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Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken Recipe

Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken is a dish that epitomizes the essence of comfort food. Its origins, while not tied to a specific culture, reflect a universal love for rich, flavorful meals that bring warmth and satisfaction to the dining table. This dish has gained immense popularity across the globe, primarily due to its simple yet indulgent nature. It combines the tender juiciness of chicken with the aromatic punch of garlic, all enveloped in a silky, creamy sauce. The popularity of Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken lies in its versatility; it’s a recipe that can be adapted to suit various tastes and occasions, making it a favorite among both novice cooks and seasoned chefs. The dish’s ability to marry simple ingredients into a gourmet-level meal is why it has become a beloved staple in many households.

Key Ingredients Overview

  • Chicken: The foundation of this dish, chicken, is chosen for its mild flavor and tender texture. Both boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs are popular choices, with breasts offering a leaner option and thighs providing a juicier, more flavorful bite. The cut of chicken can be adjusted based on personal preference or dietary needs, making the dish remarkably adaptable.
  • Garlic: The star of the dish, garlic, imparts a robust flavor that is both earthy and aromatic. Its versatility allows it to be used in various forms, from minced to whole cloves, depending on the desired intensity of flavor. Garlic not only enhances the taste but also brings numerous health benefits, making the dish not just delicious but also nutritious.
  • Butter and Cream: These ingredients are essential for creating the rich, creamy texture that defines this dish. Butter adds a luxurious mouthfeel and depth of flavor, while cream contributes to the silky consistency of the sauce. Together, they create a sauce that perfectly coats the chicken, ensuring each bite is indulgently satisfying.

Cooking Techniques

The magic of Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken lies in the cooking techniques that transform simple ingredients into a sumptuous meal. The process begins with sautéing the chicken to achieve a golden, slightly crispy exterior while keeping the inside tender and juicy. This method not only seals in the flavors but also lays the groundwork for the sauce to cling to the chicken, enhancing the overall taste.

Creating the creamy garlic sauce is an art that involves gently cooking garlic to mellow its sharpness, then blending it with butter and cream to form a rich, cohesive sauce. The key is to balance the heat to ensure the garlic infuses the sauce without burning, while the cream is added gradually to prevent curdling. This technique results in a smooth, flavorful sauce that complements the sautéed chicken perfectly, creating a dish that’s both comforting and elegant.

Preparation Steps

Preparing the Chicken

To begin, select your preferred cut of chicken—either boneless, skinless breasts or thighs work well for this recipe. If using chicken breasts, consider slicing them horizontally to create thinner cutlets, which allows for more even cooking and a greater surface area for the sauce to cling to. Season the chicken generously on both sides with salt and pepper, ensuring each piece is well-coated. This not only adds flavor but also helps to draw out the natural juices of the chicken, resulting in a more tender dish.

Making the Creamy Garlic Sauce

The heart of this dish lies in its sauce, a harmonious blend of garlic, butter, and cream. Start by peeling and finely mincing several cloves of garlic—don’t be shy, as this is where the dish gets its name and distinctive flavor. In a pan, melt a generous amount of butter over medium heat, then add the minced garlic. Cook the garlic until it’s just golden and fragrant, being careful not to burn it, as this can introduce a bitter taste. Once the garlic is softened, pour in heavy cream and stir to combine. Allow the mixture to simmer gently, which will thicken the sauce and deepen the flavors. For an extra layer of complexity, a dash of white wine can be added at this stage, enhancing the sauce with its acidity and aroma.

Cooking Instructions

Step-by-Step Cooking Process

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add the seasoned chicken pieces to the skillet. Cook the chicken for 4-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside on a plate.
  2. In the same skillet, reduce the heat to medium and add additional butter. Once melted, add the prepared garlic and sauté until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Gradually pour in the heavy cream, stirring constantly to combine with the garlic and butter. If using wine, add it now, allowing it to simmer and reduce slightly before adding the cream.
  4. Return the chicken to the skillet, spooning the sauce over the pieces to coat them thoroughly. Let everything simmer together for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened to your liking and the chicken is well-coated.

Tips for Perfect Consistency and Flavor

  • For a thicker sauce, a small amount of flour or cornstarch can be whisked into the cream before adding it to the skillet.
  • Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon juice to balance the richness of the sauce.
  • If the sauce thickens too much, a splash of chicken broth can be added to reach the desired consistency.

