pepper chicken recipe

Pepper Chicken Recipe

By Swasthi on August 4, 2022, Comments, Jump to Recipe

Pepper chicken recipe – Learn how to make pepper chicken with easy step by step pictures. South Indian pepper chicken is a delicious, aromatic, hot & spicy side dish to serve with rice or chapati. This is great to enjoy during monsoon or winters. This pepper chicken recipe is super quick to make as it needs no grinding masala, no elaborate cooking and is made with simple and basic ingredients.

pepper chicken recipe

South Indian cuisine is diverse and each region has their own way of making this dish. The recipe shared here has always been a winner at home for the unique aroma and taste.

The key to this delicious aromatic dish is the freshly ground pepper which brings a mild heat to the dish.

Pepper chicken is unique in a way from the other Indian Chicken curry recipes I have shared earlier. The quantity of red chili powder and garam masala used is less here when compared to other chicken curries.

This recipe will give a moderately hot & spicy dish. To make it more spicy add more chill powder. If you are looking for a chettinad pepper chicken masala then you can use the chettinad masala which i have shared below.

This pepper chicken recipe can be used to make both versions of the pepper chicken dry and gravy. To get the right taste, do stick on to the exact measurements.

More Indian chicken recipes
lemon chicken
garlic chicken
chettinad chicken
kadai chicken

pepper chicken

How to make Pepper Chicken (Stepwise photos)


1. Marinate chicken with ginger garlic paste, salt and turmeric. Set aside till we use it.
2. Chop onions and tomatoes very finely. Crush pepper coarsely and set aside.

3. Optional you can use any ready made garam masala or make chettinad masala from the below ingredients
3 tsp coriander seeds/ dhaniya
1 tsp fennel seeds / saunf
½ tsp cumin / jeera
1 ½ tsp pepper corn
4 green cardamoms/ elaichi
3 cloves
2 inch cinnamon stick
3 red chillis (skip if using chilli powder)
Dry roast the above ingredients and powder finely. Add it in place of garam masala.

4. Heat a pan and add oil. Add cumin, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom. When they begin to sizzle, add curry leaves and ginger garlic paste.

saute dry spices in oil to make pepper chicken recipe

5. Fry till the raw smell of ginger garlic disappears.Take care not to burn it.

frying ginger garlic paste in oil for pepper chicken recipe

6. Add onions.

7. Fry till they turn lightly brown or golden.

golden fried onions in ghee for pepper chicken recipe

8. Add tomatoes, sprinkle salt and fry till the tomatoes turn mushy and soft.

addition of chopped tomatoes to pan to make pepper chicken recipe

Make Pepper Chicken

9. Next add crushed pepper corn, red chili powder and garam masala.

addition of crushed pepper to the pan to make pepper chicken recipe

10. Fry everything well till the moisture from tomatoes evaporates completely and begin to get the aroma of pepper and garam masala. This takes around 3 to 4 minutes on a medium flame.

At the end of this step you should have an almost dry onion tomato mix. If you wish to have a smooth masala, cool this, add to a blender jar and blend it till smooth with little water. I went ahead without blending.

blending masala well for pepper chicken recipe

11. Add marinated chicken and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes or till the chicken turns white in color.In case you have blended the mixture, add it now after frying chicken.

addition of marinated pepper chicken to the pot for frying

12. Lower the flame to minimum. Cover and cook.

cooking pepper chicken on a low flame to make it tender

13. Occasionally stir in between. Under 7 to 8 minutes, moisture from the chicken oozes out. This may differ from the variety of chicken used. For the chicken we get in Singapore, i don’t need to add water at all.

Chicken lets out lot of moisture and that is enough to cook the dish. If there is no moisture, pour very little water to cook.

addition of water to cook pepper chicken recipe

To make Gravy

14. when the chicken is cooked fully, you can switch off if you like the pepper chicken gravy. You can also pour 3 to 4 tbsps of coconut milk to this. Stir and cook till it bubbles.

The gravy tastes great when the chicken is cooked on the lowest heat or flame for longer time.It almost takes 20 minutes for me to cook the chicken to tender.

pepper chicken gravy

15. If you wish to have a pepper chicken dry, once the chicken is soft cooked. open the lid and fry till the moisture evaporates and the masala clings on to the chicken well.

pepper chicken recipe

Serve with onion wedges, rice and rasam,or naan or chapathi.

Related Recipes

Recipe Card

pepper chicken

Pepper Chicken Recipe

Pepper chicken masala made with basic spices and herbs in south Indian style. It tastes great with plain rice, chapati or parotta.
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For best results follow the step-by-step photos above the recipe card

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time35 minutes

Ingredients (US cup = 240ml )

  • 1 cup onions (finely chopped or pureed)
  • ¾ tsp ginger garlic paste (or grated)
  • 1 cup tomatoes or ¾ cup tomato puree (optional)
  • salt as needed
  • 1 to 1½ tsp pepper corn or coarse crushed
  • ¼ tsp red chili powder (or paprika)
  • ¾ to 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 sprig curry leaves or bay leaf or few mint leaves
  • ½ tsp cumin or jeera
  • 2 to 3 green cardamoms
  • 1 inch cinnamon or dalchini
  • 3 cloves or laung
  • 2 to 3 tbsp oil



  • 3 to 4 tbsp coconut milk (optional)



  • Marinate chicken with ingredients under marination. Keep it aside until needed.
  • Pour oil to a hot pan. Add cumin, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Allow them to sizzle.
  • Next add curry leaves and ginger garlic paste. Fry till the raw smell of ginger garlic goes off.
  • Add onions and fry till they turn golden.
  • Then add tomatoes and salt. Fry till the tomatoes turn mushy and soft.
  • Add red chili powder, garam masala and coarsely crushed pepper corn.
  • Fry everything well till the mixture looses all the moisture.

