What To Serve With Butter Chicken: Best Side Dishes To Complement Your Meal

Rating: 5/5 - (1 vote)

What to serve with butter chicken?” is a frequent query for lovers of this rich Indian dish. Choosing the perfect accompaniment enhances the entire meal experience. Pairing butter chicken isn’t just about taste; it’s about complementing its flavors. The ideal side should balance the warmth and creaminess of the curry.

As we dig deeper, we’ll discover the best side dishes for butter chicken that make every bite even more special.

What Is Butter Chicken?

Butter chicken, also known as “murgh makhani,” comes from Delhi, India. It’s a curry dish with chicken in a tomato and butter sauce that’s thick and creamy. It’s a bit like chicken tikka masala but has a more buttery sauce. If you’ve never tried it, you’ll definitely want to know what butter chicken tastes like.

What is butter chicken?
What is butter chicken?

What To Serve With Butter Chicken?

Butter chicken, with its creamy and aromatic dipping sauce, stands as the pinnacle of Indian cuisine. Yet, the key to elevating this classic dish lies in pairing it with the perfect side dishes that complement its rich flavors. Besides butter, you can cook chicken with beef to enjoy many delicious dishes.

Traditional Indian side dishes

Naan Bread

Naan bread is a classic Indian dish that goes really well with butter chicken. When pondering what to serve with butter chicken, naan bread is the most common Indian side dish. You can find varieties like garlic and butter naan or whole wheat naan. If you’re making butter chicken at home, you might also want to make naan bread.

It is not an Indian dish, but besides bread, you can combine chicken and waffles, which is an American dish. It’s so good, too.

If you’re short on time, you can make instant pot butter chicken and serve plain naan on the side. The soft, slightly charred texture of the naan bread perfectly complements the creaminess of the curry.

Always serve the naan warm; for an added treat, brush some melted butter over it before serving. Pairing butter chicken with naan is a taste sensation that never gets old.

Basmati Rice

Rice, especially basmati, is a common side dish to serve with many Indian curries. Butter chicken is one dish where plain basmati rice shines. The long grains of this rice make it stand out, and it absorbs the flavors of the curry beautifully. In Indian cuisine, the significance of rice is immense.

While you can choose pulao or basmati rice, the latter ensures that the rich taste of butter chicken remains the star. Cooking fluffy rice is essential for those eager to perfect their side dishes to serve with butter chicken. Whether using a traditional method or a rice cooker, ensure each grain is separate and not too sticky.

Basmati Rice
Basmati Rice


When considering what to serve with butter chicken as an appetizer, samosas are a delightful choice. These crispy pockets of goodness can either be filled with vegetables or meat. Samosas make a great butter chicken side dish, setting the stage for the main event. The crunchy texture of the samosa, contrasted with the creamy Indian butter chicken curry, offers a balanced meal experience.

And to make it even better? Chutneys. Tangy tamarind or fresh mint chutney are among the best to accompany samosas, adding an extra layer of flavor. Making samosas might seem daunting, but they’re easy to make at home with a little practice.

Salads and coolers

Cucumber Raita

When considering what to serve with butter chicken, cucumber raita emerges as a top choice. This yogurt-based raita is not only easy to prepare but also has a cooling effect, perfect for balancing the savory and spicy notes of butter chicken sauce.

The fresh crunch of cucumber combined with butter chicken offers a refreshing bite, contrasting the deep flavors of the main dish. A sprinkle of cumin and coriander further enhances the raita, making it a must-have side when enjoying butter chicken.

Kachumber Salad

For those looking for a burst of freshness with their meal, kachumber salad is an ideal pick. Comprising tomatoes, onions, cucumber, and sometimes even potatoes and onions, this salad provides a crisp and tangy counterpoint to butter chicken gravy. A simple drizzle of lemon juice, combined with hints of spices like cumin and coriander, really brings out the essence of the vegetables.

While a green goddess salad might be a tempting choice, the traditional kachumber salad and its blend of vegetables with spices are tailor-made to accompany the richness of butter chicken. Its simplicity and medley of flavors work harmoniously with dishes like butter chicken, especially when potatoes and cauliflower are added to the mix.

