Quick & Easy Indian Butter Chicken Masala Recipe

It’s safe to say that Butter Chicken Masala is one of the most popular Indian curry dishes worldwide!  

It’s a comforting and creamy curry dish that combines chicken cooked to perfection in a rich tomato-based sauce, all infused with aromatic Indian spices, and buttery goodness, for delectable decadence.

Here is my simple weeknight recipe to recreate your favorite Indian take-out chicken dish at home quickly and easily, with no marinating required!

The traditional way of cooking Butter Chicken Masala requires marinating the chicken for a few hours if not overnight.

Imagine pieces of chicken in an aromatic, delicately spiced, creamy toamto baed curry sauce that tastes like the Butter Chicken Masala you love to eat in restaurants!

  This yummy dish is packed with protein, loaded with antioxidant spices, and is low in carbs. Enjoy with rice, and a salad for a mouth-watering lunch or dinner!

Why is it Called Butter Chicken Masala?

Why is it Called Butter Chicken Masala?

Butter Chicken, traditionally known as murgh makhani in India, is a type of curry made from chicken with a spiced tomato and butter (makhan) sauce.

Traditionally, Butter Chicken stems from the generous use of butter (makhan) in its preparation, giving the curry its distinct rich and creamy texture. We have now moved to using heavy cream in the recipe and topping the curry with a generous pat of butter. Some use butter instead of cooking oil for the intial steps of sauteing onions adn spices.

Ingredients for Butter Chicken Masala

Ingredients for Butter Chicken Masala


Use skinless boneless chicken thighs or boneless chicken breasts. I usually used chicken breast and dice is small.


For the curry base.

Ginger-Garlic Paste

In other words minced ginger and garlic.

Tomato Sauce and Ketchup

Low salt canned tomato saucet’s and organic tomato ketchup as it has the perfect blend of sweet, salty, and tart and adds a little something extra to the dish.


Cumin, coriander, turmeric, red chili powder, garam masalaa and dried fenugreek leaves (aka kasuri methi)


Butter chicken, in the way we will prepare it does not require a lot of butter. The smooth tomato sauce, and the cream provide the butteriness. You’ll need a pat as garnish for the dish.


A fistful of finely chopped cilantro makes the dish smell and taste even more delicious!

How do I Make Butter Chicken Masala?

Butter Chicken Masala is perfect for spicing up a cozy night in or brightening a weeknight dinner.

So, let’s get cooking!

1. First, we’ll set the mood by heating up some oil in a trusty kadai or a wide, deep pan with a lid, over medium heat.

2. Next, let’s add our lovely onions and garlic, giving them a good swirl for 2-3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and the onions become beautifully translucent.

3. Now it’s time for some spice magic! Mix in your aromatic turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powders, sautéing for a minute to bring out their flavors. Remember, a little splash of water can save your spices from becoming too clingy to the kadai!

4. Let’s keep the party going! Stir in ginger, garam masala, and a pinch of salt, sautéing for 30 seconds so that they mingle with our other guests.

5. Time to welcome our star, the chicken! Add it in, let it saute for a minute, and follow up with tomato sauce and ketchup for that perfect saucy goodness. Don’t forget to combine well!

6. Now, for the ultimate flavor melding, let your beautiful creation simmer on low heat for 2-3 minutes, giving it a little attention with the occasional stir. ?

7. Finally, add some dried fenugreek leaves, and the heavy cream and let your masterpiece cook away covered on low for 7-10 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through.

As a grand finale, adorn your scrumptious creation with a pat of butter and some finely chopped cilantro, and serve it up warm and enjoy!

How do I Make Butter Chicken Masala?

Tips for Making Scrumptious Butter Chicken

Transform your kitchen into a five-star Indian restaurant with these insider tips. Here’s how you can elevate your Butter Chicken game:


Tip #1: Cut Your Chicken Breast into Bite-Size Pieces: For melt-in-your-mouth results, take the time to dice your chicken breast into small pieces. This allows your flavors to permeate the meat, making it extra juicy and flavorful.

