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Butter Chicken and Cauliflower Recipe

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This Indian-inspired butter chicken and cauliflower recipe is easy to make, naturally gluten-free, and simmered with the most delicious curry sauce.

Is there anything better than a cozy bowl of curry on a cold winter’s night? ♡

Here in our house, this Indian-inspired butter chicken and cauliflower has quickly turned into one of our favorite ways to warm up this season. Made with tender chicken and cauliflower simmered in a richly-seasoned creamy curry sauce, this dish comes together easily with fairly minimal hands-on prep time. And when ladled up hot over rice, served with a few slices of naan, and garnished with lots of fresh cilantro and lemon, this richly-seasoned comfort food is sure to hit the spot.

As with just about any curry, this recipe is inherently quite flexible if you’d like to swap in whatever ingredients you love best. For example, have some extra curry-friendly veggies hanging out in your freezer or crisper drawer? Toss ’em in! Want to make this curry vegetarian? Skip the chicken and add a can of chickpeas instead. Want to make it dairy-free or vegan as well? Use coconut milk and plant-based butter and you’ll be good to go. There are endless ways to customize this curry to your liking, so please feel free to customize and make it your own.

Let’s get to cooking!

Butter Chicken and Cauliflower Ingredients

Here are a few brief notes about the butter chicken ingredients you will need to make this recipe:

  • Butter: We will use butter to sauté the veggies, then we will stir some extra into the sauce just before serving to give this dish its traditional creamy buttery flavor.
  • Veggies: You’re welcome to use either fresh or frozen cauliflower florets in this recipe. (Here’s a quick tutorial on how to cut cauliflower.) Then you will also need onion, garlic, fresh ginger, and fresh baby spinach.
  • Dry seasonings: We will use a mixture of garam masala, chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric, fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper to season the curry sauce.
  • Tomatoes: I recommend using fire-roasted diced tomatoes, if possible, for extra flavor. But if they are not available, basic diced tomatoes will be just fine too.
  • Chicken: You’re welcome to use either boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, which we will cut into bite-sized pieces before cooking.
  • Cream or coconut milk: You’re welcome to use either heavy cream or full-fat coconut milk in this sauce, which will help to thicken and make it extra creamy.
  • Lemon juice: We will stir some freshly-squeezed lemon juice to the sauce, but I recommend serving this dish with extra lemon wedges too.
  • For serving: Finally, I recommend serving this dish over basmati rice with an optional side of naan. Then garnishing with lots of fresh cilantro and and extra lemon wedges.

Recipe Variations

Here are a few additional ways that you are welcome to customize this stovetop butter chicken recipe:

  • Use other vegetables: Feel free to swap any curry-friendly veggies in for part of the cauliflower (or all of the cauliflower) if you would like. For example, bell peppers, carrots, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, or Yukon gold potatoes would all be great options. Just be sure to time the addition of any extra veggies correctly so that any additional vegetables are fully-cooked.
  • Make it spicier: If you would like to amp up the heat in this chicken curry, you’re welcome to add in some cayenne or crushed red pepper flakes to taste.
  • Make it vegetarian: Swap a 15-ounce can of chickpeas (rinsed and drained) for the chicken in this recipe to make this curry vegetarian.
  • Make it dairy-free: Opt for coconut milk (instead of heavy cream) and use your favorite dairy-free butter to make dairy-free butter chicken.

More Favorite Curry Recipes

Looking for more Indian-inspired curry recipes to try? Here are a few of our favorites:


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This Indian-inspired butter chicken and cauliflower recipe is easy to make with a richly-spiced curry sauce.

  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons grated or minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon each: chili powder, ground coriander, ground cumin, ground turmeric
  • 1 (28-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 pounds cauliflower florets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 large handfuls fresh baby spinach
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • fine sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • for serving: basmati rice, naan, fresh cilantro and extra lemon wedges

  1. Sauté veggies and spices. Melt one tablespoon butter in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, ginger and sauté for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garam masala, chili powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Blend the sauce. Add the diced tomatoes and water and stir to combine, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Use an immersion blender (or see note below if you prefer to use a traditional blender) to purée the sauce until smooth. Continue cooking the sauce until it reaches a simmer.
  3. Simmer. Stir the cauliflower into the sauce and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, adjusting the heat as needed to maintain a low simmer. Stir the chicken into the sauce and continue to simmer, uncovered, for 10 more minutes or until the chicken and cauliflower are cooked through and tender.
  4. Season. Stir in the spinach, heavy cream (or coconut milk), lemon juice and remaining two tablespoons butter until combined. Taste and season with salt (I used about 1 teaspoon), black pepper, and/or extra lemon juice if needed.
  5. Serve. Serve immediately over rice with naan, garnished with lots of fresh cilantro and extra lemon wedges. Enjoy!

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