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Butter Chicken

This recipe has all the flavor you find in a restaurant dish, and comes together in no time.

October 11, 2018

serves six to eight people.

Butter chicken is one of our favorite takeout meals. Leftovers are delicious!


  • 1 and 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter (1 and 1/2 sticks), divided
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 5 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 cup half-and-half 
  • 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes, preferably roasted
  • 3 to 4 cups cooked rice
  • chopped cilantro leaves for garnish (optional)

Spice Mix

  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. In a small bowl, blend the spice ingredients. Set aside
  2. Cut chicken into small bite-size pieces. Quarter the onion and cut in thin slices.
  3. Heat a large (12-inch) skillet to medium-high. Add 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter and when it starts to foam, add the spices. Stir for about 30 seconds to develop the flavor, then add onion slices and 1 additional tablespoon butter. Saute onions in the butter and spices for about 5 minutes, until they soften, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the chicken pieces to the pan and cook for about 6 minutes, flipping the chicken after 3 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  5. Stir in the garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until fragrant. 
  6. Cut the remaining butter into chunks, add it to the pan, and stir to melt. Add the half-and-half and crushed tomatoes and stir to combine. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until sauce thickens slightly. Taste and adjust seasoning. We often add extra garam masala and a pinch of cayenne.
  7. Serve hot over rice, garnished with chopped cilantro. Heated naan is great for dipping in the sauce.

Cook’s note: This recipe calls for a lot of spices. Stock up in the bulk section at a fraction of the cost of spices in the jar. For an extra rich taste, use cream instead of half-and-half. Add in a small package of baby spinach leaves during the final simmer to add a green vegetable to the mix.


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