One Pot Butter Chicken

comfort food at its best

I made this butter chicken a long time ago. The file on my computer literally says October. That’s insane, right? I can’t believe how quickly time goes by. I suppose I opted not to post this because I probably thought, well, I should get Thanksgiving posts up. Then all the December holidays. Then New Year’s. Then it’s time to diet and nobody wants to be tempted by butter chicken. Then I probably had a few sponsored posts and those had to get done. But now, here I am, with this glorious butter chicken. I’m pretty sure this is not a traditional Indian dish. Wikipedia says it was invented at a restaurant in Delhi in the 1950s, most likely for Western palates who craved something a little creamier, fattier, and less spicy than what they were being offered. Which is ridiculous, because let’s be real, Indian food is freaking delicious, and there’s no lack of butter or comfort food-type dishes. I mean, give me some paratha and a big bowl of dal and a movie to watch, and I’ll be in a blissed-out food coma in no time. But I digress. Butter chicken is a delicious guilty pleasure and I order it often. Most to-go Indian restaurants around here chop it up in smaller pieces, which make it easier to share, but I didn’t bother with this because the end result is so wonderfully tender that you can just use a fork to eat it – no knives required.

one pot butter chicken

A photo from our trip to Vermont last February, speaking of being late on things. I’ll share more eventually, but I really liked this one of my friend Kim.

I know it’s getting hot outside, and I know that butter chicken probably sounds like something you’d rather eat when it’s chilly, but look – you know we’re going to get at least one more cold front before summer finally does us in. Next week, when we we’re all inevitably whining and saying, “It’s soooo cooooold where did the sun gooooo?” Don’t fret. Just cook something warm and cozy and put on a pair of sweatpants and catch up on that TV show you’ve been neglecting. You won’t be able to do that in the summer because sitting on the couch when you’re sweaty and hot is no fun. That’s why summer day drinking is one of my favorite outdoor activities. But for now, cling to any chilly thoughts you have left and saddle up next to a bowl of this chicken. You can thank me later.

one pot butter chicken

one pot butter chicken
Those spices, though.

one pot butter chicken
Marinate and wait.

one pot butter chicken
This is the best part: cooking those onions in all that glorious butter.

one pot butter chicken
Next, you’ve got to add the rest of your spices and, of course, tomatoes.

one pot butter chicken
Now all you have to do is add your chicken and let it simmer until cooked.

one pot butter chicken
You guys, this butter chicken is just so damn good.

one pot butter chicken
Make it now!

One Pot Butter Chicken
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6-8 servings
Tender, creamy butter chicken marinated in yogurt and cooked with plenty of onions and mild spices for a comforting Indian-American dish at home.
For the Marinade:
  • 3-4 pounds boneless chicken thighs
  • 2½ cups full-fat plain yogurt (or sour cream, if you like it tangy)
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder or cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the Butter Chicken:
  • ¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, finely minced or grated on a microplane
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, finely minced
  • 1 knob ginger, finely minced or grated on a microplane
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • a small pinch ground cinnamon (less than ⅛ teaspoon)
  • 1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1¼ cup heavy cream
  • fresh cilantro and red pepper flakes, for garnish
  1. The key here is the marinade–it should really go overnight, but please marinate the chicken for at least 3 hours. Combine all of your marinade ingredients, add your chicken, and pop it in the fridge until you're ready to cook.
  2. When ready, melt your butter in a pan over medium-high heat. Add in your onions and cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes, stirring often. Add in your garlic, jalapeño, ginger, cumin, salt, red pepper flakes, cinnamon, tomatoes, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Add in your chicken and discard any additional marinade (anything that sticks to the chicken is fine). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook uncovered, stirring every so often, for 35-40 minutes, until cooked and slightly thickened.
  3. When ready to eat, stir in your heavy cream. Taste, and add a little more salt or lemon juice, if needed (or more pepper flakes, if you like heat). Serve and garnish with freshly torn cilantro leaves and, you guessed it, red pepper flakes.


9 Responses

  1. Sj Dc says:

    Hey..real nice to see you loving Indian food. A small suggestion though..Start the frying process in ghee instead of butter and finish off with butter+cream. One being that the smoking point of ghee is higher and secondly butter is very rarely used (if at all) at the beginning of cooking in Indian food..The dish looks yum enough to lick my screen!

  2. I am literally eating leftover Indian food for lunch as I read this, and now I want more. My favorite Sunday night activity is ordering Indian take-out and binge-watching TV!

  3. OMG how tasty this look. I might just surprise the wifey with this one

  4. nida capati says:

    Very nice

  5. […] love Indian food! How can you not love a recipe that has butter + chicken in the […]

  6. Cindy says:

    I made this a couple of days ago. It was fabulous!! I ate the leftovers the next day with rice and the sauce made great gravy. Shared it with my daughter who has a gluten allergy. We are always looking for something with lots of flavor that she can eat. This is definitely a keeper.

  7. Hello Everyone. I just finished making this and i must say, it turned out even better than I was expecting. The flavours blending together so well, I think its because we will it marinate. Nonetheless, would like to say thanks alot for sharing this.

  8. […] Wednesday: One-pot butter chicken […]

  9. A very interesting topic that I’ve been looking into, I think this is one of the most significant information for me. And i’m glad reading your article. Thank for sharing!

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