Chicken Korma Vs Butter Chicken – What’s The Difference?

What is the difference between chicken korma and butter chicken? Butter chicken can be described as a dairy-based meal that uses heavy cream, milk, butter, yogurt, and spices to make its curry. Chicken Korma is spice-driven, emphasizing caramelized onions, whole spices, and cooking oil.

Chicken korma and butter chicken are two of the most famous dishes in Asia but have found homes in other regions.

Although they are popularly consumed in many Indian restaurants, People from other areas are often confused about the two. This is normal since both use the same spices, or “garam masala.”

Learn more about these amazing recipes and how to make them easily at home with the help of common ingredients!

Butter Chicken

Its origins are from India The invention of the butter chicken was more than just an accident!

It was first served in the 1950s in the restaurant Moti Mahal. It is believed that this delicious buttery dish was created using leftover food to serve customers.

Chefs mix leftover Tandoori chicken with tomato curry on an especially busy night. They came up with a delicious dish that would later be referred to in the world of Butter Chicken.

This recipe is loved by many across the globe and even found its way into North America and Europe. What makes this dish tasty is the right balance of spice, sweetness, and richness.

Butter chicken became popular due to an influx of brand new Indian restaurants across America and became a hugely popular dish. Since it was first introduced, there have been numerous variations of this recipe. However, the flavor of the gravy has maintained the same.

Butter chicken can be described as a mix consisting of garam masala (ground and cooked spices), cream, yogurt, and spicy curry. It’s made from a mix of masala, tomato paste, onions, and milk. It can also be served with more cream!

If you compare it to chicken korma, Butter chicken shares several ingredients; however, it is completely different in the way it is cooked, and of course, in the taste.

The best way to explain the differences between these two recipes is to describe how they’re prepared. Here’s a great recipe to make homemade butter chicken!


Chicken Marinade

  • Yogurt 1/2 Cup
  • Powder of red chili 1 TSP or as desired
  • Salt 1/4 tsp. or according to your taste to marinate.
  • Powder of Turmeric 1/2 Tsp
  • Powder of coriander 1 TSP
  • Garam masala powder 1/2 tsp
  • lemon juice 2. Tbs
  • Cubes of chicken boneless (breast) 1.5 kg
  • 2 Tbs of oil (or grilling chicken marinated)

Butter Chicken Masala

  • Butter. Unsalted., 2-3 TBS
  • Cinnamon stick 1 piece
  • Two pieces of green cardamom
  • Grated Onion 1, small
  • Garlic and ginger crushed 1 TSP
  • Green chilies crushed 1/2 tbs
  • Ground 1 tomato Cup
  • Tomato paste 2 tbs
  • Cumin seeds, roasted and crushed 1/2 teaspoon
  • Salt 1 TSP or according to your taste
  • Powder of Turmeric 1/2 Tsp
  • Nutmeg powder 1/2 tsp
  • Paprika Powder 1 teaspoon
  • Sugar 1 tsp
  • Half a Cup of water Cup or as much as is required
  • Dairy mix: Half Cup of Cream and milk 1/2 cup.
  • dried fenugreek leaf 1 tsp
  • Butter (Unsalted)
  • Cream to garnish


  1. Mix the yogurt, red chili powder, spice powder, salt garam masala powder, and lemon juice in the bowl. Give it an even mix. This is the marinade for chicken.
  2. Add boneless chicken cubes to the mix and let them let it marinate for at most 1 hour.
  3. In a large or heavy-bottomed pot, add oil and the marinated chicken. Cook till the bird is cooked. This will take about 5-6 minutes.
  4. Then we’ll prepare our butter-chicken curry! In a separate saucepan, add butter and allow it to melt. Then, add an orange stick of cinnamon, green cardamom onion, ginger garlic, and green chili until the onions have become translucent.
  5. Add the tomatoes along with the tomato paste. Mix the ingredients thoroughly. Then cover and simmer for about 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add the cumin seeds, salt spice powders, turmeric, sugar, paprika powder and. Mix, and cook for two additional minutes. Then, add the water and let it rest for about 2 minutes.
  7. In a bowl small enough, mix milk and cream. Mix well before adding the milk mixture into the saucepan. Add the chicken cooked and dried fenugreek leaf and mix thoroughly. Serve with a small amount of butter and a drizzle of cream, and serve alongside any bread!

As with numerous Indian recipes, this one, too, has an entire list of ingredients needed for this dish could be somewhat daunting as this recipe calls for many ingredients, including herbs and spices.

But, some people find it easier to mix all ingredients in an individual bag so that they can use it repeatedly. This is known as “mix masala.”

This will cut down on time, and you’ll need to combine your spices in bulk to make many portions of butter chicken with ease!

Chicken Korma

Korma can be described as a mix of roasted spices and dark caramelized onions, yogurt, and a host of other spices. The dish is considered to be royalty-worthy and was offered to elites of the Mughal Empire!

It is largely based on a blend of garam masala spices as well as whole spices. The majority of the time, korma can be made using either beef, chicken as well as lamb. It is also possible to mix it with other vegetables and cook with bone broth, too.

Korma is also well-known throughout the globe, particularly in Asia, and is renowned for its amazing aroma due to the blend of roast coriander and cumin.

