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30 Minute Spicy Indian Butter Chicken…the perfect bowl of warming comfort food that’s incredibly delicious. Indian inspired butter chicken made with plenty of spice and creamy coconut milk for a slight twist. It’s cozy, creamy, a little spicy, and filled with warming Indian flavors. Finish each bowl off with steamed rice and serve with fresh naan. You’ll have the perfect dinner that can be enjoyed any night of the week. Bonus? This is quickly made on the stove, with one skillet, and in just about 30 minutes. And…the leftovers are even more delicious the next day.

overhead close up photo of 30 Minute Spicy Indian Butter Chicken

I’ve said this before I’m sure, but the reason I love to cook so much is because I really love cooking for others. I find so much enjoyment in creating meals for the people I love most. It’s really what inspires me to keep cooking away every day. There’s nothing I love more than having a friend or family member inspire a recipe.

I love the opportunity to make something for someone with the hope that it will be a dish they’ll truly love…one of those dishes my brothers would say is, “fire”. Those are the words I strive for when creating a recipe, but especially when a recipe is created with a specific person in mind.

That was the case with today’s Butter Chicken. This one was inspired by my oldest brother, Creighton. He’s here in Colorado working remotely right now, and the one thing about Creighton?

He loves to eat…like really loves to eat. And one of his favorites foods? Anything Indian inspired and anything spicy. This leads me right into today’s recipe. With Creighton in town, I excitedly have been testing out a new Butter Chicken recipe, and last week I finally got it just right.

Creighton’s exact words…”it’s fire!”

chicken searing in skillet

What Is Butter Chicken?

For any of you who are are not familiar, Butter Chicken it’s one of the most popular Indian curries served around the world. I’ve made a few variations in the past, but aside from the coconut milk, today’s recipe is the most traditional.

Butter chicken is made with spices, tomato, butter, and cream. It’s rich and warming, but the spice blend is really what makes this dish. Using a mix of Garam Masala, turmeric, garlic, and plenty of ginger is key to getting an authentic flavor.

Traditionally, Butter Chicken is marinated for many hours in yogurt and spices, but I’ve adjusted that slightly to create a quicker but still super flavorful recipe!

30 Minute Spicy Indian Butter Chicken cooking in skillet

Here’s how to make this 30 Minute Spicy Indian Butter Chicken.

With such a quick cook time, I’m sure you guessed, but this is pretty simple, quick, and easy.

Start with the chicken. Just like in a traditional butter chicken recipe, we’re first tossing the chicken with yogurt and spices. But instead of marinating overnight, I found that a quick ten-minute soak in the spices really does the trick.

While the chicken is sitting, I like to start in on the prep for everything else, chop the onion, garlic, and ginger, grab that coconut milk and tomato paste and get everything for the remainder of the recipe ready to go.

overhead close up photo of 30 Minute Spicy Indian Butter Chicken

Once the chicken has had some time to sit, pan-sear it in a skillet until crisp.

To that same skillet, add the onion and all those remaining spices and a whole can of tomato paste. Just like my pasta alla vodka, I like to cook the tomato paste together with the spices for a bit to really help intensify the flavors in the sauce.

Then just stir in the coconut milk, or if you don’t enjoy coconut milk, use cream. Either is truly delicious and just as creamy. But I love the subtle coconut flavor paired with these Indian spices, they’re delicious.

Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken, then just stir in a bit of butter and plenty of fresh chopped cilantro. And that’s it, super simple, so delicious.

As this cooks, the aroma in the kitchen is truly incredible. It’s just like your favorite Indian spot in town…but maybe just a touch better. I always find anything made at home to be even more delicious.

I like to serve my butter chicken over steamed rice with some fresh naan for scooping up the creamy, coconutty sauce. Absolutely DELICIOUS. You can’t skip the naan either. It’s reason enough to make a good butter chicken.

overhead photo of 30 Minute Spicy Indian Butter Chicken

So how are the leftovers?

I swear they taste even better the following day. The flavors have time to mend and the sauce is just that more intense.

I can’t tell you how much I love this recipe and how much Creighton loved this recipe. I already know he’s looking forward to it for dinner tonight. This butter chicken is SO flavorful, SO full of color, and a nice switch up from the usual cheesy December pasta dishes I’m always sharing (don’t worry, they’ll be back soon). The best part, well aside from all the deliciousness, is that this requires only one pot and is ready in just about 30 minutes. Perfect for these crazy busy cold December days.

photo with half eaten bowl of butter chicken

Looking for other Indian inspired dinners? Here are my favorites: 

30 Minute Butter Chicken Meatballs

Super Simple Coconut Chicken Tikka Masala

Gingery Coconut Sweet Potato and Rice Stew with Chili Oil

Lastly, if you make this 30 Minute Spicy Indian Butter Chicken, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

