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Indian Butter Chicken is ready in under 30 minutes! The Makhani sauce and chicken come together with the most incredible spice and flavor. No one will believe it’s not take-out!

Butter chicken and white rice in black bowl

We know, Indian food seems a bit daunting. Perhaps it’s because everyone has their favorite Indian dish or restaurant and ‘absolutely no one makes it like my local place does!’ Hear us out though, because this butter chicken is absolutely the best. We can’t get enough of it! 

The secret to an amazing butter chicken is the sauce. Butter Chicken is also known as Murgh Makhani. Makhani sauce is what makes this dish so addicting with its combination of aromatic spices, tomato sauce and cream. You can even find makhani in a few other Indian dishes, dal or paneer makhani; but nothing is quite like traditional chicken makhani (butter chicken). Historically, butter chicken was an accidental concoction, using leftover chicken in a tomato-based sauce, heavy with cream and butter. We’re so fortunate to have discovered this serendipitous dish! 

  • Vegetarian Substitutions

    Adding Vegetables: We have had butter chicken (Makhani) sauce with only mixed vegetables, and it was still amazing; we didn’t even miss the chicken! The key is to use fresh or frozen vegetables, and make sure there is variety in the types of vegetables used. We love this dish with peas, green beans, carrots, cauliflower, and green bell pepper. Just omit the marinade and start from Step #4, adding the veggies in with the garlic and spices.

    Paneer Makhani: If you’re hoping for a bit more substance than that, you can always use paneer instead! Paneer should be cut into bite-sized cubes and then cooked in butter or ghee until browned on all sides. You can then proceed with the sauce. 

  • What should I serve on the side?

    It is commonly asked at an Indian restaurant if you would like naan or rice on the side, but why should you choose? Both, please! Grill some naan and serve up your sauce and a good sized helping of Basmati rice in authentic Karahi serving bowls, and you’ll have guests wondering if you secretly got take-out!

  • Where can I find Garam Masala? Do I need to go to a specialty store?

    You can find garam masala in the regular spice section of most grocery stores. If you can’t find it at your local store, you can make it at home! It’s simply a blend of spices. 

Butter chicken sauce in skillet

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious Indian-inspired recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Butter chicken and white rice in black bowl
Indian Butter Chicken is ready in under 30 minutes! The Makhani sauce and chicken come together with the most incredible spice and flavor. No one will believe it’s not take-out!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Marinating Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Chicken Marinade

  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts cubed
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Butter Chicken Curry

  • 6 tablespoon butter or ghee
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro for garnish
  • In a medium-sized bowl, combine the greek yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, garam masala, salt, ginger, and cubed chicken. Stir until well combined and chicken is coated. Let marinate in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add in chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Wipe the pan out before making the sauce and return the skillet to medium-high heat.
  • Melt the butter in the skillet. Add in onion and saute 5 minutes until onion starts to get tender.
  • Add in garlic, jalapeno, cumin, paprika, and garam masala and toast for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add in the tomato sauce and heavy cream, season with salt, and bring to a simmer. Once it comes to a simmer, add chicken back into the skillet and stir to combine. Then remove from heat and serve hot over cooked rice. Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro.


Calories: 450kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 182mg | Sodium: 1095mg | Potassium: 808mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1562IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 2mg
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Butter Chicken
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Kris Diershaw
May 11, 2020 8:08 am

5 stars
Rachel is my hero. My wife just can’t figure out how I do it. I simply follow her recipe, EXACTLY. This recipe is easy and makes me look so good. Nice warmth to the dish. I made this recipe and shared it with a few in my building. They love love loved it. Now I am semi-famous.
Remember to follow her directions before you try to add your own touches. I’ll be adding additional jalapeño next time.
Thanks Rachel for being the “other woman” in my life!!

May 12, 2020 6:55 pm
Reply to  Kris Diershaw

was it hot?

August 22, 2020 8:28 am
Reply to  patti

Join the discussion…Warm the first time, increased heat with each subsequent attempt. Start with following exactly and go from there. Major hit!!

Patricia Mason
August 12, 2020 9:41 pm
Reply to  Kris Diershaw

Recipe for Garam masala please?

August 22, 2020 8:33 am
Reply to  Patricia Mason

Join the discussion…Any good grocery store will have Garam Masala in the spice section. Easy to over look but you’ll find it. Also can buy it online and have it shipped to your house.

May 16, 2020 7:40 am

I’ve made this twice so far for the family while staying at home for the CV19 crisis. It is a big hit and quite delicious! The excellent spice blend for the Garam Masala makes a difference. Thank you for sharing your great recipe!
This dish has become a requested international family dinner favorite!

Rene Miller
March 27, 2020 1:45 pm

5 stars
I made this last night and it was excellent! I did have to substitute some ingredients as I didn’t have them on hand and didn’t want to go to the store during the COVID-19 crisis just to get them. I used a 12 oz. can of evaporated milk instead of heavy cream; 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes instead of jalapeno; and sour cream instead of the yogurt. I made a cornstarch slurry to thicken it up a bit at the end. Was so delicious and will definitely make it again!

May 12, 2020 2:24 pm

5 stars
Whoo Hoo!! I found a great recipe. I put it over spinach kind of an Indian style Swimming Rama and it was just as delicious. Thank you for this!!

Darlene P.
May 27, 2020 3:21 pm

5 stars
Delicious over rice and fairly easy!

May 24, 2020 3:45 pm

5 stars
Just made this tonight with rice. It was outstanding with a great flavor. Easy to make. Wife and kids loved it.

Susan Neves
August 12, 2020 6:13 pm

5 stars
I have not made this recipe YET but I definitely will! I had Butter Chicken when on a cruise about 2 years ago. I had never eaten Indian food before that. I could not believe how delicious it was…just served with plain white rice. I bought the required ingredients but never made it. I WILL make it this time!

Sheila Bowers
July 14, 2020 7:22 pm

5 stars
Just made Butter Chicken for supper.
It was soooo delicious and my husband said he could eat it all over again!!
Thank you.

Lynnette Eleey
May 27, 2020 3:06 pm

5 stars
This recipe is easy and delicious. I will definitely be making it again. I forgot to buy a jalapeno so went with the advice of another reviewer and used red pepper flakes, great substitution!

Nikki Dersnah
September 27, 2020 6:10 pm

5 stars
Made this recipe with your Naan bread recipe for dinner and it might be our new family favorite. Thanks Rachael!

Cynthia Cottrill
September 16, 2020 5:56 pm

5 stars
Very delicious. This was my 1st attempt in making an Indian recipe. It was very easy to make. I overcooked the chicken, my fault. Next time, I will use chicken thighs as they are more forgiving. I did make homemade Paneer and used the butter sauce and veggies served over rice and it was very yummy too.

September 11, 2020 5:11 pm

5 stars
This is my second time making this recipe. It’s one of the family favorites. Easy, flavorful and a quick version of butter chicken. Perfect with naan bread, pita or rice of your choice.

July 8, 2020 2:35 pm

5 stars
Although I made a mistake in the sequencing of steps ,the sauce was still fabulous . I decided to make this with both chicken and vegetables (1 pound chicken instead of yeo pounds ), added peas and cauliflower .

May 27, 2020 3:17 pm

4 stars
Just made this tonight. While it was very good, we also found it bland. My husband and I ended up adding Siracha. I will make this again. Thank you for sharing

August 24, 2020 3:56 pm
Reply to  MardiWL

How much Siracha did you add?

May 7, 2020 8:50 pm

Thank you for the Nutrition info, a big help for my potasium and vitamin problems

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