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The Best Easy Crockpot Classic Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

Does your family love Indian food? Learn how to make a mouth-watering butter chicken dish with this easy and authentic recipe. Perfect for any occasion, this dish will have your taste buds thanking you!

We have tried several variations of this dish over the years, and this is the best butter chicken recipe. It’s a hit with our entire family!

The best part? This entire dish cooks itself in the crockpot, so you can have an authentic Indian dinner ready with zero fuss! (No need to dirty a pot or a skillet – woo hoo!)

Click here to see all of our favorite crockpot recipes!

What is Indian Butter Chicken?

Indian Butter Chicken, also known as “Murgh Makhani,” is a rich and creamy curry Indian dish known for its luscious, velvety sauce and complex flavor profile.

The sauce typically consists of a blend of aromatic spices such as garam masala, cumin, coriander, and turmeric, which impart warmth and depth to the dish. Along with these spices, the sauce features a base of tomatoes, onions, garlic, and ginger, creating a harmonious balance of tangy and savory flavors.

The richness of the sauce is enhanced by the addition of heavy cream, yogurt, or coconut milk, adding a luxurious creaminess to each bite. Tender pieces of chicken, cooked in the sauce, absorb these flavors while remaining moist and succulent.

Overall, Indian Butter Chicken delivers a delightful combination of spice, creaminess, and savory goodness that is sure to tantalize the taste buds.

ingredients

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Onion
  • Butter
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Curry powder
  • Thai red curry paste
  • Garam masala
  • Turmeric
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Tomato Paste
  • Full-Fat Coconut Milk
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Whole Milk
  • White Rice

INSTRUCTIONS

Step 1: In a large glass bowl, combine the coconut milk, Greek yogurt,and milk. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, ginger, and all the spices.

Step 2: Spray inside of crockpot bowl with vegetable oil or coconut oil spray, sprinkle onion over the bottom, add chicken and pour the coconut milk mixture over the chicken so the chicken is completely covered. 

Step 3: Add the butter and place lid on crockpot.

Step 4: Cook on high for 4 hours or on low 6-8 hours. Stir occasionally during the cook. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over rice.

What to Serve with Indian Butter Chicken

Pairing the rich and flavorful Indian Butter Chicken with the perfect side dishes can elevate your dining experience to new heights. Here are some delicious accompaniments that complement the flavors of this classic dish:

  1. Basmati Rice: Fragrant and fluffy basmati rice is the ideal choice to soak up the creamy sauce of butter chicken. Cook it with a pinch of salt and a few whole spices like cloves or cardamom for added aroma. (You can also use white rice or cauliflower rice.)
  2. Naan Bread: Soft and pillowy naan bread is perfect for scooping up every last bit of butter chicken sauce. Whether you choose plain naan or opt for variations like garlic or cheese naan, its warm, chewy texture enhances the dining experience.
  3. Raita: Cool and refreshing raita, a yogurt-based condiment mixed with cucumbers, tomatoes, and spices, provides a delightful contrast to the rich flavors of butter chicken. Its creamy consistency and hint of tanginess help balance out the dish.
  4. Papadums: Crispy and thin papadums, often served as an appetizer in Indian cuisine, add a satisfying crunch to your meal. These lentil-based wafers are light and flavorful, making them an excellent accompaniment to butter chicken.
  5. Chutney: A variety of chutneys, such as mango, mint, or tamarind, can add a burst of tangy sweetness to your meal. These condiments provide a refreshing contrast to the creamy richness of the butter chicken.
  6. Vegetable Side Dishes: Serve some simple vegetable side dishes like sautéed spinach, roasted cauliflower, or mixed vegetable stir-fry to add freshness and nutritional balance to your meal.
  7. Salad: A crisp and refreshing salad with fresh greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, and a squeeze of lemon juice can provide a light and healthy accompaniment to the indulgent flavors of butter chicken.

By pairing Indian Butter Chicken with these complementary side dishes, you can create a well-rounded and satisfying meal that is sure to impress your family and friends.

What is the Difference Between Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala?

