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Horizontal image of a white bowl with rice and a red stew next to bread slices and a yellow towel.

Quick and Easy Butter Chicken

  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2-4 servings 1x


If the idea of tender chicken in a creamy spiced tomato sauce piques your palate, this Indian comfort dish will delight your taste buds.


  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt, divided, plus more to taste
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 2 cups finely chopped sweet onions (about 2 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic (about 2 large cloves)
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh (or diced canned) tomatoes
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 tablespoons plain full-fat Greek yogurt 
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • 4 cups cooked rice or quinoa, for serving
  • 4 pieces warmed naan or pita, for serving


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Season the chicken with 1 teaspoon of the salt and the black pepper. Working in batches, brown the pieces on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the remaining butter to the pan and lower the heat to medium. Add the onions and saute until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and then add the ginger, garlic, coriander, chili powder, turmeric, and cayenne. Stirring several times, cook until the spices are very fragrant and thoroughly mixed in, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or high-powered blender and pulse until smooth. Return the sauce to the skillet, reduce the heat to low, and whisk in the milk. Add the chicken pieces (and their juices) to the sauce and cover the pan. Simmer until the sauce reduces slightly, about 15 minutes.
  5. Stir in the yogurt and cook, uncovered, for about 5 more minutes. Season to taste with additional salt if necessary.
  6. Evenly divide the rice or quinoa among plates, top with equal portions of the chicken and sauce, garnish with the cilantro, and serve with naan.


Adapted from a recipe by Mike at The Iron You.

  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian

Keywords: butter, chicken, Indian