Indian butter chicken with rice

5 from 9 votes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 oz. tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala or curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for serving
  • 4 cups cooked basmati rice, for serving
  • naan, for serving


  • In a large 12-inch skillet with a tight fitting lid, add 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Toss in 1 diced onion, 3 cloves minced garlic and 2 teaspoons grated ginger. Cook, stirring often, until onions are soft and garlic and ginger are fragrant, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add in 2 tablespoons butter, 1 cup broth, 8 oz. tomato paste, 2 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons garam masala and 1 teaspoon turmeric. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat.
  • Stir in 2 lbs. chicken cut into cubes and toss to combine until the chicken is fully coated. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (165°F).
  • Stir in the 1 cup heavy cream and 2 tablespoons lemon juice. Return to a simmer, about 2 minutes.
  • Serve chicken over rice topped with cilantro served alongside naan.


  • This chicken dish freezes really well. Simply let it cool completely before transferring it to a freezer bag or container, label and date. Use within 3 months.


  • Serve with Naan and oven roasted cauliflower on the side to complete this meal.


  • Protein: Swap chicken for pork tenderloin, cook to 145°F.
  • Vegetarian: Swap the chicken for 2 cans chickpeas or extra-firm tofu, drained, pressed and cubed. Use vegetable broth in place of chicken broth.
  • Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free naan for serving. 
  • Dairy-free: Use coconut oil in place of butter and full fat coconut milk in place of heavy cream.


  • Slice onion and cook rice up to 3 days in advance. Store separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator.


Calories: 560kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 198mg | Sodium: 1235mg | Potassium: 923mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1322IU | Vitamin C: 12mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 3mg