Indian Butter Chickpeas (Butter Chickpea Curry)

Indian Butter Chickpeas feature tender chickpeas simmered in an intensely flavorful and aromatic Indian-inspired butter sauce. Either serve it as the main course with rice or as a delicious vegetarian and vegan-friendly side dish.

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Overhead close up of butter chickpeas in grey bowl with rice and spoon.

Butter chicken is an undeniably delicious Indian dish. However, these Indian Butter Chickpeas are just as tasty and easier to make! Finally, a plant-based version of butter chicken that is just as creamy, cozy, and satisfying.

This recipe may also remind you of chana masala, which is typically made from chickpeas braised in a spiced tomato-based curry.

While I wouldn’t call this Indian butter chickpeas recipe authentic, you’re bound to love it if you’re already a fan of butter chicken or chana masala. Be sure to pair each bowl with homemade naan to really take it up a notch!

You’re going to love these butter chickpeas because they’re:

  • A tasty vegetarian version of classic butter chicken. 
  • Really easy to make vegan as well.
  • Easier to make than most curry dishes.
  • A cozy and comforting one-pan meal.

Ingredients needed

  • Canned Chickpeas – Aka garbanzo beans. Or, you can swap in some of my instant pot chickpeas.
  • Olive Oil
  • Aromatics – Onion, garlic & ginger
  • Spices – Curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, salt & black pepper
  • Coconut Milk
  • Tomato Paste
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Greek Yogurt – For topping. You can leave this off or use plant based yogurt to make vegan butter chickpeas.
Close up of butter chickpeas swirled with greek yogurt.

How to make it

First, saute the veggies in your skillet. Heat up the oil over medium-high heat, then saute the onion until soft and translucent. Add the garlic and continue cooking until fragrant.

Next, stir in the rest of the flavor. Stir the coconut milk, tomato paste, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, salt, and pepper all together in the pan.

Next up are the chickpeas. Add them to the skillet and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Taste and add more salt if needed.

Now that the butter chickpeas are ready, you can serve a scoop over cooked rice with a dollop of Greek yogurt and fresh cilantro on top. Serve and enjoy!

Are butter chickpeas spicy?

No, this butter chickpeas recipe isn’t spicy. If you’d like it to be spicy, feel free to add more chili powder or cayenne to the butter sauce or top the bowl with minced jalapeno or serrano peppers.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Don’t forget to rinse your beans! The chickpea liquid in the can (AKA aquafaba) isn’t exactly appetizing in curries.
  • To make this recipe dairy free and vegan, you can either omit the Greek yogurt or swap it with plain vegan yogurt or coconut cream. 

Dried chickpeas vs. canned chickpeas

Canned chickpeas are the easiest option because they don’t need to be soaked or cooked beforehand. If all you have are dried chickpeas at home, use my no-soak Instant Pot chickpeas recipe to cook them quickly before putting this recipe together. 

White beans vs. chickpeas

No chickpeas at home? Use white beans instead! Navy beans, Great Northern beans, or cannellini beans can all be used in place of the chickpeas.

Hands holding bowl of butter chickpeas.

How to make ahead and store

You can count on butter chickpeas when you need something filling for meal prep or a delicious pre-made dinner:

  • To store, keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. 
  • To freeze, place the cooked and cooled butter chickpeas in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month.
  • To reheat, warm the chickpeas in a saucepan or in the microwave until hot. 

Serving suggestions

Although this meal is delicious over basmati rice or quinoa with homemade naan on the side, you can serve it next to a few other Indian-inspired dishes when you feel like recreating your favorite Indian takeout menu:

Wine pairings

  • Indian dishes are heavily spiced and rich with complex flavors and aromas. The key is pairing the complexity with a fruity, cold wine like a sweet Riesling or a floral Rosé. 
  • A crisp Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc also pair well with the spicy, savory flavors. 
  • Or, check out these wine pairings for Indian food.
Overhead shot of butter chickpeas served on bed of brown rice in grey bowl with pita bread.

More easy vegetarian recipes

More chickpea recipes

Did you try this butter chickpea recipe?

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If you loved this recipe, be sure to try my Instant Pot Butter Chicken and Slow Cooker Butter Chicken recipes too!

PS – If you have leftover coconut milk, try out one of these 45+ recipes that use coconut milk.

Overhead shot of butter chickpeas served on bed of brown rice in grey bowl with pita bread.

Indian Butter Chickpeas

This Butter Chickpea Curry feature tender chickpeas simmered in an intensely flavorful and aromatic Indian-inspired butter sauce. Either serve it as the main course with rice or as a delicious vegetarian and vegan-friendly side dish.
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 14-ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger (minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (or more, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves (for garnish)
  • Greek yogurt (for topping)

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté until onions become translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and saute 30 seconds longer, until fragrant.
  • Stir in coconut milk, tomato paste, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, salt & pepper until well combined.
  • Add chickpeas and bring to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for another 10 minutes. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
  • Serve spooned over rice, and topped with cilantro and greek yogurt, if desired.

Notes

  • To store, keep the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. 
  • To freeze, place the cooked and cooled butter chickpeas in an airtight container and freeze for up to 1 month.
  • To reheat, warm the chickpeas in a saucepan or in the microwave until hot.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Large Skillet
Knife

Nutrition

Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 302mg | Potassium: 96mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 165IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

This chickpea Indian dish post was originally published in 2022. It was updated in 2023 to add new content. The chickpea butter curry recipe remains the same. Enjoy!

8 thoughts on “Indian Butter Chickpeas (Butter Chickpea Curry)”

  1. 5 stars
    thank you, have been eating a lot of pintos and black beans lately as part of my diet, but need a break from them, chickpeas will work as a substitute and it all works for me, except the Greek yogurt topping, but that’s ok, much appreciated

    Reply
  2. Made this tonight and it was delicious! The chickpeas instead of chicken were perfect. I might try with chicken sometime- I’m sure that will also be amazing!

    Thanks for a great recipe! I have tried so many of your recipes and they are always a hit! ❤️

    Reply
  3. 5 stars
    Really good, I make this all the time. I top with cilantro, peanuts, sometimes some crispy air fryer tofu if I feel like it & a side of smashed eggplant with roasted garlic. I do the chickpeas in the air fryer also ahead of time for about 5 minutes in batches.

    Reply

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