Butter Chicken VS Chicken Tikka Masala 

Both Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka masala are famous Indian cuisines, but when it comes to choosing between one, it might get confusing. And I’ve got so many questions regarding both of these.

Butter Chicken VS Chicken Tikka Masala 

It is difficult to decide about butter chicken and chicken tikka masala; I know both dishes offer a savory taste and quintessential gravy. But there is a noticeable difference between these chicken recipes. 

Butter chicken tastes more gentle, creamy, and mild. At the same time, chicken tikka masala has an overpowering, spicy, and tangy taste. But both Indian cuisines are flavorsome, easy to make, quick, and require common ingredients to cook. 

In this comparison guide, I will share my experience with Butter chicken and Chicken tikka masala and help you decide which one you should make for tonight’s dinner. 

Butter Chicken VS Chicken Tikka Masala: Historic Background 

best butter chicken

Everyone knows Butter Chicken originated from the Moti Mahal Restaurant in Delhi, India. This is a 19th dish that captured huge fame in the Indian subcontinent and South Asia. 

Chicken Tikka Masala has its roots in Indian cuisine, but it was first made in the UK by an Indian restaurant. And from there, this recipe comes to all the famous Indian restaurants. 

Both of these recipes don’t have a rich history like Chicken Korma. But it still holds the prime spot on the menu list of famous Indian and Pakistani restaurants. 

I’ve also mention difference between Butter chicken and Chicken korma in this post.

Butter Chicken VS Chicken Tikka Masala: Taste & Color

chicken tikka masala

When it comes to taste, there is a substantial difference between these two chicken curries. The butter chicken has a creamy, umami and mild taste. On the contrary, the Chicken tikka masala has a zesty, spicy, and tangier taste. 

In Butter Chicken the butter, yogurt, and cream complement all the spices, making the curry much smoother and lighter in color. In Chicken Tikka masala, we roast the chicken in smoking hot pan to get the darker color like the grill chicken. The gravy of this chicken curry is also very red because of the tomato sauce. 

If you don’t like spicier chicken curries, Butter Chicken is the right option. But if you’re a fan of zesty food, the Chicken Tikka masala might hit your heart. 

Most often, the authentic butter chicken is made with boneless chicken; we first marinate the chicken in yogurt and other common spices and then fry it with onions. That’s why chicken is more juicy and succulent.

But when it comes to chicken tikka masala, people use bone-in and boneless chicken.

Further, the chicken bites are much tastier but not so soft because the marination coating on the chicken gets chargrilled. And it tastes much like a smoky grilled chicken. 

Butter Chicken VS Chicken Tikka Masala: Difference In Gravy

butter chicken

The major difference that comes after the taste is in the gravy.

The butter chicken, also known as Makhani chicken, has a Makhani gravy, which we call in Hindi or Urdu. Simply, Makhani means “Buttery.” Because of the creamy ingredients, this chicken recipe has velvety and silky gravy that feels more appetizing. 

I used blended onions in this recipe to make it even better and to get the subtle consistency in gravy.

Meanwhile, chicken tikka masala is made with two types of gravy. First, we prepare the butter gravy and then mix it with the tomato and onion gravy.

Over time, I’ve seen so much versatility in Chicken Tikka masala recipes, and now people only make one gravy to save time and pots. But it doesn’t mean that the taste and color of gravy get dull. 

Because of tomatoes, onion sauce, and traditional Indian spices, the Chicken tikka masala has more spicy gravy. 

Butter Chicken VS Chicken Tikka Masala: Ingredients 

The majority of the ingredients are the same in both recipes. We use common Indian spices, onions, and yogurt in Butter Chicken and Tikka Masala. 

But there is still a difference in ingredients. 

First, we don’t use tomatoes in butter chicken. I’ve even seen many of my friends who don’t like to use onions. For chicken tikka gravy, you must use both tomatoes and onions. 

Further, the main ingredients in butter chicken are butter and cream, which bring a silky and smooth texture. However, we don’t use both of these ingredients for chicken tikka masala.

Even though few people like to use butter for Chicken Tikka masala, I stay away from butter because my husband needs a more tangy and spicy taste, and butter compliments all spices. 

And the list of spices is short for Butter Chicken. You just need red chili flakes, turmeric powder, and red chili powder to whip up this recipe. However, you can expand that list of spices as needed. 

But the list of spices gets larger when it comes to Chicken tikka masala. And we also used garam masala in this chicken curry. All the spices used in this recipe are available in every pantry. 

The garlic and ginger are two main aromatics that make Chicken Tikka masala gravy more pleasant and flavorful. Meanwhile, we don’t use any of these ingredients in butter chicken. 

If you want a detailed list of ingredients, check out the recipes here. 

Butter Chicken, Chicken Tikka Masala

Butter Chicken VS Chicken Tikka Masala: Cooking Methods 

chicken tikka masala cooking method

There is a big difference between the cooking methods of both these Indian Cuisines. 

Butter chicken is simple to make; that’s why I love it! Simply marinate the chicken, then fry it with basic spices and blended onion. And then, introduce cream in gravy for a smooth texture. 

However, Chicken tikka masala has multiple cooking methods. First, you must marinate the chicken and then grill it on coals. But if you don’t have grill, you can use the smoking hot pan to turn the marination coat to chargrilled form. 

Then, we make the tomato-onion sauce with some aromatics and spices. After that, we add this sauce over the chargrilled chicken pieces and stir it well. 

Butter Chicken VS Chicken Tikka Masala: Which One You Should Choose

I’m sure you’ve read all the above discussion. Now, I’ve concluded that both Chicken Tikka masala and Butter chicken are superior recipes.

The final decision depends on your taste buds. 

Butter chicken has got a little sweet, smooth, and creamy flavor. So, if you’re not a fan of spices, this Indian dish is the right companion for your dinner. 

But if you like tangy dishes with a zesty taste, I prefer Chicken tikka masala. 

There is no win situation. Both of the chicken recipes have different audience bases. But if you ask me, I like chicken tikka masala because of its aromatic smell and flavor. 

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