Butter Chicken
Butter Chicken
5 from 22 votes
Butter chicken, a luscious, heart-warming delight, goes beyond mere sustenance. Indulge in the rich, creamy, subtly spiced symphony that leaves a lingering aftertaste, making every moment a culinary celebration.
Butter Chicken

Originating from the Indian subcontinent, this dish has gained worldwide popularity for its creamy texture and aromatic spices. While it may seem intimidating at first glance, I assure you, it’s quite manageable even for beginners in the kitchen.

Butter Chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a classic North Indian dish that dates back to the 1950s, originating in Delhi. It was reportedly created by the chefs of the Moti Mahal restaurant, who ingeniously repurposed leftover tandoori chicken by simmering it in a rich, buttery tomato sauce.

Since then, it has become a staple in Indian cuisine, loved for its indulgent flavors and comforting appeal.

Now, you might be wondering about the difficulty level of this recipe. While it does involve a few steps, they’re all relatively straightforward, making it a perfect dish to experiment with if you’re new to cooking Indian cuisine.

Expert Tip: If you prefer a smoother sauce without any texture from the cashews, you can soak the cashews in hot water for 30 minutes before blending them with the tomatoes. This will help them blend more smoothly and evenly.


Chicken: Chicken provides a tender and protein-rich base for the flavorful marinade.

Garlic Paste and Ginger Paste: These two ingredients add depth of flavor and aromatic warmth to the chicken, enhancing its overall taste.

Chilli Powder: A hint of spice from the chili powder gives the chicken marinade a kick without overpowering the dish.

Salt: Salt not only seasons the chicken but also helps to tenderize it, ensuring each bite is succulent and flavorful.

Butter Masala:

Oil: Used for frying and sautéing, oil provides the base for cooking the onions and tomatoes, infusing them with flavor.

Onions: Onions form the foundation of the butter masala, imparting a sweet and savory flavor to the dish as they caramelize.

Tomatoes: Tomatoes lend their vibrant color and tangy sweetness to the sauce, complementing the richness of the butter and cream.

Cashews: Cashews add creaminess and a subtle nuttiness to the sauce, creating a velvety texture.

Garlic Paste and Ginger Paste: Just like in the marinade, garlic and ginger paste bring aromatic flavor to the sauce, enhancing its depth.

Salt: Salt balances the flavors of the sauce, bringing out the natural sweetness of the tomatoes and onions.

Garam Masala: Garam masala is a blend of warm spices that adds complexity and depth to the sauce, giving it a signature Indian flavor.

Butter: Butter adds richness and creaminess to the sauce, making it velvety smooth and indulgent.

Double Cream: Double cream adds luxurious richness and a creamy texture to the sauce, balancing out the acidity of the tomatoes.

Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Methi): Fenugreek leaves impart a unique earthy flavor and aroma to the dish, enhancing its complexity.

Expert Tip: Don’t skip the step of blending the sauce until smooth. This helps to create a velvety texture and ensures a consistent flavor throughout the dish.

Serving Suggestions

  • Basmati Rice: Serve your Butter Chicken alongside fluffy basmati rice for a classic pairing. The fragrant, long-grain rice complements the rich flavors of the dish perfectly, soaking up the creamy sauce with each bite.
  • Garlic Naan: Another popular accompaniment to Butter Chicken is garlic naan. The soft, pillowy bread is perfect for scooping up the creamy sauce and tender chicken, adding a delightful garlicky flavor to each bite.
  • Vegetable Side Dish: Balance out the richness of the Butter Chicken with a side of lightly seasoned vegetables. Steamed broccoli, sautéed spinach, or roasted cauliflower are all excellent options that add freshness and color to the meal.
  • Fresh Herbs: Garnish your Butter Chicken with fresh cilantro or chopped green onions for a pop of color and freshness. The vibrant herbs not only add visual appeal but also a hint of brightness to each bite.
  • Lemon Wedges: Serve lemon wedges on the side for a refreshing burst of acidity. Squeezing a bit of lemon juice over the Butter Chicken just before serving can help cut through the richness of the sauce and enhance its flavors.

