Butter Chicken / Murgh Makhani

Butter Chicken , also known as Murg Makhani, is a very rich and popular dish with everyone and every age group! My sons know this as ‘chicken with the red curry’ and enjoy it to the hilt. Considering how often we make it at our home, we have to make it a little more healthy without compromising on the taste. Butter Chicken is one of those dishes that very few restaurants get wrong…every cook or chef has his or her own little variations which makes their dish unique and yet, fantastic. Murg Makhani is a dish that has wonderful flavor and a rich and creamy texture. You will surely fall in love with it!

Serves: 4-6


Chicken – 1.5 lbs, boneless skinless thighs
Lemon Juice – 1 tbsp
Red Chili Powder – to taste
Salt – to taste
Yogurt – 1/2 cup
Ginger & Garlic Paste – 4 tsp
Tandoori Masala – 2 tsp
Unsalted Butter – 1.5 tbsp
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Big Cardamom – 1
Green Cardamom – 2
Cinnamon Stick – 1″ pc.
Bay Leaf – 1
Tomatoes – 3 large, pureed
Sugar – 1 tsp or to taste
Dried Methi Leaves (Kasoori Methi) – 1 tbsp
Green Chili – to taste, finely chopped
Heavy Whipping Cream – 1 cup or to taste
Cilantro – 3 sprigs, finely chopped


1. Cut the Chicken to bite-size pieces and wash it well.
2. In a bowl (or large Ziplock bag) add the following – Lemon Juice, 2 tsps of Ginger & Garlic Paste, Tandoori Masala, Red Chili Powder, Salt and Yogurt.
3. Mix well and marinate in the refrigerator overnight for best results or atleast a couple of hours.
4. Grease a broiler dish with ghee, oil or cooking spray and layer the Chicken in a single layer.ย Broil on high for 5-7 minutes on each side. Keep an eye on it as every oven varies.ย  The size of the chicken pieces makes a difference and where you place the rack in the oven plays a big role in howย long the chicken needs to be cooked.
5. For the gravy, in a medium size pan on medium heat, melt and heat the Butter.
6. Once hot, add the Cardamoms, Bay Leaf and Cinnamon Stick. Fry for 1 minute.
7. Add the balance of Ginger and Garlic paste and fry of 30 secs.
8. Add in the Green Chilis and the Tomato Puree. Mix well.
9. Add in the Salt, Red Chili Powder and Garam Masala and mix well.
10. Allow it to come to a boil and then lower the heat and let the gravy simmer for 10 minutes till most of the juice from the tomatoes evaporates.
11. Add in the Sugar and the Dried Methi Leaves and allow it to cook for another 2 minutes before adding broiled Chicken pieces. Mix well to coat Chicken.
12. Add the Whipping Cream, mix and allow it to come to a boil and take it off the flame.
13. At this point, doย a taste test and adjust the salt, sugar and the liquid in the gravy.
14. Mix in half the Cilantro in the dish and garnish the balance while serving.


1. Don’t have access to a broiler dish? – no problem…use metal skewers or wooden ones(soaked) or just barbeque them on the grill.
2. Great alternatives to making this dish everyday and not feeling guilty about it –

* Use Chicken Breast instead of Chicken Thighs, but make sure you baste the Chicken Breasts while broiling or they will dry up.
* Use Oil instead of Butter.
* Substitutes for Heavy Whipping Cream – Half and Half, Evaporated Milk, Lactaid, Milk or Milk Powder (so you can control the water).

Watch and learn!

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145 thoughts on “Butter Chicken / Murgh Makhani

  1. This by far is the best butter chicken recipe I’ve ever found. I’ve made this 3 times already and the results are just consistently delicious. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I’ve just printed your recipe for naan bread, I’ll let you know how it goes.


  2. Hi,
    could you please get the print option that you used to have before. As every time i have to print i have to copy and paste in word and then print. your print option was really good. hope you work on it and bring it back soon.

    1. Hi Amita,

      There is a black box with many different icons at the top of every post. Look for the printer icon and it will take you to a printer friendly page.

  3. I have one more doubt…what do you do with the rest of the marinade? after the chicken marinates overnight, there is some marinade left in the vessel….can we add that to the gravy???

  4. hie,
    Im planning to make this for a party 2 days from now and I need to alter this recipe to serve 8 people…how do I do that?

    relatively inexperienced cook!

    1. Hi Asha,
      Sorry, we were on vacation!
      This recipe serves about 4-6 people, so depending on how many more dishes you are making, we suggest doubling this amount at the most (better to have extra then run short)!

      1. hie anuja…

        Thank you so much for the reply! I think I will double it…will let you know how it went…
        Hope you both had a great vacation and all the best for the food network challenge- Ive cast my vote couple of time!

