Butter Chicken Recipe

An easy, one-pot dinner recipe for Indian butter chicken: tender bites of chicken breast are browned and simmered in a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce. Keto and low carb.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 560 kcal


For Browning Chicken:

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless fresh chicken breasts
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) plain 2% fat greek yogurt (I use the Fage brand)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


Everything Else:

  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 15 ounces canned unsalted plain tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 4 tablespoons salted butter, cut into 4 pieces
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


Browning Chicken:

  1. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels. Trim off excess fat, if any. Cut into 1-inch chunks.

  2. In a large bowl, stir together yogurt, salt, and pepper until well-mixed. Add chicken chunks and mix until well-coated with the yogurt.

  3. Heat a large nonstick pan over high heat (I use a 10-inch wide and 3-inch tall nonstick pan) until very hot, no oil needed. Add only half of the yogurt-covered chicken chunks, spreading them out in the pan. Cook for a few minutes until they are golden brown and a bit charred, frequently stirring and flipping the chicken to sear different sides (tongs are useful for this).

  4. Once the chicken chunks are seared, transfer them to a large plate. Repeat the searing process with the remaining half of the chicken chunks. Doing this in 2 batches prevents the pan from cooling too much, resulting in a better sear.

Making The Sauce:

  1. Reduce to medium heat. Add half of the butter (2 tablespoons) to the now-empty pan, spreading it around until melted. Add chopped onions and cook for about 5 minutes to soften them, stirring frequently and loosening browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add all of the spices and the minced garlic, stirring them for a minute to release their aromatics.

  3. Add tomato sauce and heavy cream, stirring for a minute until mixed. Add seared chicken chunks without pan drippings and submerge them into the sauce; no need to stir. Bring to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally and decreasing the heat as needed to maintain a light simmer. After simmering, the chicken should be cooked through and the sauce slightly thickened and orange.
  5. Add two-thirds (2 tablespoons) of chopped cilantro and the remaining (2 tablespoons) butter, stirring it in until melted. Turn off the heat. Serve into bowls, and garnish with remaining (1 tablespoon) cilantro.

Nutrition Info

Makes 4 Servings
Amount Per Serving:
Calories 560  
Total Fat 35g 54%
   Saturated Fat 21g 107%
Cholesterol 199mg 66%
Sodium 530mg 22%
Net Carb 8.5g  
Total Carb 11.5g 4%
   Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
   Sugars 6.5g  
Protein 44g  
Vitamin A 38% · Vitamin C 9% · Calcium 11% · Iron 12%