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Butter Chicken Rice Bowl

This butter chicken rice bowl has a fun and delicious twist. The sweetpotatoes add so much flavor and nourishment, you won’t be able to stop at one bowl!

butter chicken rice bowl on white plate

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The Best Butter Chicken Rice Bowl

Grab your ingredients, because we’re about to make the best butter chicken recipe ever.

Butter chicken is a delicious and popular Indian dish that features tender chicken cooked in a creamy tomato-based sauce (with butter, of course). It is typically served over fluffy rice and/or with bread, like naan.

I think you’ll be sold on our butter chicken rice bowl version, and we’ve even added some “healthy” swaps.

While there are several staple ingredients for a delicious butter chicken rice bowl (butter, garam masala, etc.), we’ve made a few unique switches to make this butter chicken recipe stand out.

bowls of ingredients for butter chicken rice bowl

Firstly, most recipes use heavy cream, which is delicious. But, our recipe is using coconut milk to reduce the fat and calories slightly.

However, you may still choose to use heavy cream, or a blend of the two, to create the perfect butter chicken rice recipe.

We’ve also added sweetpotatoes because they are such a nutritious, staple ingredient that add SO much nutritional value – Vitamin A, Vitamin C and fiber.

Plus, sweetpotatoes go with nearly everything! Check out this guide on what to eat with sweetpotatoes!

white plate with butter chicken with rice

How to Make a Butter Chicken Bowl on the Stove

The best part about this butter chicken rice bowl is that you can make it on the stove or in the instant pot! Whatever suits your comfort and convenience.

Assuming you’re adding rice and making butter chicken with basmati rice, or your rice of choice, you’ll just cook the rice according to the directions.

Then you can add it to the finished product, either on the stove or in the instant pot.

If making on the stove, you’ll saute some oil or butter in a medium pan and add your chicken thighs, seasoning with salt and pepper.

chicken thighs on stove

Cook them for 6-8 minutes. I prefer to flip halfway.

You’ll want to cook until both sides are golden and the chicken is cooked through (no juices bleeding or red in the middle).

Grab a food thermometer and make sure the inside of the chicken thighs reach 165 degrees F.

Then, let your chicken cool on a plate. At this point, I prefer to start cooking the rice, according to the directions.

white rice in instant pot
You can make this butter chicken rice bowl on the stove or in the instant pot.

Next, add butter to your same pan, followed by garlic and ginger.

sauteed butter and garlic on stove

Then, you’ll add your onions and sweetpotatoes.

Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes. You want the sweetpotatoes to soften a good bit.

If they are cut in large chunks, it will take longer to soften, so try to make them uniform, like we have below.

diced sweetpotatoes in skillet
Cut your sweetpotatoes into small chunks so they cook faster.
diced sweetpotatoes in skillet
Cook onions and sweetpotaotes for 5-10 minutes, until softened.

Then, add your tomatoes and spices, stirring everything together.

Everything will start to smell really good at this point.

diced sweetpotatoes and canned tomatoes in skillet

You’ll add the coconut milk and chicken and stir for 5-6 more minutes.

skillet for butter chicken rice bowl

Once all is done and cooled, enjoy the smells and flavor.

This butter chicken with rice recipe is SO good!

Instant Pot Tweaks

If making in the instant pot, you’re going to need an additional 1.5 cups of water for the recipe.

You will sautee the butter with garlic and ginger, and then add the onions, sweetpotatoes, tomatoes and spices.

Then, you’ll add the chicken thighs, water and coconut milk and stir. Close and seal the instant pot and set to “HIGH” for 5 minutes.

Then, you’ll do a natural release before removing the lid.

spoon of basmati rice with butter chicken

What to Serve with Butter Chicken

If you’re wondering what to serve with butter chicken, you don’t necessarily need anything else. We have a complete meal with rice and naan bread!

