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Butter Chicken Recipe: Delicious and Creamy Indian Dish

Butter Chicken

Are you craving a flavorful and indulgent Indian dish? Look no further than the classic Butter Chicken recipe. This delectable dish, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a popular North Indian curry that combines tender chicken pieces with a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of preparing this tantalizing dish that will leave your taste buds wanting more.



Butter Chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a beloved Indian dish that has gained international recognition for its rich flavors and velvety texture. The origins of this delectable recipe can be traced back to the vibrant city of Delhi in the 1950s.

The story begins at the renowned Moti Mahal restaurant, a popular establishment known for its Mughlai cuisine. It was here that Butter Chicken was born, thanks to the culinary genius of the restaurant’s founders.

Legend has it that one evening, a chef named Kundan Lal Gujral was faced with a predicament. As leftovers from the tandoori chicken, a signature dish of Moti Mahal, started to accumulate, he sought a way to transform them into a new creation. Inspired by his innovative spirit, Gujral decided to experiment with these tandoori chicken pieces.

To enhance the flavor and texture, Gujral devised a tomato-based gravy infused with aromatic spices and rich cream. He simmered the chicken in this luscious sauce, allowing it to absorb the exquisite flavors. As a final touch, a generous amount of butter was added, giving the dish its distinct richness and velvety consistency.

When the first bite was savored, a burst of flavors danced on the palate. The succulent and smoky tandoori chicken married perfectly with the creamy and mildly spiced tomato sauce. The dish was an instant hit, captivating the taste buds of the diners and quickly becoming a staple at Moti Mahal.

Butter Chicken soon gained popularity beyond the walls of the restaurant. Word of this culinary masterpiece spread throughout Delhi, attracting locals and visitors alike. Its fame continued to grow, reaching far beyond the city’s borders, and soon Butter Chicken became synonymous with North Indian cuisine.

Today, Butter Chicken is a beloved dish not only in India but also in Indian restaurants around the world. Its irresistible combination of tender chicken, creamy tomato sauce, and aromatic spices has won the hearts of food enthusiasts globally. Whether enjoyed with traditional Indian bread like naan or paired with fragrant rice, Butter Chicken continues to be a culinary delight that showcases the rich culinary heritage of India.

As time has passed, variations of Butter Chicken have emerged, with each chef and home cook adding their own unique twist to the recipe. However, the essence of this beloved dish remains unchanged—a harmonious blend of flavors and a testament to the creativity and innovation of Indian cuisine.

So, the next time you savor the delightful flavors of Butter Chicken, remember its humble beginnings in the kitchen of Moti Mahal and the chef who dared to transform leftovers into a culinary masterpiece.


Marinating the Chicken30 minutes
Preparing the Sauce15 minutes
Cooking the Chicken15 minutes
Finishing Touches5 minutes
Total Cooking Time65 minutes

Please note that the cooking and preparation time mentioned above are approximate and may vary depending on individual cooking methods and experience. It’s always advisable to follow the recipe instructions and adjust the time as needed to ensure the chicken is cooked thoroughly and the flavors are well developed.


Boneless chicken250 grams
Plain yogurt1/2 cup
Lemon juice1 tablespoon
Ginger paste1 teaspoon
Garlic paste1 teaspoon
Red chili powder1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric powder1/2 teaspoon
Garam masala1/2 teaspoon
Saltto taste
Butter1 tablespoon
Oil1 tablespoon
Onions1 medium
Heavy cream1/2 cup
Kasuri methi (fenugreek)1/2 teaspoon
Fresh cilantro leavesfor garnish

Please note that the ingredient quantities mentioned above are for a 2-person serving of the Butter Chicken recipe. Adjust the quantities accordingly if you are serving more or fewer people.


1. Marinating the Chicken

  • In a bowl, combine the plain yogurt, lemon juice, ginger paste, garlic paste, red chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, and salt.
  • Add the boneless chicken pieces to the marinade and mix well, ensuring each piece is coated. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate overnight for maximum flavor absorption.

2. Preparing the Sauce

  • Heat butter and oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Add the finely chopped onions and sauté until golden brown.
  • Stir in the pureed tomatoes and cook for a few minutes until the oil separates from the mixture.
  • Add the kasuri methi (fenugreek) and mix well.
  • Reduce the heat and slowly pour in the heavy cream, stirring continuously. Simmer for a few minutes until the sauce thickens.

3. Cooking the Chicken

  • Heat a grill pan or skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Cook the marinated chicken pieces until they are slightly charred and cooked through. Set them aside.

4. Finishing Touches

  • Add the cooked chicken pieces to the prepared sauce and mix gently, ensuring the chicken is well-coated.
  • Let the dish simmer for a few minutes on low heat, allowing the flavors to meld together.

5. Serving Suggestions

  • Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.
  • Serve the Butter Chicken with naan, roti, or steamed rice for a delightful meal.

Enjoy the tantalizing flavors of homemade Butter Chicken with its creamy sauce and succulent chicken pieces. Remember to adjust the spice levels and cooking times to suit your personal preferences. Bon appétit!

Equipment Required

Nutrition Information

Nutrition InformationAmount per Serving
Serving Size1/2 recipe
Total Fat29g
– Saturated Fat15g
Total Carbohydrate11g
– Dietary Fiber2g
– Sugars5g

Please note that the nutrition information provided above is an estimate and may vary depending on specific ingredients and cooking methods. It’s always a good idea to refer to specific product labels or consult with a healthcare professional for accurate nutritional information based on your dietary needs and specific ingredients used in the recipe.


