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Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

Holy yum, ya’ll, this was SOOOOOO good! I love Indian food, but I rarely ever eat it, and I’ve never made it in my life. That’s about to change because I’ll be making this recipe a frequent thing!

Every time I come across a yummy Indian recipe on Pinterest, I click and see about 10 ingredients that I don’t have. I know I could go buy them, but we only spend $125 a week on groceries for the 5 of us, so it’s a bit of a stretch to buy that many items for one meal. Well then I came across the recipe I adapted mine from (this one), and it only had two items I didn’t have, so I decided to go for it. I looked at a lot of other recipes though for Butter Chicken too, and I read other reviews on the recipes to see what people thought and made several changes. Since I did make a few pretty significant changes, I thought I’d write it out here both for me to remember and you to enjoy! Recipe below 🙂


  1. 2 lbs of chicken thighs

  2. salt and pepper to taste

  3. 1 tsp chili powder

  4. 1/2 tsp ground turmeric

  5. 4 Tbsp of butter, divided into 2 Tbsp each

  6. 1 package of frozen onions (or about 1.5 large white onions)

  7. 3 tsp garam masala

  8. 1 tsp chili powder

  9. 1 tsp cumin

  10. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

  11. 1 Tbsp grated ginger

  12. 1 tsp minced garlic

  13. dash of cinnamon

  14. 15 oz tomato sauce (canned)

  15. 5.4 oz coconut cream (canned)

  16. chopped cilantro for garnish

Serve with rice and salad. The differences from the original recipe are that I omitted the water, substituted coconut cream (and less of it) for the heavy cream, used a dash of cinnamon instead of a stick (for a more muted flavor), cut the cayenne pepper in half to make it suitable heat for kids too, decreased the butter by a third, used chicken thighs instead of breasts (cheaper and darker meat is juicier), and subbed frozen onion to save me time. It worked out perfectly, and non of the issues other reviewers had occurred in my adaption. I was pretty proud considering it was my first time!!


1. Cut up chicken thighs into bite sized pieces and put them in a ziploc bag with 1 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp ground turmeric, and about a 1/2 tsp salt and pepper. Allow to marinate in the fridge for 15 minutes while you grate the ginger, chop the onions (if not used the frozen chopped ones), open the canned items and measure out your other spices. Be efficient in the kitchen!

2. Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a pan, and add the chicken , browning it until cooked. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon, keeping the juices in the pan.

3. Add the onion, 3 tsp garam masala, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp cumin, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 Tbsp grated ginger, 1 tsp minced garlic, and a dash of cinnamon, salt and pepper to the pan over medium heat, cooking a few minutes until the onions are soft and fragrant. During this step I start on my white rice!

4. Add the tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Add the coconut cream and again bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the pan, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes.

5. Add remaining 2 Tbsp. of butter to mixture and melt in the dish with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over the rice with a bit of fresh cilantro. This recipe makes a great sized portion, enough for two meals for our family of 5 (or one meal and 3-4 lunches for me…hehehe).

Tip: Anytime I make my homemade seasonings, like taco seasoning, cajun seasonings or in this case, Indian, I double the seasoning and put it in a ziploc bag for next time to cut back on time! The step 3 of this recipe would work great for that!

I hope you love this dish as much as I did!

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