Easy butter chicken

Easy butter chicken

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(54 ratings)

Prep: 15 mins Cook: 35 mins plus at least 1 hr marinating


Serves 4

Fancy a healthy version of your favourite Friday night chicken curry? The chicken can be marinated the day before so you can get ahead on your prep

Nutrition and extra info

  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal367
  • fat18g
  • saturates3g
  • carbs12g
  • sugars10g
  • fibre3g
  • protein37g
  • salt0.6g
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  • 500g skinless boneless chicken thighs

For the marinade

  • 1 lemon, juiced



    Oval in shape, with a pronouced bulge on one end, lemons are one of the most versatile fruits…

  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika



    A spice that's central to Hungarian cuisine, paprika is made by drying a particular type of…

  • 1-2 tsp hot chilli powder
  • 200g natural yogurt

For the curry

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 green chilli, deseeded and finely chopped (optional)
  • thumb-sized piece ginger, grated



    Mainly grown in Jamaica, Africa, India, China and Australia, ginger is the root of the plant. It…

  • 1 tsp garam masala
    Garam masala

    Garam masala

    gar-am mah-sarl-ah

    Meaning 'warming spice mix', garam masala is the main spice blend used in North Indian…

  • 2 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 3 tbsp tomato purée
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 50g flaked almonds, toasted

To serve (optional)

  • cooked basmati rice
  • naan bread
  • mango chutney or lime pickle
  • fresh coriander
  • lime wedges



    The same shape, but smaller than…


  1. In a medium bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients with some seasoning. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces and toss with the marinade. Cover and chill in the fridge for 1 hr or overnight.

  2. In a large, heavy saucepan, heat the oil. Add the onion, garlic, green chilli, ginger and some seasoning. Fry on a medium heat for 10 mins or until soft.

  3. Add the spices with the tomato purée, cook for a further 2 mins until fragrant, then add the stock and marinated chicken. Cook for 15 mins, then add any remaining marinade left in the bowl. Simmer for 5 mins, then sprinkle with the toasted almonds. Serve with rice, naan bread, chutney, coriander and lime wedges, if you like.

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Comments, questions and tips

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ChescaSimmons's picture
3rd May, 2019
Really tasty recipe - more like a masala than butter chicken but delicious flavour. Only edit I’d make (apart from adding more chilli) is to use less stock as it was too watery for me so I ended up taking 5 ladlefuls out. Will definitely make again though!
26th Feb, 2019
Too much lemon. Very bitter.
caz125's picture
31st Jan, 2019
Way too sour. No way is this a butter chicken it doesn't have the key ingredient BUTTER!!. Avoid is my advice
Haze Marsh
28th Jan, 2019
I just don't understand the comments about this recipe being sour, it tasted delicious, I will make this again. Can anyone tell me if it freezes OK?
Mags Bowie's picture
Mags Bowie
27th Dec, 2018
It’s disgusting, sour and bitter cross between Mexican and Indian curry. Added honey which at least then made it edible. My husband glanced at the recipe saw the high stars and assumed it would be good. reviewing this to try and bring this recipes high star rating down, and stop others making the same mistake.
25th Nov, 2018
I agree with some of the other comments, way too much lemon. Not a nice dish at all, left most of it.
26th Aug, 2018
We really didn't like this recipe at all. It was sour, and not at all pleasant to eat, to the point that it went in the bin.
9th Dec, 2017
I looked up this recipe in a rush to get dinner on and having made a good butter chicken recently, I didn't pay enough attention to this recipe. I realised it wasn't going to be good when the marinade ingredients were pretty much the base of a chilli con carne. I added butter with the chicken and tasted the sauce once the stock was added, still way too sharp... other reviewers are right about the overkill on lemon juice. To try to save dinner I added a ton of sugar, a mini can of coconut milk, turmeric and asafoetida. It was edible but not good. I think half the marinade spices to 1tsp, add ground coriander too, skip the paprika and add butter and cream to the curry. I can't see the point in a low fat butter chicken!
Lisa hughes
30th Sep, 2017
Delicious I added butter to the recipe to give it a buttery taste. Whole family loved it as a chicken dish may not have been the most authentic butter chicken but still a lovely meal and quick to make. I marinated my chicken in the morning so really was a quick cook in the evening.
31st Jul, 2017
How can you call this " butter chicken " ? Would rather treat myself to the real thing now and again.


21st Mar, 2017
Where is the butter for this butter chicken?
goodfoodteam's picture
27th Mar, 2017
Thanks for your question. This version of traditional butter chicken doesn't actually include butter. We've recreated the dish to make it healthier and in this instance only used a small amount of vegetable oil for frying. We have a version here using ghee (clarified butter) if you'd like to try that instead: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2220652/cardamom-butter-chicken
10th Feb, 2017
I am in the middle of making this dish and as someone already commented there is no mention of butter. Please can you update the recipe and let us know the amount of butter and when to add it? Thanyou. Or is this just the healthy version?
goodfoodteam's picture
17th Feb, 2017
Thanks for your question. This version of traditional butter chicken doesn't actually include butter. We've recreated the dish to make it healthier and in this instance only used a small amount of vegetable oil for frying.
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