic offer aromatic richness, while lemon juice adds a touch of tanginess. By carefully balancing these spices, you can create a dish that is bursting with flavour and true to its Indian roots.

Step 1 : Sautéing Aromatics: Ginger, Garlic, and Onions

In a heated pan with a drizzle of oil, the kitchen fills with the irresistible aroma of finely chopped ginger, garlic, and onions as they sizzle away. The gentle heat coaxes out their natural sweetness, while their aromatic essence infuses the dish with depth of flavour. The golden-brown hue signifies the perfect balance of caramelisation and tenderness, laying the foundation for a truly mouth-watering butter chicken.

Step 2 : Adding Spice Mix and Tomato Puree

With the aromatics at their prime, it’s time to introduce the star players: the spice mix and tomato puree. The fragrant blend of garam masala and chili powder is added to the pan, where it dances and sizzles, releasing its tantalising fragrance. As the spices toast gently, they awaken the senses, promising a symphony of flavours to come. Then, the velvety richness of the tomato puree joins the mix, infusing the dish with its vibrant colour and tangy sweetness. Together, they form the heart and soul of the butter chicken sauce, laying the groundwork for a culinary masterpiece.

Step 3 : Simmering the Sauce to Perfection

As the sauce gently simmers on the stove, magic unfolds in the kitchen. The rich aroma of spices fills the air, mingling with the sweet tang of tomatoes to create an irresistible fragrance that tantalises the taste buds. With each passing minute, the sauce thickens and intensifies, developing a depth of flavour that is simply unparalleled. Stirring occasionally, the chef watches with anticipation as the sauce transforms into a luscious, velvety masterpiece, ready to envelop the tender chicken pieces in its embrace.

Step 4 : Cooking Chicken in the Creamy Tomato Base

Finally, it’s time to introduce the star of the show: the marinated chicken. As the succulent pieces are gently nestled into the simmering sauce, they eagerly soak up its rich flavours, becoming tender and infused with the essence of spices. With each passing moment, the chicken cooks to perfection, its juices mingling with the creamy tomato base to create a symphony of flavours that dance on the palate. As the dish nears completion, the anticipation builds, culminating in a culinary masterpiece that is sure to delight even the most discerning of palates.

Serving Suggestions

Delicious butter chicken dish accompanied by fragrant rice

Enhance your butter chicken experience with these delightful serving suggestions:

Pairing Butter Chicken with Basmati Rice

Serve your butter chicken alongside fluffy basmati rice for a satisfying meal. The fragrant aroma and delicate texture of basmati rice perfectly complement the rich and creamy flavours of the dish.

Garnishing Tips: Fresh Cilantro and Cream

Add a finishing touch to your butter chicken by garnishing it with freshly chopped cilantro and a drizzle of cream. The vibrant green cilantro adds a pop of colour and freshness, while the cream lends a luxurious creaminess to the dish.

Complementary Side Dishes: Naan Bread and Raita

Complete your butter chicken feast with warm naan bread and refreshing raita. The soft and pillowy naan bread is ideal for scooping up the creamy sauce, while the cool and tangy raita provides a refreshing contrast to the rich flavours of the dish.

Variations and Adaptations

Delicious Paneer curry in rich brown sauce

Discover creative twists on the classic butter chicken recipe with these variations and adaptations:

Healthier Alternatives: Using Coconut Oil or Low-Fat Options

For a lighter version of butter chicken, consider using coconut oil instead of butter and opting for low-fat dairy products. Coconut oil adds a hint of tropical flavour while reducing saturated fat content. You can also use low-fat yogurt or milk to achieve a creamy texture without compromising on taste.

Vegetarian or Vegan Options: Substituting Chicken with Tofu or Paneer

Explore vegetarian or vegan alternatives by replacing the chicken with tofu or paneer (Indian cottage cheese). Tofu absorbs flavours beautifully and offers a protein-rich option for vegetarians. Paneer, with its creamy texture, provides a satisfying substitute for chicken. Pair these alternatives with the same aromatic spices and creamy sauce for a delicious meat-free version of butter chicken.

Slow Cooker Method for Convenience

Make butter chicken effortlessly with the convenience of a slow cooker. Simply combine all the ingredients in the slow cooker and let them simmer for several hours on low heat. This method allows the flavours to meld together slowly, resulting in tender and flavourful chicken. Perfect for busy days or when you want to enjoy a fuss-free meal without compromising on taste.

