Butter chicken or Murg makhani

This delicious butter chicken was on my to-do list for a long time. I think this is one of the staples of Indian restaurants outside India. I have eaten in atleast 10 different Indian restaurants in last 2 years and each and every one had this on the menu. That may be the reason, this is known to all non-Indians over here. Last month, we had been to a lunch party and one of my colleagues said his favorite Indian dish is butter chicken. That itself speaks its popularity. I love butter chicken too, but some restaurants really mess it up.

Butter chicken is called as Murgh makhani in Hindi. There are many different recipes for this dish. Everyone seems to follow their own recipe for it. I followed my favorite chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s simple makhani gravy recipe and changed few things. I had very little hopes of getting a perfect butter chicken. But when it got ready, it was so delicious, I could not believe I actually had prepared it. Kasoori methi really gives it a very great flavor to it.

Some other recipes from different blogs for butter chicken here.

1/4 kg boneless chicken pieces
1/4 cup thick yogurt
1/4 tea spn ginger paste
1/4 tea spn garlic paste
A pinch turmeric

Apply all the ingredients to chicken pieces and keep aside for about 1hr.

For Gravy:
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 tbl spn ginger paste
1/4 tea spn garlic paste
1 cup tomato paste (Cook 2 big tomatoes in water and then grind them to smooth paste)
1 tbl spn cashews ground into smooth paste (optional)
1 tea spn kasoori methi
1 tea spn garam masala
1/2 tea spn chili powder
1/4 cup fresh cream
2 tbl spns butter
2-3 strands coriander leaves

Heat 1 tbl spn butter and fry the marinated chicken till it is 3/4th done. Take out on a plate and keep aside.
Heat remaining butter and add onions, ginger, garlic, fry till onions turn translucent. Add chili powder, garam masala and kasoori methi (slightly roast the methi to make it crisp, crush the kasoori methi using palms to make a powder). Add tomato paste, salt, cashew paste, chicken pieces. Cover and cook till the gravy thickens. Pour cream and cook for 1-2mins. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

Serves : 2-3
Preparation time : 40mins

60 thoughts on “Butter chicken or Murg makhani”

  1. I got chicken yesterday to make coorg chicken curry, and you posted another one. Very very fast shilpa. I have made paneer butter masala in a similar way with trial and errors. Adding Kasoori methi, cashews and cream makes a lot of difference in these punjabi dishes. Thanks for the tip of roasting kasoori methi before adding.

  2. this should taste good!!! any tips on how to make the gravy redder like in restaurants?

    Shilpa: There are 3 things you can try
    1) Use kashmiri red chili powder which gives a bright color
    2) Some of the recipes call for Tandoori masala. You can try adding it.
    3) Use food color.

  3. you too succumbed to the butter flutter nutter temptation? yours looks better than the restaurant stuff.

    Shilpa: Thats a nice name Bee. May be you can add splatter also… It took quite a long time to clean up after making this :).

  4. Hi Shilpa,

    The recipe sounds delicious and will try out soon. A question though – is it 1/4 tsp of ginger paste and not 1/4 cup?

    Shilpa: Thanks Sri for pointing out. Updated now.

  5. Hey Shilpa,

    The butter chicken looks really yumm..Yes, I love to use kasuri methi even in egg and paneer butter masala ..Gives a very nice flavour..Nice post

  6. As soon as this dish was discovered by both my ex and my current b/f, it became what they would order always- without exception- each time we dined at an Indian restaurant. I like to have just a bite or two, as I am well aware of how much butter is usually added to the gravy in the restaurants.

    This recipe looks quite good, and yours came out quite beautifully, especially I like the drizzle of cream!

    Shilpa: Actually I tried to create a nice pattern with cream, but it got spread :D. I am happy that finally the picture is looking good.
    See this one has very less butter, so u can try it at home. I am sure you will love it.

  7. Shilpa..this recipe coming from you has made an entry into the must make list now!I had last eaten best tasting butter chicken in a restaurant in Andheri East near my office!Here they mess it up and its far frm BC!!Tks for posting..am gathering the ingr. for this right away!

  8. Hey
    wow another yummy recipe with even yummier photos. Though I am a vegetarian and will try this recipe with Paneer ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to make it , but am short of fresh cream, need to make a trip to safeway! ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Hi Shilpa Thanks for your delicious recipes. Just wondering if 1/4 lb. chicken would be enough to serve 2-3 as mentioned or did you mean 1/4 kg.chicken.

