Easy Butter Chicken

What do you do when you are craving indian food, and have several family members coming for dinner in an hour?  Pull out an EASY indian recipe of course.  This recipe is adapted from a tandori chicken recipe I had found on Pinterest.  It was a good start, but I felt like it was missing something, so I added my own favorite secret ingredients – butter, tumeric, and  cardamom.

I should note that this is my “easy version” of Butter Chicken, and not the real deal.  I am definitely not an expert on Indian food. I just like to try to figure out what’s in my favorite restaurant dishes and get as close as possible to recreating them.  Guess you could say I’m an Indian food hack as well. I just learned of some authentic indian cooking classes in my city though, so I will most definitely be enrolling in some of those!

Easy Butter Chicken

Serves 6-8


  • 1-1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 lb bonesless chicken breasts (cut in 1/2 or into thirds)
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tbsp coriander
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cayenne (red) pepper
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 2 (13-ounce cans) coconut milk
  • 16 oz plain tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbsp Tumeric
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3-4 whole cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • Recommended accompaniments: cilantro, fresh mint, brown rice, plain greek yogurt (omit the yogurt to be dairy-free)


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the garlic powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and cayenne with a fork. Dredge each piece of chicken in the spices and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken, sprinkle any remaining spices on top, and sear for a couple of minutes until golden brown on both sides.
  3. Add the coconut milk, tomato sauce, butter, tumeric and cardamom to the pan, bring to a boil, cover with a lid, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the chicken is done all the way through (no longer pink), about 8 – 10 minutes, (or longer if you like).
  4. Layer in bowls with brown rice on the bottom, then spinach, chicken, sauce, yogurt, and fresh herbs. Enjoy!

HINT:  I like to cook my brown rice in Chicken broth and add a couple cardamom seeds to the pot as well, to give it a little more flavor.