Butter Chicken

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This super flavorful Butter Chicken couldn’t be easier to make! It’s especially delicious served with a warm piece of naan!

Butter Chicken from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Butter chicken is one of the best chicken recipes I’ve made to date. It’s right up there with Chicken Parm Meatballs and Chicken Tawook

At it’s core, it’s cut up chicken thighs marinated in a lemon juice, yogurt (Stonyfield Grassfed Greek Quarts to be exact) and a spice mixture and then simmers in a savory sauce made of butter, onion, garlic, ginger, tomatoes and some cream. It’s slowly cooked until the chicken is almost falling apart, majorly tender, and packed full of flavor. (side note – if you’re looking for incredible and AUTHENTIC spices – check out Diaspora Co. They are the best of the best)

Any of the Greek Stonyfield (non-flavored) products would work for this recipe. But we’ve been buying the Grass-fed recently and we’re obsessed. Like all Stonyfield products, 100% Grassfed Greek is organic, non-GMO, and made without the use of artificial hormones.  

Butter chicken is reminiscent to chicken tikka masala but the difference is that while Tikka Masala is a bit more complex and this tastes more buttery with a delicious tomato based Indian yogurt based gravy. 

There are all sorts of delicious juices that come with this recipe so you absolutely MUST eat it with a few pieces of homemade naan

Some frequently asked questions coming your way:

Butter Chicken from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

What does Butter Chicken taste like?

It’s slightly adjacent to chicken tikka masala but the difference is that while Tikka Masala is a bit more complex and this tastes more buttery with a delicious Indian gravy. It originated in back in the 1950’s in India when some leftover chicken was tossed into a tomato based gravy sauce and it’s been popular ever since! 

Why is it called Butter Chicken?

Because of the butter in the gravy of course!! If you’re hesitant about the butter, don’t be! It’s honestly so delicious in this recipe. You could also use Ghee if you have it on hand – will be just as delish!

What do you serve with Butter Chicken?

I like to serve a warmed piece of homemade naan with it. It’s also great over rice, quinoa, farro or any other grain.

What spices go in Butter Chicken?

Turmeric, garam masala and cumin are the traditional spices you’ll want to have on hand! I add in a pinch of cayenne for a little heat. If I’m making this for my daughter, I omit the cayenne and she gobbles it right up.

Can you freeze Butter Chicken?

You sure can! I freeze smaller portions of this all the time, once it’s fully cooked. In order to reheat it, I just remove it from the freezer, let it come to temp in the fridge and then transfer the mixture to a non-stick skillet and re-heat over medium heat. It’s a great dish to freeze because it re-heats so nicely!

Ok… away we go!

Butter Chicken

4.9 from 18 votes
This super flavorful Butter Chicken comes together faster than you could order-in, and couldn't be easier to make!
Prep Time 1 hr 5 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people


For the Marinade

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup  Stonyfield Grassfed Greek Quarts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 ½ tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

For the remaining part of the recipe:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 onion, roughly diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 2 cups heavy cream OR coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Lemon juice to taste
  • Cilantro to garnish
  • Naan bread to serve


  • Combine the chicken, greek yogurt, lemon juice, and spices in a bowl. Marinate for at least 1 hour, or overnight.
  • In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in onion and cook slowly until the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes more.
  • Add the tomatoes to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken and its marinade to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil – then lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, tomato paste and salt and continue to simmer until the chicken has cooked through, about 15 minutes, and the sauce is thick.
  • Taste, adjust seasoning as needed, add lemon juice for a bit of acid. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve alongside warmed naan.

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe from What’s Gaby Cooking


  1. Hi Gaby

    Just to confirm, your description says chicken breasts but the recipe says thighs. Which should we use for the recipe it sounds delicious!!


  2. Butter chicken is soooo good. something I dont get nearly often enough. I will have to add this to my make list for the week to treat myself!

  3. I have attempted to make Butter Chicken several times but I aways seem to missing something, A friend told me that it could be the garam masala mix I’m using, what brand (if you don’t mind me asking) do you use? She said that some brands differ on ratios and may even leave an ingredient out depending…?!

    1. I use the one from McCormick!! Let me know what you think of this recipe once you make it!! xx

  4. I just found your site on the Internet and I’m excited to start making many of your recipes. Do you have a calorie count for your recipes?

    1. I don’t calculate calories for my recipes – but I know there are a bunch on online tools to do it for yourself if you’re curious!! Thanks!