Kachumber Salad
Kachumber Salad

Lentil and vegetable side dishes

Dal Makhani

The flavorful Dal Makhani is a top contender when pondering what to serve with butter chicken. This dish boasts the creaminess of black lentils and beans, offering a richness that parallels that of butter chicken.

While you serve butter chicken with its velvety sauce, also serve Dal Makhani to add additional depth of flavor and texture to the meal. The key to making this dish shine is its slow cooking, which allows the flavors to meld beautifully.

Saag (Spinach)

Spinach-based Saag is an excellent choice for those seeking a healthy side to serve with their butter chicken. These nutritious greens, steamed and then cooked with aromatic spices, introduce a touch of health to balance the indulgence of the main dish. The vibrant green of the spinach not only adds color to the plate and ensures you have a well-rounded meal.

While dishes like Aloo Gobi and Papadum can be delightful accompaniments, the simplicity and health benefits of Saag make it a must-try when you’re looking to complement the taste and richness of butter chicken.

Saag is also a great option to serve with butter chicken
Saag is also a great option to serve with butter chicken

Drinks to pair with butter chicken

Mango Lassi

When pondering what to serve with butter chicken, the Mango Lassi is a great side to consider. This sweet, tangy yogurt-based drink is a delightful choice to cleanse the palate.

The flavor of butter chicken would be further accentuated by the refreshing contrast of the Mango Lassi, especially given its sweet notes against the spiciness of the curry. When you serve the butter chicken, having Mango Lassi on the side offers a freshness that complements the dish wonderfully.

Masala Chai

Masala Chai is the way to go if you want to serve something warm and comforting alongside the butter chicken. This spiced tea brewed with milk offers the warmth that pairs great with butter chicken. The creamy textures in Masala Chai mirror the creamy richness of butter chicken, making them harmonize together in a meal.

As side dishes with butter chicken offer diversity in taste and texture, Masala Chai ensures that the drink you pick does the same, enhancing the overall dining experience.

Masala Chai
Masala Chai


What’s a good side to butter chicken?

For butter chicken, great side options include rosemary bread, gluten-free loaves, cilantro-flavored rice, brown rice, small cauliflower bites, cheesy potatoes, veggies, crispy onions, crunchy tostadas, broccoli, onion fritters, soft naan, flat chapati bread, stuffed pastries, cooling cucumber dip, tangy mint sauce, and garlic-flavored sticks.

What alcohol goes with butter chicken?

For mild butter chicken, go for rich white wines like Chardonnay or Soave. But a slightly sweet wine like Riesling or Gewurztraminer is ideal if it’s spicy.

How is butter chicken traditionally eaten?

Butter chicken, a sweet dish from North India, is often enjoyed with rice, especially Basmati. People typically have it with roasted chicken, mild curry, rice, and veggies. While having it with rice is common, naan isn’t the usual choice there.

What can I eat with butter chicken instead of rice?

If not rice, think about flavored rice, green veggies, flatbread, spinach dishes, potato cauliflower mix, crispy pastries, fresh veggie salad, or lentil dishes.

Is butter chicken different than curry?

Butter chicken is creamier and has a sweeter touch compared to chicken curry, which is spicier. They have ingredients like tomatoes, onions, and garlic, but they’re not the same. Tikka masala, for instance, is hotter and spicier.


When you’re relishing the creamy delight of butter chicken, the right side dishes can elevate your dining experience. If you’ve been wondering what to serve with butter chicken, you now have many options.

From a simple side like cucumber salad to a hearty rice dish, there’s something for every palate. Remember, eating butter chicken is an experience, and the accompaniments go great with the richness of the curry.

Whether you choose traditional Indian options or experiment with others, they can be served with any Indian dish to enhance the meal’s flavors. So the next time you whip up some butter chicken, you’ll know exactly what sides to prepare!


Wikipedia – Butter chicken – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter_chicken

Leave a Comment