Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a very popular dish in India and lots of other countries. Butter chicken can be cooked in many variations and it depends what taste you like. You can find this in every restaurant in India and in Indian restaurants in other countries.

In this recipe, chicken is marinated with spices and cooked in oven or pan and then added to a gravy made with tomato puree, spices, cream and ofcourse, butter.

I came across a recipe of butter chicken in some magazine or newspaper (I do not remember), when I was doing my college studies. I tried it at home and it came so well that I could not believe that the butter chicken I made was so good and tasty. Even my family liked it. Then it went on and I still make butter chicken after 6 yrs and now all my friends like it too. The same can be made with paneer (cottage cheese) as well and is called Butter paneer.

I have made butter chicken by using milk and then added cream at last. It has a very buttery, soft, smooth and creamy texture. It is not spicy but a little sweet

In future I will show some more butter chicken recipes with slight changes. Butter chicken goes well with naan, pulav, chapathi or pulkha (roti).


  • Chicken with bones - 700 gms
  • Marinade

  • Ginger and garlic paste - 2 tbsp
  • Chilli powder (Kashmiri chilli powder) - 1 tsp
  • Curd (thick) - 1/2 cup (100 ml)
  • Colour - a pinch (optional)
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Gravy or sauce

  • Oil or butter - 1 tbsp
  • Tomatoes (6-7 medium size) - 700 gms (chopped roughly)
  • Cumin seeds - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger and garlic paste - 1 tbsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chilli powder - 2 tsp
  • Cardamom - 5
  • Cloves - 5
  • Bay leaves - 2
  • Cinnamon stick (1 inch) - 2
  • Milk - 3/4 cup
  • Tomato ketchup - 6 to 7 tbsp
  • Sugar - 2 to 3 tsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Colour - a pinch (optional)
  • Cream - 1/4 cup
  • Water - 1 cup
  • Kasoori methi powder - 1 tsp


  • Mix curd and other spices in a bowl and add the chicken into it. Mix well so that each piece is well coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for 4 hrs to overnight. The curd should be thick. You can see that my marinade in the photos is not very thick as the curd I used was thin. Thicker the marinade, well coated is the chicken and better is cooked chicken.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celcius for about 10 minutes. Place the chicken pieces in the tray covered with aluminium foil and cook it for about 20 to 25 mins. Turn the chicken piece at half time. We just want the chicken and the marinade to be coated well when it is cooked. Keep the chicken pieces aside after it is cooked. It should be cooked about 80% and the rest of the cooking will be done in the sauce.
  • Put oil or butter in a pre-heated kadai or pan. Add cumin seeds, cloves and cardamom. Stir for 15 seconds. Add ginger and garlic paste, stir well. Add tomatoes and stir it for 5 minutes until the tomatoes are roasted well. Cook on a medium flame.
  • Now add chilli powder and cumin powder, mix well, roast for few seconds and then add water 1 cup. Close the lid and cook for 5 mins on medium heat and simmer it for 15 mins until tomatoes are cooked well and you get to a curry consistency. You can see that it might have left oil on top lightly. Switch the heat off.
  • Now blend the cooked tomatoes with spices into a puree and strain it to get a very smooth tomato sauce.
  • Heat the sauce, add 1/2 cup water to thin it and stir it. When it comes to a boil add butter and milk and cook for 10 mins on medium heat or until the rawness of gravy is gone and the quantity of gravy is reduced.
  • Now add chicken pieces and its marinade, tomato ketchup, salt, sugar and cook well for 10 mins or until the sauce becomes thick. Simmer for a further 10 mins.
  • You can see that the sauce colour changes from a light colour to dark colour and it starts leaving oil. Keep stirring every now and then. Taste the sauce and check if it has all that you require.
  • If it is sour, then add a little more sugar and ketchup and cook it for a little more time till the sauce is thick and smooth.
  • Now add colour (optional), kasoori methi powder (crushed in hand) and cream. Stir. When it comes to a boil cook for 5 minutes on medium heat. Simmer the flame and cook for 10 mins or until done. Switch the heat off.
  • Let it rest for a few minutes.
  • The sauce is sweet, smooth and a little sour. It is very good. You should try it.
  • Serve with naan or roti and enjoy yourself with this dish.


  • While adding milk be careful. It can split. Add slowly and mix well.
  • The chicken pieces should be added in the gravy with its juice and oil left in the tray.
  • Can avoid cream and colour if you want.
  • Can add a little garam masala towards the end if you like.
  • If the sauce gets very thick and dry, add milk and cook.
  • If the sauce is still thin cook for some more time until it is thick. Do not see the timings.
  • The chicken can be cooked fully in a oven and then added to the sauce also but it should not be hard or crispy.
  • Those who do not have oven, cook the chicken on pan by closing the lid until the marinade is cooked and the chicken is well coated.

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