Butter Chicken vs Tikka Masala (Cooking, Color, Taste, Calories)

There are a lot of foods that are often mistaken to be the same thing. This includes butter chicken and tikka masala. While these two things may look the same, they are different and have their distinguishing taste and flavor to offer. Here’s a deeper look into butter chicken vs. tikka masala.

All About Butter Chicken

All About Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a classic Indian dish classically referred to as murgh makhani. This dish is curried food first created in Delhi, India. Although this dish is not typical in many cultures, it has variants similar to many other cuisines.

Food worldwide is recreated, altered, and modified according to taste. This delicacy is exclusive to certain parts of India, and even there, each location has its own take on the dish.

Nowadays, you can get Butter Chicken in the form of various dishes like pizzas, burgers, tacos, biryani, and anything else you can imagine. Food is very flexible and has a wide range.

Although some would disagree and deem these changes and incorporations futile, it’s part of the food’s growth and the people’s culinary creativity. There is no avoiding change, and evolution is a prerequisite for development.

By doing so, the meal is disseminated, and people come to enjoy it not just for what it is but also for the versatility with which it can be prepared.

Butter chicken is a boneless chicken dish marinated in fragrant curry spices. These spices include turmeric, cumin, garam masala, coriander seeds, preferably grounded, and many more.

Next, the chunks of chicken are submerged into a type of curry produced with a tomato sauce foundation. You can make your tomato sauce by using fresh tomatoes.

The flavors should be enriched by using the leftover chicken stuck in the pan and cooking the sauce in the same pan. The sauce is also made creamier with yogurt, butter, and cilantro. Make sure to use mild heat.

Quick Facts

  • Kundan Lal Gujral created butter chicken.
  • The dish’s appeal comes from the harmonious interplay of its many tastes. Balance is the main character in butter chicken. The way the dish beautifully balances every flavor from its ingredients is remarkable.
  • Originating in the northern part of India, butter chicken is traditionally served as an entree with either white or brown Basmati rice.

Tikka Masala and Everything About It

Tikka Masala and Everything About It

Due to its strong flavor, chicken tikka masala is renowned and enjoyed throughout the globe. Tikka masala is also a chicken dish simmered in curry sauce.

Contrary to popular belief, Tikka masala did not originate in India. At the moment, very little is known about its past or where it came from. However, Food historians contended that tikka masala could be traced back to a modest eatery in Glasgow.

The dish might have originated from Britain or, perhaps, India. Whatever the case may be, one thing is apparent: tikka masala is an incredible blend of British and Indian food. This combination is prepared with a buttery gravy with hints of earthiness. It has a unique spiciness that comes from the use of curry spices.

To prepare this delicacy, the chicken pieces of chicken tikkas are first soaked in a mixture of curry spices. The combination includes ginger, chili pepper, garlic, and others. Following the marination process, the chicken is cooked before being covered in a tomato-based rich sauce.

Quick Facts

  • Tikka masala is well-known worldwide. In fact, it’s one of the most ordered dishes at Indian restaurants.
  • This cuisine may have originated in the 1970s from a chef in Glasgow. He mixed a light tomato-cream sauce with the chicken, which was very productive, giving birth to this rich and tasty dish.
  • Tikka comes from the Persian language and can be translated as ‘bits,’ ‘pieces,’ or “parts.” In addition, it is a chicken dish that is typically offered in Punjabi cuisine. However, the Kashmiri preparation of the meal involves grilling the meat over flaming embers, and it does not necessarily include boneless chunks of meat.

Butter Chicken vs Tikka Masala

Butter Chicken and Tikka Masala

Despite their superficial similarities in name and form, the two dishes are relatively distinct and are regularly pitted against one another in friendly culinary competitions. They’re basically like apples and oranges when it comes to food.

Cooking method

As for butter chicken, breasts or thighs are the common parts used, and the meat is pan-fried. On the other hand, tikka masala is typically skewered and grilled in a tandoor. Butter chicken is not required to be boneless.

