Delicious Butter Chicken ( Murgh makhani) recipe

How to make butter chicken recipe | Indian butter chicken ( Murgh makhani) recipe

Serving butter chicken with garnished for butter chicken (Murgh makhani) recipe
Butter Chicken (Murgh makhani)

Butter chicken is one of the most popular curries throughout the world at any Indian restaurant.

What is butter chicken?

 Butter chicken  is a rich creamy tomato based dish where roasted tandoori chicken pieces are simmered in  tomato butter gravy with perfection.

It is one such dish that made India proud globally. If Britain have chicken Tikka masala , India  can match that with butter chicken.

Which is better chicken Tikka masala or butter chicken?

Though both are prepared using marinated roast or grilled chicken , they taste lots different. In chicken Tikka masala additionally yogurt(curd) , onion are used. Its taste is more complex , layered flavors from the spices. It taste tangy and little bit spicy(hot). Whereas butter chicken taste milder buttery and little sweetish in taste.

So it depends on individuals taste and preference about which is better.

And thus chicken Tikka masala and butter chicken are not same .

You can read the full recipe for chicken Tikka masala for a better understanding.

      Easy chicken Tikka masala recipe

Butter Chicken is known as Murgh makhani in  Hindi . In Hindi chicken is called as Murgh and butter as makhan. So the term Murgh makhani is used for butter chicken in Hindi.

Lots of butter ( clarified butter) is for it to make and thus it is called butter chicken.

Makhani gravy ( sauce) is a tomato based gravy made up with tomato puree, cashew paste , heavy cream, fenugreek leaves and clarified butter. Paprika or red chilly paste is also used to give it the desired colour.

In general no onion and ginger garlic paste is used to make makhani gravy.

Butter chicken  is one of best and easy recipe that you can make at the comfort of your home with less and easily available ingredients.

The ingredients used to make butter chicken is easily available in any grocery store or supermarket.

Who invented butter chicken?

Butter Chicken was invented in 1948 by Kundan Lal Gujral of Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi.

Mr. Kundan Lal is the man who also  popularised the famous Tandoori chicken in that time , who later invented butter chicken at his restaurant in Moti Mahal.

Huge demand of Tandoori chicken in Moti Mahal restaurant often left some leftover and  chef Kundan Lal would mix all leftover marinate juice  with butter and tomato and then stew the tandoori chicken in it.

It is unlikely that they had even the faintest idea of what they had stumbled upon , that is an internationally loved delicacy.

The immense popularity of butter chicken let many other restaurants coming up with their own version of this classic butter chicken.

Murgh lababdar , Murgh Tikka masala and Mumbai style Murgh makhanwala are some derivatives of the butter chicken recipe.

Below I am sharing the  easy butter chicken recipe. So what is authentic butter chicken recipe or Punjabi butter chicken recipe or restaurant style butter chicken recipe?

The answer is simple , yoghurt marinated chicken pieces cooked in tandoor is used  to prepare Punjabi or authentic and restaurant style butter chicken recipe.

The smoked flavoured chicken pieces either boneless or with bone are used to make authentic butter chicken recipe.

In Punjabi butter chicken recipe in addition to butter , ghee ( pure ghee ) is used and  sugar is not used . The butter chicken is little bit spicy compare to the regular butter chicken.

Is Murgh butter masala and Murgh makhani (butter chicken) same?

Murgh butter masala and butter chicken is not same. In Murgh butter masala onion gravy ( chopped onion) is used and it is mild spicy.

Whereas in butter chicken ,  onion is not used and it is little sweet in taste.

Made ahead option for butter chicken

 Yes the butter chicken gravy or the makhani gravy can be store for later use.
It is good to use the gravy with 48 hours.
Cool the gravy or sauce completely and store in a air tight glass jar and refrigerated.

Don't add chicken pieces in the gravy while storing it.

Read Chicken curry recipe made in cooker from scratch  Easy chicken curry recipe

Butter Chicken recipe 

Serving butter chicken (Murgh makhani)

Butter chicken ( Murgh makhani) is a famous dish of Punjab. It is rich dish made by using tomato puree, cashew nuts paste , butter and cream with very little spices.

