Indian Butter Chicken

A deliciously satisfying and perfectly spiced curry dish – Butter Chicken – made from scratch. Easy and simple, tried and tested recipe for curry lovers.

A deliciously satisfying and perfectly spiced curry dish - Butter Chicken - made from scratch. Easy, simple tried and tested recipe for any curry lover. #indian #butter #chicken #curry #easy


To say that we like chicken curry is an understatement. We love curry to the max! Whenever we travel, whatever country that may be – the first restaurant we always try to look for is an Indian curry house.



Before I got married, I wasn’t a major fan of anything spicy. In the region (Southern Tagalog) where I grew up, spicy dishes are not really a big thing. 

We usually love sweet, sour and salty but spicy, not too much. But then I met my British husband who is into everything spicy. I was converted by him. He loves chicken curry.



When we were still in England we used to visit Brick Lane in East London for some curry therapy. If you are ever in London, this is the place to go if you want to get curry. There are rows upon rows of curry houses there. I miss this place!


Butter Chicken


However there is one special curry place for us and, no, it’s not in India or the UK or even the USA (truth is, there is no Indian restaurant where I live).  Sad, isn’t it. We found it, of all places, in Vietnam!

While it may take years before we go back and eat there again, we have fond memories of Vietnam and most certainly the curry we had there. Here’s a photo of myself in front of the restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City.

It’s not much to look at but the curry is great, if you are able to wake up its owner to cook for you! Seriously, it was great and the best we have tasted! Check this out when you find yourself in the streets of Saigon.



And for good measure, here’s another photo of me and my hubby in Vietnam. The photo was taken while we were cruising the Mekong Delta. Happy Memories!



Before I get any more sidetracked, here’s one of our favorite curry dish – Indian Butter Chicken. This is a mild curry so feel free to up the heat to your desired spice level. 

Also, this tastes even better the next day once the chicken has fully absorbed all the flavors from the spices and the tomatoes. I suggest making this one day ahead to allow the flavors to develop. It so worth the wait! Enjoy.


Butter Chicken


Butter Chicken

Indian Butter Chicken

Manila Spoon
A deliciously satisfying and perfectly spiced curry dish – Butter Chicken – made from scratch. Easy and simple, tried and tested recipe for any curry lover.
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Asian, India
Servings 6


  • 5 pieces roma or plum tomatoes, or (14oz/410gr) cans of diced tomatoes (fresh is better though!), pureed
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated or a teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2.2 pounds skinless but bone-in chicken thighs, (boneless are fine but they tend to fall apart)
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt, (or heavy cream or coconut milk/cream)
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro or coriander leaves, chopped for garnish


  • If using fresh tomatoes, cut-up the tomatoes and then place in a food processor or blender and puree until smooth (puree the canned tomatoes too, if using this instead). In a deep pan, heat the oil and butter on medium to low heat until the butter melts. Stir in the spices, and let sizzle briefly or until aromatic. Add the salt and brown sugar and stir until combined. Immediately, add the chicken pieces and coat them with the spices.
  • Mix in the pureed tomatoes. Though the mixture may seem thick at this point, it will thin out as it simmers. Bring to a quick boil and then cover the pan and gently simmer for about45 minutes or until the chicken is tender, occasionally stirring it. It is done when the chicken is tender and the sauce is medium-thick.
  • If you like a creamier sauce, add plain yogurt or heavy cream or coconut milk/cream and then squeeze some fresh lemon juice, to taste. Cook a little further without boiling just until the cream is heated. Garnish with coriander/cilantro leaves. Serve hot with freshly steamed rice (basmati or jasmine are the best for this!) and some green veggies on the side. Curry heaven!


This is a mild curry so feel free to up the heat to your desired spice level. 
Also, this tastes even better the next day once the chicken has fully absorbed all the flavors from the spices and the tomatoes. I suggest making this one day ahead to allow the flavors to develop. It is so worth the wait! Enjoy.
Keyword best butter chicken recipe, butter chicken recipe, butter chicken recipe without cream, creamy butter chicken recipe, Indian Butter Chicken
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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Last updated on June 20th, 2021 at 05:38 pm



  1. Anonymous
    September 4, 2012 / 3:54 pm

    Looks great! I'm definitely trying this!

  2. September 5, 2012 / 2:27 am

    Thanks for dropping by! Hope you like it as we have enjoyed it!

  3. September 7, 2012 / 3:44 pm

    I definitely want to try this! I loooove butter chicken!

  4. Sarah P.
    September 9, 2012 / 5:54 pm

    I really like this and am going to try it in a slow cooker this week. I've seen other Butter Chicken recipes but I like this one the best just by glancing at it.

  5. September 9, 2012 / 8:45 pm

    Hi Sarah, thanks for dropping by! When you try it, do use fresh tomatoes, they make a big difference in terms of color, texture and, of course, flavor. I hope you like it. Let us know.

  6. Sarah
    September 15, 2012 / 2:45 pm

    It was delicious! I didn't have enough fresh tomatoes to do it all with fresh but next time I will! I added a bit of coconut milk that I had left over from a previous meal. As soon as my husband took a bite he said, "Yeah, you can make this again!" I put it all in the crock pot and it was amazing. Next time I will do it on the weekend so I can make it all on the stove top.

    • Pennie
      October 6, 2021 / 11:39 pm

      Hi Sarah did you put it in the pan first then put it ur slow cooker, or just straight in? How long for? Please and thanks.

  7. September 15, 2012 / 4:35 pm

    Hi Sarah! So kind of you to return and give a feedback. Am so happy that you and your hubby enjoyed it! Comment such as this inspire me to continue sharing recipes. You made my day! Have a great weekend. Thank you so much again!

