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Butter Chicken – Murgh Makhani

Butter ChickenMake the creamiest butter chicken right at home. Tender pieces of chicken cook in a robust, fragrant, and creamy curry to make this easy and flavorful butter chicken recipe. This dish is the best way to use leftover Grilled Tandoori Chicken, and we serve ours with naan and Basmati Rice.

WHAT IS BUTTER CHICKEN?

Butter chicken originated in Delhi, India; a restaurant called Moti Mahal is known for tandoori chicken; yet, because of the volume of orders, they frequently ended up with leftovers they couldn’t use. Instead of contributing to food waste, they came up with a recipe for butter chicken to breathe new life into the Tandoori Chicken that was drawing in patrons from all over. Butter chicken has since evolved into a dish famous in its own right.

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Marinade: Marinate chicken in ginger paste, garlic paste, salt, yogurt, and Kashmiri chili powder.
  • Ghee: Ghee is a staple in traditional Indian and Pakistani cuisine and develops a deep, nutty flavor to set the stage for the dish while frying the chicken pieces.
  • Chicken: Boneless chicken thighs are my preference. It could be a personal preference, but I keep trying to make it with chicken breast, and it never tastes quite as delicious.
  • Butter: I splurge for high-quality butter, like Kerrygold, since butter is central to the dish.
  • Cinnamon Stick
  • Green Cardamom
  • Onion: Onions break down to build the masala.
  • Garlic: I suggest using four cloves, but don’t let my recipe tell you how much garlic to use – go for it.
  • Green Chilies: Slit lengthwise green chilies add heat that doesn’t overwhelm.
  • Garam Masala: Garam masala is an Indian spice blend that differs from home to home and person to person. For this reason, I suggest making garam masala at home, so you can control the amount of each spice used and cater it to your preferences. Here is one of the Garam Masala spice blends we use in our home. Rani is a great store-bought alternative. 
  • Cumin: Cumin is earthy and aromatic, boosting the flavor of the curry.
  • Turmeric: For depth of flavor and a pop of color, add turmeric.
  • Roma Tomato: To build the gravy, I use fresh ingredients whenever possible, but you can also use canned, diced tomatoes.
  • Heavy Cream: Heavy cream blends well with the other ingredients without being temperamental.
  • Cilantro: Cilantro provides a nice peppery finish.

HOW TO MAKE BUTTER CHICKEN

For the Chicken:

Marinate the chicken with ginger and garlic paste, Kashmiri chili powder, salt, and yogurt in a mixing bowl.

Fry the marinated chicken in a heavy-bottomed pan, heat with ghee. Set it aside.

For the Curry:

Add whole spices to a pan and cook until they sputter.

Saute whole spices in ghee.

Onions slow cook to create flavor for the butter chicken curry..

Next, add the garlic, ginger, and green chilies and cook for another minute.

Add tomatoes to the onions and spices.

Flavor the mixture with Kashmiri chili powder, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, cumin, salt, turmeric, and tomatoes into the mixture. Cook for 5-7 minutes.

Smooth out the butter chicken curry using an immersion blender.

Remove the cinnamon stick (and green chilies, if you prefer less spicy) and lend until smooth using a blender, food processor, or immersion blender.

Add butter and cream to the curry.

Return the mixture to the pan and stir in the butter and cream. Then, nestle the reserved chicken into the pan. Allow the dish to maintain a gentle bubble for 5-7 minutes.

Finish the butter chicken with garam masala and fenugreek leaves.

Season with 1/2 tablespoon of garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek; give it a quick stir and simmer for another minute or two.

Butter chicken is ready to be served.

Garnish with cilantro, green chilies, and drizzle with dahi; serve with Basmati Rice or naan.

COOKING TIPS

  • Marinating the chicken beforehand results in tender, juicy chicken to enjoy with the flavor-packed curry masala. For best results, do a two-part marinade. Place the chicken in a bowl or bag with lemon and salt for 20 minutes before rinsing and leaving it to marinate with the ingredients suggested in this recipe. 

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WHAT TO DO WITH THE LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE – Store leftovers in an airtight container; it keeps for 3-4 days.
  • FREEZER – Allow the dish to cool, then add it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Butter chicken will freeze for 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
  • REHEAT –  Warm the leftovers on the stovetop and prepare your sides.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Can I make butter chicken in an Instant Pot?


