Easy Butter Chicken Recipe

Weeknight Butter Chicken

This classic Indian butter chicken is easier than it you think and is doable on a weeknight if you plan correctly. Such a delicious chicken dinner!


Weeknight Butter Chicken

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If there’s been one unwavering truth about parenthood, it’s that my weeknights have gotten approximately 4,000% more hectic. By the time we are all home, we are all hungry and anything I can do to speed up the dinner process is usually a plus. This Easy Butter Chicken Recipe is totally doable, even on a busy weeknight!

I still enjoy the idea of having an actual dinner, not just consuming food for survival. I like sitting down and at least trying to catch up with my wife and talk to our kids. Some nights are better than others, obviously, but in general I look forward to the chaos.

One thing that can really take the load off of dinner is a recipe where you can prep most of it in advance! Enter this delicious Easy Butter Chicken dish. This classic Indian dish is something that normally simmers for hours, but with a few tweaks, it is totally doable on a weeknight, even in a hectic house!

This post was updated on Dec 3rd, 2019 to include new directions and images!

Marinating the Butter Chicken

The nice part about this recipe is that you can prep the chicken in advance which makes for an easier dinner the night you want to make it.

Start by slicing the chicken into thin strips and stirring the chicken together with Greek yogurt and all the spices. Doing this in advance will also give the chicken a chance to marinate in the spices, making it even more flavorful!

Marinating chicken - Easy Butter Chicken

You can make that up to 24 hours in advance without any issue. It’ll trim 10-15 minutes off the total time for this recipe by doing that in advance!

Yogurt Marinade - Easy Butter Chicken
All mixed up!

How to Cook the Easy Butter Chicken

When you’re ready to make the dish, add 1/4 cup of butter to a medium pot over medium heat. Add a chopped onion along with fresh ginger and garlic. The fresh aromatics are a little extra prep, but they add a lot of flavor to the dish!

Vegetables for Butter Chicken
The start of deliciousness!

Let those things cook together until the veggies soften, just 3-4 minutes should do the trick. You don’t want them to brown really.

Then add the tomato paste and stock to the pot and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Adding tomato for Butter Chicken Sauce
Starting the sauce.

Add in the prepared chicken along with any marinade in the bowl, which has tons of flavor!

Stir that together and bring the mixture to a low simmer. Let the mixture simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring it occasionally to make sure it isn’t sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Cooking chicken for easy Butter Chicken
Chicken will cook quick!

After that simmer, the chicken should be cooked! I always recommend taking out a bigger piece and testing it, but assuming you sliced your chicken thin, it should be done with about 10 minutes of simmering.

After the chicken is done, finish the dish by stirring in the cream and last knob of butter. That will really add some nice richness to the dish and make it extra creamy and delicious!

Adding Cream for Easy Butter Chicken
Extra goodness.

How to Serve Butter Chicken

Season the butter chicken with a pinch of salt and pepper and it’s ready to go!

Serve the chicken with lots of sauce over rice and garnish the whole thing with fresh cilantro! You could also serve the butter chicken with flatbread or in a pita sandwich!

Easy Butter Chicken Recipe

Leftovers and Reheating

This butter chicken recipe keeps beautifully in the fridge for a week or so or you can freeze it for longer storage. Reheat the butter chicken with a splash of water over low heat on the stove until warmed through.

A bonus feature of this recipe for the parents out there is that it’s a great way to introduce a little one to lots of new flavors but it isn’t a spicy recipe. My little dude absolutely loved the butter chicken sauce and ate two full baby plates of this!

Easy Butter Chicken Recipe

Weeknight Butter Chicken

This classic Indian simmered dish is doable on a weeknight if you plan correctly. Such a delicious chicken dinner!
4 from 8 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 55 mins
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 Servings


  • 2 pounds chicken breast sliced thin
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • ½ cup Butter
  • 1 sweet onion chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • White rice for serving
  • Fresh cilantro garnish


  • In advance, slice chicken into thin strips. Stir together with Greek yogurt, garam masala, chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper. Cover and store in refrigerator for up to 24 hours.
  • To make sauce, add 4 tablespoons Butter to a medium pot over medium heat. Once butter has melted, add onions, ginger, and garlic and cook until veggies soften, 3-4 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste and stock to pot and stir to combine. Add prepared chicken strips along with any sauce in the bowl. Bring pot to a low simmer. Simmer mixture for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Test chicken for doneness.
  • Add cream to pot along with final 4 tablespoons Butter. Allow sauce to thicken for a few minutes. Taste and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  • Serve butter chicken over rice garnished with fresh cilantro.


Serving: 1bowlCalories: 531kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 40gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 20gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 186mgSodium: 920mgPotassium: 948mgFiber: 2gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 1377IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 105mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Butter chicken, Indian Food, Weeknight Chicken

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Weeknight Butter Chicken: This classic Indian recipe can easily be made on a weeknight if you plan correctly! Make this week's dinner delicious with this surprisingly fast recipe! | macheesmo.com

Here are a few other great chicken dinners!

15 Responses to “Weeknight Butter Chicken” Leave a comment

  1. This looks so delicious. I crave butter chicken on a regular basis but never feel like I have enough time in the evenings to actually make it. I’ll have to give this method a try!

  2. My first thought was, ‘Simmer the chicken? Why not saute it or broil it for the extra browning flavor, then add it to the sauce?’ But then I realized that the sauce and marinade already had so much going on that it would still be really flavorful without the browning, AND simmering the chicken in the sauce would cut time and trouble by, like, 300%. (Not having to babysit the chicken, clean another pan, etc.) Which is all to say that, after some snobbish soul-searching, this recipe looks really damn good and I will be trying it soon. : )

    1. Hey Josh! Ha! Yea… it’s a trade-off for sure, but not a huge one in this case. I still found it to be very flavorful. You’re right though that the completely traditional way to do it (which would be a weekend situation probably) is to marinate the chicken, grill it, then prepare the sauce separately and simmer everything together. I think you’ll be happy with this version though if you are crunched for time! Good luck!

  3. I made this for dinner tonight. I was very leary. It sounded good, but I have never cooked with yogurt or heavy cream and do not like tomato flavoring on my chicken. Having said that, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. I followed the recipe, but I didn’t have garam masala. This dinner was a hit!!!! I couldn’t believe how good it was. You can actually taste all the different flavors. I have garam masala on my shopping list now. If you are going to make this during the week, slice the chicken and marinate it in the yogurt mixture a day ahead of time. You wont be disappointed.

    1. Awesome! So glad it worked out for ya. Def try it with garam masala if you can find it. Adds another layer of flavor to it. :)

  4. I made this for dinner tonight, with some modifications so I didn’t have to run to the store & it was delicious! I didn’t have garam masala, so used red curry powder instead, I also didn’t have cream, so used evaporated milk. So good! I’ll definitely make it again. Thank you for sharing!

  5. So, not a big fan of breasts, I am going to use boneless skinless thighs. I find they have more flavor and in applications such as this usually work rather well. Just need to pick up cilantro and I am good to go… Cannot wait to make this!

    1. We did it with thighs and it was great. This is a great recipe with a very flavorful balanced blend of spices. Great recipe, Chef.

  6. I don’t see in the comments what to do with the chicken broth? Do you add it when you’re simmering the chicken?

  7. This recipe looks tasty but I’m not seeing any nutrition information. Frustrating as now I’ll have to compile it manually. Did I miss something?

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