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Do you know that butter chicken is one of the two most searched Indian food globally last year? Butter chicken or murgh makhani is a curry stew of chicken pieces cooked in a butter, tomato, and spiced cream sauce. It originated in the Indian subcontinent as a curry. Even since I first had it more than a decade ago in my favourite Indian restaurant in Singapore, this has been my all time favourite comfort food, when I feel cold, when I feel down or simply when I feel like it. I can never get sicked of eating this flavourful dish, especially with some warm soft naans.

butter chicken

What is butter chicken sauce made of?

The ingredients used are quite heavy on the spices, which includes garam masala, curry powder, paprika, black pepper. The sauce is made of mainly tomato paste or puree, intensified by aromatics and spices, and its rich texture comes from adding milk or cream.


I love using boneless and skinless chicken thighs for its texture. Fresh ginger, garlic and turmeric are grated for their aromatics. You got to be really careful with the fresh turmeric, it leaves a stubborn stain on light coloured table top, cabinet laminate, chopping board and fabric :((. The authentic recipe does not have vegetables, except for the onion, herbs and tomato paste or puree used in the dish.

Can you use yogurt instead of cream in Curry?

The traditional recipe calls for cream or yoghurt. I find yoghurt a tad sourish for curries. I’ve also used cooking cream and substituted with coconut cream and I prefer coconut cream simply because it makes the curry taste better and smoother.


What does butter chicken taste like?

The name butter chicken seems to imply there should be a very strong butter component to the dish but no, butter is used to saute the onion and chicken, but the dish has a mildly sweet flavour and very creamy texture, it’s packed full of flavours from the use of aromatics and spices.

butter chicken

Creamy Butter Chicken Recipe

My ultimate favourite comfort food of all times, butter chicken is a creamy, tomato-based and spice-laden chicken curry, and probably one of the most popular Indian recipes ever. This recipe uses quite a few spices and may seem complicated to make in the beginning. Not until you start making it, it's actually really simple to whip this up for dinner in less than 30 minutes. Serve it with rice or naan and you will definitely want to make it again and again.
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course curry, dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine asian, Indian
Servings 2 persons
Calories 505 kcal


  • 1 tsp fresh ginger peeled, about 2-inch ginger
  • 1 tsp fresh garlic peeled, about 2 garlic
  • 1 tsp fresh turmeric peeled, about 2-inch turmeric
  • 600 g chicken thighs boneless and skinless, breast meat is ok too
  • ½ red onion peeled, about medium sized, yellow onion will do too
  • 4-5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 300 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1.5 tbsp butter
  • Salt season to taste

Spice mix

  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tbsp curry powder


  • Cut chicken into smaller chunks.
    600 g chicken thighs
    cut chicken
  • Peel and dice onion.
    Peel and grate ginger, garlic, turmeric. Take note turmeric will stain.
    1 tsp fresh ginger, 1 tsp fresh garlic, 1 tsp fresh turmeric, 1/2 red onion
    grated ginger
  • Sear chicken over medium-high heat, without oil.
    When it's almost 60-70% cooked, remove chicken and set aside.
    sear chicken
  • Heat up cooking oil over medium heat. Add butter, then add onions and sauté until caramelised.
    1 tbsp cooking oil, 1.5 tbsp butter
    saute onion
  • Add grated ginger, garlic, turmeric and cook for a while until it's aromatic, take care not to let it get burnt.
    add ingredients
  • Add seared chicken and all the spices and mix well, take note not to let the spices get burnt.
    1/4 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp paprika powder, 1 tbsp garam masala powder, 1 tbsp curry powder
  • Add tomato paste and mix well. If it's too dry, you can add a few tablespoon of water.
    4-5 tbsp tomato paste
    butter chicken almost ready
  • Add coconut milk and let it simmer over low heat.
    300 ml coconut milk
    add coconut milk
  • Season with salt. Optional to garnish with parsley and drizzle some coconut milk.
    add salt
  • Serve warm with rice or naan.
    butter chicken



Calories: 505kcal
Keyword butter chicken, curry, indian curry
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