For the Chicken:
1. Toss chicken with ginger paste, garlic paste, Kashmiri chili powder, salt, and yogurt in a mixing bowl. Set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Try 6 hours for best results.
2. In an Instant Pot, warm ghee in saute mode and fry the marinated chicken until the pieces have become golden brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

For the Curry:
1. Back in the Instant Pot, warm 1 1/2 tbsp of butter on saute mode. Add green cardamom and one cinnamon stick. Cook until the ingredients sputter, then add the onions. Sauté until the onions until they become translucent and soften.
2. Next, add the garlic, ginger, and green chilies and cook for another minute.
3. Stir the Kashmiri chili powder, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, cumin, salt, turmeric, and tomatoes into the mixture. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
4. Add the reserved chicken pieces to the Instant Pot.
5. Secure the lid and set the Instant Pot to manual high pressure for 5 minutes. Let it release naturally for 5 minutes before doing a quick release.
6. Remove the chicken, cinnamon stick, and green chilies, and set them aside.
7. Pour the mixture into a blender or food processor; blend until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender for this step.
8. Return the mixture to the Instant Pot, and stir in the butter and cream until well incorporated.
9. Then, nestle the cooked chicken back into the pot. Allow the dish to maintain a gentle bubble on saute mode for 5 minutes, stirring regularly.
10. Top the mixture with 1/2 tablespoon of garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek. Give it a quick stir and let it simmer for another minute or two.
11. Garnish with cilantro, green chilies, and drizzle with dahi; serve with basmati rice or naan.

Can I make vegetarian butter chicken? Can I make it vegan?

It’s entirely possible; I recommend using chickpeas, baked firm tofu, paneer, or roasted cauliflower. For added protein, include toasted cashews in the curry. If using cashews, add them when you add onions. Use either coconut oil or vegan butter rather than butter, then use full-fat coconut milk as an alternative to heavy cream.

Can I make this butter chicken recipe dairy-free?

Use coconut oil and full-fat coconut milk instead of butter and heavy cream. 

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY:

Butter chicken is ready to be served.

Butter Chicken – Murgh Makhani

Tressa Jamil
Tender pieces of chicken cook in a robust, fragrant, and creamy curry to make our flavorful restaurant-style butter chicken made right at home.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Pakistani
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 480 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

For the Marinade:

For the Chicken:

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 5 chicken thighs, boneless and skinless, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the Curry:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon green cardamom, lightly crushed
  • 1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
  • 2 Thai green chilies, slit lengthwise, plus more for garnish
  • ½-1 tablespoon Kashmiri chili powder, depending on preferred level of spice
  • 1 ½ tablespoon homemade garam masala, divided
  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 4-5 medium Roma tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek leaves, dried
  • cilantro finely chopped, to garnish
  • 1-2 tablespoons dahi, to garnish

Instructions
 

For the Chicken:

  • Toss the chicken with ginger and garlic paste, Kashmiri chili powder, salt, and yogurt in a mixing bowl. Set aside to marinate for at least 20 minutes. Try 6 hours for the best results.
  • In a heavy-bottomed pan, heat the ghee and fry the marinated chicken until the pieces have become golden brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside.

For the Curry:

  • In the same pan, warm 1 1/2 tbsp of butter. Add green cardamom and one cinnamon stick. Cook until the ingredients sputter, then add the onions. Sauté the onions until they become translucent and soften.
  • Next, add the garlic, ginger, and green chilies and cook for another minute.
  • Stir the Kashmiri chili powder, 1 tablespoon of garam masala, cumin, salt, turmeric, and tomatoes into the mixture. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove the cinnamon stick (and green chilies, if you prefer less spicy) and pour the mixture into a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. You can also use an immersion blender for this step.
  • Return the mixture to the pan over low heat and stir in the butter and cream until well incorporated. Then, nestle the reserved chicken into the pan. Allow the dish to maintain a gentle bubble for 5-7 minutes. Adjust the temperature as necessary.
  • Top the mixture with 1/2 tablespoon of garam masala and 1/2 teaspoon fenugreek; give it a quick stir and let it simmer for another minute or two.
  • Garnish with cilantro, green chilies, and drizzle with dahi; serve with basmati rice or naan.

Notes

Nutrition Disclosure:
  • The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
 
Web Story:

Nutrition

Serving: 1 bowlCalories: 480kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 31gFat: 33gSodium: 946mgFiber: 5gSugar: 4g
Keyword butter chicken
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




RJ

Saturday 14th of May 2022

Very delicious. A favorite for kids and grownups alike.

Tressa Jamil

Sunday 12th of June 2022

I am glad to hear your kids enjoyed it; this recipe is my sons favorite.

Calee Cortes

Sunday 6th of March 2022

This is genuinely my favorite food and I love the breakdown and explanations for the instructions-so good!

Tressa - Jamil Ghar Team

Sunday 6th of March 2022

I am glad to hear that our step-by-step was helpful for you, and it's one of our favorites too!