Tips for Success

Homemade Indian butter chicken curry garnished with fresh cilantro

Master the art of preparing butter chicken with these expert tips for success:

Achieving the Perfect Balance of Flavours

To create a truly memorable butter chicken dish, it’s essential to achieve the perfect balance of flavours. Experiment with the quantities of spices, acidity from lemon juice, and richness from cream to find the ideal harmony. Taste as you go and adjust accordingly until you achieve a well-balanced blend of sweet, spicy, and tangy flavours.

Adjusting Spice Levels to Suit Personal Preference

Everyone has their own tolerance for spice, so feel free to adjust the spice levels in your butter chicken to suit your personal preference. If you prefer a milder dish, reduce the amount of chili powder or omit it altogether. Conversely, if you enjoy a fiery kick, increase the amount of chili powder or add a dash of cayenne pepper for extra heat.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Butter Chicken Preparation

Avoid common pitfalls in butter chicken preparation by following these tips:

  • Ensure that the chicken is marinated for an adequate amount of time to allow the flavours to penetrate.
  • Use fresh, high-quality ingredients for the best results.
  • Be cautious when adding salt, as some ingredients like garam masala may already contain salt.
  • Do not overcook the chicken, as it can become tough and dry.
  • Be patient while simmering the sauce, as this allows the flavours to develop fully.

By keeping these tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to creating a mouth-watering butter chicken that will impress even the most discerning palates.

Butter Chicken Around the World

Delicious Indian butter chicken served with traditional roti and rice in a cozy Indian household setting

Discover the global journey of butter chicken, from its popularity in Indian restaurants to its regional variations and significance in South Asian cuisine:

Popularity of Butter Chicken in Indian Restaurants Globally

Butter chicken has become a global sensation, gracing the menus of Indian restaurants across the world. Its creamy texture, rich flavour, and aromatic spices have made it a favourite among diners everywhere, from bustling cities to quaint towns. Whether served in high-end establishments or casual eateries, butter chicken continues to draw crowds with its irresistible charm.

Regional Variations and Interpretations of the Dish

While butter chicken originated in Delhi, its recipe has evolved over time, resulting in a myriad of regional variations and interpretations. In Punjab, for example, butter chicken may feature a more robust tomato base, while in South India, coconut milk may be added for a hint of sweetness. Internationally, chefs may put their own spin on the dish, incorporating local ingredients and techniques to create unique renditions.

Butter Chicken’s Place in South Asian Cuisine

Butter chicken holds a revered position in South Asian culinary traditions, alongside other iconic dishes such as biryani and tikka masala. Its creamy texture and indulgent flavours make it a popular choice for special occasions, family gatherings, and celebrations. Whether paired with naan bread or rice, butter chicken embodies the essence of comfort food, bringing people together through its rich and satisfying taste.

Himalaya Restaurant: Serving the Best Butter Chicken in Sydney

Indulge your taste buds at Himalaya Restaurant, where we pride ourselves on serving the finest butter chicken in Sydney. Nestled in the heart of the city, our restaurant offers a culinary journey like no other, with our signature butter chicken stealing the spotlight.

Delicious Indian Butter Chicken To-Go: Order Now!

Savour the creamy richness and aromatic spices that define our butter chicken, lovingly prepared by our skilled chefs using traditional recipes passed down through generations. Each bite is a symphony of flavours, guaranteed to tantalise your senses and leave you craving for more.

Experience the warmth of our hospitality as you dine in our inviting atmosphere, surrounded by the vibrant energy of Sydney. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or simply craving a delicious meal, Himalaya Restaurant promises an unforgettable culinary experience.

Join us at Himalaya Restaurant and discover why we’re renowned for serving the best butter chicken in Sydney. Come taste the difference today!


In conclusion, butter chicken stands as a testament to the allure and versatility of Indian cuisine. Its creamy texture, rich flavours, and aromatic spices have captivated taste buds around the world, making it a beloved dish in Indian restaurants and home kitchens alike. From its humble origins in Delhi to its global popularity, butter chicken continues to delight and inspire food enthusiasts everywhere.

As we bid farewell, we encourage you to embark on your own culinary adventure by trying your hand at making butter chicken at home using our easy-to-follow Indian food recipes. With our comprehensive guide and expert tips, you’ll be well-equipped to recreate this iconic dish in your own kitchen.

Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice cook, the joy of preparing and savouring butter chicken knows no bounds. So gather your ingredients, don your apron, and let the aromatic spices transport you to the vibrant world of Indian flavours. Get ready to experience the magic of butter chicken like never before!

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