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Butter Chicken

4 to 6 Servings

1 hour 25 minutes 45 minutes active, plus marinating

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In our take on the butter chicken made for us in Mumbai by home cook Rumya Misquitta, boneless chicken thighs are briefly marinated in yogurt and spices, then broiled until lightly charred. We make a separate sauce into which the chicken then is stirred. In many recipes for butter chicken, copious amounts of butter and heavy cream supply richness, but we do as we were taught in India and use cashews pureed with a small amount of water until smooth. The nut puree adds creaminess without making the dish heavy. Serve this with steamed basmati rice for soaking up the sauce.

4 to 6



Don't scrape the marinade off the chicken before broiling. The yogurt and honey help the chicken brown and char under the broiler.

1 hour 25 minutes

45 minutes active, plus marinating


  • 1

    cup plain whole-milk yogurt

  • 2

    tablespoons honey


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Juan G.
October 30, 2022
Quick and tasty
Excellent way of cooking butter chicken in a quick and easy manner. I bought cashew butter and it was even easier. Used Ghee instead of butter.
Katherine J.
September 10, 2022
No more butter chicken from Trader Joe's!!
Delicious and authentic; the whole family loved this dish!
Alice B.
August 19, 2022
Easy & delish
Such a delicious dinner ... it is so simple and so good!
Daphne K.
July 24, 2022
Good Butterless Indian Chicken
I was craving indian food, a recipe that didn't take forever to make & lower(ish) in fat. Well, with all those cashews, maybe not. This hit the spot. I know that as the chicken sits in the sauce, it will become better. I'd make it again.
Christine W.
January 12, 2023
Good. Would like more creamy, less tomato - y
See above

My oven has 3 setting for the broiler (high, medium and low). Your recommendation for the broiler setting? Thanks.

Josh I.

I don't know if you ever got a response to this--I used the high setting, and it worked great.

Jennifer B.

Didn't really taste like butter chicken I've had at Indian restaurants but not bad.

Josh I.

Hi Jennifer, I agree--it was good, but a bit too tomatoey so the spices didn't shine through like at my favorite Indian restaurant. I'm going to try it again with a smaller can of tomatoes, a bit less cashew puree and a touch of cream.

Myrna A.

I also think it’s too tomatoes- so I used only 14 oz of crushed tomatoes. I guess it’s preference….I will try without tomatoes next time…

Myrna A.

I also think it’s too tomatoes- so I used only 14 oz of crushed tomatoes. I guess it’s preference….I will try without tomatoes next time…

Kimberly H.

I loved this recipe. I had a lot of sauce leftover, so I put it in a few jars and froze it. I reused it tonight for a quick meal and it was as good as when I made it.

Kristen P.

We loved this recipe. Made it completely dairy free with cashew yogurt.

Collin R.

Hard time making cashew purée next time I now know to soak them in water for one hour

Bianca T.

Can also soak for less time using boiled water.

Frank M.

Came out excellent, I added some chilies to the cashew pureé to give dish a bit more heat. Broiling the meat adds a ton of flavor.

Josh I.

Enjoyed the twist of using cashew puree. It does indeed make it rich without heaviness. The marinade was excellent--I had Greek yogurt on hand, so I added a bit of oil and lime juice to thin it out. The recipe made A LOT of extra sauce, too, with a bit too much tomato flavor for my taste and prevented the spices from shining through. Next time, I'll use a can of 14.5- 15 oz. fire-roasted tomatoes, a bit less cashew puree, a touch of cream in the sauce and a bit more salt to taste.

Katherine R D.

Made this using your suggestions (a touch of cream, 3/4c of cashews in the cashew puree, and 15oz can of tomatoes) and it came out great! Also added about 2 tbsp of tomato paste since it wasn't looking quite red enough. Thanks for the tips!

Tricia S.

I halved the recipe but kept the marinade at full recipe, scraping the excess (there wasn’t much) into the sauce along with the juices that came off the chicken in the broiler. Everything took a bit longer than the recipe indicated, but it was worth the time. I followed the suggestions to soak the cashews. This is a recipe that calls out for you to taste as you go; if your spices have been open a while, you may need to up them. We ate it over basmati rice steamed with peas, spinach and lots of mint. Delicious!

Rachael N.

Took everyone’s suggestions except for adding additional cream....used hot water to soak cashews, 14 oz of crushed tomatoes, used more chicken thighs than called for so I would have plenty of leftovers with that delicious sauce. Outstanding!

Rachel K.

Has anyone tried using cashew butter instead of making the puree (e.g.
If so, how much did you use + how much water? Or a better question, what is the ending volume of the 3/4 c H2O + 1 c cashew puree (then I can back-calculate how much cashew butter)
Would the lack of roasting for the cashews (when using the butter) make a huge difference in the final flavor of the dish?
I think it could be a good shortcut option.

Rachel K.

Update: I’ve tried making it with 2 different cashew butters, Justin’s & Vör. Both times the recipe came out delicious, but had serious trouble with Justin’s butter integrating into the sauce — the butter essentially coagulated into tiny entities in the sauce & I had to use the immersion blender & warm it in the microwave a little to get near-full incorporation. The Vör worked much better and incorporates easily. I attribute the difference to Justin’s having palm oil in the butter — I’m guessing for stabilization. The Vör butter is pure cashew, with no additives. As for quantity used in the recipe, I weighed whole salted cashews to find the mass of 1c ~ 5oz, so I use 5oz of the butter with 3/4c H2O. It all came up lovely, tasty, & just like the best Indian restaurants in Silicon Valley (my teen boys even prefer it since it has less heat & less oil).

Nicole G.

Oh, this is a wonderful variation of butter chicken! The cashew butter/puree is so rich and flavorful and does not, I think, dull the flavors the way dairy does. I did use about half the tomatoes called for and increased garlic, ginger, cayenne and added some chopped hot peppers (jalapenos) to our tastes (and b/c here in CO fresh hot peppers are often our nicest produce this time of year). Also, I have made this twice: once with the called-for whole cashews and once with homemade cashew butter. I detected no difference except that I had to add some water to my cashew butter version.

Courtney G.

This recipe looks amazing! I am a vegetarian, do you think it would be possible to substitute extra firm tofu for the chicken?

Lynn C.

Hi Courtney -

We haven’t tested this with tofu, but I think it could work. I would make sure to press the tofu and dry with paper towels before marinating, just to remove as much excess moisture from the tofu as possible. Good luck!

The Milk Street Team

Carolyn D.

I've tried several recipes for butter chicken and so far this is my favorite. I had chicken tenders and covered them in the marinade (with 0% greek yogurt), and broiled for just a few minutes on both sides. It didn't char, which was fine with me-it was an easy way to cook and flavor the chicken. I threw everything back into the dutch oven and finished cooking for no more than a couple of minutes. I recommend following the advice to soak the cashews longer. I threw them into the Vitamix thinking it would take any chunkiness out, but it didn't, so will process longer next time. I also cut back on the tomatoes and substituted 1/4 cup of cream for the butter. Even my meat and potatoes husband liked it....And I pretend it's healthier than regular butter chicken!

Ruth W.

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Michael M C.

Made this tonight. Thought it was pretty good. We didn’t miss the heavy cream and didn’t think it was too tomato-y. Put the cashews and water in the blender an hour before I mixed them and didn’t notice any issues. Will make again.