        Big fan!
        Keep up the great work…

  5. I really enjoyed making this dish… I thought it would have been really difficult but turns out it was easy and fun and it turned out delicious! =) Thank You

  6. Dear ladys!
    We are a few guys who are living and working in Budapest( Hungary). We are following your youtube recipe and also your website….
    We are meeting once the week and we are cooking your recipes.
    It is not possible to find a good Indian restauarnt in Budapest!
    Thank you for all your effort!
    Lady’s, The IBM boys loves you!

  7. Hi Anuja and Hetal,

    you guys are simply amazing…amazing recepies.

    i sooo much wanna make this recepie but i am not allowed to mix any milk product with chicken ..(due to religious reasons)

    what do i do ..

    i want to make this dish

    what alternatives to i have instead of the butter,cream and yogurt.

    please help..

    1. Hi Edna,
      We understand and a great alternative for you would be to use Coconut Milk in the c=gravy and for the marination, skip the yogurt (use just the spices)
      It will taste great ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Hi Hetal & Anuja,

    First of all, thank you for sharing the recipe with the video…it’s helpful…I did try it today..1st time…how does it suppose to taste ? It was very think and sourish..where I tried to add sugar afew times..but the sourish taste didnt reduce that much…But, later on I was thinking of adding water and boiling it…I added sugar and salt…now it was tasting much better from my opinion…

    Can you tell what I may have done wrong in the 1st place where it was sourish ?;)

    Thank you.


    1. Hi Savin,

      Don’t know why it was sour – there is nothing (other than the tomatoes) and that is not too much.
      Hope you did use the right ingredients – or maybe your tomatoes were very sour (guessing)
      The gravy is very creamy with a slight hint of sour and sweet (from the sugar) and the chicken is very flavorful with a slight char-grilled taste but very soft and tender. Overall one of the most loved and popular chicken dishes in Indian cuisine.
      Hope you’ll give it another try (try reducing the tomatoes quantity)!

    1. Hi Bobby,

      If you want more intense cardamom flavor, you can pound the pods slightly. However, you don’t want all the whole seed coming out because it’s not a good thing to bite into a cardamom seed (unless you really LOVE cardamom) :).

  9. can we use the fresh cream instead of whipping cream??
    and does the taste changes if we fry the marinated chicken in butter or should it be broiled in oven to say this is “butter chicken”??

    1. Hi Mersh,

      If the fresh cream is the pouring consistency, it will work for this recipe. If you don’t have an oven, you can always cook the chicken on the stove and then follow the same procedure.

  10. hello
    i don not have an oven or a grill is there something else that i can use… let me i rely want to try it,,, coz i hav tried ur other reciepes it came rely gud… ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Puja,

      Although we’ve never tried it, you could possibly cook the chicken in a pan on the stove and then add it to the gravy.

      1. Give the marinated chicken a charcoal baghar and then add. Or stir fry in a little butter or oil. Great recipe

  11. Hi Hetal & Anuja,
    My guests just loved this dish.I made it for my party using pureed tomatoes after consulting you in Sept.
    Thanks a lot for your suggestion & keep up the good work.

  12. This is really a good website for ppl to learn step by step cooking and I’ve tried some dishes myself it sure taste good….keep up the good work Ladies you’re doing a good job…..: )

  13. Hi Hetal & Anuja,
    I just tried this recipe during the weekend and it turned out so good… The first trial itself was just perfect.Thanks for really being clear on how to cook it..so there is more partying at my home these days ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Hi Anuja & Hetal,
    I loved this recipe.My sons complimented saying,it tastes just like the restaurant.I’m planning to make this for my next party,so I have 2 questions
    1. Can I use chicken breast instead of thigh?(It’s easier to turn them in the oven)
    2.Can I use canned tomato puree?If yes, what’s the equivalent proportion?
    Your sincere fan,

    1. Hi Shakuntala,

      We are so glad that you and your sons enjoyed this recipe, thanks for taking the time to let us know.

      To answer your questions:

      You can use chicken breast. It is definately healthier because it has a lot less fat. What you have to keep in mind is that it also cooks really fast so try not to overcook it in the oven.
      One, 14 oz can of crushed/ pureed tomatoes is approx 3 large tomatoes.

      Have fun at the party!

  15. Hello,

    Thank you for this recipe and the videos, I am very excited to try this. I was at India Fest in Memphis , Tn this past weekend and got a chance to buy some buttered chicken and bring it home and eat (Fasting for Ramadaan) and my husband requested I make this! Thank you so much for the recipes it reminds me of back home shopping on Devon Street in Chicago and stopping and getting lunch!

