30 Minutes Butter Chicken

This is my take on one of the most popular dish on Indian restaurant menus. This version is somewhat lighter than the classic butter chicken, but still tastes rich and absolutely flavourful.

Butter chicken wins hearts even by its look. At some popular Indian restaurants, the process to make it is quite tedious. The chicken is first marinated for 24 hours and then cooked into a traditional clay oven called as tandoor. Then a tomato based gravy is prepared and the chicken is added to it, along with lots of butter. Hence the name butter chicken. No doubt it is a favourite dish for many out there.

My Take on The Butter Chicken

Making butter chicken, the classic way is very time consuming. Also, not everyone wants to put that much amount of butter and fat into their body. So, I made my version:

  • Quicker: only takes 30 minutes
  • Lighter: does not involve too much butter or fat
  • Easier: doesn’t require too many ingredients

Is This Dish Freezer Friendly?

Butter chicken is super freezer friendly. In fact I often make double the quantity and freeze half of it to enjoy later. You can freeze it for up to 2 months in an air tight container.

Can This Be Made Ahead of Time?

Yes, in fact the chicken absorbs the flavours overtime and the taste gets even better the next day. So you can made it a day ahead of serving. Hence its a great dish to add to your party/daawat menus.

Butter Chicken vs Chicken Tikka Masala- What’s the difference?

Although these two dishes might look similar, there are some differences in the way they are prepared and they taste.

  • Butter Chicken has a sauce that is smooth and silky because it is blended to achieve that consistency. The spices used here are mild and aromatic. Butter chicken is often not spicy and somewhat sweeter in flavour. In classic butter chicken recipes, parts of chicken with bones are used. Although many restaurants also offer boneless versions.
  • Chicken Tikka Masala is often spicier and tangier in flavour. The sauce has bits of onion (or sometimes tomatoes) because it isn’t blended into a puree. For tikka masala mostly boneless chicken is used.

Ingredients at a Glance


  • You may use fresh tomatoes instead of canned ones. The colour of the gravy will be a little less vibrant in that case.
  • Chicken with bones could also be used instead of boneless chicken. In that case, you will have to cook it longer.
  • To make it even lighter, you may skip cream at the end and replace it with full fat milk instead.
  • If you prefer it spicier, you can add more red chili powder or green chilies to the recipe.

Watch the video instructions to easily follow the recipe

30 Minutes Butter Chicken

This version of butter chicken is lighter, quicker and easier. But the taste is not compromised.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4


  • 500 grams chicken breast (cut into cubes)
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp ghee (divided)
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 1 small piece mace (javitri)
  • 1 medium onion (diced)
  • 1 (5 cm) piece ginger (chopped)
  • 1 green chili (sliced, adjust to preferred spice level)
  • 1 (400 grams) can tomatoes (or 6 fresh tomatoes, diced)
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 200 ml water
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 100 grams whipping cream (schlagsahne, 30% fat)
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek)


  • In a bowl, add the chicken, kashmiri red chili powder, salt and lemon juice. Mix everything well and then leave the chicken to marinate until needed.
  • Put a pan on medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp of ghee (reserve remaining 1 Tbsp ghee for later). Once the ghee has melted, add the cardamom pods and mace (lightly crush the mace with hands to release the flavor better). Sauté for 2 minutes.
  • Add the onion, ginger and green chili. Sauté for 2-3 minutes, until onion starts to turn brown on the edges.
  • Add the canned tomatoes, coriander powder and salt. Turn the heat to low and sauté for 5-7 minutes (stirring frequently), until all the excess liquid has evaporated and the sauce turns darker. Then take off from heat and let the sauce cool off slightly.
  • Once the sauce has cooled down, transfer to a blender and add the water. Blend until a smooth mixture is formed. Keep aside.
  • Clean the pan and put it back on medium high heat. Add the remaining 1 Tbsp of ghee. Once the ghee has melted and the pan has heated up, add the marinated chicken and spread it all over the pan.
  • Let the chicken cook on medium high for 3-4 minutes without moving it. Once the chicken develops golden brown spots, flip and repeat on the other side. Make sure not to overcook the chicken to avoid a dry and rubbery texture.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, add the blended mixture to the pan and give a quick mix.
  • Add the sugar, cream and kasuri methi and mix to combine. Let it cook on low heat for a further 2-3 minutes. If you want to adjust the consistency of the sauce you can do it at this point by either adding some water to thin it down or cooking it a little longer to thicken it up. Turn off heat and transfer to a serving dish/bowl.
  • Garnish with cream (or beaten yogurt) and kasuri methi. Serve with naan or basmati rice.
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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Saskia says:

    I love ypur website and have been following upur Instagram account for a while. Your recipes always look delicious. I cannot wait to try this, as my son has been craving butter chicken and Naan for weeks, out of the blue. ! One question: I have nutmeg at home? But not mace. How crucial is mace to this recipe? Can it be found in Germany easily? I need to go to the Asian store, but won’t have time in the near future…
    Best wishes for much success as a food blogger!

    1. Hey Saskia, I am glad to know that you want to try the recipe. Although mace is crucial to the recipe because it gives a distinct flavor, you can add a pinch of nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon instead. The flavor will be slightly different, but it will still taste good.
      I would love to get a feedback if you try it out. Thanks 🙂

      1. Saskia says:

        5 stars
        Made this last night and I was truly impressed. At the beginning, I wasn’t sure. The spices are so mild that I could barely smell them, and was not confident that it would turn out, but after blending everything, it was just fabulous. My kids now like it better than the much more complicated tikka masala that I’ve been making for ten years. I thought it was perfect. My husband and kids thought it needed more chicken and less gravy, and that is easy enough to do. Modifications I made because I didn’t have everything I needed: used freshly grated nutmeg and a pinch of cinnamon because I didn’t have mace (have now ordered some). Used lime juice to marinade chicken instead of lemon. Used paprika plus hot pepper powder because I do not have kashmiri pepper. Will definitely make this again, but will quadruple the recipe (I doubled it already, as I have 3 sons and I didn’t have a lot of other food on the table this time). Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe!

      2. So good to know that. Thanks so much for your detailed feedback 🙂

  2. Saskia says:

    Forgot to mention that I went to a pan-Asian store to buy the mace yesterday and they were out and said that someone else was looking for it that same morning, so perhaps I’m not the only one in Munich trying this recipe! 🙂

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