Butter Chicken is a traditional Indian dish that you can make at home in just a few minutes. It is chunks of chicken marinated in Greek yogurt with a ton of spices. The butter is what you cook the chicken in. The butter heats up all the spices in the marinade and makes an explosion of flavors in your mouth.
For me, it is the sauce that pairs so well with the chicken. Add some garlic and ginger to the drippings in the pan and pour in some crushed tomatoes. Cook until you can smell the ginger and garlic. Then add heavy cream and simmer until all the flavors marry.
How to Make Butter Chicken
1. Cut the chicken into small chunks. Two pounds of chicken is about two large chicken breasts. Chicken breasts these days are getting so big! I cut them in half on the flat side, like butterflying the breast. With flat side down, I cut the breasts into three long strips and then cut across the strips to make about 1 inch chunks of chicken.
2. Put the Greek yogurt in a bowl big enough to hold all the chicken. Pour the spices in the yogurt and mix. Then salt and pepper the chicken. Place the chicken in the bowl with yogurt and spices. Mix the chicken until well coated. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the bowl and leave it on the counter for at least 2 hours.
You do not want to put this in the refrigerator. The chicken needs to warm to room temperature for the yogurt and spices to do their job of tenderizing the meat.
3. Make perfect rice. Most all rice has a 2:1 ratio. Two cups of water to 1 cup of rice. Put the water in a saucepan and then add the rice. Get the water boiling on high and then put the lid on the pan. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting on your stove. Make sure the water is still boiling/simmering and then put the lid back on and set a timer for 20 minutes. When the timer goes off, and you take off the lid, you should see small holes in the top layer of your rice.
Do you know how to make perfect rice?
Some people make a big deal about washing rice. I have made my rice both ways, washing it and not washing it. I am not sure I can see or taste a difference. Let me know in the comments below if you have a strong opinion either way. A lot of people have rice makers. You can also make rice this way as well.
4. Cook the chicken. Melt 2 Tbsp. of butter in a fry pan, on medium heat. Start placing the chunks of chicken in the pan. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then turn to the other side.
You know the chicken is completely cooked when you pick it up and it feels firm. If you pick it up and the chicken is jiggling or is limp, you want to cook it a minute more. The yogurt and spices make it hard to tell if the chicken is done, but you can feel it.
If you overcook the chicken, it will be tough and dry. Taste a piece or two, as you cook it, to test if the chicken is cooked through. Remember it will continue to cook after you have taken it out of the pan.
Smaller chicken pieces cook faster than big ones!
5. Cook the chicken in batches. You do not want to over crowd the pan. Melt 1-2 tablespoons each time you start a new batch. I use tongues to turn the pieces of meat, but a small spatula works well too.
6. Make the sauce once all the chicken is cooked. All those drippings in the bottom of the pan are going to make the most delicious sauce. I really like this sauce. When I make this recipe, I always double the amount of tomatoes.
7. Prepare the garlic and ginger. Take the husks off the garlic cloves and chop them or grate them. Grating garlic on the small side of a box grater is so easy and makes for small pieces that cook easily.
Use a knife or a peeler to scrape off the outer layer of the fresh ginger. You need about 2 inches. Grate this on the small side of your box grater. There will be a woody, stringy part that will not go through the grater. Throw this away.
8. Pour the crushed tomatoes in the bottom of the hot fry pan. Deglaze the pan by stirring the bottom to get all the drippings mixed in. Add in the grated garlic and ginger. Stir and cook this for about 5 minutes. You want to be able to smell the garlic and ginger as it cooks.
9. Pour in the heavy cream and bring to a low boil. Put the lid on and continue to simmer for 20 minutes until the flavors are well combined.
10. Chop cilantro into small pieces. Now you are ready to plate the dish by adding rice, the chicken pieces, cover in sauce and then sprinkle on chopped cilantro.
Here are a few products I like to use when making Butter Chicken.
When you purchase items from the Amazon links below, I receive a small commission.
Let me know on Instagram or Pinterest if you make this.
Post a picture and tag me @ dinasdiner.
- 2/3 Cup Nonfat Greek Yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder
- 1 Tbsp. Cumin
- 1 Tbsp. Turmeric
- 1 Tbsp. Garam Marsala
- 1 Tbsp. Paprika
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Pepper
- 2 lbs. Chicken Breasts
- 1/2 Cup Butter
- 15.5 oz. Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 tsp. Sugar
- 2 inches Fresh Ginger, Grated
- 2 Cloves Garlic, Grated
- 1 Cup Heavy Cream
- 1/2 tsp. Salt
- 1/4 tsp. Pepper
- 1 Bunch Cilantro
- 3 Cups Rice, Prepared
- Mix the yogurt and spices in a dish.
- Cut chicken breast into 1 – 2 inch cubes.
- Place the chicken in the yogurt and spice mixture and refrigerate overnight or leave on the counter at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
- Place 2 Tbsp. of butter in a fry pan and melt. Place each piece of chicken in the butter. Cook on both sides until tender and done. Add more butter each time you fry a new batch of chicken. This does not take very long since the chicken pieces are so small.
- While frying the chicken, cook the rice.
- Once all the chicken is cooked, add the crushed tomatoes, ginger, garlic and salt and pepper to the same pan.
- Cook and stir frequently for about 5 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and mix well.
- Put a lid on the pan and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Serve on a bed of rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.
I sent you an email letter regarding the Strawberry jello whipped cream cake. could you contact me and send me a copy please I really appreciate it.
How can I help you? I do have a recipe for a Strawberry Jello Whipped Cream Cake, but I do not think I have posted it. I can’t find your email address. My email address is email@example.com. Send me another one and I will send you the recipe.
I don’t know what to do with the .5 cup butter. Is it used in the marinade?
No you use it to fry up the yogurt and spice covered chicken pieces.