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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

Rated 5 out of 5
5 out of 5 stars (based on 23 reviews)
Very good0%
September 14, 2023

The best

The ultimate homemade butter chicken – this is by far the best homemade version I’ve ever tried & tastes authentic.

September 12, 2023

5 star recipe!

I made this recipe a few times and it’s so delicious and flavourful.

My friends and family also love this recipe.

I always make big batches because when I feel I don’t want to cook, but want to eat something that makes me so happy, then I’m so happy I can eat this with only adding vegetables and rice.

It’s easy to order kashmiri chilipowder online and I’m happy that I used it.

It is really a different kind of chilipowder and I really recommend it to buy it.

Sending love from Holland ❤️

July 20, 2023

Restaurant quality Butter Chicken!

I was first introduced to Indian food almost 30 years ago by my girlfriend (now wife of 25 years). Since then, I have purchased books, researched recipes and tried numerous times to replicate as close as possible to what we like in the Indian restaurants we have frequented the last 25 years. This is the recipe I have been looking for. Have tried twice this week and the family loves it!

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