Korma is a rich gravy that has an oily layer that is floating on top of the masala. The gravy used in this recipe could be described as rich, grainy, and spicy.

In contrast to butter chicken, however, this recipe does not make use of tomatoes or tomato paste, but as with the butter chicken recipe, it is served with freshly baked Naan.

It is fairly simple to prepare since it doesn’t require any prior marinating and can be prepared by mixing all of the ingredients into a single pot.

Here’s how to prepare an authentic portion of chicken Korma at your own home!


  • Butter that is clarified (ghee) 3/4 cup
  • Onion cut into 2 large
  • Black cardamom 2 pieces
  • Five to six pieces of green cardamom
  • Cloves 3-4 pieces
  • Peppercorns black 1/2 teaspoon
  • Star anise 1 Piece
  • Cinnamon sticks 2-3 pieces
  • Seeds of black cumin 1 TSP
  • Bay 3 leaves
  • Ginger garlic paste 2 tbs
  • Chicken Cut medium, 1/2 kg
  • Salt 1 Tbsp, or as desired
  • Paprika powder 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander powder, roasted 2 Tbs
  • Red chili powder 2 tsp
  • Food color yellow 1/4 tsp
  • Half a Cup of water Cup or as much as is required
  • Yogurt – slightly sweet 1 Cup
  • Nutmeg powder 1/4 tsp
  • Mace powder 1/4 tsp
  • Garam masala powder 1/4 tsp
  • Butter 1 tsp
  • Kewra one teaspoon of water
  • Almonds are blanched to allow them to be used as a garnish
  • Ginger for garnishing


  • In a pan, put in ghee, and melt it. Add onion and cook until golden brown. Set aside.
  • The delicious korma is prepared by crushing crisp caramelized onions until it develops an almost powdery consistency. A simple way to accomplish this is to remove the onions to ensure that they don’t become oily and then apply a towel to absorb the oil left behind.
  • Spread the onions on the towel, and allow them to be cool and crisp. You can also chop them up or blend them in a blender.
  • Continue in the same pan in the same pot, add black cardamom cloves, green cardamom star anise, black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, black cumin seeds bay leaves, and cook for one minute. Add the ginger garlic paste and mix all the ingredients.
  • Add the chicken and cook until the chicken turns a different color Cover, then cook for about 4-5 minutes. Add spice powder, salt, coriander powder as well as red chili powder yellow food coloring for 2 mins and stir. Add water and mix once more.
  • Shut off the stove, and add yogurt, mixing the ingredients for two minutes.
  • Bring the flame back up, add the nutmeg powder and mace powder and mix for about 2 minutes. Then add the fried, crushed onion, and mix thoroughly.
  • Cook at high heat for about 2 minutes. Mix in garam masala butter, kewra water, and butter, and give it a good stir. Sprinkle with ginger and almonds. Serve warm with butter-glazed Naan!

Comparison of Butter Chicken and Chicken Korma

If you compare the two recipes, you’ll be able to see that both recipes heavily make use of garam masala, which is the main ingredient of Indian cuisine.

However, the primary distinction between them is their ingredients. Butter Chicken is a dairy-based dish that has a distinctly sweet, spicy, and buttery-rich flavor.

On the contrary, the chicken korma recipe heavily depends on spices and mildly sour yogurt to flavor your gravy. The recipe here is earthy, spicy, and oily. It also has a sour gravy that is great with flatbread!

When making a chicken korma, if you ask any Indian chef, they will tell you the importance of finding the best oil for frying chicken, such as Crisco Pure Vegetable Oil or BetterBody Foods Pure Avocado Oil.

Here’s a simple chart to show the difference between these famous meals:

DishChicken KormaButter Chicken
Different types of CurrySpice-based gravy made with caramelized onions.Dairy and tomato-based curry made with translucent onions.
The type of meat you like.Bone-in-meat (chicken, beef, lamb)It has bone-free breast meat (only chicken)
TextureGrainy gravySilky smooth texture curry
SpicinessVery spicyMildly spicy
The types of milk products that are usedIt uses yogurt with a slightly sour tasteUtilizes cream, milk, and yogurt that is fresh.
Different types of spicesIt is a blend of ground and whole spices.It is a blend of ground spices.

Other Questions Asked

Butter chicken and chicken korma are two very popular dishes served for centuries or decades for the korma! Once you’ve figured out the difference between these two, here are a few related questions:

Is chicken korma better than butter chicken?

Yes. If you look at the calories of both meals, the chicken korma is thought of as the healthier choice because it doesn’t contain excessive amounts of cream or large amounts of butter.

For instance, a single meal of chicken Korma may range from 300-400 calories. On the other hand, butter chicken can contain between 500 and 650 calories.

Can You Use Low-Fat Dairy In The Production of Chicken Butter?

Yes, you can use dairy products that are low in fat for butter chicken. However, it can negatively affect the flavor of this tasty dish.

Traditionally butter chicken is thought to be prepared with the freshest dairy ingredients.

Restaurants can also offer a healthier version of the dish, insisting on enhancing the taste of the ingredients by adding umami spice to compensate for the reduced fat options.

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