Tip #2: Use Fresh Ingredients: Get the best quality spices and the freshest ingredients you can find. Fresh garlic, ginger, cilantro, heavy cream, and good quality garam masala (I use Pioneer Coop Garam Masala), go a long way for the taste.

Tip #3: Don’t omit the kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)-that is a key ingredient in this dish. You can buy dried kauri methi from Amazon, any brand will do.

Cooking Method

Tip #4: Take Your Time: Do not rush the cooking process. This dish benefits from slow and low heat. This allows the flavors to meld together and seep deep into the chicken. While simmering if the sauce seems too thick you can add a little water to thin it


Tip #5: Presentation Matters: Just like a celebrity on the red carpet, your Butter Chicken deserves to look its best. Garnishing with a splash of cream and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro can take your dish from everyday to gourmet.

Tip #6: Pairs Well With Naan or Rice: Remember to serve your Butter Chicken alongside some warm Naan bread or fluffy basmati rice. It’s the perfect way to sop up all that rich and flavorful sauce. You can buy naan from an Indian grocery store, Costco, or even your local grocery store. I don’t usually make it and just prefer to buy it when I’m in the mood.

There you have it, friends! Keep these tips in mind next time you cook this beloved dish, and you’ll be savoring restaurant-style Butter Chicken right at home. Happy cooking! ?

You can also try this delicious Indo-Chinese chicken dish: Chili Chicken or a South Indian style chicken curry called Kerala Chicken.

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Butter Chicken Masala Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 1 review

  • Author: Mish
  • Total Time: 40
  • Yield: 5 servings
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Butter Chicken is a comforting and creamy curry dish that combines chicken cooked to perfection in a rich tomato-based sauce, all infused with aromatic Indian spices, and a buttery goodness for delectable decadence.


Core ground spices:

1 ½ teaspoons garam masala

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

1 teaspoon cumin powder

1 ½ teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon chili powder or to taste.


2 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

Other Ingredients:

2 tablespoons neutral cooking oil

1 tablespoon butter ( for garnish)

2 medium onions, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced garlic 

2 teaspoons minced ginger

1 teaspoon salt or to taste

1 (8 to 10 oz) can tomato sauce + 1 tablespoon organic tomato ketchup

3 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)

3/4 cup heavy cream

Fistful cilantro (coriander leaves), for garnish



Step 1: Preparing the Base

Heat oil in kadai or a wide, deep pan with a lid over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes till the onion is translucent.

Step 2: Adding Spices

Add in the turmeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powders. Sauté these ingredients for 1 minute. If the spices start sticking to the bottom of the pan, sprinkle a teaspoon of water.

Step 3: Incorporating More Flavors

Stir in the ginger, garam masala, and salt and sauté everything for another 30 seconds on medium heat.

Step 4: Adding the Protein

Add in the chicken and continue to cook for 1-3 minutes. Then, add tomato sauce and ketchup and combine them well with the existing mixture.

Step 5: Let it Cook

Cover the kadai and let everything cook on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally to prevent anything from sticking to the bottom.

Step 6: Infusing the Fenugreek Flavor

Add the dried fenugreek leaves and stir to mix, add the heavy cream and cook covered for 7 to 10 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked.

Step 7: Finishing Touch

Uncover the pan, add a pat of butter, and sprinkle some finely chopped cilantro to finish the dish.

Step 8: Ready to Serve

 Serve warm with naan or plain white basmati rice. Enjoy!


I would recommend using organic ketchup as regular ketchup includes high fructose corn syrup which isn’t the healthiest ingredient. Organic ketchup has minimal and pure ingredients which you can review on the ketchup label.

Definitely, DO NOT omit the fenugreek leaves if you’d like to have restaurant-style butter chicken. If you do omit it it will still be a nice curry but it won’t be butter chicken masala like you taste in the restaurant.


  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Category: main course
  • Method: stovetop
  • Cuisine: Indian
4.33 from 3 Reviews


  • Patrick

    Looks like a great recipe – looking forward to making this and definitely will not omit the fenugreek leaves!

  • Patrick

    Meant to give this 5 stars – great recipe!

  • Rachel

    Made this last night and everyone enjoyed it. Looking forward to making it again! Thank You!!

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