  8. February 23, 2013 / 12:27 pm

    Did you use yogurt and/or cream in the batch of curry that is in the photos?

  9. brittany
    February 28, 2013 / 4:59 pm

    Making this tomorrow when my dad gets back in town! So excited ^.^

    • March 4, 2013 / 1:51 am

      Oh, I hope you both like it! Thanks for stopping by, Brittany!

  10. Anonymous
    March 3, 2013 / 10:08 pm

    i tried this recipe and it is so good i just forgot to adjust the seasoning at the end but overall it is so easy to make

    • March 4, 2013 / 1:45 am

      Thanks for stopping by and letting us know! Glad you like it!

    • March 6, 2013 / 2:17 am

      Thanks for stopping by Haidie! Do try it, am sure you'll love it!

  11. jeanine
    March 18, 2013 / 10:51 pm

    2 teaspoons red curry powder – wouldn't that be hot?
    Could I go to the Indian grocery store and get their red curry powder? Or is that a different pepper?

    • March 20, 2013 / 3:19 am

      Hi Jeanine! You can use a mild curry powder, I don't think it's too hot – at least for me – it's pretty mild, really.

  12. July 3, 2013 / 12:33 am

    Yummo my kids and i are huge fans of butter chicken and love it with home made roti. Usually use a premade sauce but havnt really found one we love. Am gna try cooking this tonight will put up feed back with results 🙂

    • July 10, 2013 / 11:57 pm

      Thanks, Charmed. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

  13. Anonymous
    July 10, 2013 / 11:49 pm

    So deliciously wonderful! I have made it twice this week. curry nirvana. I was surprised how easy it was to make. I did add some fresh Türkish yogurt at the end because I had it on hand. The lemon and cilantro were a great addition. This was even better than our local Indian restaurant. Thank you!

    • July 10, 2013 / 11:57 pm

      Thanks for the feedback. So glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for stopping by.

  14. August 17, 2013 / 10:08 pm

    I had Indian Butter Chicken and thought it was the most wonderful dish ever. After reading your recipe, I must try to make it. I would have thought the recipe to be so much more involved! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • August 21, 2013 / 2:05 am

      Oh it's not that complicated and many who have tried this have loved the recipe. Hope you get to enjoy it, too. Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Anonymous
    September 4, 2013 / 5:05 am

    Parang Chicken Tikka Masala

  16. November 5, 2013 / 5:49 pm

    I was at a Diwali celebration on sunday and had this for the first time, and I was searching pinterest for a recipe. Most call for onions and what I had, had no onions in it. (my hubby has an allergy to onions. He loves them, but they make him throw up) I was pleased to see yours does not have onions and I am going to try it, as soon as I can find where to buy curry. thanks so much for posting this.

    • November 7, 2013 / 3:48 pm

      Wonderful! Please enjoy! This has become one of our favorite recipes for sure.

    • February 27, 2015 / 5:40 pm

      It is a matter of taste so you certainly can if you wish, too. Thanks for asking.

  17. April 14, 2015 / 12:45 pm

    I love this recipe. One of my favorites. Thank you for sharing this.


    • October 3, 2015 / 3:43 am

      I am glad you like it. Thanks, Bristol!

  18. November 26, 2015 / 8:12 am

    Made this for two of my best friends – we were speachless 🙂 Yummmmmm!! And my daughter got lhe leftovers, she wants more 🙂 Thank you!

  19. November 26, 2015 / 10:49 am

    I made this for two of my best friends last night – what a success!!! Thank you 🙂 It was amasingly good, wery good, totaly breathtaking good – it will be one of my familyfavorites!!

  20. June 10, 2016 / 6:18 am

    Can you substitute chicken breasts for the thighs? We are not fans of thighs. Thanks!

    • June 11, 2016 / 2:51 pm

      Yes, you can use breasts instead but adjust the cooking time accordingly as breasts cook faster than thighs. Thanks for stopping by!

  21. July 26, 2016 / 11:28 pm

    Hi Abby! Just saw this on FB. Definitely want to try this. Miss you!

    • July 28, 2016 / 8:17 pm

      You can use curry paste, too but just adjust to taste as some paste are spicier than the powder. Red curry powder may be found in the Asian section of your grocery or at any Asian stores – some may not be totally red but more dark orange but is still called red as opposed to the "yellow" curry. McCormick certainly carries red curry powder and should be available in your local grocery. 🙂

  22. July 29, 2016 / 3:36 pm

    The curry sauce sounds so good–and simple! Will give this a try.

  23. Scott
    October 6, 2021 / 1:37 pm

    If I use canned tomatoes in the recipe is it calling for 5 14oz cans? Thanks

    • abigail
      October 7, 2021 / 12:48 pm

      Hi Scott, the number 5 is if you’re using just plum tomatoes but you only need about 1 can if that’s what you’re using. I have tried both fresh and canned and, in terms of taste, using the fresh tomatoes which are so easy to get – is definitely worth it for better flavor. Fresh is best here.

  24. Minnow
    April 14, 2022 / 2:49 pm

    I have made this in the instant pot twice. It is delicious and very easy to make. It tastes better than the local Indian restaurant. This time I made it with passata rather than fresh or canned tomatoes as we are currently renovating our kitchen and I didn’t have a blender or food processor. It still tasted great and made it even quicker to make. In the instant pot I take the chicken out once it is cooked and then put in the coconut milk and use the Sauté function to reduce the sauce then put the chicken back in.

    • abigail
      April 14, 2022 / 9:49 pm

      So glad to know you enjoyed this. It has always been a favorite on the blog. Need to make the instant pot version, soon. Thanks for letting us know.

4.67 from 3 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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