Expert Tip: For extra flavor, marinate the chicken for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the spices to penetrate the meat and infuse it with flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use boneless chicken instead of bone-in chicken for Butter Chicken?

Yes, you can absolutely use boneless chicken for this recipe. Boneless chicken cooks faster and is easier to eat, making it a convenient option for many home cooks. Simply adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure the chicken is cooked through.

Can I make Butter Chicken ahead of time?

Yes, Butter Chicken can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Simply reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving. The flavors actually develop more over time, so it often tastes even better the next day!

Is Butter Chicken spicy?

The level of spiciness in Butter Chicken can be adjusted according to your preference. In this recipe, the amount of chili powder used is moderate, providing a subtle kick without being overwhelmingly spicy. If you prefer a milder dish, you can reduce the amount of chili powder or omit it altogether. Conversely, if you like it spicier, you can increase the amount of chili powder or add chopped green chilies.

Is Butter Chicken gluten-free?

Butter Chicken is naturally gluten-free, as none of the ingredients typically contain gluten. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check ingredient labels, especially for store-bought items like garam masala or double cream, to ensure they are gluten-free. If you’re sensitive to gluten or have celiac disease, be cautious of cross-contamination when preparing and serving the dish.

Can I freeze Butter Chicken?

Yes, Butter Chicken can be frozen for longer-term storage. Allow it to cool completely, then transfer it to airtight containers or freezer bags. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then gently reheat it on the stovetop or in the microwave until heated through.

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Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

by Nabeela Kauser
Butter chicken, a luscious, heart-warming delight, goes beyond mere sustenance. Indulge in the rich, creamy, subtly spiced symphony that leaves a lingering aftertaste, making every moment a culinary celebration.
5 from 22 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Marination Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4
Calories 385 kcal



  • 500 g Chicken
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 2 tsp Chilli Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt

Butter Masala

  • 30 ml Oil
  • 2 Onions
  • 500 g Tomatoes
  • 50 g Cashews
  • 500 ml Water
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 50 ml Double Cream
  • 1 tsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves Methi


  • Cut the chicken into small bite size pieces then add into a bowl along with all the marinade ingredients and mix until each pieces is fully coated before setting aside to marinate for at least 1 hour
  • Once the chicken has marinated heat up the oil in a pan on medium heat until hot
  • Add the marinated chicken pieces and fry for 2-3 minutes on either side until lightly charred then remove from pan and set aside
  • Add the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes until softened
  • Add the tomatoes, cashews, water, garlic paste, ginger paste, salt and garam masala then cook for 5-10 minutes until tomatoes are softened
  • Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to cool down before adding into a food processor and blending until a smooth paste forms – if there are any lumps strain through a sieve back into the pan
  • Add the butter, double cream and fenugreek leaves and cook for a further 10-15 minutes
  • Add the cooked chicken pieces and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until the chicken is cooked through
  • Serve with basmati rice or garlic naan then enjoy!



Nutritional facts:
The provision of nutritional information is done merely as a courtesy and should not be taken as a guarantee.


Calories: 385kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 16gFat: 30gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 1265mgPotassium: 615mgFibre: 3gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1695IUVitamin C: 23mgVitamin D: 0.3µgCalcium: 58mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Butter, Chicken, Cooking, Curry, Dinner, Food, Recipe, Spicy
Tried this recipe?Mention @CookwithNabeela or tag #CookwithNabeela!



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Latest comments (4)

Nabeela Kauser

Great to hear you enjoyed the butter chicken! One trick to achieve a richer color is to use Kashmiri chili powder instead of normal chilli powder. It adds a lovely red hue without making the dish too spicy. Give it a try next time and see if it helps.

5 stars
Aunty, this dish is lovely. I’m learning to cook Pakistani dishes and this was so helpful! My butter chicken doesn’t turn out as red as yours but I add a little food colouring to it 😊

Nabeela Kauser

I’m glad you enjoyed the dish! It’s great that you’re learning to cook. Adding a touch of food coloring is a clever idea for getting that vibrant red color. Keep experimenting and adjusting to find what works best for you.

Cook with Nabeela

Hi, I'm Nabeela!

I love to cook! I want to share with you my favourite, delicious family-friendly recipes. I want to inspire you to create fantastic food for your family every day.

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