    Shilpa: Neville, you are right. Thanks for pointing out. Updated now.

  10. Wow Shilpa..Amazing recipie again for Chiken..!! lately I wanted to cook chicken gravy but somthng different frm our Maharashtrian one..So here is d perfect new recipie.. N gr8 thing is that it dosnt require coconut..(I somtimes dnt like using much of coconut in my gravies..)
    So,M trying this recipie rgt away.. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Thnks alot.


  11. Hi shilpa,
    This looks so yuuummmyyy….i m gonna try it.But i have a question I am new to kitchen..and i stay in US..where can i get readymade cream or can u suggest any substitute?

    Shilpa: Cream is available in dairy isles of any store. It comes in some pack like this. It is kept along with yogurt and milk. I usually buy smallest pack and finish off soon.

  12. Hi Shilpa,i made ths recipie for dinner yestrday n its absolutely delicious ๐Ÿ™‚ Moreover it luks gr8….like d typical one served in Punjabi restaurants..n tastes even better than that.. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I liked d idea of fryng chiken till 3/4th in Butter..I guess that imparts a rich buttery taste ofcourse with all othr thngs..Thnks alot dear..:-)

    Best regards,

  13. I made Murg Makhani on New Years eve and my guests said it was absolutely delicious. They were hard core non vegetarians and said it is like a restaurant gravy. They were amazed how can a vegetarian cook chicken so well.

    I made panner makhani last evening in the same way after marinating panner and frying in butter before adding.

    The blanching of tomatoes made the gravy smoother. Thanks Shilpa for trying and posting the delicious recipe.

  14. Shilpa,
    your shailpik chicken butter masala isawesome.This is the second time i am preparing this and my husbend waitng eagerly when it will be served.thanks a lot.

  15. hi,
    i tried your recipie today for my brother who is visiting from sunnyvale.He loved it and me too.
    the only change i made to it was instead of frying the chicken i roasted it first covered in the oven and then put it under the broiler,it turned out just as good.

    thanks for your recipie and look forward for more.

  16. Prepared this dish on Sunday. The taste was really close to the dish we get in the Indian Restaurants here, absolutely amazing :). Everyone at home loved it. Thanks for sharing the lovely recipe!

  17. I tried this recipe on saturday and boy my hubby loved. However there were two things I did a little different. First, I added 1 tsp honey. Secondly, in chicken marination, I added tandoori masala and did not put ginger/garlic paste. In the end I also a little color, so it was exact orange restaurant color.

    It was exactly like restaurant. My hubby was impressed ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. We tried the Murgh Makhani without the kasoori methi and it came out great. We couldn’t find the methi leaves or cashew nut pieces. But still it was a good curry.

    Thanks for the Recipie

  19. Made this tonight and it was a great recipe! Not too hard either. I was unable to find kasoori methi so I used an equal amount of dried coriander.
    I also used tinned crushed tomatoes in place of tomato puree. It was an absolute hit! Thanks so much!

  20. Shilpa,
    I have just attempted your recipe with some capsicum and Onion (cut in larger pieces like shells instead of finely chopd) The chicken is marinating right now…hope it turns out well. Will let u know

  21. Hi Shilpa,
    Tried this for dinner yesterday! Wow, it was so delicious!!
    I have tried a number of chicken dishes from ur site succesfully.. My hubby loved almost all dishes.. But yesterday, he says “This is the best chicken dish till date. Pls remember this recipe and make it again.” ๐Ÿ™‚
    I didnt have kasuri methi and cashew paste. So added whole milk and heavy cream.. Also, used chicken drumsticks..The gravy was very silky and smooth..Thanks a lot for this absolutely flavorful recipe..
    I had made this for my hubby’s birthday and oh Boy, i am so pleased to see him eat so happily..Thanks Shilpa..

