This butter chicken sauce recipe is creamy and packed full of flavor. Anytime you’re craving Indian, whip up a batch of this creamy, tomato-based sauce and serve it with chicken and rice.
If you are a lover of Indian food, you are going to swear by this sauce. It’s fantastic on tofu and vegetables as well!
Butter Chicken Sauce
We are avid lovers of Indian food and butter chicken is one of our top favorites. The sauce is just so incredibly flavorful.
After plenty of trial and error, we came up with the very best butter chicken sauce that can be made ahead then served later over chicken and rice.
The ingredient list is quite long but the sauce is not hard to make. Simmer the sauce in a large pot then use an emulsion blender to puree it until it’s smooth. A regular blender will work for this as well but you’ll first need to let the sauce cool some.
There are a ton of spices in this sauce but nothing is too exotic that you won’t be able to find it in your local grocer.
If you’re vegetarian you can use water or vegetable broth in place of chicken broth and serve the sauce with your choice of vegetables and/or tofu.
Butter Chicken Sauce Ingredients:
To make this butter chicken sauce recipe, you will need:
- Butter: Because this is butter chicken
- Onion, garlic, & ginger: These ingredients should be fresh for the best flavor possible
- Tomato: A juicy ripe tomato will make all the difference
- Jalapeño: We seed our jalapeños but you can leave the seeds if you like spicy food
- Spice Blend: Garam masala, cumin, turmeric, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper add classic Indian flavor to the sauce.
- Chicken broth: Use low sodium if you wish
- Tomato paste: Add more rich tomato flavor
- Heavy cream: Added for richness
How to Make Butter Chicken Sauce:
To make this flavorful butter chicken sauce, simply…
- Sauté the onion, garlic, and ginger. Cook the onion, garlic, and ginger in butter until the onions start to brown.
- Add the tomato, jalapeño, and spices. Then cook until the jalapeño is soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth. Stir in the broth, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
- Puree the sauce: An emulsion blender works best but if you don’t have one, let the sauce cool for 20 minutes, then transfer it to a blender and puree until smooth.
- Add the cream and tomato paste: Return the pureed sauce to the pot and stir in the cream and tomato paste. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Serve or store for later: Serve with cooked chicken and rice or allow the sauce to cool for 1 hour then transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days.
Butter Chicken Sauce Variations:
Here are some ways to modify the sauce.
- Use vegetable broth or water in place of chicken broth.
- Use almond milk, soy milk, or coconut milk in place of heavy cream.
- Serve it with tofu instead of chicken.
- Add some vegetables to the mix! Potatoes, carrots, and broccoli are all great in addition to chicken and tofu.
- Add a 1 teaspoon of cumin if you like the flavor.
- Add a teaspoon of fenugreek powder if you have access to it.
How to Store Butter Chicken Sauce:
Refrigerate – Allow the sauce to cool for 1 hour then transfer it to an airtight container. Refrigerate the sauce for up to 5 days.
Freeze – Allow the sauce to cool for about 2 hours then transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
Indian cuisine is one of the most flavor of all. They aromatics of each spice draws you in and makes your mouth water. Here are more flavor recipes for you to try. Although, these are not Indian, they are just as good!
Butter Chicken Sauce
- 1/2 cup (113 grams) butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (1 and 1/2 teaspoons) garam masala
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (1 and 1/2 teaspoons) ground cumin
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (1 and 1/2 teaspoons) ground turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 3/4 cup (180 milliliters) heavy cream
- In a large pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, cook until the onions start to brown.
- Add the tomato, jalapeno, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, salt, cinnamon, and cayenne. Cook until the jalapeño is soft, about 10 minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat low and simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes.
- Remove from heat and let the sauce cool for 20 minutes then transfer to a blender and puree until smooth. If you have an emulsion blender you can use that to puree the sauce in the pot instead and you don’t need to wait for it to cool.
- Return the sauce to the saucepan. Stir in the cream and tomato paste. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
- Store the sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Or allow the sauce to cool for about 2 hours then transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
How to serve
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and stir-fry for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the butter chicken sauce and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes.
- Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro.
Make ahead tip
- Refrigerate – Allow the sauce to cool for 1 hour then transfer it to an airtight container. Refrigerate the sauce for up to 5 days.
- Freeze – Allow the sauce to cool for about 2 hours then transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.