Recipes To Try

Butter Chicken Recipe | Chicken Makhani

4 servings


45 minutes

total time


½ kg (1.1 lbs) boneless chicken ( (read notes))

½ to ¾ teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder ( (or paprika adjust to taste, reduce for kids))

¼ to ⅓ teaspoon salt ( (adjust to taste))

¾ to 1 tablespoon lemon juice

⅓ cup Greek yogurt ((hung curd/thick curd, refer notes))

¾ tablespoon ginger garlic paste

⅛ teaspoon turmeric ((haldi))

¾ to 1 teaspoon garam masala ((adjust to taste))

½ teaspoon cumin powder ((optional))

1 teaspoon coriander powder ((optional))

1 teaspoon kasuri methi ((optional, dried fenugreek leaves))

¾ to 1 tablespoon oil

2 to 3 tablespoons butter (or ghee (divided))

2 inch cinnamon (piece)

2 to 4 green cardamoms

2 to 4 cloves

3 cups (600 grams, 24 oz) fresh tomato puree ((1x - 4 large tomatoes))

¾ tablespoon ginger garlic paste

1 to 2 green chilies ( (deseed, slit or chop, optional))

20 to 22 cashews ( (or almond flour, read notes))

½ cup water (to blend cashews or almond flour)

1 to 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder ((reduce for kids, adjust to taste))

1 to 1½ teaspoons garam masala ((divided, adjust to taste))

1 to 1½ teaspoon coriander powder ((optional, adjust to taste))

½ teaspoon cumin powder ( (optional, adjust to taste))

½ to ¾ teaspoon salt ( (adjust to taste))

1 teaspoon sugar ( (to balance the flavors))

½ tablespoon Kasuri methi ((dried fenugreek leaves))

1½ cups hot water

⅓ cup (80 to 100 ml) heavy cream ( or whipping cream (divided))

2 tablespoons coriander leaves ((fine chopped to garnish))



Add chicken to a large mixing bowl and pat dry if required to get rid of any excess moisture. Add lemon juice, chili powder and salt. Mix well to marinate. Cover and rest for 20 minutes.

Next add yogurt, kasuri methi, oil, turmeric, ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, cumin powder and garam masala powder. Mix well.

Cover & rest in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours. You can keep it as long as 48 hours. Longer resting time results in tender and juicy chicken.

To make tomato and cashew puree: Option 1 - If you have a powerful blender, you can blend the cashews and tomatoes together until smooth. If you want you can also soak the cashews in hot water for 30 mins and then use here.

Option 2 – Puree the tomatoes in a large blender and cashews in a small grinder with half cup water, added in 2 batches.

You need smooth puree of both. Set these aside.

Make the sauce

When you are ready to make the butter chicken, place the chicken out of the refrigerator at this point as we don’t want to cook very cold chicken.

Heat a pan with butter & add all the whole spices - cinnamon, cloves and cardamoms.

Let them sizzle for a minute. Add ginger garlic paste & green chilies. Fry on a low heat, for a minute or 2, till it turns fragrant but not burnt.

Turn off the heat and stir in red chili powder, garam masala, cumin and coriander powder.

Place a strainer over the pot and pour the pureed tomatoes (or tomato cashew puree if made separately). Use a sturdy spoon to help pass the puree.

Mix well and cover partially. Bring it to a boil on a medium high heat. Later reduce the heat to low or medium and cook partially covered until the tomato puree turns thick. Keep stirring in between. This step takes about 15 minutes without cashews included. With cashews it takes lesser time.

When you see the tomato puree is thick, stir in the Cashew puree. Pour hot water and mix.

Simmer this partially covered for 10 mins, until the sauce thickens & traces of fats/butter are visible on top of the sauce.

Grill or roast chicken in an oven or stovetop

While the sauce simmers, roast/ bake or grill the chicken in the oven or stovetop.

Option 1 - In the oven: Preheat the oven to 240 C or 460 F for at least 15 minutes. Skew the chicken on to soaked wooden skewers or place on a greased tray and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, depending on the size of chicken pieces. In between you will have to turn to the other side. Chicken should be tender and not overcooked.

Option 2 - On the stovetop, spread one tbsp. butter or ghee in a griddle/pan and heat it well. Place the marinated chicken pieces, spacing them a little apart.

Fry on a medium heat for 2 mins. Ignore the moisture oozing out of the chicken. Turn the chicken pieces to the other side, don’t burn and do not overcook.

Cook till the chicken is just done and all the marinade dries up. This way roast the chicken pieces in 2 to 3 batches, depending on the size of your skillet. It is not necessary to fully cook the chicken at this stage.

Optional - If you want browned chicken, increase the flame to high and roast until they turn golden or light brown on both the sides. Be careful as this can easily burn the masala & overcook the chicken.

How to make Butter Chicken

Add chicken to the butter chicken gravy. Pour more hot water (about ½ cup) if the sauce is too thick. Cover and simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes till it becomes tender. This additional water is not mentioned in the recipe and is optional depending on how long you cook.

Stir in salt, sugar and kasuri methi. Taste test and optionally add more garam masala & another tablespoon butter for additional flavour (both are optional).

Stir in heavy cream. Or Take a few tablespoons of the hot gravy to a small bowl and stir in the cream to temper it first. Mix that with the rest of the sauce.

Garnish Butter Chicken with chopped coriander leaves and some cream. Serve with Turmeric rice, steamed Basmati Rice, Butter naan or Cumin Rice.

4 servings


45 minutes

total time
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