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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.



  • 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. Is there any other healthier substitutes you would recommend for the 1 cup cream in this recipe besides coconut milk? I’m not much of a fan of coconut milk. Thanks!

    1. Hi Jaclyn,
      Any other milk that you enjoy will work here:) Please let me know if you have any other questions! xTieghan

  2. Hello from a fellow Coloradan. I have been teaching my daughter to cook with your recipes. While we have loved most every one of them, this was our fave. Like the bowl was wiped clean with the naan!!! Your recipes are so great because she can see what things look like so she has some idea of how to start. Thanks for making such lovely recipes and showing them so people can actually start to visualize and learn how to cook and expanded those skills

    1. Hi Linda,
      Happy Friday! Thanks for giving this recipe a go, I love to hear that it was a winner! Thanks so much for your kind message and teaching your daughter the recipes:) ? xx

  3. This was delicious! Which book is this in? I want to look at other recipes from the same book.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Thanks for your comment and making this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed!! This recipe is just on the blog, the recipes that are in the cookbooks are exclusive to the books:) Hope you’re off to a great week! ? xT

  4. Made this tonight. I’m glad I made an extra half batch—everyone is ooohhing and ahhhing. Perfectly delightful way to end a Sunday Highly recommend this recipe

    1. Hi Jody,
      Happy Monday!! Thanks a lot for giving this recipe a go, I am so glad it was a winner:) Have the best week! xx

  5. 5 stars
    We make this recipe once a week. It’s so good. This last time I added chickpeas for some texture. Yummy.

    1. Hey Megan,
      Happy Friday! Thanks a bunch for trying this recipe so often and sharing your feedback, I love to hear that it is always enjoyed! xTieghan

      1. Hey Terri,
        Happy Monday!! Thanks a lot for giving this recipe a go, I am so glad it was a winner:) Have the best week! xx

    1. Hey Rebecca,
      Happy Wednesday! Thanks for sharing your review and making this recipe, I am so glad it was a winner! xxTieghan

  6. 5 stars
    Hi – did you originally have this recipe made in a crock pot? Im making dinner for a friend and I remember loving this recipe so much and how easy it was to make. If so, could you share it.

    Thanks so much!!!!!

  7. This is an easy, tasty recipe – and has become one of my standards – i make it even easier to make while traveling by premixing the dry spices for steps 1 & 3 in small airtight containers. I cook for my kids families when we visit and this is now one of the family favorites.

    1. Hey there,
      Fantastic!! Thanks a lot for making this recipe and sharing your review, I love to hear that your family has been enjoying it! ?Tieghan

    1. Hi Jana,
      Thanks so much for trying this recipe, I love to hear that it was enjoyed! Have a great week! xTieghan

    1. Hi Bekah,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try and sharing your feedback:) Sorry to hear you didn’t love it! xx

    1. Hey Lindsey,
      Thank you so much for making this recipe, it’s a family fave over here! Glad you enjoyed:) xTieghan

  8. I loved this recipe, but it’s a little too hot spice-wise for me, so I need to look up how you can change things to decrease or increase spice level. Definitely recommend doing with naan and I added some bell peppers to add some vegetable to the meal.

    1. Hi Emma,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try! Next time, just omit the cayenne and red pepper flakes:) xTieghan

  9. I’m trying to decide between this recipe or your “Easy Healthier Crockpot Butter Chicken” to make for company this weekend – which one do you prefer or recommend? I thought maybe if I do the crockpot version I can have more time to make fresh naan before the guests show up……

    1. Hey Ashley,
      Both are great, but yes the crockpot version would definitely give you some more flexibility with your guests! Let me know how the recipe turns out, I hope you love it! xx

  10. Love this recipe so much!! Except I use boneless lamb shoulder in bite size chunks instead of chicken. So good! My in-laws said they would pay $ for this in a restaurant!

    1. Hey Lauren,
      Happy Friday!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for giving it a try!! xTieghan

  11. 5 stars
    Just a warning, dont use Trader Joes coconut milk. Tonight was my 3 time making it. I have LOVED it before but tonight when I made it, it came out too watery. The only thing I changed was that. Otherwise best dish! 🙂

    1. Hi Haylee,
      Thanks for your feedback! I love to hear that this recipe was a hit, thanks for trying it out! Thanks for the tip! xTieghan