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Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a classic North Indian dish that has become popular all over the world. This creamy and flavorful chicken dish is made by marinating chicken in a spicy yoghurt mixture, cooking it in a buttery tomato gravy, and finishing it off with a touch of cream. It is a staple dish in many Indian restaurants and is often served at special occasions and celebrations.

The origin of butter chicken can be traced back to a restaurant in Delhi, India called Moti Mahal. It is said that the dish was created by the restaurant’s founder, Kundan Lal Gujral, in the 1950s. Gujral had the idea of cooking leftover tandoori chicken in a rich tomato gravy and adding a dollop of butter to give it a smooth and creamy texture. The dish became an instant hit, and soon after, butter chicken was added to the menu of many Indian restaurants across the country.

Today, butter chicken is a favorite among people all over the world. Its rich and creamy flavor, combined with the perfect blend of spices, make it a popular choice for those looking to enjoy a comforting and flavorful meal. Whether you are a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is easy to follow and will result in a delicious and satisfying dish that you can enjoy with family and friends. So, why not try making butter chicken at home and enjoy the authentic taste of this classic Indian dish?

Basic Ingredients for Butter Chicken

Chicken Breast: Lean protein source that is versatile and nutritious.

Yoghurt: Tangy dairy product used to marinate the chicken and add flavor.

Ginger and Garlic: Aromatic ingredients that add depth of flavor to the dish.

Lime Juice and Zest: Adds a fresh and citrusy flavor to the marinade.

Spices (Cumin, Coriander, Garam Masala, Paprika, Chili Powder, Salt, Black Pepper Powder): A blend of spices that gives the dish its signature flavor profile.

Ghee or Vegetable Ghee: Clarified butter used for cooking the chicken and adds richness to the dish.

Onion: Adds sweetness and depth of flavor to the tomato gravy.

Green Chili: Optional ingredient that adds heat to the dish.

Tomatoes and Tomato paste: The base of the tomato gravy that gives the dish its rich and tangy flavor.

Water: Added to the tomato gravy to adjust the consistency.

Cashew Nut Butter: Adds richness and creaminess to the dish.

Cooking Cream: Adds creaminess and richness to the dish.

Dried Fenugreek (optional): Adds a unique and slightly bitter flavor to the dish.

Coriander: Fresh herb used for garnish and adds a fresh, citrusy flavor to the dish. Lime wedges: Used for garnish and adds a fresh and citrusy flavor to the dish.

alternative ingredients

  • Instead of using chicken breast, you can use boneless chicken thighs. This will result in a juicier and more tender chicken.
  • If you don’t have regular yoghurt on hand, you can use Greek yoghurt as a substitute. It has a thicker consistency but will work just as well for marinating the chicken.
  • If you don’t have onions, you can use shallots as a substitute. They have a similar flavor profile and will add sweetness and depth of flavor to the tomato gravy.
  • If you don’t have chili powder on hand, you can use red pepper flakes to add heat to the dish. Add them according to your preference.
  • If you don’t have cooking cream, you can use heavy cream as a substitute. Keep in mind that it has a higher fat content, so use it sparingly.
  • If you don’t have cashew nut butter, you can use almond butter as a substitute. It will add a similar creamy texture to the dish.
  • Instead of using dried fenugreek, you can use fresh fenugreek leaves if they are available. They have a milder flavor and will add a slightly bitter taste to the dish.
  • If you want to add an extra depth of flavor and vibrant yellow color to the dish, you can add a pinch of turmeric to the tomato gravy.

Serving Tips for Butter Chicken

  • A great dish to make for brunch or dinner with friends
  • Serve over rice with delicious naan bread on the side
  • Serve hot on individual plates or on from a large bowl for family-style eating.
  • Garnish with lime wedges and fresh coriander.

storage tips

  • Leftover butter chicken can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, gently warm the chicken in a pan over low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated.   

Butter Chicken (Full Video)

Butter Chicken

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes


  • Chicken Marinade:
  • 1 kg chicken breast, cut into large cubes
  • 1/2 cup full-fat Yoghurt
  • 2 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 small lime, juiced
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • Butter Chicken Sauce:
  • 3-4 tbsp Ghee or vegetable ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely minced
  • 1 green chili, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 2-3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp chili pepper (optional)
  • salt
  • black pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp cashew nut butter
  • 1/2 cup cooking cream
  • 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek (optional)
  • handful coriander
  • lime wedges


  • Combine yoghurt, ginger, garlic, lime juice, lime zest, cumin powder, coriander powder, garam masala, paprika, chili powder, salt, and black pepper in a bowl. Stir in the chicken. Cover and place in the fridge for 2 hours to marinate.
  • Heat ghee or vegetable oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Brown the chicken in small batches and put it to the side. In the same pot, add the onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until soft.
  • Add the green chili. Stir in tomato, tomato paste, coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala, salt, and pepper. Mix then add the cashew nut butter; bring to a boil, lower the heat, and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. Blend ingredients .with a hand blender until it has a smooth consistency. Stir in the cooking cream, chicken, and fenugreek, and simmer for additional 5 to 7 minutes.

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