ClockPlayEmailInstagramLinkSMSTwitterYouTubeWhatsAppXSearchClockRight ArrowArrow DownCaret downCaret upCaret leftCaret rightHamburger MenuPop OutThumbs upThumbs up buySpeechAudio onReplayPlusMinusSad smiley faceNo resultsSwapMoreYour grocery bagSuccessShop Tasty Merch
Skip to Content
93% would make again

How To Make The Creamiest Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a traditional North Indian dish also known as murgh makhani. The dish gets its name from the generous amount of butter (makhan) used in the recipe, but also from the smooth, silken, butter-like texture of the gravy used to simmer the chicken. Butter chicken is thought to have originated in restaurants in order to use up leftovers of tandoori chicken, an extremely popular dish. Like all Indian recipes, there are countless versions of butter chicken, all with nuanced variations. This is our favorite recipe for the Indian classic.

Tasty Team
August 18, 2021
Total Time

4 hr 30 min

4 hr 30 min

Prep Time

30 minutes

30 min

Cook Time

1 hr

1 hr

How To Make The Creamiest Butter Chicken
Total Time

4 hr 30 min

4 hr 30 min

Prep Time

30 minutes

30 min

Cook Time

1 hr

1 hr

Ingredients

for 4 servings

Garam Masala

  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole clove
  • 20 whole black cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons whole coriander
  • ½ whole nutmeg pod

Ginger-Garlic Paste

  • 1 fresh ginger, peeled
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

Marinade

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri chile powder
  • ½ cup full fat greek yogurt (120 mL)
  • 8 chicken thighs, (about 2 pounds), cut into strips or cubes

Gravy

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 whole black cardamom pod
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 green chiles, finely chopped (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri chile powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 ½ cups crushed tomato (500 g), canned
  • ½ cup cashews (60 g)
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • ½ cup water (120 mL)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground cilantro

For Serving (Optional)

  • basmati rice, cooked
  • onion kulcha
  • garlic naan
  • roti
  • Paratha

Special Equipment

  • 12 wooden skewers

Nutrition Info

  • Calories 895
  • Fat 46g
  • Carbs 51g
  • Fiber 13g
  • Sugar 18g
  • Protein 75g

Estimated values based on one serving size.

Preparation

  1. Make the garam masala: Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom pods, blcak peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and nutmeg to a medium skillet. Toast over medium heat for 1–2 minutes, until fragrant, but not burnt. Transfer the toasted spices to a plate and let cool.
  2. Transfer the spices to an electric spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind into a fine powder. The garam masala will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for several months.
  3. Make the ginger-garlic paste: Add the ginger, garlic, oil, and salt to a small food processor or blender and process into a smooth paste, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed.
  4. Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste, 2 teaspoons garam masala, the turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, lemon juice, Kashmiri red chile powder, and Greek yogurt until well combined. Add the chicken and toss to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but ideally overnight.
  5. Add the wooden skewers to a large baking dish. Cover with enough water to completely submerge, then soak for at least 1 hour.
  6. When ready to cook the chicken, arrange an oven rack in the highest position. Turn the oven to broil on high. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  7. Thread the chicken onto wooden skewers and set on the wire rack, spacing evenly. Broil for 15 minutes, until evenly browned and cooked through, turning the skewers every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking. Let cool slightly before removing chicken from the skewers. Set aside.
  8. While the chicken cooks, make the gravy: In a large, high-walled skillet, melt together the butter and the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, cardamom pod, bay leaf, cloves, green chiles, and turmeric and sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Add the ground cumin, Kashmiri red chile powder, ground coriander, and 1½ teaspoons of garam masala and stir for 1 minute, until well combined.
  9. Add the crushed tomatoes, cashews, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, for 10–15 minutes, until the tomatoes are a deeper, dark red color and the cashews are soft.
  10. Transfer the tomato mixture to a high-powered blender. Add ½ cup water and blend until completely smooth, adding up to ½ cup more water if needed. If your blender is not high-powered, strain the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve after blending for a smoother texture.
  11. Wipe the pan clean, then return the gravy to the pan. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, the sugar, and the cooked chicken. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, until the chicken is warmed through. Stir in the heavy cream and fenugreek and season with more salt to taste.
  12. Garnish the butter chicken with cilantro and serve with your choice of basmati rice, onion kulcha, naan, roti, or paratha.
  13. Enjoy!

