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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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