Chicken Korma Vs Butter Chicken (4 Key Differences)

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Are you ready to settle the age-old debate between chicken Korma vs butter chicken and determine which is the ultimate Indian dish? This promises to be an engaging debate, as these two dishes are often mistaken as variations of one another due to their similar ingredients and appearance when served.

But don’t be fooled – they have distinct differences that set them apart. Both dishes feature golden chicken pieces in a creamy curry sauce, but their spirits are not the same.

In this article, we’ll explore opposing viewpoints, facts, and opinions to help you make the right pick. So, open your mind and get ready to discover the unique characteristics of chicken Korma and butter chicken.

Let’s dive in and settle this debate once and for all!

What Is Chicken Korma?

Chicken korma is a traditional Indian curry dish made with chicken, cloves, onions, garlic, ginger root, and garam masala.

It is rich, flavorful, and creamy.

Chicken korma has two parts. First, the curry gravy base. And secondly, the sauce that provides that magic chicken korma taste.

Interestingly, it has a lighter taste compared to other curries because it uses yogurt instead of coconut cream or heavy cream as its base.

Read Also: Red Pepper Flakes Vs Chili Flakes

What Is Butter Chicken?

Butter chicken is an Indian curry that originates in Delhi.

 It is traditionally made by marinating pieces of chicken with spices, ginger, garlic, and many other ingredients — which is then cooked with a creamy, mildly spiced tomato-based sauce until it softens.

You can also add some heavy cream as well as lemon juice for an additional flavor boost.

Mind you, this recipe is very similar to chicken tikka masala. And we’ve also compared them in a topic of their own, so endeavor to go check them out.

So that’s that!

Before we jump into the comparison and debate, let’s briefly look at the underlying causes of the misconception about these two dishes.

Chicken Korma Vs Butter Chicken: Key Similarities

  • Both Indian dishes use tomato-based sauce. Although, kormas are creamier than butter chicken, yet lighter in tanginess.
  • Even if the core ingredient “meat” is not the same, they are cooked with the same signature spice — onions, garlic, ginger, and more.
  • They’re both served with rice and naan bread alongside them in restaurants and virtually anywhere.

Difference Between Chicken Korma and Butter Chicken

Chicken Korma Vs Butter Chicken

1. Texture, Taste & Flavor

Chicken korma sauce has a chunkier and thicker texture thanks to the yogurt and nut paste.

Although they are also used in butter chicken but a smaller quantity. As a result, the sauce has more of a smoother finish.

Taste and flavor-wise, they are both delicious.

Chicken korma is a mild, creamy curry that is spiced for flavor and not for heat. So instead of using cumin and black pepper, korma uses ingredients such as cardamom and cinnamon.

Butter chicken, on the other hand, is also a mild, cream-based curry but it’s spiced with turmeric and chili peppers for that hit taste.

Aside from that, the meat differs. korma often calls for mutton. Meanwhile, butter chicken’s core has always been chicken.

Both use tomato in the sauce, but the tanginess in korma is much milder than that of butter chicken.

Read Also: Tomato Puree Vs Crushed Tomatoes

2. Calorie’s level

One serving of korma contains approximately 300-330 calories per serving.

However, butter chicken has up to 470-630 calories per serving.

3. Price

Butter chicken is quite pricier than chicken korma because it takes longer to prepare.

Contrarily, Chicken Korma is a more pocket-friendly option, as its ingredients are cheap.

4. Cooking method

Chicken Korma and butter chicken also differs in terms of their preparation process.

Chicken korma is either cooked on a stovetop or in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes until tender.

Butter chicken, on the other hand, takes almost forever to cook.

 It needs to be cooked on low heat for about 3 hours until tender and then simmered with butter and spices for another hour.

It is only then can you apply the heavy cream or coconut milk as the finishing.

Chicken korma is slightly seared before being simmered with the sauce, which gives it more character.

Furthermore, chicken korma is cooked using a pan; butter chicken is best cooked in a clay pot, or “tandoor”.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the main differences between Chicken Korma and Butter Chicken?

The main differences between Chicken Korma and Butter Chicken are in their ingredients and cooking methods. Chicken Korma is made with a mixture of yogurt, cream, and spices, while Butter Chicken is made with a mixture of garam masala, yogurt, cream, butter, and spicy curry. Chicken Korma is cooked slowly over low heat, while Butter Chicken is cooked quickly over high heat.

Which dish is spicier, Chicken Korma or Butter Chicken?

Butter Chicken is generally considered to be spicier than Chicken Korma, as it contains more spices and a spicier curry.

Which dish is more calorie-dense, Chicken Korma or Butter Chicken?

Butter Chicken is generally more calorie-dense than Chicken Korma, as it contains more fat from the butter and cream. A typical serving of Butter Chicken can contain as many as 500-700 calories, while a serving of Chicken Korma typically contains 300-400 calories.

Which dish is more expensive, Chicken Korma or Butter Chicken?

Butter Chicken is generally more expensive than Chicken Korma, as it takes longer to prepare and contains more expensive ingredients such as butter and cream.

Can Chicken Korma and Butter Chicken be made vegetarian or vegan?

Yes, both Chicken Korma and Butter Chicken can be made vegetarian or vegan by substituting the chicken with tofu or vegetables and using plant-based alternatives for the yogurt, cream, and butter.


In summary, the purpose of this chicken korma vs butter chicken post is to brighten your knowledge about both Indian curries.

And from what you’ve gathered so far, we believe you can now choose the one that best suits your taste since you’ve known the difference, as well as similarities between these recipes.

If you still have doubts, let us know using the comment box below, else you are free to go enjoy your meal.

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