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White plate with rice and butter chicken with bowl of butter chicken in the background and garlic naan.

Easy New Zealand Style Butter Chicken

  • Author: Kate Alexandra
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This super easy, New Zealand style butter chicken recipe takes just 15 minutes to make and is so delicious. It uses store cupboard staples – including a secret, very Kiwi ingredient you may be surprised to see!

I love serving this butter chicken with steamed white rice and garlic naan for a proper takeaway experience. Get everything ready for the curry while your rice is cooking, then cook the butter chicken once it’s ready – it only takes 10 minutes!

Remember, if you’re looking for cup and US measurements, use the ‘Units’ section below and click on ‘US’.


Units Scale

For the butter chicken –

  • 500g chicken thighs, cut into 2cm pieces
  • 50g butter
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup cream (use single or double cream, or your favourite dairy-free alternative)
  • 6 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the rice –

  • 300g long grain, white rice
  • 540g water
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Make the rice. Add 300g (1 ½ cups) of rice to a small pot along with 1 teaspoon of salt and 540g (2 ¼ cups) of water. Set the pot over medium heat. Once the top of the water is looking a little foamy and starting to bubble, turn the heat to low and put the lid on your pot. If your pot doesn’t have a lid, use a wooden board or a plate. Leave it there with the lid on, undisturbed, for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes, turn the heat off and remove the pan from the stovetop. Let it sit for another 10 minutes, then fluff up the rice with a fork and get ready to serve.
  2. Mix the chicken and spices. In a large bowl, toss the sliced chicken thighs with a teaspoon each of nutmeg, turmeric, cumin, garam masala and ½ teaspoon of salt so the pieces are coated evenly.
  3. Cook the chicken. Set a large frying pan over medium heat, then add the butter and let it melt. Add the chicken to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes on each side, until the chicken is starting to brown. Add the crushed garlic cloves. Cook, stirring through the chicken, for another minute.
  4. Add the tomato paste and tomato sauce. At this point, add the 6 tablespoons of tomato paste and 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce, and stir them through the chicken for a few minutes to intensify the flavour.
  5. Add the cream, simmer and serve. Turn the heat to low, then add the cream, and stir it through the chicken. PRO TIP: If you do this when the pan is too hot, the cream may split, so that’s why we’re reducing the temperature first. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Give it a taste, and add more salt if you think it needs it. Remove the pan from the heat, and serve with the rice and garlic naan for a proper Indian takeaway experience!


I like using chicken thighs because I find them juicier than chicken breast, but breast is fine too. You can use skin-on or skinless thighs.

The butter chicken will keep well for 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge (and will actually get even better as the flavours continue to develop!). Reheat it on the stove over low heat – add a little water if the sauce looks too thick but keep in mind that it will loosen up as it heats – or in the microwave at 1-minute intervals, stirring as you go.

It also freezes really well. I like either storing it in a zip lock bag (I find this fits in my small freezer a lot easier) or an airtight container. Just defrost in the microwave or on the stovetop when you’re ready.

Use a store-bought naan or why not give my easy, soft garlic flatbreads a go? They make a wonderful naan and I love them with this curry.

  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Category: fakeaways
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: indian


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl

Keywords: butter chicken, chicken curry, easy chicken curry