Recap: Making Butter Chicken for the first time!

Naan bread and butter chicken!!! (Not pictured: rice!)

On Friday Mike texted me while I was at work and asked if I could pick up ingredients to make butter chicken for dinner that night. We had been wanting to try our hand at butter chicken for awhile but other dinners kept getting in the way.

But Friday looked to be a good day to make butter chicken for the very first time!

I looked at a few different recipes before deciding on this “Easy Indian Butter Chicken” recipe from because it had received more than 300 reviews with a 4.5/5 rating. I read the comments and a lot of it said the recipe was super fatty (but shouldn’t butter chicken be fatty?) and that the amount of butter/cream used resulted in excess of sauce, so based on those critiques I added my own tweaks to the recipe.

This is my modified version:


1/2 cup butter
Onion flakes
1 can tomato sauce
2 cups fat free Greek yogurt
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon garam masala
Indian masala
2 pounds of boneless chicken, cut into cubes/bite-sized cunks
Some vegetable oil
Cooked rice
Naan bread


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Cut chicken into bite-sized chunks, cook on frying pan. Put into casserole dish and season with Indian masala.

Bake in oven, uncovered, for about 12 minutes (until chicken is fully cooked, but I also mostly cooked it in the frying pan).

Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion flakes. Add tomato sauce, yogurt, salt, cayenne pepper, garam masala, and 1/2 cup of butter in same skillet until it turns that “butter chicken colour.”

Let summer on medium-low, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then pour chicken into sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes before serving (with rice).

I decided to swap out the heavy cream for fat free Greek yogurt and instead of three cups that the original recipe called for, I just used two cups. I also used just 1/2 cup of butter instead of 1 cup. I couldn’t find any tandoori masala at Safeway so I opted for Indian masala instead (the masala really is what gives butter chicken that ‘butter chicken’ smell).

First step was cooking the chicken – easy enough. Season with masala when its cooked.

Cubed chicken waiting to be seasoned with masala spice!

Here’s the cream substitute I used!

Used Fat Free Greek Yogurt instead of Heavy Cream

Sauce doesn’t look that appealing as it’s being made but I assure you it gets better…

Making the sauce…

See! That sauce screams butter chicken and it only took a half hour of simmering. :)

Looking more like the right sauce!!

We heated up our store-bought naan bread (it doesn’t say that you have to but it feels weird if you eat it right out of the package). Just heated it enough so that it got a bit more crisp and had a few signature burn marks.

Cooking up the naan bread

The finished result smelled and tasted delicious! I had mine on a plate like this while Mike put his items together to form a ‘naanwich’ (like Wok Box’s ‘naanwiches’).

My plate. :)

The recipe was super easy to follow and didn’t take that long to make.

We had delicious leftovers for two days following.

The only complaint I had was that it appeared the yogurt kind of curdled… at least I think that’s what happened. I’m no expert in food terminology but I believe that’s what it was. If you look closely at the sauce you can see it kind of had tiny bubble/dots on it – I believe that’s a result of the curdling.

If we try the recipe again we may try using the cream instead of yogurt but I read a lot of recipe reviews where people said they swapped yogurt for cream and it was just fine so I think it really just had something to do with the speed at which we stirred/mixed the yogurt with the butter and rest of the ingredients and also how long we kept it simmering because it’ll curdle when the sauce is overcooked.

Of course don’t get me wrong, the sauce still tasted great! If I’m being very honest there was a hint of a sour taste in it and I do believe that was because of the curdling but it was nothing major. Really the curdling was just an appearance problem so if we were selling it at a restaurant people would probably question the dots on the sauce but if we’re having it at home, it still tasted good.

Have you ever made butter chicken?? Will you try now? Use this recipe! Try with yogurt! It’s a tad healthier than all the cream, but careful for the curdling. I guess if cream is overcooked it would also curdle so either way, careful with overcooking the sauce in general. Maybe instead of 30 minutes try 20 minutes of simmering?

Let me know if you do end up making it! We enjoyed this quite a bit so we’ll likely be making it again in the near future! :)


1 Comment

  • Kim says:

    Try this recipe from Julie Van Rosendaal. Ironically, no butter! If it was for me, I would tinker using evaporated milk in-lieu of cream and, depending, I might blend the sauce (using a stick blender) after taking out the pieces of chicken.

    Is that naan or pita bread? It looks suspiciously like the later. Superstore has naan (they are larger and more irregular shaped) and the suggestion is to re-heat it in the oven.

    As for yogurt curdling, I have heard/read different things:

    1) It might be because of low fat yogurt. Yes, what you actually used!
    2) You can try tempering it, i.e., add some warm/hot sauce to the yogurt, mix it to “warm” it up then put it back to the big mix.
    3) Add some starch.
    4) Simmering for too long. To avoid this, add it at the very end.
    5) In some cases, it is supposed to happen!

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