Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken…Maybe…

Ever ask your fiancé to buy boneless, skinless chicken breast and have him come home with bone-in, skin-on chicken breast? Same.

How it All Started

With work, church, wedding planning, family, friends, keeping the house (somewhat) clean, trying to write blog posts, etc. (I definitely don’t overbook myself), I’ve been a little stressed out. So my fiancé very sweetly volunteered to do the grocery shopping for me this week.

He usually does a pretty good job when he gets out groceries despite the fact that he doesn’t always understand the vague quantities and symbols on my grocery list:

A Typical Grocery List
  • Broccoli – 2 dinners worth
  • Tomato paste – the little can
  • Berries (?)

So when my resident sous-chef* returned from the store, he mentioned that he bought chicken breasts with the skin on because they were on sale. No big deal, skin is just more fat and therefore more flavor, right?

*Disclaimer: My fiance and I are not really chefs – we are home cooks, but I like to call him my sous-chef. I just think it’s cute, okay??

Morning Madness (the usual)

This morning I got in the kitchen bright and early to get food prepped for the day. I made the yellow rice (forgot to rinse it first) and steamed broccoli to go with dinner, started putting together lunches for the day, and got a pot of coffee going. Maybe if I’d started with coffee I would have remembered to rinse the rice. Then I made us breakfast and sat down to enjoy our morning conversation.

After breakfast it was time to prepare the final part of our dinner: the chicken. 

The plan was to copy a Pinterest recipe for crockpot butter chicken. I’ll admit, when life gets busy the need for practicality tends to overrule my creativity, and I don’t put the effort into developing my own recipes. So I was content to stick to the work that somebody else had already done.

First, I blended spices for my garam masala. Easy peasy. But while taking pictures, my pestle rolled off the table (because our house is crooked and the table doesn’t sit flat) and broke in half on the floor. So please enjoy the spice ~aesthetic~ that I sacrificed my pestle for.

Also didn’t know which piece was the mortar and which was the pestle until 30 seconds ago. Look at us learning new things in the midst of adversity.

Garam Masala is something you can buy in the spice aisle at your local grocery store if you don’t want to be this extra.

A little irritated, I opened the pack of chicken breasts. The first breast seemed to have something hard in it. It almost felt like…bone. Not wanting to believe it, I checked the packaging. Sure enough, it said, “bone-in, skin on.” Because I’ve always been able to buy boneless chicken (thanks Kroger), deboning is not one of my skills, and I was not particularly excited to learn with the clock ticking away. One YouTube video later, I was hacking away.

This marinade consists of greek yogurt, tomato sauce, and salt. Next time I’m going to incorporate all my spices and maybe a bit of acidity.

Proud of my deboned, bite sized pieces of chicken, I glanced up at the clock: 8 am.

Work starts at 9 and I hadn’t even showered yet. Ugh.

There was no time to chop veggies and get the crockpot going, so I threw the chicken into a gallon sized Ziplock bag with some course salt, a cup of Greek yogurt, and a can of tomato sauce.

I also froze the bones and skin in a separate bag to try making my own chicken stock later. 

After doing the dishes at warp speed and wiping up the kitchen, I got into the shower at 8:30. In the familiar chaos of my morning rush to get to work on time…or at least not super late…I allowed myself a few minutes to accessorize my outfit with the right headband and earrings (priorities).

Taking the Crockpot out of Crockpot Butter Chicken

When I came home from work, it was time to figure out what I was actually going to do with that chicken. How would I take the crockpot out of crockpot butter chicken? 

I looked back at the original recipe as I started to put together my master plan. Curry powder, garam masala, and chili powder were added to the yogurt sauce (I should have added those with the salt at the beginning of the marinating process) along with cornstarch to stabilize the yogurt for cooking. Then I took to the stove, tasting, seasoning, and adapting along the way.

First, I prepped the “flavor concentrate” (onions, garlic, ginger, spices, tomato paste, and just enough heavy cream to hydrate the thick paste). Then, my yogurt soaked chicken cooked over medium heat for a few minutes on each side. I added the flavor concentrate to the chicken, added more spices to taste, and melted over top. Finally, everything was mixed together and smelling amazing in my kitchen.

We reheated the yellow rice and steamed broccoli I made earlier this morning, and finally sat down to dinner after a long day. The meal was worth all the headache and hassle.

All things considered, I’m very happy with how this turned out. The recipe definitely needed more seasoning than what the original called for (I may have doubled it throughout the whole cooking process). I’ll probably revisit this and make improvements with more research. But for now, here is the Butter Chicken Recipe I have for you!

Rile Up Your Kitchen!


  • ~2 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 Tbsp freshly minced ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, freshly minced (or more)
    • small ones only count as half a clove
  • 1 ½ T curry powder (and extra)
  • 1 T garam masala (and extra)
  • 1 ½ t chili powder (and extra)
  • Cayenne Pepper to taste
  • Course salt
  • Fine salt
  • 6 oz can of Tomato Paste
  • 14 oz can of Tomato Sauce
  • 2 T corn starch
  • 1 serving cup of non-fat, plain Greek yogurt
  • Heavy cream
  • 2 T butter, sliced up


Morning Prep

  1. Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces and rub with course salt, garam masala, curry powder, chili powder, and cayenne. Put the seasoned chicken in a gallon sized plastic bag with the tomato sauce and Greek yogurt. Shake it all up to combine, and put it in the fridge. Let the chicken marinate throughout the day.

Dinner Time

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp of coconut oil in a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook it until it starts to soften. Add more coconut oil as needed (I needed more oil 4-5 minutes into cooking).
  2. Add the garlic and ginger. Add 1 ½ T curry powder, 1 T garam masala, 1 ½ t chili powder, cayenne pepper to your liking, and fine salt to taste. Stir everything together until it gets fragrant, then add the tomato paste. Slowly add heavy cream to hydrate the mixture and turn it into a cohesive paste. Adjust seasonings to taste – this should be a concentrated, thick mass of flavor.
  3. Heat just enough coconut oil to cover the bottom of a large skillet on medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the chicken and yogurt sauce and cook the chicken for about 3-4 minutes per side until it is done.
  4. Now add the thick, flavorful paste to the yogurt and chicken and mix it all together. Taste & adjust the seasoning as you go. 
  5. Once everything is fully incorporated together, place the slices of butter over the dish and allow it to melt. Stir the melted butter into the sauce.


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