Simple Butter Chicken with Chickpeas

A simple stovetop butter chicken recipe, rounded out with chickpeas and served with basmati rice. A comforting family meal from the whole foods pantry.

There are a few recipes I turn to in the winter months both for their ease of preparation and popularity score around the family table.

It’s a bonus if I can make a double batch and it’s just as tasty – or better – after being frozen. Today’s recipe checks all of those boxes.

Last week, I shared a round-up of favourites with 20 Recipes from the Whole Foods Pantry, and today’s Simple Butter Chicken with Chickpeas is another one for the list.

Buttery chickpeas, a can of coconut milk, Indian spices and both onions and garlic – along with chicken, these ingredients come together to make a fragrant dish that is pure comfort food.

This recipe is inspired by and adapted from this dish by Sarah Waldman in her fantastic cookbook, Feeding a Family. Sarah’s version is made in a slow-cooker and uses green peas, however I like stretching the chicken a bit further with the addition of chickpeas. I always have a few cans on hand in my pantry and my children adore pulses.

I serve this meal with a kale salad or whole roasted cauliflower. And don’t leave out the Greek yogurt for a garnish. For a flavour boost, grate a little fresh ginger into the yogurt just before serving and season generously with salt.

You choose the cooking method for this butter chicken – stovetop or slow cooker – depending on your schedule. I’ve included directions for both, as it’s good to have options and know that they both result in a delicious dinner.

Simple Butter Chicken with Chickpeas

A stovetop Indian butter chicken recipe, rounded out with chickpeas and served with basmati rice. A simple and comforting family meal from the whole foods pantry.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Slow-Cooker
Essential Ingredient: Chicken
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 471kcal


  • 1 tablespoon ghee or butter
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh ginger minced
  • 3 Teaspoons curry powder mild or spicy
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 Teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 6oz can tomato paste
  • 1 can coconut milk 13.5oz
  • 2 1/2 lbs chicken breasts and thighs boneless, skinless
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter cubed
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt full-fat
  • 2 Tablespoons freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro to garnish
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds, cashews or almonds lightly toasted


  • In a large (3.5L or larger) French oven or braiser, melt the ghee over medium heat. Tip in the onion and sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook for an additional minute.
  • Stir together the curry powder, cinnamon, cumin and salt (this may be prepared ahead of time) and sprinkle over the aromatics in the pot. Stir well for a minute or so to let the spices get a little toasty.
  • Push aside the onions and scrape the can of tomato paste into the pot. Cook it, stirring all the while, for a minute or two, being carful not to scorch the paste. Pour in the can of coconut milk and scrape the bottom of the pot thoroughly.
  • Cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes. Rinse and drain the chickpeas. Add both to the pot and stir well.
  • Dot the top with butter, then bring the chicken to a slow simmer. Cover the pot with a lid, reduce heat to low, and simmer slowly for about an hour. You can stir it occasionally.
  • When the chicken is meltingly tender, remove the pot from the heat. Stir in the lemon juice and the yogourt. Taste the butter chicken sauce and season with additional salt if necessary.
  • Serve with a side of basmati rice or Baked Brown Rice Pilaf. Garnish with chopped cilantro and toasted nuts or seeds. Leftovers may be cooled and frozen for another meal.


This recipe can be easily doubled and half frozen for another meal. Will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.
For the slow cooker version,  fill a 6-quart slow cooker with the chicken, onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, cinnamon, cumin, and salt. Stir to combine. Add in the butter, tomato paste, chickpeas and coconut milk. Mix again. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours until the chicken pulls apart easily with a fork. Proceed with the last 2 steps.


Calories: 471kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 624mg | Potassium: 943mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 348IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 4mg
About Aimee

Cooking has always been Aimée's preferred recreational activity, creative outlet, and source of relaxation. After nearly ten years in the professional cooking industry, she went from restaurant to RSS by trading her tongs and clogs for cookie cutters and a laptop, serving as editor here at Simple Bites. Her first book, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars - Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites, was published in February 2015.

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  1. Valérie Monette says

    Made slow cooker recipe.
    Was ABSOLUTELY delicious!
    Thank you.

  2. 5 stars
    Second that absolutely delicious recommendation. It was great, and easy to make. Also made your sour cream pear pie for dessert as it was a celebration meal for an autumnal day. Thanks!

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