  • Extra potatoes– However, if you choose not to use the rice, you could serve it with a side salad, extra bed of potatoes or sweetpotatoes, or even just naan bread.
  • Grain salad – It goes great on this instant pot quinoa with vegetables or simple vegan couscous salad. If you want to flavor your rice, you can also try this lemon basil rice recipe.
  • Roasted VeggiesCrispy cauliflower or parsnips also tend to blend right in with this dish!
  • Fruit Chutney – Adding a tangy or sweet chutney on top, like mango chutney, could emphasize the flavors further!
butter chicken rice on white plate next to naan bread for serving

Recipe Tips

  • Make sure to cut the sweetpotatoes into smaller, uniform chunks so they cook faster for this butter chicken bowl.
  • Don’t forget the additional water if you are cooking in the instant pot – it’s necessary to prevent burning.
  • For a little more depth in flavor, you could use half coconut milk and half heavy cream.
  • Storage – You can store it in the fridge for up to 3 days. The quality of the meat and flavors may deteriorate after that. If freezing, you can safely freeze for up to 3 months.

Recipe FAQs

Can you freeze butter chicken?

Yes, you can freeze this butter chicken rice recipe. First, make sure to let it cool completely and then store in a freezer-friendly container or tupperware in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Try not to leave the dish on the counter for too long. Once it’s cooled, transfer it to the refrigerator or freezer for food safety reasons. You can reheat in the microwave or on the stove.

What is the best type of rice for butter chicken?

It really is a personal preference! I love white basmati rice, but others may prefer any other long grain variety.

For more fiber, use brown rice or wild rice. You could even use another grain, like barley, quinoa or couscous, or your favorite gluten free variety!

Is this a healthier butter chicken rice recipe?

Yes, butter chicken and rice is healthy and this is a healthier alternative.

While coconut milk does still have some saturated fat, it is lower in calories and fat than your typical heavy cream. The sweetpotatoes also add Vitamins A and C, and a dose of fiber!

TRY some of these other EASY recipes!

butter chicken rice bowl on white plate
Yield: 4-6 servings

Butter Chicken Rice Bowl with Sweetpotatoes

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

This butter chicken rice bowl has a fun and delicious twist. The sweetpotatoes add so much flavor and nourishment, you won't be able to stop at one bowl!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pounds chicken thighs boneless and skinless, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons ginger, minced
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 2 medium sweetpotatoes, cubed
  • 1 ½ cups crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (add more if desired)
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cup coconut milk (or heavy cream)
  • 1.5 cups basmati rice, uncooked
  • Cilantro, for topping

Instructions

  1. In a medium to large pan, saute 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter over medium-high heat. Add your chicken thighs and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Cook chicken thighs for 6-8 minutes, flipping halfway, until both sides are golden and it is cooked through.
  3. Remove chicken from pan and transfer to a plate or bowl to cool.
  4. Using the same medium to large pan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add garlic and ginger. Sautee for 2 minutes. 
  5. Add onion and sweetpotatoes. Cover pan and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sweetpotatoes start to soften. Make sure the sweetpotatoes aren’t cut too large or they will take longer to cook.
  6. Add tomatoes and spices, stirring everything together. Bring to a simmer and continue to stir occasionally for 5-6 minutes. Add the coconut milk and chicken and continue to stir for 5-6 more minutes.
  7. While sauce is simmering, cook your rice according to directions.
  8. Serve chicken over rice and/or with naan bread and top with cilantro.

Notes

Serve with naan bread, if desired.

Notes: If making in instant pot, follow these directions and you will also need to add 1.5 cups water.

Instant Pot Directions

1.  Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting. (Refer to your manufacturer's guide for detailed instructions on how
to use your instant pot.)

2.  Add the butter. Once butter has melted, add garlic and ginger. Saute for 1-2 minutes.

3. While still on the sautee setting, add the onion, sweetpotatoes, canned tomatoes and spices to the Instant Pot. Cook for 4-5 minutes.  

4. Add the chicken thighs, water, and coconut milk, and stir everything together.

5. Put the instant pot lid on, close it, seal it (according to manufacturer’s directions), and set it on “HIGH” for 5
minutes.

6. When done cooking, let the instant pot naturally release for 5-10 minutes and remove lid.

7. Cool and enjoy.

8. Garnish with cilantro, and serve over rice/with naan bread.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 591Total Fat: 38gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 204mgSodium: 795mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 40g

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