Butter Chicken with Coconut Milk

Butter Chicken with Coconut Milk in Silver Bowl with Cilantro and Naan

Inspired by the familiar Indian dish, our Butter Chicken with Coconut milk is frangrant, spicy and creamy. Served with warm naan and a sprinkling of cilantro, this dish has become a favourite in our home.

  • Author: Chef Sous Chef
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 to 6 1x
  • Category: food + drink, main
  • Method: stovetop and grill
  • Cuisine: Indian inspired, North American



Butter Chicken Sauce

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3-inch knob of ginger, chopped
  • 2 chili peppers, chopped
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek (optional)
  • 1/4 cup ghee (or coconut oil)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 can (796ml/28oz) ground tomatoes
  • 1 can (398/14oz) coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp honey or brown sugar
  • salt and pepper

Chicken Marinade

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 2 tbsp seasoning paste (from butter chicken sauce method)
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander


No. 1 | Prepare the seasoning mix. In a container of a blender or food processor pulse 1 chopped onion, 5 cloves of chopped garlic, 2 chopped chili peppers, and a 3-inch knob of chopped ginger. Add a few splashes of water as you pulse until it becomes a paste-like consistency and set aside.

No. 2 | In a medium mixing combine yogurt, 2 tablespoons of seasoning paste, 2 teaspoons each of chili powder, garam masala, ground cumin and 1 teaspoon of ground coriander. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Place in the fridge to marinate while you make the butter chicken sauce.

No. 3 | In a small mixing bowl combine a tablespoon each of chili powder, garam masala, and cumin, 2 teaspoons of coriander, and 1/2 teaspoon of optional fenugreek.

No. 4 | Heat a deep large heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Add  ghee and once it begins to smoke a bit, pour in the remaining seasoning paste and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to brown slightly.

No. 5 | Add the spice mix and cook an additional 5 minutes, while stirring often, until deep in colour, then stir in 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, cooking another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

No. 6 | Pour in a 28oz can of pureed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of honey, then season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover the pot and stir in a 14oz can of coconut milk. Adjust seasoning to taste.

No. 7 | Preheat bbq on high heat. Transfer the marinated chicken onto skewers. Grill the chicken for 10 minutes, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly charred and cooked through.

No. 8 | Remove the chicken from the skewers and stir into the butter chicken sauce. Continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to incorporate the grilled flavour.

No. 9 | Serve in a bowl with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and a side of naan, flatbread, rice or potatoes.



  • We love the flavour the coconut milk gives this sauce, but it can easily be replaced with heavy cream.
  • For a vegan version of the recipe, replace ghhe with coconut oil, honey with brown sugar, and chicken with tofu.

Keywords: butter chicken, coconut butter chicken, how to make butter chicken sauce, Indian recipes