Spicy Butter Chickpeas

June 5, 2023
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea
For the most rich + flavorful curry meal in under an hour, my Spicy Butter Chickpeas is the ultimate weeknight meal for any comfort food lover!

Spicy Butter Chickpeas

This Spicy Butter Chickpeas recipe is the perfect easy weeknight meal that brings on all the comfort and flavor like the traditional butter chicken! Ready in no time, this rich and savory butter-curry dish comes with a creamy curry infused with spices, a mix of chickpea + Northern beans for a hearty bite, garlic, diced tomatoes, onions, ginger, and herbs; all served with your favorite side of choice. A killer combo, indeed! Dairy-free, Vegan, + Coconut milk-free options.

Chickpeas in two low bowls on a black wood table with a brown napkin and herbs.

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When it comes to curry dishes in general, I'm always game. I truly enjoy richly creamy dishes that aren't too hard to throw together, but leave me feeling super satisfied. And if you're like me, then this Spicy Butter Chickpeas recipe is the one for you, even if you're used to the traditional butter chicken! Seldom do I try Indian-inspired dishes, but this one is one that will have you making this for the entire family and on rotation. And this Spicy Coconut Curry Chicken Bowl and Healthy Weeknight General Tso's Chicken is definitely one to try next if you're a lover of chicken---although there are also meatless options in the recipe.

The best part about this dish is that it has a little heat to it with an offset of sweetness which doesn't make it too spicy. Plus, you can always reduce the amount of red pepper flakes for less heat if desired. However, if you're into spicy flavors like I am, then this Spicy Curry Pumpkin Soup with Chickpeas is such a must try, regardless of the season. Oh and don't forget this very popular Vegan Curry Chickpea Mashed Potato Bowl and Vegan Pumpkin Curry Butternut Squash.

Similar to Jamaican curry dishes that I've made, this butter chickpea recipe comes with bold flavors and the curry is out of this world good! Also, you can find all of the ingredients easily as your local grocer, you can add meat like chicken if preferred, and there's a dairy-free and vegan option for those who are opting for no dairy or are sensitive to it. It's literally the perfect recipe for the entire family.

Jump to:

What is the Difference between Butter Chicken and Curry?

The traditional Indian dish, Butter Chicken, is actually tender chicken chunks that are cooked in a velvety curry sauce. Unlike regular curry, butter chicken is made with a more tomato based-curry that is cooked in butter and not oil---similar to Tikka Masala.

While this recipe is meatless and uses beans like chickpeas and Northern beans, you can totally substitute with chicken if desired.

Ingredients on a black wood table including chickpeas, white beans, herbs and spices, tomatoes, butter, garlic, ginger, and heavy cream.

How To Make Homemade Butter Chickpeas

When it comes to making this easy spicy butter chickpeas recipe, the process comes in 4 easy steps:

  • Begin by prepping your ingredients first! I find it to be a much easier process when I rinse, dice, and chop all ingredients that are needed. This allows you to be best organized and reduces the mess factor.
  • Sauté all of your veggies in a skillet (I love using a cast-iron skillet) and add in the spices and herbs.
  • Next you add the liquids, simmer slightly and blend! For this curry recipe, you'll need to blend the ingredients together to create a smooth, bright colored curry sauce.
  • Finally, stir, season again for taste, + simmer. Now, you'll return the blended sauce to the skillet, stir, season again if needed, add in the beans, stir, and simmer until cooked. It’s magic!

Ingredients for Recipe

The two components for this spicy butter chickpea recipe are the beans and the curry sauce itself.

Here’s what you need to make this Butter Chickpeas:

  • Chickpeas. Remove as much moisture from the chickpeas as possible for the crispiest texture. To keep things traditional, you can totally use chicken.
  • Great Northern beans. I use one can of beans, drained, and rinsed them. You can also use Cannellini beans if desired. See post for best types of white beans.
  • Red onion. Substitute with yellow or white if that’s what you have.
  • Butter. Traditionally, this dish uses only butter and not oil. You can use unsalted or salted butter. For vegan option, sub with vegan butter.
  • Vegetable stock. Use store-bought low-sodium broth or make your own! For added nutrition, add in half the amount in bone broth (non-vegan option---of course).
  • Garlic + ginger. I prefer fresh, but you could substitute with 1 teaspoon garlic powder and ½ teaspoon ground ginger in a pinch.
  • Turmeric. This orange spice is packed with antioxidant properties and is a great alternative to curry powder. Read more about the health benefits of turmeric.
  • Garam Masala. This is a blend of ground spices used in Indian cuisine. If you don't have this, you can sub with a mix of allspice + cumin.
  • Dried herbs and spices. I love a combination of salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and cayenne pepper.
  • Heavy cream. I recommend organic–always! This adds a velvety-ness to sauce. You can also use evaporated milk or Half & Half. For vegan option, sub with full-fat coconut cream or milk.
  • Tomatoes. This is one of the main ingredients in this curry sauce. You can use canned diced tomatoes or dice 3-4 tomatoes yourself!

