Classic Butter Chicken

This is my Classic Butter Chicken with a few tips and tricks to getting that restaurant flavour at home. To get that lovely chargrilled flavour to the chicken I marinate the chicken thighs, then sear them on a very hot grill plate for a few minutes. To the homemade sauce I add natural or Greek yoghurt to get a little bit of tanginess as well as a rich, creamy flavour. And to make it kid-friendly, I use a little less chilli powder and add in sweet paprika – it still gives that wonderful smoky flavour without the heat. This is so creamy and delicious, cooks in under 30 minutes, and tastes just like it does in a restaurant.


Classic Butter Chicken

10 minutes
30 minutes

50g (1.7 oz) butter 

3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed 

1 cinnamon stick 

1 tbsp finely grated ginger 

2 garlic cloves, finely grated 

1 cup tomato puree or tomato passata 

½ tbsp Kashmiri red chilli powder* 

1 tsp sweet paprika 

1 tbsp sugar 

1 tsp sea salt 

½ cup cream 

2 tbsp natural yoghurt mixed with 2 tsp water, to serve 

dried mint or kasoori methi, to serve 

naan or roti bread, to serve 

slices of red onion, green chillies & lime wedges, to serve 


Marinated chicken: 

500g (1 lb) chicken thigh fillets, cut into large, bite-sized pieces 

1 tbsp lemon juice 

2 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder 

½ tbsp sweet paprika 

1 tsp sea salt 

½ cup natural yoghurt 

½ tbsp finely grated ginger 

1 tbsp finely grated garlic 

2 tsp garam masala 

1 tbsp vegetable oil 

1 tbsp melted butter 

  • Step 1

    For the marinated chicken, combine the chicken with the lemon juice, red chilli powder, sweet paprika and salt. Mix well. Add the yoghurt, ginger, garlic, garam masala and oil. Mix until combined. Carefully thread the chicken pieces onto skewers (if using wooden skewers, it helps to soak them in water for a few minutes beforehand so they don’t burn).

  • Step 2

    Heat a chargrill plate, barbecue plate or frying pan over high heat. When the plate or pan is very hot, add the chicken. Cook for 3-4 minutes or until starting to char and burn at the edges. Turn over the chicken, brush over the melted butter, and cook for a further 3-4 minutes or until starting to char and burn at the edges. Don’t worry about cooking the chicken all the way through, as we’ll be finishing it off in the sauce later in the cook. Transfer to a plate and set aside for later. 

  • Step 3

    While the chicken is cooking, heat 50g butter in a deep frying pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is foaming, add the cardamom and cinnamon. Cook for a minute or until fragrant. Then add the ginger and garlic. Cook for another minute. Add the tomato puree, red chilli powder, paprika, sugar and salt. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring every so often.

  • Step 4

    Pull the chicken off the skewers and add to the sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes. Then stir through the cream. To serve, drizzle over the yoghurt and sprinkle with dried mint leaves. Serve with the bread and red onion, chillies and lime.

  • Notes

    – This ground chilli powder is made from Kashmiri chillies, a variety known for its lower heat rating and intense red colour. It’s widely used in Indian cuisine, especially in tandoori and butter chicken. It’s well worth seeking out online or at an Asian grocer to give this dish its colour and smoky flavour.

    – While the addition of sweet paprika isn’t traditional, it’s a great way to add the intense red colour to the dish without heat (especially handy if you’re making this dish for children or non-spice fans!). Feel free to play around with ratios to get your perfect mix of heat and colour.

Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite. Marion's Kitchen is for everyone who finds joy in flavour and happiness in every bite.

What our customers say

5.0 out of 5 stars (based on 27 reviews)
Very good0%

Best Butter Chicken Ever!

April 8, 2024

I have tried many times to perfect a restaurant-style Butter Chicken, but have previously never quite managed to pull it off. This is the perfect recipe. I toned down the heat by reversing the Sweet Paprika to Kashmiri Chilli ratios. This makes it a crowd-pleaser for everyone…including little ones. Thank you so much Marion! I have it marked as my all-time favourite recipe.

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Great flavours and colour

March 20, 2024

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December 26, 2023

Best recipe of this wonderful Indian meal that I’ve tried cooking at home. Very easy to follow, and was a bit with the family. Thank you for sharing.

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