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  • Writer's pictureAvni R.

Butter Chicken

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

*sigh* Do we need another Butter Chicken recipe in this world? Lol - I guess I’m adding one more! There’s sooo many different variations of this recipe that float the internet, lots with raving reviews that all differ when you see the list of ingredients! I’ve seen some with yogurt, others with no onions, some with either zero or tons of whole spices, and even some with sugar. The list (and recipes) are endless! It’s hard to know which is correct or which one is best. But again, everyone’s palette is different and we aren’t here to police each other’s recipes. We’re all trying our best to marry flavors and create something delicious whether it’s the “right” way to make it not. Which brings me to my initial judgement of this recipe!

I bring you a Butter Chicken first for me - made with sour cream! This recipe was passed down to me by one of my best friends, Arti, who got it from her cousin. So when I first saw that this recipe called for sour cream instead of heavy cream, I’m not gonna lie - I was a little weirded out. But my girl knows me and my tastebuds well so I wasn’t gonna not take her word for it. She raved that it was the best she’d ever had, even better than restaurant quality. And she was not wrong! I’ve modified it a bit to make it my own but still has her cousin’s flair!

The secret ingredient to this recipe is the Butter Chicken masala that is used. Arti obviously is the one who bought it for me. It’s from Navsari (Gujarati, India) - Karshan Ghela brand. I’m unsure if this brand is sold in any Indian grocery stores here. I was able to find it online but unfortunately it was an international site that charges $35 for shipping when the masala itself is only $4! So my advice is, if you or someone you know is going to India then get this masala or have them bring it back for you! I’ve posted a picture of the label so you can see the ingredients and try to find a comparable one here. I’m going to do the same to help y’all find one too!

Anyway, without further ado, I present you with some bomb ass butter chicken! Hope you guys love this as much as I do!

**For my vegetarians: you can swap out the chicken for paneer! Follow the instructions the same way for stovetop. Instant Pot will only need 3-4 minutes. You can shallow pan fry the paneer prior to making the gravy as well.

**This is a stove top recipe but can be done in the Instant Pot as well. Will include steps for that too within the directions.

Butter Chicken


  • 3 tbsp oil1 red onion, diced

  • 1 tbsp garlic paste

  • 1 tsp ginger paste

  • 1/2 tsp green Thai bird chili paste (leelu marchu)

  • 8 oz. can tomato sauce + 8 oz. water

  • 3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature

  • 4 tbsp butter

  • 1.5 lbs of boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

  • Handful chopped cilantro, for garnish

Whole spices:

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 4 cloves

  • 2 star anise

Dry spices:

  • 2 tsp coriander powder

  • 1 tsp Kashmiri chili

  • 1/2 tsp red chili

  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder

  • 1/4 tsp turmeric

  • 1 tbsp Karshan Ghela Butter Chicken masala*Salt to taste


1. In a heavy bottomed vessel, like a Dutch oven, add oil and whole spices. Turn heat to medium. When oil is hot and spices start to sizzle, add onions. Cook until brown, until almost burnt but not quite. This will take 7-8 minutes. Once onions are done, remove whole spices and discard.

If using IP then follow the same steps on “normal” sauté mode, adding whole spices and oil prior to turning on.

2. Turn heat to low (or “less” on the IP) and add garlic, ginger, and green chili - mix and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add dry spices and mix well.

3. Bring heat back to medium (“normal” on IP) and add tomato sauce, then just fill up the can with water and add it in as well. Once this is simmering, add in sour cream and whisk vigorously to break down any clumps. Bring to a low boil and add butter. Once butter has melted, toss in the chicken and stir.

4. Turn heat to medium-low, cover with lid and let it cook for about 7-8 minutes. Open lid and mix well, it will seem a little watery at this point as the juices from the chicken have released. Simmer for another 5-6 minutes to reduce some of the liquid. Taste to adjust spice and salt level. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve it piping hot with naan or rice!

For IP: Press cancel to turn off sauté mode. Close lid, place vent in sealing position and turn on pressure cook/manual mode for 8 minutes. Naturally release pressure for 5 minutes then open vent (carefully) to release remaining pressure and open lid. Return to sauté mode on “normal” and simmer to reduce some of the liquid. Garnish and serve!


This is probably one of my favorite recipes so far! I hope you guys love it as much as I do! Happy eating! Don't forget to tag me @thecurriedcook when you make one of my recipes! Thanks again for following!

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