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Butter Chicken Recipe
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4.89 from 18 votes

Butter Chicken Recipe (aka Murgh Makhani)

Butter chicken is a hugely popular Indian curry that results in a rich and creamy gravy that is almost buttery. It is incredibly easy to prepare, needing only a few minutes of chopping and pan cooking. After that, everything simmers. You only need to stir in a bit of cream at the end and cook some rice. My butter chicken recipe goes heavy on the spices for you.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Marinating Time30 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Indian
Keyword: chicken, curry, recipe, spicy
Servings: 6
Calories: 558kcal



  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs chopped into bite sized pieces (chicken breast is good, too)
  • 2 tablespoons grated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder Kashmeri chili powder is traditional, but paprika is good
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or use butter)
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 1 red pepper chopped (I used a long red cayenne, but use your favorite)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon spicy red chili flakes optional
  • 14 ounces diced tomatoes fresh or canned, or use tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream or use ½ cup milk and ½ cup cream for a lighter version

FOR SERVING: Fresh chopped herbs, extra hot pepper flakes, cooked rice, warmed naan



    • Add the chopped chicken to a medium bowl. Add the garlic, ginger, garam masala, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, salt and pepper yogurt and lemon juice.
    • Stir to cover the chicken. Cover and set in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 30 minutes. You can marinate overnight for greater flavor penetration.


    • Heat a large pan to medium high heat and add the olive oil. Add the chicken and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until the chicken is browned. Remove the chicken and set it aside.
    • Melt the butter in the same pan. Add the onion and peppers and cook them 5 minutes to soften.
    • Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute, until they become fragrant.
    • Add the garam masala, cumin, red chili powder, salt and pepper, and red chili flakes (if using). Stir and cook for 1 minute.
    • Stir in the diced tomatoes. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes to break everything down.
    • Transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. You can thin it out with a bit of water if you’d like.
    • Strain the sauce back into the pan. The point is to make the sauce very smooth and heat through.
    • Stir in the cream and add the chicken back to the pan. Heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce thickens up a bit.
    • Serve with cooked white rice. Garnish with fresh chopped herbs (parsley or cilantro), and spicy red chili flakes, if desired. Swirl on a bit of extra cream.



    Calories are estimated without rice or naan.


    Calories: 558kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 45g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Cholesterol: 215mg | Sodium: 217mg | Potassium: 634mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2130IU | Vitamin C: 35.3mg | Calcium: 102mg | Iron: 2.6mg