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Butter Chicken

Posted by in Step-by-Step Recipes

Note: By popular demand, we’re featuring this recipe again. Great reports across the board!

I originally loved the looks of this recipe, submitted by Tasty Kitchen member lillieknits, because I knew I had almost all the ingredients in my kitchen (important, since I don’t live around the corner from a grocery store)…and because the sauce contained both tomatoes and cream. Yum. My favorite.

But after I made it…oh, boy. Was I a believer. Definitely delicious and flavorful, but also extremely easy to throw together. It’s a great addition to any dinner rotation!


You need these spices…AND ground coriander, which I didn’t have in my pantry.


Chop up several cloves of garlic.


And throw everything in a mixing bowl! Chicken breasts, garlic, all the spices…and the juice of a whole lime. Cover the bowl and stick it in the fridge for several hours, just to let everything meet and fall in love.


After marinating the chicken, dice up a whole onion.


Heat 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter in a large skillet.


Let the onions cook for several minutes…


…Until they’re golden brown and translucent.


Next, Add the chicken breasts to the pan. I sort of scooted the onions over so the chicken would go right against the pan.


Cook the chicken for a couple of minutes, then flip it to the other side.


Pour in the tomato sauce…


And the diced tomatoes. Now cover the pan and cook it for 30 minutes.


Right before serving, pour in the cream. Of course.


Try to pour it all around the edges of the pan to make it easy to stir together.


Come on. This is absolutely too much for me. And you should smell it!


Just slowly stir around the chicken—you could even remove the chicken for a minute or two to make it easy to stir.


When it’s all combined, throw in a bunch of chopped cilantro.


Stir it to combine, and make sure the sauce heats back up.


And that’s it!


The recipe says to serve it over Basmati rice, but I didn’t have any…so I just used plain white rice.


The Verdict: It was splendid! The tomato/cream mixture combined with the spices…oh, man. I loved it. (FYI: According to Erika, Butter Chicken is also known as “Chicken Makhani”.)

Here’s the printable recipe:

Butter Chicken

Thank you for sharing, lilliekits!


Comments are closed for this recipe.

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whatsgabycooking on 2.9.2010

butter chicken and all those spices… say no more… you had my at butter!!! Good thing I am starting pastry school next week so I can use all the butter I want and not feel the slightest bit guilty (not that I would anyway!) Great recipe!

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yumscrum on 2.9.2010

Oh, yummy scrummy for my tummy!

Jenny Crandall on 2.9.2010

I took an Indian cooking class and we made Butter Chicken. It really is awesome, I love it! But the recipe is pretty intense. I like your simpler version and it looks just as delish!

Michele on 2.9.2010

Yummy! I love tomatoes with cream. The spices combo sounds wonderful too!

Soma on 2.9.2010

Looks delish and rich and sinful!

I was not sure if this was actually the Indian version of the Butter Chicken. If it was, the traditional one is cooked a little differently tho’ it contains almsot the same ingredients. The chicken is cooked/grilled first and then cooked with the “Makhani Sauce/Butter Sauce”. For an original flavor try using ginger, Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves ) and fenugreek seeds while cooking this. (if you want to of course!)

Alta on 2.9.2010

Love simple chicken recipes like this. Yum.

At home with my kiddos on 2.9.2010

This looks devine! I agree, any thing with a tomato cream sauce is the best. I will be trying this very soon.

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Judynews on 2.9.2010

Thanks for yet another recipe.
I understood that a rule of thumb was not to cook tomatoes or make a tomato sauce in a cast iron skillet as the acid will “react” with the iron in the skillet.
Please, respond to this.

Emily Hill on 2.9.2010

Wow! I simply must try this for Sunday dinner. Thanks!

Mrs Chaos on 2.9.2010

Okay, this recipe made my day. LOVE butter chicken.

Jodilyn on 2.9.2010

Looks like the perfect dish to take to our Sunday night fellowship dinner at church! Yummm!!