Why Chickpea? Any Health Benefits?

For those of you who aren’t aware, another name for Chickpeas are Garbanzo Beans. Despite the most recent craze, chickpeas have been around for thousand of years and originate from the Middle East. Chickpeas have such a great texture and nutty flavor, which allows them to successfully pair well with a lot of other ingredients, especially in vegan and/or vegetarian recipes.

When it comes to the health benefits of Chickpea, here a few awesome reasons why you should probably add this simple ingredient to your diet more often:

  • Packed with Nutrients + have a moderate amount of calories!
  • Rich in Plant-Based Proteins!
  • Support Blood Sugar Control.
  • Full of Fiber + might aide digestion.
  • May protect against Chronic Diseases (such as heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes, etc.)
  • May Help keep your appetite under control (Think about how protein + fiber helps to slow down digestion, therefore keeping you full longer!).
Black blender with curry butter mixture with a black background.

What Spices Go in Butter Chickpeas

Like the traditional butter chicken, this chickpeas recipe contains easy to find spices like Garam Masala, turmeric, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, cayenne peppers, and smoked paprika. Of course, you can also add in chili powder instead of red pepper flakes, if desired.

What is Butter Chicken Sauce Made of?

When it comes to this butter chickpea, much like with butter chicken, the sauce is the main star of this dish! The best part is that this sauce is only made from onions, garlic, canned diced or crushed tomatoes, ginger, and spices, which creates the most bold, flavorful taste ever!

In this dish, I've learned that the best tip to making the best sauce is to sauté the tomatoes in with the spices and veggies to create a char and fragrance before adding in the liquids and then blending everything.

Then you'll bring everything back to a simmer and for added richness, add more butter to the sauce before adding the beans.

The Best White Beans to Use

When it comes to this butter chickpeas recipe, I love using white beans like Great Northern beans, however, there are actually 4 types of white beans that can be used:

  • Navy (Pea) Beans
  • Great Northern Beans
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Baby Lima Beans

Out of all of the beans, Navy (Pea) Beans are perfect for creamier dishes since they mash really well while cooked. While Northern Beans are bit bigger in size than Cannellini Beans, but they are neutral in that they take on any flavor of the dish they're added to.

Just know that any of these four types of beans are perfect for stews and curries like this one.

Curry butter chickpeas in a black skillet on a black wood table with brown napkin and herbs.

How to Use Dried Beans

I love the convenience of using canned beans, especially during weeknights where time is limited. But if you have more time or would like to use dried beans, no worries! 

Simply soak your beans overnight covered in water to help cut down on the cook time. For a quicker soak time, simply add your beans to water in a pot, bring to a boil, remove from heat and cover the pot to let the beans rest in the water for at least 1 hour.

Then on the day of, boil your beans in water for 60-180 minutes, depending on the type of bean and it's size. Smaller beans cook on the quicker end of this timeframe. 

Common Q + A's for this Butter Chickpeas Recipe

How to store leftovers?

Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.

Can I make this butter chickpeas dairy-free or vegan?

Absolutely! To make this recipe entirely dairy-free + vegan, be sure to substitute heavy cream with full-fat coconut cream/milk as well as the butter with vegan butter.

Can I make this butter sauce without heavy cream?

Yes! Heavy cream adds a nice richness and velvety-ness to the sauce, however, you can also use evaporated milk or Half & Half instead. For vegan option, sub with full-fat coconut cream or milk.

Is butter chicken very spicy?

Traditionally, butter chicken in Indian cuisine is full of flavor and spices, however, it isn't spicy. With this recipe, I chose to add a bit more spicy flavor, but you can also reduce the amount of red pepper flakes for less heat.

What does butter chicken taste like?

Overall, butter chicken or this chickpeas recipe has a rich, savory, and sweet flavor profile. The butter and cream adds richness, while the spices gives more of a flavorful curry profile, and the tomatoes give a hint of sweetness.