Whole chicken in tikka masala is preferred to be boneless. Butter chicken has a lower concentration of tomatoes and is creamier, while tikka masala has a greater concentration of tomatoes but less creaminess.

While butter chicken is characterized by a smooth combination of seasonings and tomato sauce. On the other hand, tikka masala is distinguished by the use of smooth tomato gravy and onion sauce.


Both the spicy and the moderate variations of chicken tikka are red. Butter chicken is typically white and utilizes cream or milk to achieve creaminess. As a result, butter chicken might take on a lighter and creamier shade.


Tikka masala has a more decisive kick to it, while butter chicken has a more subdued level of spice. Additionally, butter chicken typically has a more velvety mouthfeel. Due to the butter’s propensity to moderate spiciness, it gives butter chicken a more subtle sweetness.


Though butter chicken is an excellent meal, the rich butter, milk, and tomato gravy are responsible for a higher count of calories. So, if you are in a particular diet regime or are watching your calorie intake, the better choice for you is tikka masala.

Serving Eating Butter Chicken and Tikka Masala

Butter Chicken

Although butter chicken looks bright and festive, it’s actually also a hearty and accommodating meal for any day.

The flavor of butter chicken, in all of its preparations, is exquisite. It’s the perfect food for ordering and preparing. You can also make it in large quantities to reheat and have it in the coming days. It’s also an excellent option for parties and gatherings. Indeed, there will be leftovers, and you will have chicken to eat after the event.

  • Kachumber salad – Because of its richness, butter chicken is best enjoyed alongside a refreshing salad. The Indian salad made with cucumbers is refreshing and light. This combination is perfect for warm summer days when you don’t feel like turning on the oven.
  • Lemon rice – Curry and rice are about as basic as it gets, but you can spice things up by serving flavored or colored rice. You can always pair it with lemon rice. The tangy lemon cuts through the heavy creaminess of the sauce.
  • Samosas – Indian cuisine’s equivalent to egg rolls are called samosas. Extremely crisp exteriors concealing the chewy inside is an excellent appetizer or a light side dish.
  • Onion Bhajis – Their mellow sweetness and delightful crunch are the ideal accompaniments to the creamy and smooth chicken dinner.

Tikka Masala

Tikka masala often consists of a meal of warm naan and steamed basmati rice. To lighten things up, you can mix some cauliflower rice for a nice crunch and boost nutrients. Roasted broccoli or tandoori broccoli would be nice as a side meal.

  • Naan with Minted Cucumber Salad – The bread nicely complements the flavors in tikka masala while the salad brightens and refreshes the whole meal.
  • Fried potatoes with cheese – They add a touch of sweetness to the meal without adding too much weight to the cuisine. Light cheese is a good topping option.
  • Creamy raita – A smooth and creamy raita is a good side dish because a spicy tikka masala calls for a delicate and subtle sauce.
  • Leafy salad – A salad is a great way to calm down the heat of the main meal and give your taste receptors a little break. For the same reason, the crunchy character complements chicken tikka masala as the two dishes have contrasting textures.

Butter Chicken and Tikka Masala FAQs

Butter Chicken and Tikka Masala FAQs

Is Tikka Masala a type of Indian Curry?

A mixture of meat, eggs, veggies, cottage cheese, shellfish, salt, garam masala, and more is simply referred to as curry.

Masala is a mixture typically found in Indian cuisine, especially in soups, stews, and other bean-based foods. Its unique combination of ingredients awakens a sense of taste, but it’s technically not a curry.

How spicy is butter chicken?

Butter chicken actually does not have a spicy flavor. However, some of the ingredients can exude a kick, but the overall dish is not hot and spicy.

What goes into making a tikka masala sauce?

The typical Indian spices used in tikka masala are ginger, red chili, garam masala, cumin, turmeric, and coriander, while the sauce is founded on tomatoes and cream.


As for the debate of butter chicken vs. tikka masala, it depends on your taste and preference. These two dishes are, in fact, different from each other. If you want more of a kick, tikka masala is the right choice for you, and if you are leaning toward a creamier dish, butter chicken is an excellent choice.

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