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on 2.9.2010

This looks like it would be utterly delish, but I wouldn’t call it Butter Chicken. The traditional recipes I’ve seen follow a 2-stage process, Tandoori Chicken and Butter Chicken Sauce:

First, the chicken is marinated overnight in plain yogurt, spices*, lemon or lime, then grilled the next day (Tandoori Chicken). The Butter Chicken sauce is made by adding butter, tomato, more spices, and cream to the leftover marinade and cooking it. Chop up the cooked chicken, mix it with the sauce, add more butter and cream as garnish, and serve with basmati rice or naan bread.

Oh, and don’t forget to loosen your belt. :)

*spices — they’re different in every recipe I’ve ever seen, but usually include garam masala, ginger, garlic, pepper, coriander, cumin in the marinade, and more of the same plus cinnamon, cloves, and fenugreek in the sauce.

Lisa on 2.9.2010

It’s okay that you didn’t have any Ground Coriander because you had fresh Cilantro…………….which is? The SAME THING:).

What is even better is if you have Cardamom pods to put into the sauce —– the flavour is better, somehow, than the ground Cardamom. It’s one of my fav Indian curry dishes..and you can add chilis if you want kick to it.

Katie F on 2.9.2010

This looks really good!

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chocolatechic on 2.9.2010

But…but…but….where is the butter????

Stephanie on 2.9.2010

This is my favorite next to curry chicken with potato. I serve this with spicy steamed spinach or cucumber&tomato salad.

Eileen on 2.9.2010

Looks good, sounds good, so I will try it soon. It’s snowing pretty hard so it is a good time to try something new. Thanks for sharing.

Brooke on 2.9.2010

I must try this. It looks so good :) I love butter chicken!

Heatherly on 2.9.2010


Joseph Louthan on 2.9.2010

I vote this as the best skinless, boneless chicken breast recipe ever.

Just to get a great tasting s.b.c.b. recipe is like spotting a unicorn and Bigfoot all in one place: a rarity.

I am curious about the thickness of the breast and would it not be better served to be smashed flat. (Hence, you can see my fear of the s.b.c.b..)

Midge on 2.9.2010

Snow’s acomin’ and I’m a cookin’! Have to pass on the donuts, though. I’m a celiac. Wow! What would the PW do without wheat?

Stephanie on 2.9.2010

This is Chicken Tikki Masala! Yum!

Jenna on 2.9.2010

If you would like it to be rather less unhealthy, you can substitute plain yogurt for most or all of the heavy cream. I just add enough until it looks/tastes right.

And while similar and often confused, butter chicken is a legitimate Indian dish, while chicken tikka masala is a dish created by Bangladeshi immigrants to sell to the British public. It’s actually the most popular “restaurant dish” in Britain, and they export it to the subcontinent, not the other way around. Think of it as the General Tso’s chicken of “Indian” food.

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kroseman on 2.9.2010

I always wondered what ‘Butter Chicken’ was. Looks great. Thanks Ree

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HowSweetEats on 2.9.2010

This looks absolutely incredible. YUM!

Jesslyn Weaver on 2.9.2010

Yum! I’ve only ever made butter chicken (aka Tikka Masala Curry Chicken) from packages. So excited for this recipe!

Amy from She Wears Many Hats (missamy) on 2.9.2010

Mouth watering over here! This looks easy too and something that my kids will gobble up – and that’s always a good thing around here with a picky eater among the bunch.

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Kate on 2.9.2010

I just found my Valentine’s Day dinner recipe!

Mary on 2.9.2010

Um, yum! The perfect thing to make for dinner tonight with the chicken that is defrosting in my fridge. Thanks!

SusanD on 2.9.2010

I have everything needed for this recipe including the Basmati rice. I’m always looking for chicken recipes. Thanks for sharing. I’ll let you know how the fam likes it. Blessings, SusanD

JoJo on 2.9.2010

I just may have to try this this week. Yum!!!

Angel Barnes on 2.9.2010

Thank you for this posting! I had no idea how easy butter chicken is to make, one of my favorite Indian dishes by far!

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maryloves2cook on 2.9.2010

This looks good!