Serving Suggestions

Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken is a versatile dish that pairs beautifully with a variety of sides. For a hearty meal, serve it alongside mashed potatoes or over a bed of pasta, which will soak up the delicious sauce. Steamed vegetables like broccoli or green beans add a pop of color and a crisp texture contrast. For garnish, a sprinkle of chopped parsley or grated Parmesan cheese can add a fresh and savory finish.

When it comes to wine pairing, a medium-bodied white wine such as Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc complements the creamy sauce without overpowering the dish. The wine’s acidity cuts through the richness, balancing the flavors and enhancing the overall dining experience.

Variations of the Recipe

The beauty of Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken lies in its adaptability to different dietary needs and preferences. For those looking to explore beyond chicken breasts, chicken thighs offer a richer flavor and tend to be more forgiving during cooking, thanks to their higher fat content. They can be a delicious alternative, especially when cooked to a perfect tenderness in the creamy sauce.

For a dairy-free version, coconut cream or a rich almond milk can replace heavy cream, offering a slightly different but equally satisfying richness. When it comes to making the dish gluten-free, simply substitute the all-purpose flour used for dredging the chicken with a gluten-free flour blend or cornstarch. This minor adjustment allows everyone to enjoy this comforting dish without compromising on taste or texture.

Nutritional Information

A single serving of Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken is rich in protein and essential nutrients, thanks to the chicken and garlic. However, it’s also relatively high in calories and fat due to the cream and butter. A typical serving can contain around 500-600 calories, with significant amounts of saturated fat. To enjoy this dish as part of a balanced diet, consider serving it with a side of vegetables and opting for leaner cuts of chicken.


  • Can I use chicken thighs instead of breasts? Yes, chicken thighs are a great alternative to breasts in this recipe. They provide a juicier and more flavorful result, although cooking times may vary slightly due to the difference in fat content and thickness.
  • How can I make the sauce thicker or thinner? To thicken the sauce, you can simmer it for a longer period to reduce the liquid or add a small amount of flour or cornstarch dissolved in water. For a thinner sauce, simply add more chicken broth or cream until you reach the desired consistency.
  • Can this dish be made ahead and frozen? While you can freeze Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken, it’s best enjoyed fresh. The sauce may separate or become grainy after freezing and reheating. If you do choose to freeze it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and gently reheat it on the stove, adding a little cream or broth to smooth out the sauce.

Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken is more than just a meal; it’s a comforting embrace in the form of food. Its simplicity, combined with the depth of flavor, makes it a timeless classic. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a cooking novice, this dish is sure to impress and satisfy any palate.

Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken Recipe

Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken is a rich and flavorful dish that combines tender chicken with a luxurious sauce made of garlic, butter, and cream. Perfect for a comforting weeknight dinner or a special occasion, this recipe is both easy to make and deliciously satisfying. With options for dairy-free and gluten-free variations, it can be enjoyed by everyone.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Comfort Food, International
Servings 4 servings
Calories 600 kcal


  • Large Skillet
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Cutting board
  • Chef's knife


  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or dairy-free alternative
  • 1 whole head of garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 1 cup heavy cream or dairy-free alternative like coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • Optional: 1/4 cup white wine
  • Optional for garnish: Chopped parsley or grated Parmesan cheese


  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides and cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove chicken and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, reduce heat to medium. Add butter and minced garlic, sautéing until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Pour in heavy cream, chicken broth, and optional white wine. Let the sauce simmer and thicken slightly, about 5 minutes.
  • Return the chicken to the skillet, coating it in the sauce. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the chicken is heated through and the sauce has thickened to your liking.
  • Serve hot, garnished with chopped parsley or grated Parmesan if desired.


  • For a thicker sauce, you can add a slurry of cornstarch and water (1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons water) to the sauce before adding the chicken back in.
  • For a dairy-free version, substitute the butter with a dairy-free alternative and use coconut cream instead of heavy cream.
  • For a gluten-free dish, ensure that all ingredients used are certified gluten-free, especially if using any thickening agents or broth.
  • Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently on the stove, adding a little broth or cream if the sauce needs thinning.
Keyword Comfort Food, Creamy Garlic Butter Chicken, Dairy-Free Option, Easy Dinner, Garlic Chicken Recipe, Gluten-Free Option