Easy 20 Minute Butter Chicken

Quick 20-minute butter chicken is creamy and packed full of flavor. It’s simplified and cooked all in one pan and goes great with a side of rice or naan! Easy 20 Minute Butter Chicken

Ever since moving to Alexandria Virginia we’ve been in luck with all the Indian, Pakistani, and Aghani restaurants around us. We love the cuisine because it’s loaded with flavor and spice and is great for cold nights. One dish we keep going back for is the butter chicken. The spicy creaminess is unforgettable and always makes us go back for more!

I’ve been experimenting with my own version of home-made butter chicken over the past few weeks and I’ve finally found the perfect one. This simple no-fuss one pan butter chicken is just perfect. It’s simplified and does not require a whole bunch of ingredients, yet it’s packed with just the right amount of spice.
Easy 20 Minute Butter Chicken

4.5 from 2 votes

Easy 20 Minute Butter Chicken

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Layla


  • 2 tablespoon oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger finely minced or grated (or use paste)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic finely minced or crushed
  • 1 ½ pounds about 2-3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into ¾-inch chunks
  • 1 can 6 oz. tomato paste (or 8-10 oz can of tomato sauce)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder or paprika, adjust to taste
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek I use powder, but seeds or mustard seeds can be used too, optional*
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup heavy cream sub for half & half or yogurt for low fat
  • Hot cooked rice and naan for serving


  1. Heat a large skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and onions and cook onions down until lightly golden, about 3-4 minutes. Add ginger and garlic and let cook for 30 seconds, stirring so it doesn’t burn.

  2. Add the chicken, tomato paste, and spices. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until everything is cooked through.

  3. Add the heavy cream and simmer for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionally. Serve over Basmati rice or with naan.

Easy 20 Minute Butter Chicken

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    Awesome recipe! Enjoyed it!


    I made this for a school Assignment and it tasted amazing.

    Rae Spann

    Question….my local market did not have Garam Masala so I found a recipe online for it and it already has cumin in it so do you think it would be too much cumin since recipe calls for a tsp of it or does garam masala normally have it in it? I’m not family with any Indian recipes and this is my first time trying anything so I had no prior experience with it. Thanks so much!

      Rae Spann

      Sorry for typo that should say I’m not familiar with any Indian recipes. Thanks Autocorrect lol 😂


        That’s okay! the additional cumin in the garam masala should be fine because a lot of cumin is used in Indian cuisine!


    Do you think this recipe would also be nice with coconut milk instead of heavy cream?


      I can’t answer that question without further recipe testing. I would say use your best judgment!


    Thank you so much, I just made this and my husband and I can’t get enough!!


    Why is it called “Butter Chicken” when no butter is used?????


      Good question, Barbara! The buttery creamy flavor comes from the heavy cream. You can use butter to saute the onions if you wish but we find oil works best.


      It’s called “Butter” Chicken because traditionally ghee is used instead of oil. Ghee is clarified butter. Ghee retains the buttery flavor, but is much more stable to cook with than butter when heating it to a high temperature (such as when sauteeing onions and spices). If you can find ghee in your local grocery store (or Indian market), I recommend using it instead of oil.