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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: 295 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. That was delicious! By far the best Butter Chicken I’ve ever had 🙂
    I hesitated to add this much tomato paste, but it totally works! YUM

    1. Hey Charlotte,
      Happy Sunday!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for trying it out! xTieghan

  2. In the step where you sauté the onion, you don’t add the butter first, right? I didn’t toast the spices or cook the tomato paste as long as the recipe called for, because the bottom of my pan really started to brown. It was tasty!

    1. Hi Denise,
      That is correct, there should be some oil left in the pan for the onion to cook in. Thanks for giving the recipe a try! xx

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely phenomenal!! I have made this for friends, family, and my boyfriend and every time it has been a hit. It’s always on my meal rotation because it’s so quick, so easy, and makes a lot for 2 people and the leftovers are always killer.

    1. Hi Hannah,
      Awesome!! I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for giving it a try! xx

  4. One of the best Indian dishes I have made. Based on other comments I only included a bit of cayenne, passed on the red pepper flakes and added a bit of fenugreek as the spices were blooming. I was also a bit haphazard about measuring the liquid ingredients. Oh, and I marinated the chicken for a few hours. I can’t say enough about this recipe.

    1. Hey Karen,
      Fantastic!! Thanks so much for trying this recipe, I am thrilled to hear that it was enjoyed! xxT

    1. Hey Jessie,
      Yes, that will work well for you! I hope you love the recipe, please let me know if you give it a try! xTieghan

      1. I love this so much! I have made it multiple times and cannot get enough. Definitely going to double it next time so I’ll have leftovers for days. I like to drizzle a little heavy cream over the top when serving to add even more richness. Thank you!

        1. Hey Melissa,
          So glad to hear you have been enjoying this recipe, it’s a family fave over here as well!! xxT

  5. Absolutely excellent! The only thing I changed was I used about a third less cayenne and no red pepper flakes after reading in your article how spicy it was. I like a bit of heat, but not a lot. Will make it again. Thank you Tieghan!

    1. Hi Robin,
      Wonderful!! Thank you so much for trying this recipe out, I am so glad to hear that it was a winner! xxT

  6. 5 stars
    Wow. This was so good! I was a little confused because I only cooked the chicken for a few minutes from step 2 and then step 4 just said to add in the chicken. So I added it back in covered my pan and let it simmer for 10 mins and it came out perfect!

    1. Hey Lianne,
      Happy Friday!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a lot for trying it out! ☀️xx

  7. 3 stars
    I like this recipe in theory and will make again, but it’s unreasonably spicy. I don’t mind a kick but this is borderline unpleasant to eat because all I taste is spicy heat. I used the low end amount for cayenne. Next time I will cut both the cayenne and red pepper flakes at least in half.

    Prep certainly took me more than 10 minutes because anything involving ginger is a process.

    1. Hi Megan,
      Happy Sunday!! I am thrilled that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for trying it out!! 🌺xx

  8. Oh my–this was a winner–phenomenal! I went light on the cayenne and halved the red pepper flakes but it was still plenty hot and SO DELICIOUS! Will definitely be adding this into the rotation.

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      Fantastic!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks a bunch for trying it out! xTieghan

    1. Hey Megan,
      I am thrilled to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a lot for trying it out! Have the best day:) xT

  9. 5 stars
    Hi Tieghan,
    I wanted to say a quick word about this recipe. I am Indian. I am also a milennial who never learned how to cook, and uses online recipes to learn how to cook the foods I grew up eating. Some of the recipes I tried from other websites — I have to say were a bit of a let down. However when I tried this recipe I knew it would be good — I have tried other recipes from HBH and they turned out really well.
    Turns out — this one exceeded my expectations! It tastes almost exactly like the authentic dish — but a healthier version. I will definitely make it again.

    1. Hey Ari,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe, I am so glad it was enjoyed!! Thanks so much for your kind message. Have the best week:) xTieghan

  10. 5 stars
    Love a good butter chicken recipe. This one has a good proportion of flavors. I put in significantly less cayenne or red chili flakes, because I have a 14 yo son who can’t do too spicy, but still really yummy.

    1. Hi Noell,
      Thanks so much for trying this recipe, I am so glad it was a hit! Thanks for sharing your review!🌸 xT

    1. Hey Rebecca,
      Awesome!! I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks for making it!! Have the best week:) xTieghan

    1. Hey Charlotte,
      Thanks so much for making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it was enjoyed!! xTieghan