How to Make Butter Chicken: A Delicious Indian Classic

Butter Chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is one of the most popular Indian dishes worldwide. This creamy, rich, and flavorful dish is a favorite in Indian restaurants and households alike. With tender chicken pieces cooked in a luscious tomato-based gravy, Butter Chicken pairs perfectly with naan, roti, or rice. Here’s a detailed guide on how to make this delectable dish at home.


For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 500 grams boneless chicken (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • Salt to taste

For the Butter Chicken Gravy:

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 2 large tomatoes, pureed
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup water (adjust as needed)
  • 2 tablespoons kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


Step 1: Marinate the Chicken

  1. In a large bowl, mix the yogurt, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala, and salt.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and coat them well.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight for better flavor absorption.

Step 2: Cook the Chicken

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add the marinated chicken pieces and cook until they are golden brown on all sides. You don’t need to cook them fully at this stage as they will finish cooking in the gravy.
  3. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Step 3: Prepare the Butter Chicken Gravy

  1. In the same pan, add 3 tablespoons of butter and let it melt over medium heat.
  2. Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until they turn golden brown.
  3. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the raw smell disappears.
  4. Add the pureed tomatoes and tomato paste. Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomato mixture thickens and the oil begins to separate.
  5. Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, and garam masala. Mix well and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the partially cooked chicken pieces to the gravy and stir to coat them with the sauce.
  7. Pour in the heavy cream and 1/2 cup of water. Stir well and let the mixture simmer for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and the gravy reaches the desired consistency.
  8. Crush the kasuri methi between your palms and add it to the gravy. Mix well.
  9. Add salt to taste and cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Step 4: Garnish and Serve

  1. Garnish the Butter Chicken with fresh coriander leaves.
  2. Serve hot with naan, roti, or steamed rice.

Tips for Perfect Butter Chicken

  1. Marination Time: Marinate the chicken for at least 2 hours or overnight for the best flavor.
  2. Tomato Puree: Using fresh tomato puree enhances the taste, but you can also use canned tomatoes.
  3. Kasuri Methi: Dried fenugreek leaves add a unique flavor to the dish. Don’t skip this ingredient.
  4. Creaminess: Adjust the amount of cream according to your preference for a richer or lighter gravy.
  5. Spice Levels: Adjust the red chili powder to suit your heat tolerance.


Butter Chicken is a beloved dish that embodies the rich and diverse flavors of Indian cuisine. Its creamy and aromatic gravy combined with tender, flavorful chicken pieces makes it a favorite for many. By following this detailed recipe, you can recreate the magic of restaurant-style Butter Chicken in your own kitchen. Enjoy this delightful dish with your family and friends!

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