  • Tenderizing the Chicken: For an extra tender result, you can add a tablespoon of plain yogurt or a teaspoon of meat tenderizer powder to the marinade. This will help break down the proteins in the chicken and make it more tender.
  • Adjusting the Spice Level: If you prefer a milder version, reduce the amount of red chili powder or omit it altogether. Conversely, if you enjoy a spicier dish, you can increase the amount of red chili powder or add a pinch of cayenne pepper.
  • Charcoal Smoky Flavor: To infuse a smoky flavor into the chicken, you can use a charcoal grill instead of a regular grill pan or skillet. Simply heat a piece of charcoal until it turns red-hot, place it in a small heatproof bowl or foil tray, and carefully place the bowl/tray on top of the cooked chicken. Drizzle a little bit of oil over the charcoal and cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid. Let it sit for a few minutes to allow the smoky flavors to penetrate the chicken.
  • Creamy Texture: If you prefer a creamier texture, you can increase the amount of heavy cream or add a dollop of unsalted butter to the sauce at the end.

Pros & Cons

✅ Flavorful and rich❌ High in calories
✅ Creamy and indulgent❌ High in saturated fat
✅ Versatile and customizable❌ Time-consuming preparation
✅ Loved by many❌ Requires marinating time
✅ Can be paired with various sides❌ May require special ingredients


In conclusion, Butter Chicken is a tantalizing Indian dish that combines succulent chicken pieces with a creamy tomato-based sauce. Its rich and flavorful profile has made it a beloved favorite around the world. The tender and charred chicken, bathed in the luscious sauce, creates a symphony of flavors that will leave your taste buds craving more.

While Butter Chicken may require some time and effort to prepare, the end result is well worth it. The combination of aromatic spices, creamy texture, and the warmth of Indian flavors makes it a truly satisfying meal. Plus, its versatility allows you to customize it according to your taste preferences and dietary needs.

Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a beginner in the kitchen, this recipe is sure to impress. The bold and inviting flavors will transport you to the vibrant streets of India, where the aroma of spices fills the air.

So, why not embark on a culinary adventure and try your hand at making Butter Chicken? Gather the ingredients, follow the step-by-step instructions, and allow yourself to indulge in the joy of cooking. You’ll be rewarded with a mouthwatering dish that will delight your senses and create unforgettable memories.

Don’t miss out on experiencing this classic Indian delicacy. Treat yourself, your family, and your friends to a taste of Butter Chicken, and let the flavors transport you to a world of culinary delight.


  • 1. The Serendipitous Creation 🍗🌶️
    • Legend has it that Butter Chicken was created by a chef who ingeniously transformed leftover tandoori chicken into a new culinary masterpiece. Talk about turning leftovers into gold!
  • 2. A Dish Fit for Royalty 👑🍽️
    • Butter Chicken was a favorite of the royal palate. It was rumored to be a preferred dish of Emperor Shah Jahan, who also commissioned the construction of the iconic Taj Mahal.
  • 3. Butter Chicken’s Bollywood Stardom 🎥🌟
    • Butter Chicken gained popularity in Bollywood films, becoming a recurring theme in romantic scenes and family gatherings. It has become synonymous with Indian culinary culture in the world of cinema.
  • 4. A Global Sensation 🌍🍛
    • Butter Chicken has conquered international taste buds. It is not only cherished in India but has gained immense popularity worldwide, with many countries embracing it as a beloved comfort food.
  • 5. The Sweet Butter Connection 🧈🍯
    • In some variations of Butter Chicken, a touch of honey or sugar is added to balance the flavors and enhance the richness of the dish. This subtle sweetness adds a delightful dimension to the savory flavors.


Can I use bone-in chicken for this recipe?

Yes, you can use bone-in chicken pieces if you prefer. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the chicken is cooked through.

Can I use skinless chicken for Butter Chicken?

Yes, you can use skinless chicken for this recipe. The dish will still turn out flavorful and delicious.

Can I make Butter Chicken ahead of time?

Yes, you can make Butter Chicken ahead of time and reheat it when ready to serve. The flavors often deepen and meld together after sitting for a day or two, making it even more delicious.

How can I make the dish less spicy?

To make the dish less spicy, you can reduce or omit the amount of red chili powder used in the recipe. You can also add a little more cream to mellow out the spice level.

Can I freeze Butter Chicken?

Yes, you can freeze Butter Chicken. Allow it to cool completely, transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags, and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

What can I serve with Butter Chicken?

Butter Chicken pairs well with naan bread, roti, rice, or even quinoa. You can also serve it with a side of cucumber raita or a fresh salad for a refreshing contrast.

Can I use Greek yogurt instead of plain yogurt?

Yes, you can use Greek yogurt as a substitute for plain yogurt in the marinade. However, Greek yogurt tends to be thicker and tangier, so you may want to dilute it with a little water or lemon juice to achieve the desired consistency and flavor.

Is there a vegetarian version of Butter Chicken?

Yes, there is a vegetarian version of Butter Chicken called “Paneer Butter Masala.” Instead of chicken, paneer (Indian cottage cheese) is used as the main ingredient. The rest of the preparation and sauce remain similar.

Can I use coconut milk instead of heavy cream?

Yes, you can substitute heavy cream with coconut milk for a dairy-free version. Coconut milk adds a slightly different flavor profile to the dish, giving it a subtle tropical touch.

Can I adjust the spice levels in the dish?

Absolutely! You have full control over the spice levels. Feel free to increase or decrease the amount of spices according to your preference. Taste and adjust the seasoning as you go along to ensure the perfect balance of flavors.