30 Minute Spicy Coconut Butter Chicken

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 561 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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  • 1. in a bowl, toss together the chicken, yogurt, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon ginger, 2 teaspoons garam masala, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt. Let sit 5-10 minutes.
    2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and sear on both sides until browned, about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon butter and toss to coat the chicken. Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate.
    3. To the skillet, add the onion and cook 5 minutes, until softened. Add 2 tablespoons butter, 3 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon ginger, 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 - 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, and the chili flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and continue cooking another 3-4 minutes.
    4. Reduce the heat to low. Add 1 cup water and the coconut milk. Stir to combine, bring the sauce to a simmer, cook 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir in 1 tablespoon butter. If the sauce seems thick, thin with 1/2 to 1 cup additional coconut milk. Add the chicken and any juices on the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.
    5. Serve the chicken and sauce over bowls of rice with fresh naan. Enjoy!
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  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made your crockpot version before. This was simple and very tasty. What vegetables would you service with it?

    1. Hey Julia,
      Happy Sunday!!☃️ Thanks a lot for making this recipe, I love to hear that it turned out well for you! Cauliflower would be great here! xT

    1. Hey Rebekah,
      Happy Tuesday!! Thanks a lot for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it turned out tasty for you! xT

  2. 5 stars
    So good I have made this like 5 times it has become a regular in my meal planning. Lots of flavor and definitely a crowd pleaser

  3. 5 stars
    I’ve had a lot of Tikka Masala but this is my first time eating butter chicken. Yummy!! I didn’t have cayenne pepper but probably wouldn’t have put much in anyway to cut down on the spice. I did use the chili flakes and it was the perfect amount of heat. We used cream because my husband likes it creamier but I would love it too with the coconut milk. I found the prep to be easy and ended up marinating the chicken for a few hours because it worked with my time frame. This is another winner that will be on regular dinner rotation at my house.

    1. Hey Sarah,
      Happy Friday!!🌻 I am so glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for trying it and sharing your review:) xT

  4. 5 stars
    Butter chicken has always been one of my favorite dishes and this recipe is amazing! I made it for my roommate and he is obsessed so I end up making it at least once a week. I have the prep work down now so it gets quicker each time. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful and easy recipe!

    1. Hey Julia,
      Happy Friday!!🌻 I am so glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for trying it and sharing your review:) xT

  5. Fantastic recipe…we loved it! Wondering how many days you could make this in advance and keep in the refrigerator? We were thinking that it would be a good holiday meal but don’t want to be in the kitchen cooking while we could be enjoying family & friends. Thanks for such a great, yummy recipe.

    1. Hey Helen,
      Fantastic!! I love that this recipe turned out tasty for you, thanks so much for giving it a try! This would be good for up to 3 days in the fridge:) xx

        1. Hey Helen,
          Happy Friday!!🌻 I am so glad to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks so much for trying it and sharing your review:) xT

    1. Thanks so much Adelaide! Sure, I don’t see why not! I hope you love this recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xT

  6. Hi Tieghan! Have made this multiple times and it is just the BEST. Wondering if you could make this vegetarian by swapping Chicken for Sweet Potato and Chickpeas? Thinking about trying it out! xxo

    1. Hey Becca,
      So glad you have been enjoying this recipe! Yes, sweet potatoes and chickpeas would be delicious!! xx

  7. Loved it – so yummy! filled the house with the most delicious aromas, and we really enjoyed it on a cozy Colorado night. tasted really decadent considering how easy & fun the recipe was to create. Thanks HBH!

    1. Hey Emily,
      Happy Friday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it and sharing your review:)

    1. Hey Rebekah,
      Happy Friday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it and sharing your review:)

  8. I thought this was delicious. My husband was not amused, my son thought it was ok, my youngest daughter did not want to try it. My oldest daughter, who is rather difficult concerning food, found it yummy. All three of my children said it smelled like “airplane food”, and that is not a compliment. I found the recipe easy, and the outcome very yummy.

  9. 5 stars
    Soooo good and so easy – love that it’s just one pan. My husband and I LOVED this recipe. I have a feeling it’ll become a regular repeat for us 🙂

  10. 4 stars
    This was 5 stars delicious for its amazing flavors but 4 stars as it always seems to take me longer to prep–more like an hour than 30 mins! But 100% would make it again — my mom whose father grew up in India and spent a year living there raved how delicious and flavorful it was. Will definitely make again!!

    1. Hey Ellie,
      Happy Monday! 👻 I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it! Sorry this took longer than expected! Happy Halloween! 🎃

  11. I would love to make this recipe for a dairy free friend. Do you have a recommendation for a marinade other than yogurt?

    1. Hi Melissa,
      Your local grocery store should have some great dairy free yogurt options, just use one of those:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xT

    1. Hey Bridgett,
      Happy Friday!🎃 I am delighted to hear that this recipe is always enjoyed, thanks for making it so often and sharing your review! xx