Spicy Butter Chicken

Exotic and a just a little fiery, spicy butter chicken is a one hearty and satisfying dish. Chili powder and cayenne provide a touch of sizzle, which, of course, you can control. Pairing those with ginger, cumin, and other exotic flavors in this recipe and you have one special meal. Serve over rice and don’t forget a little nan brand on the side to complete the meal.

spicy butter chicken
Spicy butter chicken, plated and ready to serve

As said, the spicy butter chicken as it stands is more a sizzle than a blistering meal. We assume you want more heat (this is PepperScale after all), but don’t double up on the fiery ingredients during the cooking. Wait until the sauce is completed and use additional cayenne as a finishing spice. You’ll want to get the proper balance of heat to buttery smoothness to really enjoy this meal’s taste to its fullest. Serve with naan bread or rice to soak up all the delicious sauce.

See it being made:

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spicy butter chicken

Spicy Butter Chicken

Smooth with sizzle!
3.74 from 26 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 333 kcal


  • 1 pound chicken breast boneless, skinless, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 white onion chopped
  • 1 cup tomato puree
  • 1 cup half and half cream
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 stick butter unsalted
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala plus 1 teaspoon
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper powder separated
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf


Make the butter chicken sauce

  • In a saucepan over medium heat, sauté the onions in one tablespoon peanut oil until translucent.
  • Add the butter, ginger garlic paste, lemon juice, chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, one tablespoon garam masala, cumin, and bay leaf. Stir for 30 seconds to a minute, until fragrant.
  • Add the tomato puree and continue to stir for another minute.
  • Add the yogurt and cream, then reduce the temperature to low and simmer the mix, stirring often, for approximately 10 minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to the sauce, stir then remove from the heat.

Cook the chicken and combine

  • While the sauce is simmering, heat the other tablespoon of peanut oil, then add in the chicken pieces. Cook the chicken until lightly browned (10 to 12 minutes).
  • Once cooked, sprinkle the chicken with the additional tablespoon of garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper. Then take 1/2 cup of the finished sauce and add it to the chicken. Continue to cook the chicken in the sauce until the sauce has thickened. Then transfer the chicken into the saucepan containing the full amount of sauce.
  • Mix the cornstarch and 3 tablespoons water, then add to the butter chicken. Simmer the butter chicken over medium low until the sauce has thickened.
  • Serve over rice.


*If you want more heat, add additional cayenne at the end of cooking to your preferred heat level.


Calories: 333kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 28gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 97mgSodium: 485mgPotassium: 858mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 954IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 107mgIron: 2mg
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UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on October 11, 2023 to include new content.
3.74 from 26 votes (26 ratings without comment)
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