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Butter Chicken

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I love a good butter chicken and this version is my current favourite.

I originally featured a butter chicken recipe on this page back in 2014. It wasn’t until visiting the page recently that I realised how much it needed updating!

So here I have for you my updated butter chicken recipe.

This is a recipe I learned while travelling in India and it will feature in my next cookbook ‘The Curry Guy BBQ’. That is scheduled to be published in April 2022.

As you’ve found it here though, you can try my favourite butter chicken recipe now!

Butter chicken ready to serve.

Truly the best butter chicken I have ever tried!


Why I cook this butter chicken on the barbecue?

You could of course cook this famous curry indoors but for me it’s all about that deliciously marinated and grilled chicken.

I like to cook butter chicken outside because I can grill the chicken at about the same time I cook the sauce. It just makes a lot of sense really. 

Butter chicken is made with tandoori chicken on the bone and the leftover marinade becomes part of the sauce. This version is about as authentic as they come.

What is so different about this butter chicken?

I my cookbooks ‘The Curry Guy’ and ‘The Curry Guy Bible’ I featured a more commonly seen version of butter chicken.

This version goes back to the original, with the chicken marinated in mustard oil and a good amount of chaat masala.

If you haven’t tried butter chicken with these two key ingredients, it’s time to change that.

We’re talking curry heaven here!

What do you serve butter chicken with?

If you’d like to make this curry into a feast, you’ve come to the right place. You could just go for a side of Basmati rice or mushroom fried rice.
If you’d like to make naans, why not try one of these?  Instant naans, Peshwari naans, stove top naans, keema naans, garlic naans, tandoor naans (if you have a tandoor oven), or if you’re cooking outdoors, karahi naans. Oh, and really easy but just as delicious are homemade chapatis.

You might also like to serve up an easy curry house style tarka dal or slowly cook dal makhani.

Want to start your butter chicken meal off with a bang? How about fried shop bought poppadoms or if you’re feeling ambitious, make your own poppadoms from scratch and serve them with coriander chutney, red onion chutney, and/or tamarind chutney.

Which cooking products?

You can use whatever you have. I use a  Kadai Fire bowl with a tripod stand and karahi.

I always use top quality, restaurant grade charcoal from Big K Products. In this case I used briquettes but I also highly recommend their lump wood charcoal for this style of cooking. 

I think of the fuel I use to cook as one of the ingredients. A good quality charcoal will enhance the flavour. Never use low quality charcoal that has been treated with lighting chemicals. 

Yes, it makes it faster to light up your barbecue at times but your food won’t be nearly as good. Another tip is to use 

Make this recipe your own…

You will see in the ingredients that I recommend either Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika. 

This is a personal thing. I prefer a spicier curry so I use Kashmiri chilli powder in my butter chicken. You could make it less spicy with paprika or a combination of the two. 

Some people prefer not to use mustard oil. I have given instructions how to use it but if you would prefer, you could substitute ghee.

Butter chicken is usually cooked with chicken on the bone for better flavour. This time around I was cooking for a few that liked their chicken off the bone so I prepare a bit of both. 

Step by step preparation photos…

Marinating chicken

First marinade. Rub the ingredients into the chicken and set aside while you make the second marinade.

Chicken marinating

Whisk the remaining marinade ingredients together and rub this into the chicken. Allow to marinate for an hour or overnight for best results.

Skewered chicken tikka

I recommend scraping as much of the marinade off as possible before grilling. The reserve marinade it great in the sauce.

Chicken skewers over the fire

It is best to weave the chicken onto the skewer rather than pushing the skewer straight through. Cook over direct heat until cooked through.

This is also a great way to make chicken tikka. No butter chicken sauce required!

The marinade for the chicken is one of my all time favourites.

So if you just want to serve some tandoori chicken on its own or wrap it into a naan or chapati, go for it.

You will love the flavour. 

Tandoori chicken

The tandoori chicken served without the butter chicken sauce.

Frying butter in pan

With the chicken cooked, heat up your pan and add half of the butter and the oil.

Frying onions

Stir in the blended onions and fry for about 5 minutes.

Basic butter chicken sauce

Stri in the blended tomatoes and cashews. Bring to a simmer and then add the garlic and ginger paste.

Simmering curry sauce

Let this all come to a simmer and be sure to stir well.

Simmering curry

Add the retained marinade, the ground spices and the kasoori methi. Then stir in the cooked tandoori chicken.

Butter chicken curry

If you like a bit of cream, go ahead and add it now with the remaining butter. This is butter chicken after all!

Butter chicken

Season with salt to taste and serve.

Butter chicken curry

Dig in!