  5. I am making this for my fourth time–it is SO GOOD. Everyone I have made it for absolutely loves it. So many of your recipes are now in my meal rotation, they are what my husband constantly requests! Thank you for all the yummy food!

  6. Made this tonight and it was great! However three cups of heavy cream plus the chicken stock seemed like it would be way too much liquid so I only added about 1/3 cup cream (and stock as written, and it turned out perfectly!

  7. Made this last night. it was very tasty and approved by all. I found it to be a little heavy in liquid. I thickened it up slightly at the end with a little flour/water and but still fished out the content with slotted spoon and served in a bowl with less of the sauce. Also put 1/3 of heavy cream. Added 1/2 c. of frozen peas. Spice/heat was perfect. with 1/2 tsp of cayenne. Would reduce sauce longer next time.

  8. 5 stars
    Another great recipe by Gaby! I will say I had never heard of butter chicken, but I sort of think the name is deceiving. It is certainly more of an Indian/middle eastern dish than a “butter” dish. Still delicious 🙂

  9. Just made this tonight and it was delicious! One question though: i found my sauce had kind of a grainy texture from the spices. Any thoughts on how i can avoid that in the future? I simmered it for as long as you mentioned (maybe a touch longer). But overall still really yummy!

  10. 4 stars
    This recipe was so delicious! I did find that my sauce was a little grainy, likely from the spices. I simmered the full time (maybe a smidge longer). Any recommendations for next time? Other than that, so yummy!

  11. 5 stars
    Absolutely love this dish and the spices……..definitely WAY too runny and I did everything right. Kept cooking and it barely thickened. Had to put in cornstarch twice to get it a bit thicker. 3 cups of heavy cream seems too much. 2 cups maybe? Love to have Gaby’s input! Tasted wonderful!

  12. My sister has requested butter chicken this week and I would love to use this recipe but she doesn’t like tomatoes do you think I could leave them out?

  13. 5 stars
    Amazing!!!! My first time ever making butter chicken and it came out perfectly. Now I’m having to stop myself for going back for thirds…notice I didn’t say seconds…yea that already happened.

  14. Hi. Love your recipes. My son is on super restrictive diet – any non-dairy substitute recommendations for the Heavy cream?

  15. 4 stars
    Made this tonight. We love all Indian food. 3 cups of cream seemed like a lot? I used half the amount and still turned out great.

  16. 5 stars
    Delicious!! We are big indian food takeout fans and this was just like what we order for takeout. Easy to make and delicious!

  17. 5 stars
    I started with 2 cups of cream and it was the thickness I wanted; added more garam masala and cumin at the end with juice from half a lemon. This was so good!

  18. 5 stars
    This was 100% better than takeout. I even used chicken breasts and a dairy free option for the cream and it was amazing. Going to make this for sure again.

  19. This was so delicious! My family loved it. It did take some time for me, but was well worth it! I only used about half the spices, and I only used 1 cup of heavy cream, (but added a little coconut milk). I have tried different butter chicken recipes and this is no my favorite! Thank you!!

  20. Never underestimate the power of Gaby! This recipe, as all her recipes, is amazing. I have never gravitated to Indian food and this recipe changed that! If I am cooking in the kitchen you can be sure it is a Gaby recipe! There has not been one recipe I have made that has not been wonderful! Enjoy the holidays everyone and make sure they are filled with Gaby recipes!

  21. 5 stars
    I made this using coconut milk and it was delicious. The other flavors are strong enough so it doesn’t taste at all coconuty, and was then almost dairy free for my husband. Cannot wait to make eat the leftovers and put this into our dinner cycle!

  22. I finally made this and it’s delicious. Full flavour. The lemon juice adds a great flavor at the end. I wish it was a bit thicker though.

  23. 5 stars
    Wow, a lot of cream. Probably half the amount would do. Delicious seasonings and taste, just a bit watery. More like a soup

    1. gotta have all that delicious liquid to dip the naan in! but you’re right – you could reduce cream by half and will be just as amazing

  24. 5 stars
    Crowd pleaser! I’ve made this several times now and it is easy and so tasty! WGC is always my first stop when I am looking for ideas for dinner! I appreciate you!

  25. Thanks for the great recipe. The flavor was delicious, but my sauce never thickened. I used coconut milk instead of cream, is that why? I also used my new nonstick ceramic cookware; could that make a difference? Please advise, as I would love to try this again. Thanks!

  26. Really yummy! Used half the amount of cream (1.5 cups) and made sure to cook exact amount of time in each step and came out beautifully thick and flavorful. Thank you!

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