  22. Hi Shilpa,
    Garam masala which you have mentioned in list above is it the red one or black one.
    I have 2 masalas at my place one is red one which contains red chilies+other garam masala ingredients like pepper,lavang etc.
    The other one is black one.
    Can you suggest

    Shilpa: Red one

  23. Hi Shilpa,

    Going through your site reminds me so much of my folks it makes me very homesick! ( meant in a nice nostalgic way :))
    Though I am a north canara person and love looking at all the konkani recipes, I mainly look at your site for the things which we didnt make at home but ate in resturants back in bangalore which I cant get recipes for from my mum! Was going through your PBM thinking of making it today and saw 1 tblsp of ginger paste and 1 tsp of garlic – is this the proportion that is needed for this dish? I was told generally use 1 ginger : 2 garlic.
    Please post an answer to this when you can,

    thank you very much


    1. I use the quantities given in recipe and it works out for me. You can change it if you want. There is no hard and fast rule about the quantities, everyone uses according to their taste.

  24. Hi Shilpa,

    This looks great — I’m planning to cook it this weekend, but I’m having some trouble with the kasoori methi… that’s the herb version of Fenugreek, right?

    Thanks for your hard work!


  25. Wow — I just cooked this with my wife (we quadrupled the recipe for leftovers during the week). This is my new ALL-TIME favorite.

    Thank you so much! I think we’re going to be trying a lot more of these!

  26. Gosh! This was a wonderful recipe…I loved the taste of it. I had tried another receipe from another site, some years back and it was horrible..hence was very hesitant in trying this one…but on checking the review i guessed it had to be today or never. It was a hit and I loved every bite of it….Thank you very much…

  27. The most awesome chicken curry I have ever made.. its even better than any I have ever eaten at any restaurant! 100 stars! ๐Ÿ˜€

  28. Hi Shilpa, i’m a big fan of ur blog. Huge collection of mouthwatering but simple recipes at same place.
    I’m going to try nonveg recipe for the first time and i’m going to start with ur butter chicken recipe.Plz help me with the cream which cream shld i use ? Whipped cream, coffee creamer or half n half… i’m confused. I’ll let u know the output. Thanks.

  29. Hi Shilpa, the butter chicken was delicious. My husband loved it. Thank u so much for the recipe.
    But now i’ve to finish that big carton of whipping cream can u plz suggest me some recipes using whipping cream. That would be gr8, Thanks and wish u and ur family a very HAPPY DIWALI.

  30. Hi Shilpaji,

    I was wondering how you achieved the yellow color for this Butter Chicken? Also, should I use thigh meat in addition to the chicken breast?



  31. Hi Shilpa,

    I have tried many of ur recepis but the best till date was the Butter chicken it was really good just added tandoori masala also while marinating the chicken but it was truely good!!Thanks my family loved it.

  32. Hi Shilpa,
    I triedy your butter chicken receipe yesterday and it was very good, my mom and my hubby said it taste just like the restaurants.

  33. hi shilpa, I always try out your recipes and they turn awesome. For the past 3 yrs I hv been following ur site and rely greatly upon the results too. I tried this one today and though it tasted supreme, it was not at all closer to “butter chicken” Plus the gravy too fell short for 2 of us (me n hubby). Cud u let me knw how to increase the gravy ? And m really clueless as to why it dint taste as it shud have ๐Ÿ™

  34. hi
    at last night i was trying to make butter chiken according to ur given recipe and i cooked a very tastey food all my frnd sd woooooaaaaaaaaooooooooooo

  35. Hi Shilpa,

    I tried ur butter chicken and it turned out very well. My kids and hubby liked it very much. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

  36. Dear Shilpa… i have just cooked it but not tasted it yet since am waiting for my hubby to return from his office:) the dich looks and smell so extremely delicious, im loving it. along with it i have made the apple halwa ๐Ÿ™‚ that too im sure would turn out great.

  37. Hi Shilpa,
    My sis has been a fan of your website. She picked up many a tricks from here, like making perfect rotis; her banana drop cookies are a hit too.

    She was craving for butter chicken recently and I thought why not look for a recipe in her favourite site. ๐Ÿ™‚
    I never order butter chicken in restaurants due to an experience long ago – I wasn’t impressed with the ‘sweet’ chicken gravy I tasted there.
    So frankly I didn’t even know how it is supposed to taste.

    The dish was a HIT ! Sis licked her fingers. Everyone was raving about how it is better that the restaurant versions. I wouldn’t know that, but I do know that your version is superb.
    Thanks a lot.

    Oh, and the pride in hubby’s eyes – the “my-wife-cooks-awesome-butter-chicken” look is simply priceless. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks again.

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