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Quick butter chicken

Serves   4
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 20 mins

Butter chicken is one of the most popular curries at any Indian restaurant around the world. Luckily, it also happens to be one of the easiest curries to make in your own kitchen! This butter chicken recipe comes together so quickly you’ll never head for the Indian restaurant again.





  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, chopped into 5cm chunks
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1½ teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • ½ cup tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¾ cup cream
  • Fresh chopped coriander

Cookware: Frying pan.


  1. Heat a dash of oil in a frying pan and brown the chicken chunks. Set aside.
  2. Pan-fry the onion, garlic and ginger for 3-4 minutes over a medium heat until softened. Add the spices and stir fry for a further 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  3. Add the tomato paste, sugar and lemon juice, return the chicken pieces to the pan and stir to combine.
  4. Stir in the cream and ¼ cup water and simmer, partially covered, for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
  5. Season and serve over hot steaming basmati rice, garnished with coriander.
Recipe notes:

Chicken – Chicken thighs are the best type of chicken to use in this recipe for butter chicken, as the meat will stay juicy and tender. If you’re looking for a cheaper option, try chicken thigh cutlets – just cut the meat off the bone.

Side dishes – Indian style food is often served with a side of naan bread or flatbread of your choice. We love this recipe for Flatbreads with garlic butter – simple and delicious.

Spice – Butter chicken is traditionally quite a mild curry. However, it’s easy to adjust the spice levels to make it milder or spicier. You could omit the chilli flakes completely to make it mild, or add more chilli flakes/chilli powder to increase the spice levels. The addition of ground coriander or ground cumin will also give your curry more flavour. 


Why is it called butter chicken?

Butter chicken originated from Northern India back in 1948. Butter chicken (known as murgh makhana – chicken with butter) is prepared in a buttery gravy with cream. This gives the butter chicken sauce a silky smooth, rich texture. Many restaurants also add butter for extra creaminess. However, this can also leave you feeling bloated from the grease.

Is butter chicken spicy?

See Recipe Notes – Spice above.

How long does butter chicken last?

Like many curries, butter chicken dinner from last night will often taste even better the next day! This recipe will last up to three days in the fridge.