This butter chicken is a lovely rich curry – without the spicy heat of some curries. It comes with plenty of sauce to soak into the rice!
A little bit of up front prep is all you need, then you can cook this dish in less than 30 minutes.

Overhead image of a pan filled with butter chicken curry, topped with fresh coriander. Naan bread just in shot.
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I have a crockpot butter chicken recipe on the site that I use quite a lot, but I wanted to share with you this quicker version that (after a little bit of marinading time) can be on the table in 30 minutes.

Just as rich and creamy as the slow-cooker version, it’s one of those curries that the whole family absolutely loves.

📋 What do we need?

Ingredients for butter chicken curry on a wooden table

🔪 How to make Butter Chicken

***Full recipe with detailed steps in the recipe card at the end of this post***

  • Marinate chicken chunks in a mixture of yogurt, lemon juice, garlic and spices (see full list in recipe card) for 1 hour.
  • Blend onion, garlic and ginger in a food processor until smooth, then fry the mixture in butter and oil until starting to brown at the edges.
  • Add in the marinated chicken and cook for a few minutes to seal, then add in garam masala, curry powder, paprika and cinnamon. Stir to coat the chicken and fry for a couple of minutes.
  • Add in stock, passata, tomato puree, sugar and cardamom. Simmer for 15 minutes, then stir through cream. Heat through and serve.
8 image collage showing how to make butter chicken curry.

👩‍🍳PRO TIP If you want more of a chicken tikka butter chicken, you can grill (broil) the marinated chicken before adding to the dish (I grilled the chicken for the photos, and cooked the chicken in the sauce for the video – both versions are fantastic!).

Plenty of sauce to mop up with some garlic naan breads!

Silver frying pan with butter chicken curry in it. Pile of naan bread in the background.

This is a very rich dish, so I tend to serve with with simple boiled rice.

Butter chicken in a bowl with rice and naan bread.

📺 Watch how to make it

YouTube video

🍲 More fantastic curry recipes using chicken

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5 from 16 votes

Butter Chicken

This butter chicken is a lovely mild curry with plenty of sauce to soak into the rice! A little bit of up front prep is all you need, then you can cook this dish in less than 30 minutes.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 4
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian


Chicken and Marinade:

  • 700 g (25 oz) chicken breast approx. 4 large chicken breasts, diced
  • 80 ml (1/3 cup) natural yogurt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp mild chilli powder

For the Sauce:

  • 1 large onion peeled and roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 120 ml (½ cup) chicken stock water plus a stock cube is fine
  • 400 ml (14 oz) passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree paste for US
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 6 cardamom pods sew them together with a piece of string so you can easily fish them out later
  • 175 ml (¾ cup) double (heavy) cream
  • handful of chopped coriander to serve
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  • Place the chicken in a bowl with the marinade ingredients, stir together and cover. Leave to marinate for 1 hour (up to overnight).
    700 g (25 oz) chicken breast, 80 ml (1/3 cup) natural yogurt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 clove garlic, 1 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp mild chilli powder
  • Place the roughly chopped onion and the cloves into a food processor and blend until smooth (if you’re using fresh ginger – rather than ready-minced – you can add the ginger in too.
    1 large onion, 4 cloves garlic, 2 tsp minced ginger
  • Heat the butter and oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat.
    3 tbsp butter, 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • Add the minced onion, garlic and ginger to the pan and cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion starts to brown at the edges of the pan.
  • Add the marinated chicken to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes until sealed.
  • Add the salt, garam masala, curry powder, paprika, and cinnamon. Stir and cook for 1-2 minutes, until the spices start to release their fragrance.
    1/4 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tbsp garam masala, 1 tbsp curry powder, 1 tsp paprika, ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Add the stock, passata, tomato puree, sugar, and cardamom.
    120 ml (½ cup) chicken stock, 400 ml (14 oz) passata, 2 tbsp tomato puree, 2 tsp sugar, 6 cardamom pods
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Remove the cardamom then stir in the cream and allow to heat through.
    175 ml (¾ cup) double (heavy) cream
  • Serve over rice, sprinkled with some freshly chopped coriander.
    handful of chopped coriander to serve


YouTube video


Can I make it ahead?
Yes! Make the curry, then quickly cool, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.Reheat in a pan over a medium heat (you may need to add a splash of water to loosen it up) until the chicken is piping hot throughout.
Can I freeze it?
Yes, make the curry, then quickly cool, and freeze it in an airtight container. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat as per the ‘make ahead’ instructions above.
Ingredient swaps/additions
  • Swap out the chicken for quorn or tofu
  • Add in some veggies – such as green beans, chunks of courgette (zucchini) or chopped bell peppers – add them after you’ve sealed the chicken.
  • Swap out the mild chilli powder for medium or hot if you like it a little spicier.
Nutritional information is per serving (this recipe serves 4), not including rice.


Calories: 569kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 197mg | Sodium: 731mg | Potassium: 1342mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 2188IU | Vitamin C: 20mg | Calcium: 124mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Some of the links in this post may be affiliate links – which means if you buy the product I get a small commission (at no extra cost to you). If you do buy, then thank you! That’s what helps us to keep Kitchen Sanctuary running. The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors. For more information please see our Terms & Conditions.

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Hi, I'm Nicky and I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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  1. Nik D says:

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I just made it tonight for the first time and it was so simple to follow. The result – absolutely bursting with flavour and a big hit with my family! I’ll definitely be adding this to our list of regular meals. I don’t have a food processor, so just chopped the onion finely and used a press for the garlic. I don’t feel that this affected the texture of the sauce much at all – it was completely delicious!

  2. Ciarán McQuillan says:

    5 stars
    A lovely dish. Up there with Indian Restaurant standards! My grandchildren loved it, and one of them is only two! Thank you x

  3. Lainey says:

    5 stars
    My husband regulary requests that I make this, and it’s always tastes fantastic. I portion some for my mum’s freezer and she enjoys this too.
    I probably make it with more sauce, as I tend to buy passata is 500ml cartons, so rather than waste any, I put a wee bit extra it. But that’s ok as it soaks up nicely into the rice and a bit of naan bread.
    I’ve made the slow cooker version as well, but this is more convenient.

  4. Brennand Hall says:

    Dear Nicky, do you put only the meat or ALL the meat AND marinade

    1. Nicky Corbishley says:

      Hi Brennand, the marinade should coat the chicken with non (or very little) left in the dish, so you can add the all marinade and chicken to the pan.

  5. Wilma says:

    Is it okay to freeze this with the cream or should the cream be added when you are ready to use it

  6. Sheila says:

    5 stars
    Really delicious! Definitely a favourite now:)

  7. Cynthia Gates says:

    5 stars
    Thank you very much. The instructions were so easy to follow and the ingredients were all in my cupboard. The end result was just yummy 😋

  8. Claire says:

    5 stars
    very easy recipe to follow and great results.

  9. Cheryl says:

    5 stars
    Absolutely beautiful!!!
    I just made this and glad that I have leftovers.
    I don’t eat alot of Indian food so this was just perfect blend of spices for me.

  10. Sarah says:

    5 stars
    Hummadahummada! Yum yum yum! This barely touched the sides once served!
    I’m not great with measuring so just went by eye/taste. I also added chopped ginger to the marinade, which I let sit for a few hours in the fridge.
    I didn’t have cardamoms but I used my favourite curry spice, fenugreek, and plenty of it and I used powdered sweetener rather than sugar.
    What was left got frozen and it reheated really well, despite the cream element.
    Will definitely being cooking this again …. now off to make your chicken paprikash!