Easy Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

5.0 from 1 vote


By Ollie Cartwright

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Rich, creamy & sweetly spiced tomato sauce over marinated chicken…perfect with rice and naan bread. Give our Easy Butter Chicken Recipe a try!

Easy Butter CHicken Dish

Butter chicken, also known as murgh makhani, is a popular Indian dish made with marinated and grilled chicken pieces served in a creamy, spiced tomato sauce. It’s often served with rice or bread.

How to Make Easy Butter Chicken

A detailed recipe with full quantities can be found in the recipe card at the bottom of this page.

Step 1: Measure out all your ingredients. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and cube your chicken. Now the time to start cooking your rice. You’ll want at least 1 cooked cup per serving and this recipe makes 4 servings.

Can I Use Frozen Rice?

Absolutely! This recipe is perfect for previously frozen rice.

Step 2: Place the chicken, salt, pepper, 1 tsp chili powder, and turmeric in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix it well and then let it sit for 15 minutes to marinate.

Step 3: Once done marinating, melt 2 tbsp of butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chicken and brown it, making sure it’s cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken from the pot and set it aside in a clean bowl.

Step 4: Melt 2 Tbsp butter in the large pot you just cooked the chicken in. Add the onion, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon stick. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and the onions are translucent.

Step 5: Add the tomato sauce to your pot and bring it to a simmer. Once simmering, add the water and cream. Cover and bring to a simmer again.

Step 6: Once the sauce is simmering, transfer your cooked chicken cubes back into the pot. Cover again and simmer for 15 more minutes.

Step 7: Prior to removing the pot from your stovetop, stir the final 2 tbsp of butter into the recipe. Give it a taste…season it with salt and pepper if desired.

Step 8: Ladle your Butter Chicken over warm rice, then garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

Easy Butter CHicken Dish


Everyone’s tastebuds are different – and that’s exactly why we’ve got a few tweaks to share!

  • Marinate Longer: Need a bit more flavour? Try marinating your chicken in the fridge for 60 minutes. Still not enough? Place it in a plastic bag and then marinate it in your fridge overnight.
  • Yogurt & Lemon Juice: Try adding these ingredients to your marinade: plain yogurt (1 cup), lemon juice (1 tsp), coriander (1 tsp), and paprika (1 tsp). The lemon juice will help tenderize the chicken and add a bright, citrusy flavor, while the coriander and paprika will add depth and warmth to the marinade. Yes, I know we’re getting closer to a chicken tikka masala this way, but tasty is tasty….am I right?!
  • Chicken Thighs: Give chicken thighs a try if you’re looking for a juicier and more flavorful dish. Because chicken thighs have a higher fat content, they’re more forgiving when cooked.
  • Coconut Cream: Swap out 1/2 of your heavy cream for coconut cream. This will add a subtle coconut flavour to your dish. Love the coconut flavour? You can swap out the entire cup of heavy cream.
  • Too Watery?: Try these tips…..simmer an extra 10 minutes with the lid off. If it’s still too watery, add a little cornstarch to thicken it up. Or, add less water next time you make it. Additionally, you can try using 3 tbsp tomato paste to thicken up the sauce.
  • Longer Simmer: The longer you let it simmer on the stovetop, the thicker and more flavourful your meal will be. If you’re not in a rush, a 1-hour simmer provides a deeper, richer flavor.


If you’re planning on freezing this dish, we have specific instructions below.

Refrigerate: You can safely store this dish in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Any longer than that and you’ll need to freeze it.

Freeze: Butter chicken can be frozen for up to 3-4 months. After this time, it’s still safe to eat, but you may notice the quality starts to deteriorate.


We recommend freezing your rice and butter chicken separately. It’s technically possible to freeze them together, but you’ll get better results if they’re separated.

If you already know you made too much, don’t combine the rice and butter chicken. Separate them into serving-size portions and freeze them separately.

Reheat: For faster and more even reheating, thaw the butter chicken in your refrigerator overnight. Then, transfer the thawed butter chicken to a saucepan and heat it over low to medium heat while stirring occasionally.

If that’s too slow, you can place the frozen butter chicken in a microwave-safe dish and cover it with a lid (if it gets too hot, it’ll splatter). Microwave it on medium power, stirring occasionally, until heated throughout.


Can I Use Previously Frozen Onions for this Dish?

Yes. It’s perfect for those onions and rice you froze earlier.

Easy Butter Chicken Recipe

5.0 from 1 vote
Course: DinnerCuisine: IndianDifficulty: Easy


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  • Chicken & Marinade
  • 2 lbs 900 g – Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast (cubed)

  • – Salt

  • – Pepper

  • 1 tsp 2 tsp – Chili Powder

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 tsp – Turmeric

  • 2 Tbsp 2 Tbsp – Butter (unsalted)

  • Sauce
  • 1.5 cups 240 g – Yellow Onion (diced)

  • 3 tsp 3 tsp – Garam Masala

  • 1 tsp 1 tsp – Chili Powder

  • 1 tsp 1 tsp – Cumin (ground)

  • 1 Tbsp 1 Tbsp – Ginger (grated)

  • 3 Cloves 3 Cloves – Garlic (minced)

  • 1 tsp 1 tsp – Cayenne Pepper

  • 1 stick 1 stick – Cinnamon (3″ or 7.5cm long)

  • 14 oz 400 g – Tomato Sauce

  • 1 cup 0.24 l – Water

  • 1 cup 0.24 l – Heavy Cream

  • 4 Tbsp 4 Tbsp – Butter (unsalted)

  • 4 cups 630 g – Rice (already cooked)

  • 1/4 cup 4 g – Cilantro (fresh, chopped)


  • Prep Ingredients
    Measure out all ingredients. Dice onion. Mince garlic. Cube your chicken. Start cooking rice.
  • Marinate Chicken
    Place chicken, salt, pepper, 1 tsp chili powder, and turmeric in a large bowl. Use hands to mix well. Let sit for 15 minutes to marinate.
  • Cook Chicken
    Melt 2 Tbsp butter in large pot over medium heat. Brown the chicken (should be cooked all the way through). Remove and set aside in a clean bowl.
  • Start Sauce
    Melt 2 Tbsp butter in large pot (same one as before). Add onion, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon stick. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant and onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes).
  • Add Tomato Sauce
    Add tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer.
  • Add Cream & Water
    Add water and cream. Return to a simmer.
  • Add Chicken
    Place chicken back in pot with sauce. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Final Steps
    Stir final 2 Tbsp of butter into sauce. Season with salt and pepper if desired.
  • Serve & Enjoy
    Serve over warm rice, then garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!

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