Butter chicken recipe – This post will guide you how to make butter chicken at home that tastes absolutely delicious, flavor packed, creamy and rich. Butter chicken also known as chicken makhani is one of the most popular, lip smacking and delicious dishes that’s been loved by many across the world. Paired with naan or kulcha is a delight which most Indians love during their restaurant visits.
There are so many versions of butter chicken that can be found on the internet which are different from the authentic Indian dish.
What is Butter chicken?
Chunks of grilled chicken (tandoori chicken) cooked in a smooth buttery & creamy tomato based gravy is known as Butter chicken or murgh makhani. It was invented by Kundan lal Gujral, who was the owner of a popular restaurant named Moti Mahal in Delhi.
The restaurant which had large orders of tandoori chicken throughout the day would typically end up with lot of leftovers which were turned into this amazing rich gravy the next day.
How is butter chicken made?
To make an authentic butter chicken recipe, First we need to marinate the chicken & then grill it. This can be done either in a pan, tandoor or oven.
Next cook it up in the rich buttery tomato cashew gravy. Lastly add some cream to make it creamy & delicious.
The recipe shared in this post is an authentic one, except grilling in tandoor.
Not every one of us would be able to grill chicken in a tandoor or in a oven. So for this post I have done it in a pan. If possible you can follow the dungar method to smoke the chicken once it is roasted in a pan.
Tips to make butter chicken
- Marination is the key to get flavorful, tender & succulent pieces of chicken.
- Yogurt in the marinade tenderizes the chicken so do not skip it.
- Makhani recipe never uses onion so is this butter chicken recipe. Using onion changes the taste of the dish.
- The rich taste in the gravy comes from the cashews (or almonds) & cream.
- You can make the gravy ahead and refrigerate. Just grill the marinated chicken when needed and heat up the gravy. Then add the grilled chicken.
Serving suggestions for butter chicken
Butter chicken recipe
Butter chicken recipe (chicken makhani)
Ingredients (1 cup = 240ml )
First marination for butter chicken recipe
- ½ kg chicken (or 1 lb.) (preferably boneless)
- ¾ tablespoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Red chili powder or paprika
- ¾ teaspoon kasuri methi Optional (dried fenugreek leaves)
- 1/8 teaspoon turmeric or haldi
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala powder
- ¾ tablespoon oil
- 1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- ½ cup greek yogurt or hung curd (thick curd, refer notes)
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 cinnamon 2 inch (or dalchini)
- 2 green cardamoms (or elaichi)
- 2 cloves (or laung)
- 1 to 2 green chilies slit
- 4 large tomatoes pureed (400 to 500 grams)
- 16 to 18 cashew nuts or blanched soaked almonds (refer notes)
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder or paprika (adjust to suit your taste and color)
- ½ to ¾ teaspoon garam masala powder
- ½ tablespoon kasuri methi crushed or powdered dried fenugreek leaves
- ¼ tablespoon sugar
- salt as needed
- 80 to 100 ml chilled cream (refer the notes)
- 2 tbsp Coriander leaves for garnishing
How to make the recipe
Preparation for chicken makhani
- First marinate chicken with lemon juice, chili powder and salt for 20 minutes.
- Next marinate again with yogurt, kasuri methi, oil, turmeric, ginger garlic paste, and garam masala powder.
- Cover & rest in the refrigerator for atleast 12 hours. You can keep it as long as 48 hours. The longer the chicken rests in the marinade, the more tender it will be after cooking.
- Add the cashews to a blender jar along with tomatoes. Make a smooth puree.
- If the puree is not smooth, then pass it through a filter. Set this aside.
- Also make the ginger garlic paste.
Grilling or roasting chicken
- Grill the chicken in an oven or stove top.
- For stove top method, Add one tsp butter to a pan and add the marinade.
- Fry on high flame till all the moisture evaporates.
- To grill it in oven, preheat the oven to 240 C for at least 20 mins.
- Grill it until the meat is cooked through & is tender. It may take about 20 to 30 mins depending on the size of your chicken chunks. Ensure chicken is tender at this stage.
How to make butter chicken
- Heat a pan with butter & saute cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms for a min.
- Add ginger garlic paste, green chilies and fry till it turns fragrant.
- Next pour the tomato cashew puree.
- Add red chili powder, sugar and salt.
- Mix and cook until the tomato puree becomes thick.
- It also begins to leave the sides of the pan.
- Pour 1 cup water. Add more or less water to suit your desired consistency.
- Bring the mix to a boil and simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add chicken and simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Butter chicken should become soft and tender. Add garam masala and kasuri methi.
- Stir and simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes. Pour chilled cream and switch off the stove.
- Garnish butter chicken with coriander leaves and extra cream if desired. Serve with long grain rice or naan or paratha.
NUTRITION (estimation only)
If you are a beginner or new to Indian cooking, I highly suggest you to check the supporting step by step photos for best results. Step by step photos with description available below after the recipe card.
You can make these on the previous day if you feel the butter chicken recipe is elaborate. I made it on the same day:
1. Marinate the chicken and refrigerate.
2. Make the Punjabi garam masala powder or decide on a good garam masala.
3. Puree the tomatoes & cashews in a blender until smooth. Filter through a colander to remove the skin and seeds.
4. If you do not own a powerful blender then soak the almonds or cashews for 1 to 2 hours and use.
5. The color of your gravy may differ based on your red chili powder. You may want to arrange for a good chili powder that is less hot like kashmiri chilli powder.
1. Marinating chicken helps to make it soft and tasty. Wash chicken and pat it dry. Make sure there is no excess water in the chicken. Marinate with lemon juice, chili powder and salt.
2. Set this aside for 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Go ahead with the second marination. Marinate with fresh yogurt, ginger garlic paste, crushed kasuri methi, oil, turmeric and garam masala.
4. Marinate and refrigerate for atleast 12 hours. The longer it is marinated, the meat turns softer and just melts in the mouth. Do not use sour yogurt/ curd.
5. Grill the chicken in the oven or stove top. For grilling in oven, preheat the oven to 240 C for at least 15 minutes. Skew the chicken on to soaked wooden skewers or place on a greased tray and grill for 20 to 30 minutes. In between you will have to flip to the undone side.
6. If grilling chicken on tawa. Add one tsp. butter and fry on high. Moisture begins to ooze out. This is very common. Keep stirring don’t burn and do not over cook.
7. Cook till the chicken is just done and all the moisture evaporates. Set this aside. You can even saute till the chunks turn lightly golden.
How to make Indian butter chicken
8. Heat butter in a pan, add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Saute for a min or two. Add ginger garlic paste, green chilies and fry for 2 to 3 minutes till the raw smell goes off. (I did not use green chilies since my kids still cannot tolerate the heat.)
9. Pour the tomato puree. Add red chili powder, sugar and salt.
10. Mix and cook till the tomato puree becomes thick and begins to leave the pan.
11. Pour 1 cup water. I made my cashew paste separately so added it now. Let it come to a boil and then simmer for 3 to 5 minutes.
12. Add chicken and simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes till it becomes tender. The cook time may vary depending on how tender your meat is. I check with a fork, the piece just breaks upon piercing. Check the salt and spice. Adjust as needed.
13. Add garam masala and crushed kasuri methi. You can adjust the consistency by adding more water, if the gravy is very thick. Mix well and simmer for about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add chilled cream. Switch off the stove.
or Take a small portion of hot gravy and add it to the cream first. Mix and then pour the cream to the curry. This prevents cream from curdling. Take care not to cook longer after adding cream.
Garnish butter chicken with cream and coriander leaves.