Butter chicken - pieces of chicken in a rich, creamy sauce - is a quintessential Indian dish. It may just be the most famous Indian recipe, and I’m giving you an easy way to prepare it at home.






Skill level

Average: 4.6 (241 votes)

Butter chicken is best eaten with a plain piece of naan or pita bread, and white steamed rice is also an option. Don’t worry if you don’t have every single spice. Not having fenugreek powder or seeds, for example, will not have a dramatic impact on the flavor of the butter chicken. You can still enjoy an absolutely delicious dish.


  • 900 g chicken pieces or breast fillet, chopped
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded, chopped
  • 3 tsp chopped coriander
  • 3 tsp cream
  • naan or rice, to serve


  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice
  • 110 ml yoghurt
  • 1½ tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • ½ tsp ground fenugreek


  • 1½ tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 200 g tomato puree
  • 3 tsp red chilli powder
  • 3 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1½ tbsp cashew nut paste
  • 3 tsp garam masala
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 110 ml thick (double) cream

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Marinating time: 2 hours

1. Make two deep incisions each on breast and drumsticks. Combine chicken and marinade ingredients, rubbing into chicken pieces. Marinate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 180°C. Place chicken on a rack set inside a baking tray. Bake (or cook on a preheated barbecue, or in vegetable oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat) for 15 minutes, or until browned.

3. To make sauce, heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Cook onion for 30 seconds. Add tomato puree and season with salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5–10 minutes, or until oil separates from sides.

4. Stir in chilli powder, ginger garlic paste, cashew nut paste and garam masala. Add in chicken pieces and cook, stirring, for 3–4 minutes.

5. Add butter and stir till melted. Add cream and stir to combine. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until chicken is well cooked, soft and tender.

6. Garnish with green chilli, coriander and cream. Serve with naan or rice.


This recipe is from Essence of India on SBS Food (Channel 33). Stream episodes via SBS On Demand.