If you like this butter chicken, you might like to try some of these Indian curry favourites too…


Chicken biryani
Chicken Karahi
Katsu Chicken Curry
Chicken Lababdar
Simple staff chicken curry


Yield: 6

Butter Chicken Made Easy

Butter chicken curry
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1 x 2k (4 lb.) chicken, skinned, cut into small pieces and scored
  • Juice of one large lemon
  • 2 level tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • ¾ cup mustard oil, heated to smoking point and then cooled to room temperature
  • ¾ cup plain Greek Yogurt, whisked until smooth
  • 1 ½ Tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 generous tsp chaat masala
  • 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 100g butter
  • 2 large red onions, blended with a little water until smooth
  • 800g tinned chopped tomatoes, blended until smooth
  • 20 raw cashews, blended with the tomatoes
  • The retained marinade from the chicken
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or paprika
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¾ cup double cream, whisked
  • 1 tbsp kasoori methi
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ tsp garam masala


  1. Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl and add the lemon
    juice, salt and garlic and ginger paste. Set aside while you prepare the
    remaining marinade. Whisk the mustard oil, yoghurt and ground spices together until smooth. The yoghurt might look like it has curdled a bit but it will all be fine in the end.
  2. Pour over the chicken. Mix well with one hand to ensure the
    chicken is nicely coated and allow to marinate for one hour or overnight. The longer the better.
  3. When ready to cook, prepare your barbecue for direct heat cooking and rub as much marinade off the chicken as you can, retaining the marinade for the sauce.
  4. Skewer the chicken onto metal skewers. You could also cook the chicken on a lightly greased cooking grate. When your coals are white hot and it is uncomfortably hot to hold your hand at cooking level for more than two seconds, you’re ready to get cooking.
  5. Place your chicken skewers over the fire and cook
    until nicely charred on the underside. This should take about five minutes. Rotate the skewers to cook the other side, again for about 5 minutes.
  6. If serving the chicken without the sauce, you should baste it with melted ghee and continue cooking until cooked through. Transfer to a plate to serve or rest while you make the butter sauce.
  7. Place a karahi or large pan on the grate over the hottest part of the fire. Add the oil and half of the butter and bring to a sizzle. Then pour in the blended onions and fry for about 6 or 7 minutes, stirring regularly.
  8. With the onions fried, stir in the garlic and ginger paste along with the chilli powder or paprika, cumin and ground coriander and fry for a further 30 seconds.
  9. Add the blended tomatoes and cashews and stir well to combine and then add the cooked chicken and reserved marinade and remaining butter. Bring to a simmer and stir in the cream. To finish add the kasoori methi by rubbing it between your fingers. Season with salt to taste and sprinkle with the garam masala.

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I hope you enjoy this authentic butter chicken recipe. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 



Monday 20th of May 2024

Hey Dan, Just made it, it turned out great. One thing I was confused about was how sour it came out to be. It wasn’t sour at all until I poured back in the reserved marinade. Yogurt and lemons are both acidic so I assume it is because of that but is this normal?? Also I didn’t have kasoori methi, how much of a difference in taste is there with this left out?

Dan Toombs

Monday 20th of May 2024

Sounds like you may have had a bit too much of the marinade left so just reduce how much you pour back in next time if was a bit acidic. Methi isn’t absolutely necessary, it just adds another layer of flavour at the end so don’t worry too much if you don’t have any. Thanks Dan


Wednesday 15th of May 2024

Hi Dan, can I please ask how much garlic ginger paste is added while preparing the sauce? Thankyou

Dan Toombs

Monday 20th of May 2024

Use 2 tablespoons of mixed garlic and ginger paste. Thanks Dan


Tuesday 17th of October 2023

Curry guy

Where did you get that big grill or Kalderon that you cook that butter chicken on? That grill is absolutely the bomb and I need to get one Kindly point me in the right direction

Much appreciated


Dan Toombs

Tuesday 17th of October 2023

That’s a kadai fire bowl, I love it. Google it and you’ll find where to get it. Thanks Dan

Bryan Common

Saturday 15th of April 2023


Dan Toombs

Tuesday 18th of April 2023

Thank you so much! Very good to hear. Dan


Monday 6th of March 2023


Is 3/4 cup of mustard oil in the easy butter chicken accurate? The dish certainly isn’t my favorite given the strong flavor and I’m wondering if I did something wrong. It seemed like a lot of oil, but I went for it.

Dan Toombs

Tuesday 7th of March 2023

I am so sorry but that is a typo. It should be 70 ml or 1/4 cup and even that could be reduced if you wanted to. Thank you very much for bringing that to my attention, I will amend it on the blog. Dan

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