  16. Hi Anuja and Hetal,
    I noticed that you have Butter paneer on your site as well, but the mixture is slightly different. Does it need to be different to cook chicken that way? Or can you use the Butter Paneer recipe and just add the marinated chicken? The reason I ask is that chat masala used in butter paneer has a very distinctive taste and I wasn’t sure you could use the butter paneer sauce recipe for the chicken. Thanks so much for bring a pinch of spice to my life!!! You guys are great!

    1. Hi Judy,

      There are so many different recipes for Butter Chicken/Paneer that we thought we’d show a couple of them. Either the paneer or the chicken will work great for either sauce. Like you said, you can add the marinated chicken to the butter paneer recipe and finish the cooking process.

  17. Yummy! I’ll try it this sunday for my husband .And i’m sure he’ll like this recipe .. It looks too good.

  18. i have been trying to get the methi leaves in the butter chicken where could i find them i am in a small town with very limited shops this recipe sounds so easy to make but i would not like to leave any thing out as i may not get the same taste thank you by the way great site

    1. Hi Lou,

      You can definitely use butter. The flavor is slightly different. The benefit of ghee is that it has a high smoking point and doesn’t burn as does butter.

  19. ive tried this recipe several times. i did make some changes to suit my needs. i used half a tbsp of butter, which worked out fine (and reduced the calorie and fat level), 1 chopped green chili. i reduced the garam masala by half, used about a 1/4 tsp of red chili powder, and used 3/4 cup half and half (more than creamy enough using this!). another thing i did was used canned tomatoes, and since those tomatoes were small roma type tomatoes, i used double (so about 6 with a little tomato juice from the can) and pureed it in my magic bullet. ive also made paneer makhani using this recipe and it turned out equally awesome. Your recipe is definetly better than restaurant butter chicken, which can be a hit and miss.

  20. This recipe turned out superb!!! The only thing I did differently was put 3/4 tsps of sugar instead of 1. Thanks so much for this recipe! I can’t wait to try others.

  21. Made this on Valentine’s night!!

    Excellent receipe!! 10 out of 10! I couldn’t believe how good this tasted! We all thought this was nicer than meals we have had in Indian resturaunts etc.

    Keep up the great work!!

  22. Hi Sri,
    I suggest you make the gravy ahead of time and grill/broil the chicken the day of the party. The broiling takes only about 15 minutes.
    So on the day of the party, reheat the gravy, bring to a good boil and add in the grilled chicken and the garnish:-)

  23. Hi Anuja and Hetal,

    Am planing to make this dish for a party. Can i prepare this dish a day before? How do i reheat so that it remains fresh and its aroma intact.


  24. My mom made this a couple weeks ago and it was awesome! The instructions were really easy to follow. It seriously tasted like it was from a restaurant. We can’t wait to make more stuff. Thanks for this website and recipe!

  25. Hello anuja and hetal i am from switzerland . i am a nervous cook but now after ur help i am not feeling that . very good website . kindly put one more receipe masala chickpeas. once again thanks for this wonderful website.

  26. Excellent recipe! I made this for a recent dinner party and it was a huge hit. Followed your recipe exactly and it was absolutely delicious! Finding the right tomatoes does make a difference. I used a can of pureed tomatoes, which had the perfect level of sweetness (and saved time). Love this website!! You should definitely advertise more and bring more attention to your great content. Hope you keep posting. Thanks again for this wonderful service!

    1. Hi! i wanted to use canned pureed tomatoes too but i didnt want it to affect the taste of the dish by using too much or too little. any suggestions on how much to use?

      1. Hi Daniel,
        One 14 oz can of crushed tomatoes is approx 3 large tomatoes. If you can’t find crushed tomates, you can take a can of diced tomatoes and blend them.
        Hope that helps!

      2. hey i used the canned puree ,,, the taste is pretty good .. but you need to be a bit careful cos its concentrated so use say about 4-5 spoons of it .. rather than taking the quantity of 3 tomatoes … try it out …


  28. We have never tried Buttermilk but We are sure it will alter the taste and will not be as creamy. If you are looking for a healthier alternative, try using Evaporated milk instead.

  29. This is awesome. Very good website. Video demo makes all the difference. Keep publishing more and also do bit of publicity of your nice work

    San Jose, CA

  30. I made this tonight for my husband and his friends, and it was a super hit. I didn’t have the dry methi leaves or the green cardamom, but it still turned out great. I will have to agree with Meenakshi and say it did taste like the murgh makhani from an Indian Restaurant! Keep up the good work and I’ll keep spreading the word!

  31. it’s taste like what we eat in indian restaurant really it’s so tasty. i have also some recepie of chicken biryani and i like to share with u .how can i do ? some recepie i submit on ur site but i didn’t get any response that is my recepie selected or not?

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