Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a popular Indian dish created in an old sweet shop in northern India. The dish has two main components: makhani masala, a butter-based creamy tomato sauce, and tandoori-spiced chicken. For this recipe, these components are cooked together in a slow cooker. You can buy most of the ingredients at Indian markets and online.

Serves: 6Hands-on: 25 minutesTotal: 7 hours 15 minutesDifficulty: Medium

Serves: 6


  • ½ tsp. whole cloves
  • 2 whole black cardamom pods
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • ¾ tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick (2")
  • 1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
  • ¼ cup melted ghee or butter
  • ¾ tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • ¾ tsp. Kashmiri chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. tandoori spice
  • 1 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 Tbsp. ghee
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tbsp. dried fenugreek leaves
  • 3 cups cooked rice


  • For the makhani masala: Grind the cloves, cardamoms, bay leaves, cumin seeds, and cinnamon sticks together in a spice grinder. Purée tomatoes in a food processor or blender. Add the ghee to a 4-quart slow cooker. Add the tomato purée, fenugreek seeds, and Kashmiri chili powder. Mix. Cover with a lid, turn the heat to high and cook for 2 hours.
  • Add salt and brown sugar to the reduced mixture. Stir again and cook for another hour. Once liquid is well reduced, you will see oil slowly bubbling out and separating from the sides. Add dried fenugreek leaves and mix well. Cook for another 30 minutes. Set aside.
  • For the chicken: In a large mixing bowl, mix together the lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, tandoori spice, garam masala, and salt. Add the chicken. Mix and add to the slow cooker. Add makhani masala, ghee, and brown sugar. Mix well. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours.
  • Add the heavy cream and dried fenugreek leaves. Stir well. Cover and cook on high for another 20 minutes or until the chicken is well cooked. Serve with rice.