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  • Writer's pictureTuck

Basic Butter Chicken

Updated: Jul 31, 2023

Hi, what's up? It's getting colder and that makes my brain feel alive. I've been eating loads of butter chicken to warm myself up.

This recipe is from Joshua Weissman, a prominent cooking Youtuber. He's a lot and not all of his recipes have worked out for me, but this one did.

The Ingredients

For the chicken

-1 cup full-fat (i.e. whole milk) yogurt

-1 tbsp garam masala

-1 tbsp kosher salt

-1.5 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs


-1 yellow onion, diced

-2-inch knob of ginger, finely diced

-6 cloves of garlic, sliced

-Few sprigs of cilantro


-2 tsp paprika

-2 tsp ground cumin

-1 tbsp garam masala

-1.5 tsp turmeric (optional)

-Salt and pepper to taste

Everything else

-2 tbsp vegetable oil

-14 oz crushed tomatoes

-2/3 cup water

-1 cup heavy cream

-2 tbsp unsalted butter

-Steamed rice

The Recipe

The first step is to marinate the chicken. Add the yogurt, garam masala (1 tbsp) and kosher salt (1 tbsp) to a bowl and whisk together. Then cut your chicken thighs into 1-inch cubes and mix in the sauce until well incorporated. Cover and let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Then, dice your onion, finely dice the ginger, and slice the garlic. (I recommend doing this before cooking and not during because the steps go pretty quick).

Heat your vegetable oil in a pan and when it's shimmery, lower to medium-high and sear your chicken in at least 3 batches, 2-3 minutes each side. A fond (brown chicken bits) should develop in the pan. I may have overdone it, not sure.

While the chicken is cooking, prepare your spices - paprika, cumin, garam masala, and optionally turmeric - by measuring and adding into a bowl.

Once the chicken has seared, take it out of the plan and place it in a bowl. Add your onion, garlic, and ginger and lower heat to medium. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Then, add in the spices and mix them in with the vegetables. Toast the spices for 1-2 minutes.

Then add crushed tomatoes and water and stir. Let the sauce reduce for 5-8 minutes. Then add chicken back to the pan and let simmer for 3-5 minutes.

Now it's time for the heavy cream. Add it in little by little, stirring all the while so that the cream gets completely incorporated into the sauce. When you're done, turn the heat off and place the butter in the pan, mixing constantly until it's completely melted. It's been ~1 hour and you're done - - look at that gorgeous color and take a moment to think about how incredible your kitchen smells.

The Result

Here is my butter chicken, topped with cilantro, with the rice hiding underneath.

I'm not used to creating something impeccable on the first try, but the first time I made this, it was arguably the best butter chicken I've ever tasted. The sauce is creamy and luxurious, the chicken is tender, with the yogurt enhancing its flavor. This is the best recipe I've reviewed on this blog and because of that I hope you try it.


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