Butter chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala are both popular Indian dishes with rich, creamy sauces, but they have some distinct differences:

  1. Origins: Butter chicken is believed to have originated in Delhi, India, in the 1950s, whereas Chicken Tikka Masala is said to have originated in the United Kingdom in the 1960s.
  2. Preparation: In butter chicken, the chicken is typically marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices, then cooked in a creamy tomato-based sauce flavored with butter, cream, and various spices such as garam masala, cumin, and coriander. Chicken tikka masala, on the other hand, consists of marinated and grilled chicken (chicken tikka) served in a rich and spiced tomato-based sauce.
  3. Flavor Profile: Butter chicken tends to have a milder and sweeter flavor profile due to the addition of cream, butter, and sometimes sugar, which balances the acidity of the tomatoes. Chicken tikka masala, meanwhile, often has a more robust and tangy flavor from the combination of spices used in the sauce, which may include cumin, coriander, paprika, and chili powder.
  4. Texture: Butter chicken typically has a smoother and creamier texture due to the addition of butter and cream in the sauce, while chicken tikka masala sauce may have a slightly chunkier texture from the diced tomatoes and onions used in its preparation.
  5. Presentation: Butter chicken is often served as boneless chicken pieces in a creamy sauce, while chicken tikka masala usually features grilled chicken served in a thick, spiced tomato-based sauce.

Overall, while both dishes share similarities in their creamy tomato-based sauces and use of chicken, they offer distinct flavor profiles and culinary experiences.

Storage and Freezing

Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

Store in the freezer in an airtight container for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and heat on the stove until simmering.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Butter Chicken Spicy?

Butter chicken can vary in spiciness depending on the recipe and individual preferences. Traditionally, it’s not overly spicy, but the level of heat can be adjusted by adding more or less chili powder or other spicy ingredients. This Crockpot Butter chicken recipe is on the milder side in terms of spice.

Can Butter Chicken be made ahead of time?

Yes, butter chicken can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving. In fact, many people find that the flavors of butter chicken improve after sitting for a day or two in the refrigerator, allowing the spices to meld together.

What can I serve with Butter Chicken?

Butter chicken pairs well with rice, naan bread, or roti for soaking up the creamy sauce. Additionally, side dishes like raita (yogurt-based condiment), salad, and chutney can complement the flavors of the dish.

Is Butter Chicken gluten free?

Butter chicken can be made gluten-free by ensuring that all the ingredients used are free from gluten-containing additives. The sauce typically does not contain gluten, but it’s essential to check the labels of any packaged spices or other ingredients to confirm their gluten-free status.

Can I make Butter Chicken vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, you can make a vegetarian or vegan version of butter chicken using ingredients like tofu, paneer (Indian cheese), or vegetables as a substitute for the chicken. For a vegan version, you can use plant-based yogurt and cream alternatives and omit the butter or use a vegan butter substitute.

Can I use boneless skinless chicken thighs or bone-in chicken for butter chicken?

Yes, you can use boneless skinless chicken thighs or bone-in chicken for butter chicken, depending on your preference. Boneless skinless chicken thighs are convenient and cook quickly, while bone-in chicken adds extra flavor to the dish. If using bone-in chicken, you may need to adjust the cooking time to ensure the chicken is cooked through. Additionally, bone-in chicken can enhance the richness of the sauce as it simmers. Adjust the cooking method accordingly based on the type of chicken you choose to use.

Print

📖 Recipe

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The Best Easy Crockpot Classic Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

Does your family love Indian food? Learn how to make a mouth-watering butter chicken dish with this easy and authentic recipe. Perfect for any occasion, this dish will have your taste buds thanking you!

  • Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x

Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 14 oz can coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 12 teaspoons Thai red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 an onion finely chopped
  • 1 pound Boneless skinless chicken breast cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • Cooked white rice for serving

Instructions

  1. In a large glass bowl, combine the coconut milk, Greek yogurt, and milk.
  2. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, ginger, and all the spices.
  3. Spray inside of crockpot bowl with cooking spray.
  4. Sprinkle onion over the bottom, add chicken and pour the coconut milk mixture over the chicken so the chicken is completely covered.
  5. Add the butter, and place lid on crockpot.
  6. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low 6-8 hours. Stir occasionally during the cook.
  7. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  8. Serve over Rice
  • Author: Two Who Cook
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 4 hours

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