• Easy Authentic Indian Butter Chicken
  • Easy Authentic Indian Butter Chicken
  • Easy Authentic Indian Butter Chicken

Easy Authentic Indian Butter Chicken

Here's my sis and me being silly!

My sister and I!

Otherwise know as Chicken Makhani, Butter Chicken is probably my all-time favorite Indian dish. OK, maybe next to samosas! I love them both and lucky for me I’ve eaten my fair share of both!

I actually grew up eating Indian food because of my sister. Her dad and his side of the family are from India so we ate at arguably some of the best Indian restaurants like the Bombay Palace in Washington D.C. and I got to experience meals cooked by relatives visiting from India. Eating cucumbers with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of chat masala was a favorite appetizers of mine once my taste buds finally got acclimated to spice. (Still waiting for my own kids to acquire their appreciation for spice!)

Anyway, I find it surprising that Indian food is not more popular in the U.S. because the flavors are so rich and delicious. But let’s change that, shall we?! With a few unique spices, you can create this very authentic Indian butter chicken recipe yourself. I’ll provide links to the spices so you can purchase them on Amazon or you may be able to find them at your local gourmet grocery store, or for sure at an Indian grocery store if you’re fortunate enough to have one near you.

To make this into a full meal, you could serve the butter chicken over rice with sides of naan, aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower) and cucumbers in lemon juice and chat masala. As an appetizer I love the pre-made, frozen samosas with mint chutney for dipping. The brand I’ve tried and really like is Tandoor Chef but there might be other good ones too. You can also make your own using puff pastry dough or again, if you’re lucky enough to live near an Indian grocery sotre, sometimes you can get samosa made fresh. Drool!

A few fun facts about Indian food: Curry is not used in this recipe or even used that often in other Indian dishes. Also, traditional Indian cuisine is eaten using your right hand, no utensils! Learn more about traditional Indian dining here.

The recipe below is adapted from Swasthi’s Recipes. I’ve simplified the cooking process so it’s very easy to follow. There is a long list of ingredients so that is the only hard part, gathering the ingredients, but it’s what will give you that authentic Indian flavor. And once you have them, they’ll last you awhile!

If you like Indian food, check out my other Indian and Indian-inspired recipes for Aloo Gobi, Aloo Gobi Cakes, and Indian-spiced Potato and Cauliflower Pockets.


  • 1. In a large ziplock bag, marinate chicken pieces in lemon juice, chili power and salt. Refrigerate for 15-20 mins. Add the overnight marinade ingredients and refrigerate overnight (or a minimum of 45 minutes if you don't have time).
  • 2. To cook the chicken: Melt butter in a large pot (I used my dutch oven) and add onion, garlic, green chili (or jalapeño) and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in ginger, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, corriander, fenugreek leaves and garam masala then add chicken, marinade and all. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until chicken is no longer pink in the center, about 10-15 minutes or so depending on the size of your chunks of chicken.
  • 3. Once chicken is thoroughly cooked, stir in tomato puree, chili powder, cashew butter, sugar, salt, cream and milk. Simmer for about 5 minutes then serve over rice with a side of warm naan.