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Butter Chicken

Indian Butter Chicken

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

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Asian, India
Keyword best butter chicken recipe, butter chicken recipe, butter chicken recipe without cream, creamy butter chicken recipe, Indian Butter Chicken
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 6
Author Manila Spoon


  • 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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

Recipe Notes



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.