Preparation time :- 10 minutes

Cooking time :- 15 minutes

Total time :- 25 minutes

Serving :- 2

Author :- Mobasir hassan


   • 300 gm chicken pieces ( leg boneless)

   For marinating chicken

   • 2 teaspoon yoghurt ( hung curd)

   • 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chilly paste

   • 1/2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

   • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (cayenne)

   • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

   • 1/4 teaspoon Garam masala

   • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

   • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

   • 2 teaspoon cooking oil or mustard oil

   • Salt as per taste

   For butter chicken gravy

   • 6-7  firm tomatoes ( or tomato puree)

   • 3 teaspoon cashew nuts

   • 1 teaspoon melon seeds ( optional)

   • 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder (cayenne)

   • 1 teaspoon ginger garlic paste

   • 1/4 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves

   • 1 teaspoon fresh cream

   • 1/2 teaspoon butter

   • Pinch of sugar

   • Salt as per taste

   How to make the recipe


   1. In a mixing bowl take yoghurt and mix
       with all the ingredients mentioned in
       for marinating chicken.

   2. Whisk everything well to make a fine
       thick mixture or masala.

   3. Now mix this masala with the chicken
       pieces evenly so that all parts of the
       chicken coat nicely.

   4. Let them marinate for 1 - 2 hours to
       absorb all the flavours.

   5. Roughly chopped all the tomatoes and
       boil till become messy for 6 - 8 minutes.
       Cool down and blend them into a fine

   6. Soak the cashew nuts in warm water. If
       using melon seeds then mix with them
       cashew nuts.

   7. Similarly blend the cashew nuts into a
        fine paste.

   Roasting the chicken

   1. In Oven : preheat oven to 240°C for 15
       about 15 minutes. Line a baking tray
       with aluminum foil and place the
       marinated chicken pieces on it.

   2. Brush some butter over the chicken
       pieces and grill them for 15 minutes
       or till done.

   3. On Tawa :- heat one teaspoon oil on a
       Tawa or pan in high flame for one

   4. Remove the excess marination from the
       chicken pieces and carefully place them
       on the tawa one by one. Keep the flame
       on medium.

   5. Roast them till crisp golden for about 6
       to 8 minutes flipping both sides at some

   6. Similarly you can roast them in a
       charcoal Tandoor or over BBQ.

   Making the butter chicken

   1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan and saute
       the ginger garlic paste till raw smell

   2. Add the red chilly paste and saute for
       30 seconds. Then pour the tomato puree
       and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Keep the
       heat flame to medium.

   3. Add the cashew nuts paste and further
       cook for one more minute.

   4. When the sauce or gravy start to bubble
       mix 1/3 teaspoon red chilli powder,
       crushed fenugreek leaves, a small pinch
       of sugar and salt as per taste.

   5. Pour some water and simmer the gravy
       for 3 to 4 minutes till become thick and

   6. Add the roasted chicken pieces and
       cook further for one minute.

   7. Mix 1 teaspoon butter into the gravy
      and continue stirring.

   8. Pour the fresh cream and mix well with
       the gravy. Remove the butter chicken in
       serving bowl.

   9. Topped with a butter cubes and garnish
       with cream. Sprinkle some dry
       fenugreek leaves and serve.


Butter Chicken recipe video 

                         Nutritional value

•  Calories :- 580kcal  | protein :- 36g

•  Fats :- 41g  |  cholesterol :- 250 mg

•  Fiber :- 3g  | sugar :- 8g

                          Serving tips

  Butter Chicken is such a dish that  can easily be serve with anything you like.

•  You can serve plain rice, steam basmati rice and jeera rice with it.

•  It is best served with tandoori Naan and tandoori roti. Goes well with butter garlic naan and butter naan as well.

Serving butter chicken with rice and naan
Serving butter chicken

•  Homemade chapati and phulkas are also can be served with butter chicken.

                           Recipe notes

• You can take any types of chicken pieces either leg boneless or breast boneless or with bone chicken pieces for butter chicken. Chicken should be grilled or roasted one.

•  In many places butter chicken is also prepared with shredded chicken or with smaller cubes of chicken pieces. You can cut the chicken pieces in small sizes.

Small size chicken cubes for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
Small size chicken pieces

•  Tandoori chicken , chicken Tikka are used in restaurants for butter chicken recipe.

•  You can add melon seeds with cashew nuts to make the white paste. In restaurants butter chicken, melon seeds is used with cashew nuts. It has a wonderful aromatic flavour.

Below you can read the step by step method and photos for better chicken recipe for a better understanding...

Hung curd, ginger garlic paste and Kashmiri chilly paste for marinating chicken for butter chicken recipe
Hung curd, ginger garlic paste, Kashmiri chilly paste

Red Chilli powder, cumin powder Garam masala salt for marinating chicken pieces for butter chicken recipe
Red Chilli powder cumin powder Garam masala salt

Fresh pieces of tomatoes for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe

Red Chilli powder fenugreek leaves sugar and Red Chilly Paste for butter chicken (Murgh makhani) recipe
Red Chilli powder, fenugreek leaves, Red Chilly Paste,sugar

Cream, ginger garlic paste,oil and butter for butter chicken (Murgh makhani) recipe
Cream,ginger garlic paste,oil, butter

Cashew nuts and melon seeds for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
Cashew nuts and melon seeds

Butter Chicken recipe step by step

1. Take a mixing bowl, add the yogurt , chilly paste, ground cumin , ginger garlic paste , red chilli powder, garam masala , turmeric powder , salt ,lemon juice and oil. Mix well with a whisk to make smooth Masala for marinating the chicken pieces.