Ingredients

for 4 servings

Garam Masala

  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 2 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon whole clove
  • 20 whole black cardamom pods
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorn
  • 2 tablespoons whole cumin seeds
  • 4 tablespoons whole coriander
  • ½ whole nutmeg pod

Ginger-Garlic Paste

  • 1 fresh ginger, peeled
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pinch kosher salt

Marinade

  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri chile powder
  • ½ cup full fat greek yogurt (120 mL)
  • 8 chicken thighs, (about 2 pounds), cut into strips or cubes

Gravy

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon whole cumin seeds
  • 1 whole black cardamom pod
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 2 green chiles, finely chopped (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri chile powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 ½ cups crushed tomato (500 g), canned
  • ½ cup cashews (60 g)
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • ½ cup water (120 mL)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground cilantro

For Serving (Optional)

  • basmati rice, cooked
  • onion kulcha
  • garlic naan
  • roti
  • Paratha

Special Equipment

  • 12 wooden skewers

Nutrition Info

  • Calories 895
  • Fat 46g
  • Carbs 51g
  • Fiber 13g
  • Sugar 18g
  • Protein 75g

Estimated values based on one serving size.

Preparation

  1. Make the garam masala: Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom pods, blcak peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and nutmeg to a medium skillet. Toast over medium heat for 1–2 minutes, until fragrant, but not burnt. Transfer the toasted spices to a plate and let cool.
  2. Transfer the spices to an electric spice grinder or mortar and pestle and grind into a fine powder. The garam masala will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dark place for several months.
  3. Make the ginger-garlic paste: Add the ginger, garlic, oil, and salt to a small food processor or blender and process into a smooth paste, scraping down the sides of the processor as needed.
  4. Marinate the chicken: In a large bowl, whisk together the 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste, 2 teaspoons garam masala, the turmeric, ground cumin, ground coriander, salt, lemon juice, Kashmiri red chile powder, and Greek yogurt until well combined. Add the chicken and toss to coat, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, but ideally overnight.
  5. Add the wooden skewers to a large baking dish. Cover with enough water to completely submerge, then soak for at least 1 hour.
  6. When ready to cook the chicken, arrange an oven rack in the highest position. Turn the oven to broil on high. Set a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.
  7. Thread the chicken onto wooden skewers and set on the wire rack, spacing evenly. Broil for 15 minutes, until evenly browned and cooked through, turning the skewers every 5 minutes to ensure even cooking. Let cool slightly before removing chicken from the skewers. Set aside.
  8. While the chicken cooks, make the gravy: In a large, high-walled skillet, melt together the butter and the olive oil over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds, cardamom pod, bay leaf, cloves, green chiles, and turmeric and sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the onion and cook for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste and cook for another minute, until fragrant. Add the ground cumin, Kashmiri red chile powder, ground coriander, and 1½ teaspoons of garam masala and stir for 1 minute, until well combined.
  9. Add the crushed tomatoes, cashews, and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, for 10–15 minutes, until the tomatoes are a deeper, dark red color and the cashews are soft.
  10. Transfer the tomato mixture to a high-powered blender. Add ½ cup water and blend until completely smooth, adding up to ½ cup more water if needed. If your blender is not high-powered, strain the gravy through a fine-mesh sieve after blending for a smoother texture.
  11. Wipe the pan clean, then return the gravy to the pan. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter, the sugar, and the cooked chicken. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes, until the chicken is warmed through. Stir in the heavy cream and fenugreek and season with more salt to taste.
  12. Garnish the butter chicken with cilantro and serve with your choice of basmati rice, onion kulcha, naan, roti, or paratha.
  13. Enjoy!
How To Make The Creamiest Butter Chicken

Submit a recipe to Tasty

Have a recipe of your own to share?Submit your recipe here.

Submit your recipe here.