A warming bowl of wholesome, Creamy Butternut Squash Butter Chicken. Indian-inspired butter chicken made with seasonal butternut squash, warmings spices, and creamy coconut milk. This dish is quick to make, cozy, wonderfully spicy – but not too spicy, and filled with warming Indian flavor. Complete each bowl with steamed rice and serve with fresh naan. And the leftovers the next day? They are even more delicious!
With two new butternut squash recipes this week, I think it’s safe to say I’m really enjoying the fall squash. Promise I have dishes with spaghetti squash, acorn squash, and yes, definitely pumpkin (both savory and sweet) coming soon. But this week it’s butternut squash!
I think most of you that read daily know of my family’s love for Indian-inspired dinners. Creighton, my oldest brother, who I find myself cooking for the most, is consistently requesting butter chicken. It’s one of his favorite dinners to order out and eat in.
The idea for this dish came with my urge to switch up a dinner that I consistently turn to in the fall. How could I add something new? Something yummy for fall?
Immediately I thought about how delicious butternut squash would be in a creamy butter curry sauce. I knew the squash could melt into the sauce making it even creamier, while also adding a sweetness that really pairs nicely with the spices.
It turned out so good. Creighton’s not in town right now, but I’m excited to make this for him as soon as he gets back. I sent photos his way via text, and trust me, he’s wishing he was here.
Here are the details
The beauty of this recipe is how simple it is to throw together. It’s made from start to finish in one skillet on the stove and ready in under an hour.
You’ll want to start with the chicken. Just like 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 5 to 10 minute rest in the spices was really enough to do 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.
If you need to chop up your butternut squash, now is the time to do that! I will say that for convenience, you can use pre-cut butternut squash or frozen cubes. Both work wonderfully and will save you a lot of hands-on prep time.
When I have all the remaining ingredients prepped and ready for cooking, I sear the chicken with olive oil. The next step is key, add a couple of tablespoons of butter. Then allow the butter to brown around the chicken. This will really help to flavor the sauce.
To that same skillet, add the onion, butternut squash, and all of those remaining spices. Because we are using butternut squash, I didn’t want the tomato paste to overpower the flavor. So I reduced the amount of tomato paste that I’d normally use. Now, instead of the sauce being tomato based, it’s butternut squash based!
Stir in the coconut milk, or if you don’t enjoy coconut milk, use cream. Either is delicious. The coconut milk does add a special touch and keeps the curry dairy-free, minus the butter.
Allow the sauce to simmer and thicken around the squash and chicken. As the curry slowly cooks, the squash melts into the sauce. The sauce becomes creamy and buttery without having to add actual cream.
I like to serve this pretty traditionally, over steamed rice with fresh naan for scooping up the creamy, coconutty sauce. Absolutely DELICIOUS. You can’t skip the naan either. We love it so much that it’s reason enough to make this cozy fall version of butter chicken.
Looking for other Indian-inspired dinners? Here are my favorites:
Lastly, if you make this Creamy Butternut Squash 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!
Creamy Butternut Squash Butter Chicken
Calories Per Serving: 499 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 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts/thighs, cut into bite-size chunks
- 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 2 teaspoons plus 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1-2 teaspoons cayenne pepper, use to taste
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 cups cubed butternut squash
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
- 1-2 teaspoons chili flakes, use to taste
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 (14 ounce) can full-fat coconut milk
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
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- 1. in a bowl, toss together the chicken, yogurt, 2 teaspoons garam masala, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 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 2 tablespoons of butter and toss to coat the chicken. Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate.3. To the skillet, add the onion and butternut squash, tossing with the butter in the skillet. Cook 5 minutes, until softened. Add 2 tablespoons butter, the garlic, ginger, 1 tablespoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon paprika, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, 1/2 – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, paprika, and the chili flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until 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. If the sauce seems too thick, thin with 1/2 to 1 cup additional coconut milk. Add the chicken and any juices in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens slightly, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Season with salt and pepper.5. Serve the chicken, squash, and sauce over bowls of rice with fresh naan. Enjoy!