Masala for marinating chicken for butter chicken (Murgh makhani) recipe

2. Mix the chicken pieces with this masala and refrigerated for 1 hours for a good marination. The chicken pieces will absorb all the flavours. You can marinate them for longer periods or overnight.

Marinated chicken pieces for butter chicken (Murgh makhani) recipe
Marinated chicken pieces

3. Meanwhile roughly chopped the tomatoes and boil them .  Keep the cashew nuts soaked in warm water. If using melon seeds  you can mix it with cashew nuts and soaked in warm water.

4. When the tomatoes become soft , remove  and let them cool down.  Blend the cashew nuts in a blender or mixer for a smooth paste.

5. Similarly blend the tomatoes for a fine smooth paste. Keep them aside for later use.

Tomato puree (paste) and cashew nuts paste for  butter chicken (Murgh makhani) recipe
Tomato and cashew nuts paste

6. After 1 hour, bring the marinated chicken pieces out of the fridge.  You can roast the chicken pieces in an Oven  or  over charcoal Tandoor or on a non stick pan.

Roasting chicken pieces in charcoal Tandoor for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
Roasting chicken in Tandoor

 I am using the non stick pan method to roast the chicken. You can check the below link post for more details for roasting chicken using charcoal Tandoor, oven and non stick pan.

Chicken Tikka using pan, oven and Tandoor

7. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a non stick pan in medium flame.
Take  the chicken pieces from the masala and remove excess marinate.
 When the oil become hot , roast the chicken pieces . When one side become crisp golden flip to another side and roast till crisp golden.

Roasting marinated chicken pieces on Non stick pan for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
Roasting on pan

Roasting  crisp golden chicken pieces on Non stick pan for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
One side crisp golden chicken pieces

 You can roast the chicken in two batches.

  Cooking butter Chicken gravy

1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a pan , when hot add 1 /2 teaspoon ginger garlic paste . Saute till the raw smell of ginger garlic paste goes off.

2. Add 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri chilly paste and saute for 1 more minute.  This chilly paste is not hot , it is used to give butter chicken the desired colour.

Sauteing ginger garlic and Chilly Paste for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
Ginger Garlic and Chilly Paste

3. Saute for few seconds then pour the tomato paste (puree) and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the cashew nuts paste to the tomato paste and further cook for 1 more minute.

Cooking tomato paste (puree) in a pan for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
Cooking tomato paste(puree)

Mixing and cooking cashew nuts paste with tomato paste for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
Mixing and cooking cashew nuts paste with tomato

4. When the gravy start bubbling , add 1/3 teaspoon red chilli powder ( cayenne) , fenugreek leaves ( kasuri Methi) , pinch of sugar and salt as per taste.

Adding fenugreek leaves Red Chilli powder sugar and salt in cashew tomato mixture for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
Mixing fenugreek leaves,red chilli powder, sugar and salt

5. Stir and mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add 4-5 teaspoon water , mix and cook further till the gravy become little thick and bubbling.

6. Add the chicken pieces in the gravy and mix well and cook further one more minute. Mix one teaspoon butter to the chicken gravy and continue to stir.

Mixing butter with chicken gravy for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
Adding butter to the gravy

7. Pour one teaspoon cream over the gravy and mix well and remove in a serving bowl.

Adding cream in butter chicken gravy for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
Adding and mixing cream

8. Sprinkle some dry fenugreek leaves over the chicken gravy , topped with a butter cubes and cream and serve hot the butter chicken .

Serving butter chicken (Murgh makhani) in bowl
Butter Chicken (Murgh makhani)

 Due to the use of fresh or heavy cream the gravy become smooth and silky and thus it is also  called as creamy butter chicken.

You can check more related popular recipe

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We are happy to hear from you.

  1. WOW! Mouth watering delicacy. My son is fond of chicken and I love to explore food blog. Yesterday I found PNT blog and tried chicken tikka lababdar recipe and was delicious and I am going to try butter chicken murgh to surprise my son. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Robin. Nice to know that your son love chicken.

  2. Kids love butter chicken as this dish contains less amount of spice compared to other chicken dishes in India. I also enjoy it when it is prepared well. I have never tried the dish at home and may consider it after reading this recipe. It does not appear so complex and I think it will turn out well. Thanks!

    1. You can try it Samaira and I am sure you can make it.


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