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butter chicken with chickpea masala on white plate
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5 from 16 votes

Butter Chicken (Punjabi-Style)

This easy to make Punjabi butter chicken recipe features tender marinated chicken and loads of warm spices in a creamy yogurt tomato sauce.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Marinate 1 hour (8 hours best)1 hour
Total Time1 hour 35 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 6
Author: Kevin


  • 1 1/2 lbs chicken breast meat (See Note 1)


  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tsp garam masala seasoning (See Note 2)
  • 1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 8 oz tomato sauce (See Note 3)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Garlic Naan Bread


  • Combine Marinade ingredients with the chicken in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for an hour, overnight, or up to 24 hours.
  • Heat the oil over high heat in a large fry pan or wok. Add the marinated chicken and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until the chicken is white all over - it doesn't really brown due to the marinade.
  • Add the tomato sauce, sugar and salt. Stir to combine. Turn heat to low and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Sauce will thicken and reduce.
  • Season with salt if needed. Stir through the cream and simmer another 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add the 2 tablespoons of butter and swirl to melt into the sauce.
  • Garnish with cilantro leaves and a pinch of some more Garam Masala. Serve over rice and with garlic naan bread. (See Note 4)



  1. I like to use chicken breast meat, the chicken tender strips or thigh fillets, cut into bite size pieces.
  2. Use more or less Garam Masala depending on your taste for heat. This is not a very hot dish, the spice blend is more flavor than heat. I think sometimes people confuse spicy with heat and there is a difference! 🙂
  3. I use Tomato Sauce in this recipe and have also used Tomato Passata, both work well in this. Tomato Passata is uncooked tomato puree that has been strained of seeds and skins. It is not cooked, where Tomato Sauce is cooked and often has other ingredients such as carrots, onions, sugar and garlic. If you want little bits of tomato in the sauce passata works well. Smoother go tomato sauce.Passata is readily available in most supermarkets, usually alongside pasta sauces. It costs just a little more, sometimes the same, as canned tomatoes. If you can't find it, puree canned tomatoes. (Australia, from what I understand don't use what you call Tomato Sauce!).
  4. You can pick up frozen baked naan at most supermarkets or Trader Joe's if available near you.


Calories: 319kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 128mg | Sodium: 740mg | Potassium: 626mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 919IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 59mg | Iron: 1mg