Delicious Butter Chicken ( Murgh makhani) recipe

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

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

Butter chicken is everyone's favourite. It is especially for all the foodies and cooking enthusiasts.

Butter chicken is versatile, yummy and extremely easy to make. And the best part is you don't even need a tandoor to make this butter chicken recipe like restaurant style. If you have been looking for such a easy butter chicken recipe, you have come to the right place. Here I bring you the step by step guide on how to make a butter chicken recipe at home like restaurants style.

It 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  are simmered in tomato butter gravy with perfection.

Butter Chicken is also known as Murgh makhani in Hindi. In India chicken is called as Murgh and butter as makhan. So the term Murgh makhani is used for butter chicken in Hindi. Another popular term for butter chicken is Chicken makhani. Lots of butter ( clarified butter) is used to make it and so it is called as butter chicken.

It is one such dish that made India proud globally. If Britain have chicken Tikka masala , India  can match that with butter chicken.
This is a authentic butter chicken recipe  where yoghurt marinated chicken pieces are roasted in charcoal tandoor and then simmered in a rich tomato based gravy. Lots of butter, cream and cashewnuts are used to make this creamy butter chicken gravy.

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.

Serving suggestions

The best way to serve a delicious butter chicken is with breads, Indian flatbread butter Naan is the best choice to serve with it.
And another popular opinion to serve it is over a plate of steam basmati rice. Other popular side dishes are garlic naan, kulcha, tandoori roti and homemade chapati.

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 within 48 hours.

Cool the butter chicken gravy completely and store in a air tight glass jar and refrigerated. Don't add chicken pieces in the gravy while storing it.

 You can make Paneer makhani with this butter chicken makhani gravy as well.
Don't add chicken pieces in the gravy while storing it.

Steps to make the recipe

Marinating and roasting the chicken

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

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

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 

 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  crisp golden chicken pieces on Non stick pan for butter chicken Murgh makhani recipe
Making tomato and cashewnuts paste

Roughly chopped the tomatoes and boil them .  Keep the cashew nuts soaked in warm water. If using melon seeds then mix  with cashew nuts and soaked in warm water. When the tomatoes become soft , remove  and let them cool down.  Blend the cashew nuts in a blender or mixer for a smooth paste.
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

Making butter chicken gravy

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.
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

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

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

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

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.
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

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

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

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.

What is Aslam butter chicken

This is a another version of butter chicken where roasted tandoori chicken pieces are chopped when done from grilling and  put  into a bowl. Sprinkles some masala mostly. Garam masala and red chillies over them. And then add some cream. 
In a saucepan, adds a slab of butter. And when it starts to bubble,  pours the melted butter over the chicken pieces. And the dish is ready to serve as it is, or with roomali rotis and some onion slices. This is Aslam version of butter chicken hugely popular in old Delhi, jama masjid area.
Aslam butter chicken recipe is not with a creamy tomato based gravy. It is not a main course recipe. Starter like tandoori chicken or chicken tikka are serving with butter sauce and spices is what Aslam butter chicken.

Punjabi 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 a tandoor is used  to make Punjabi  or authentic butter chicken and restaurant style butter chicken recipe.
The smoked flavoured chicken pieces either boneless or bone in are used to make authentic butter chicken recipe.

In Punjabi, in addition to butter, ghee ( pure ghee ) is used to make the butter chicken and  there is no use of sugar in the gravy . 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.

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

Butter chicken Vs Tikka masala

Though both are prepared using marinated roast or grilled chicken , they taste lots different.
  •  In chicken Tikka masala additionally yogurt(curd)  and onion are used in the gravy but not used in butter chicken.  
  • Chicken tikka masala 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.

You can read the full recipe for chicken Tikka masala for a better understanding.
Makhani gravy (sauce)

Makhani gravy ( sauce) is a tomato based gravy made up with tomato puree, cashew nuts paste , heavy cream, fenugreek leaves and clarified butter. Paprika or red chilly paste is also used to give it the distinct red colour.
In general no onion and ginger garlic paste is used to make makhani gravy.

More popular recipes that you can make or cook for your meal of the day
Below is the butter chicken recipe of Moti Mahal, authentic butter chicken 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.

Prep time.      Cooking time        serving
10 min              15 min                         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
  • Small 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 puree.
  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 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 minute.e
  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 interval.y
  6. Similarly you can roast them in  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  goes.
  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 bubbling.
  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
  • Homemade chapati and phulka 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
  •  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.
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  • Robinson
    Robinson November 13, 2019 at 4:33 PM

    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.

    • Mobasir hassan
      Mobasir hassan December 21, 2019 at 3:14 AM

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

  • samairareddy
    samairareddy December 19, 2019 at 11:41 AM

    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!

    • Mobasir hassan
      Mobasir hassan December 21, 2019 at 3:16 AM

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

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