Does butter chicken curry taste like butter?

While the butter chicken or chickpeas recipe has a buttery flavor, it doesn't taste like all butter. It's a very flavorful and delicious dish like many other curry dishes!

Can I make this ahead of time?

Of course! To make this recipe ahead of time, simply make the sauce and let it cool completely before storing it in an airtight container or glass jar and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Then once ready to serve, add the sauce to simmer, add in the beans or chicken (if using), stir, and let it simmer before serving with your favorite side.

What to serve with butter chickpeas or chicken?

Honestly, like many other curry dishes, you can serve this with basmati rice, naan bread, mashed potatoes, pita bread, you name it!

Two low bowls of chickpeas on a black wood table with a brown napkin and herbs and a fork and spoon.

More Delicious Curry + Spicy Recipes to Try!

Now that you're on a real curry kick with this butter chickpeas recipe, give these other delicious curry + spicy recipes that your entire family will love a try next:


If you tried this Spicy Butter Chickpeas recipe or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.

Chickpeas in a low bowl on a black wooden table with a fork and spoon.
Chickpeas in a low bowl on a black wood table with a fork and knife.

Spicy Butter Chickpeas

June 5, 2023
5 from 5 votes
For the most rich + flavorful curry meal in under an hour, my Spicy Butter Chickpeas is the ultimate weeknight meal for any comfort food lover!
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Serves: 4 servings



  • 1 (15 oz.) can organic chickpeas, drained + rinsed
  • 1 (15 oz.) can organic Great Northern beans, drained + rinsed (This is optional; you can sub with chickpeas)
  • 2 Tbsps unsalted butter
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala (You can sub with a mix of cumin + allspice)
  • 2 tsps smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (You can increase or reduce this amount based on desired heat level)
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, organic
  • ¾ cup organic heavy cream
  • 2 Tbsps vegetable stock
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish



  • In medium skillet (10-inch) over medium-high heat, add the butter until heated + melted. Add the minced garlic, onions, and ginger, sautéing until fragrant and golden. Next, add in the diced tomatoes, Garam masala, turmeric, smoked paprika, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper, stirring until combined.
  • Pour in the heavy cream and veggie stock, stirring until combined. Let the mixture boil for a minute or so before removing it from heat.


  • In a high-powered blender, carefully add the sauce mixture and blend until smooth, about 2-3 minutes.


  • In the same skillet over medium-high heat, add the blended sauce along with the chickpeas and Northern beans and stir everything together. Reduce the heat to low and allow everything to simmer until the sauce begins to thicken and the beans become tender, about 10-12 minutes. NOTE: You can add another 2 Tbsps or so of butter with the sauce for added richness.
  • You can serve this spicy butter chickpeas with your favorite side such as: naan bread, cooked basmati rice, pita bread, mashed potatoes, etc.
  • Bon Appétit!

Tips & Tricks

  • STORAGE: Any leftovers can be kept in a tightly sealed container and refrigerated for up to 3-4 days.
  • VEGAN OPTION: To make this recipe entirely dairy-free + vegan, be sure to substitute heavy cream with full-fat coconut cream/milk as well as the butter with vegan butter.
  • COCONUT MILK-FREE OPTION: If you'd prefer to make this curry recipe without coconut milk, you can substitute with Almond milk. NOTE: If you need the sauce to be a little thick, add 1 teaspoon of cornstarch, arrowroot starch, all-purpose flour, etc. if needed. Always mix thickeners with water to avoid lumps.


Calories: 224kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 345mg | Potassium: 129mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1490IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg


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Signature of my name, Shanika in black font.

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Love this Recipe?

    • Hi Joyce! I'm so glad that you enjoyed this recipe! Yes, you can definitely freeze it for longer in an airtight container once it fully cools. When ready to serve again, just thaw it out and heat over the stovetop (adding veggie stock or additional milk) if needed for a creamy texture. 🙂

    • Hi Ronda! I'm so thrilled to hear that you enjoyed this recipe! It's a true staple in our house! Definitely recommend with saffron rice! 🙂

  1. I made this (but with chicken for my husband’s sake) and it was delicious. The sauce has great depth of flavor, and we ate it with vegetable samosas, garlic naan, and saffron rice like Shanika recommended.

    • Hi Elle! I'm so thrilled that you enjoyed this recipe! Thanks so much for giving it a try! 🙂