How to make Pepper Chicken

  • Add chicken and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Cover and cook on a low flame till the chicken turns tender.
  • If the chicken doesn't let out enough moisture to cook, then add little water. 
  • Cover and cook until soft. If you want to have gravy,
  • You can take it off while there is moisture. You can also pour 3 to 4 tbsp coconut milk.
  • If you prefer a dry version, cook without lid and evaporate the moisture in the chicken. fry till all the moisture dries up.
  • Serve pepper chicken hot with rice and Rasam. Squeeze in some lemon juice before serving.

Alternative quantities provided in the recipe card are for 1x only, original recipe.

For best results follow my detailed step-by-step photo instructions and tips above the recipe card.

NUTRITION INFO (estimation only)

Nutrition Facts
Pepper Chicken Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 378 Calories from Fat 234
% Daily Value*
Fat 26g40%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Cholesterol 93mg31%
Sodium 467mg20%
Potassium 493mg14%
Carbohydrates 10g3%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 25g50%
Vitamin A 370IU7%
Vitamin C 20.6mg25%
Calcium 52mg5%
Iron 2.4mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Mention @SwasthisRecipes or tag #swasthisrecipes!

© Swasthi’s Recipes

Pepper Chicken Recipe

About Swasthi

I’m Swasthi Shreekanth, the recipe developer, food photographer & food writer behind Swasthi’s Recipes. My aim is to help you cook great Indian food with my time-tested recipes. After 2 decades of experience in practical Indian cooking I started this blog to help people cook better & more often at home. Whether you are a novice or an experienced cook I am sure Swasthi’s Recipes will assist you to enhance your cooking skills. More about me

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5 stars
I tried this today. Delicious! Loved it. Thanks 😃

5 stars
All recepies are really tasty and comes out well,and always there is an option for using ingredients..Thank you 🙂

5 stars
Awesome recipe. I will try this recipe for my anniversary since my husband is the Chicken Lover. Thanks for sharing.

5 stars
this recipe is looks good but one thing measurements are missing

4 stars
Thanks for the recipe..
I am a vegetarian tried this for my husband.
This recipe was yummy and he really loved it.. thank you so much…

I tried this recipe with a little twist of adding half of the ground pepper when the water has evaporated,right before turning off the heat. This added more flavour to the chicken with already pepper infused into it. Also, I added a very small amount of gingelly oil towards the end.My parents absolutely loved it..

5 stars
It’s so delicious. Thank you for sharing Swasthi. Love your recipes.

Question- how much sauce does this make if you were to blend it as you mentioned after step 10? Thanks!

We have tried your peper chicken recipe. It turned out be great every one enjoyed it thourgly. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I have a question, can we use chicken lever in place of chicken to make chicken lever peper fry using the same receipe.

5 stars
Such a tasty recipe! I used 2 tsp of black pepper for an extra kick and it was perfect with the coconut milk! Will be making this again! Thank you so much for your amazing recipes!

5 stars
Swasthi – Stuck in a lockdown in Japan, I tried your egg and chicken biryani recipes and they came out so well – made me feel a bit closer to home. Cant wait to try this out today. Thank you so much :’)

5 stars
This was so good, yet so simple! I loved the potency of the pepper – it brought such bold, different sort of flavor to the dish. I made mine so as to have a gravy, and the coconut milk was a nice addition to that. Will definitely make this one again. Thank you 🙂

U r great. Love all yr recipies. Thank u for making many youngsters cook then buying food.

5 stars
great recipe

5 stars

5 stars
I tried many recipes very tasty my grand son likes very much thanks a lot

I fell for the picture. Turned out to be a very average chicken curry with a karrahi flavour… NOTHING like the picture. Tasted average. Not v bad.

Hi Swasthi
I always know I can depend on your recipes veg /non veg /Sweets for festivals
You are an excellent cook and can put across your recipes with helpful tips
Pepper chicken tried without tomatoes and no water and cooked on low flame
Great recipe Thanks

4 stars
Can the chicken be transferred in the pressure cooker for a faster cooking?

5 stars
Love this recipe!! Thank you so much for sharing 🙂

I love your recipes. Have been following it for quite a while now and tried a lot of stuff . Was bored of the same cuisines and cooking style. Have something to look forward to everyday.

Only problem is we have to constantly open the website as you have disabled the copy paste option where we can make a scrap book of our recipes. i do understand your dilemna. There are enough plagiarists who would blatantly copy your recipes and pass on as their own.
Which they can nonethless do ,Altough it will involve a little bit more effort. Give a thought to it for your ardent followers and fans:)