Skip to Content

Murgh Makhani or Butter Chicken

Murgh Makhani AKA Butter Chicken is a modern classic Indian dish that serves marinated and grilled chicken in a rich spiced tomato sauce!

Portrait overhead image of murgh makhani or a butter chicken curry with a swirl of cream and fresh coriander served in a white bowl

My Version of Butter Chicken.

Butter chicken has become a bit of a global sensation much like its very similar British cousin, Chicken Tikka Masala.

Both recipe hail from roughly the same time, the 1960’s/70’s and traditionally both feature “leftover” or pre-cooked chicken.

Despite the names being modern, the technique is a classic Amritsari technique.

The recipe has become many things to many people!

My version stays with the idea of a Tandoori style marinated chicken that is cooked under the grill, much like my chicken tikka kebabs.

True to all of my recipes this is made to be as good as I can make it. No shortcuts, no skipping bits this is my BEST butter chicken recipe, not an approximation of it.

It is a halfway house between the traditional Indian roots of the recipe and the recipe that the rest of the world turned it into.

The most important part of this recipe is the chicken, this is where the flavour is based.

So make sure that you do not skimp on that marinade time!

It is then gently finished off in a butter and cream rich spiced tomato sauce.

If you want something equally indulgent but are feeding vegetarians then you must try my shahi paneer recipe.

Portrait close up image of murgh makhani or a butter chicken curry with a swirl of cream and fresh coriander

Cooking Hints and Tips.

First of all I am gonna jump in feet first and say this recipe is pure indulgence and it is better for it.

The tip for this recipe is in its name, nothing called butter anything should be a pious and skinny recipe.

If you want a dish with less fat then you should consider something like a mushroom curry or a rajma kidney bean curry.

Whilst we are on the topic of butter then you are better of making sure it is unsalted.

This allows you to salt the grilled chicken and the sauce, using salted butter would likely make the recipe too salty.

The spices should be familiar to anyone who has cooked a curry from scratch before with maybe the exception of amchoor.

It is also known as mango powder and it is made from green underripe mangoes. It adds a wonderful earthy sourness to the grilled chicken.

Portrait image of murgh makhani or a butter chicken curry with a swirl of cream and fresh coriander served in a white bowl

Serving Suggestions.

As in so many of my curry recipes, my choice of side is always a naan bread for butter chicken.

They are perfect for mopping up that thick and heavy sauce.

Although some simply cooked rice is also a really nice and simple side to go with this full-flavoured rich dish.

But you could also serve with chapatis or even Bombay potatoes if you wanted to go left field!

Square image of murgh makhani or a butter chicken curry with a swirl of cream and fresh coriander served in a white bowl
Yield: 2 Servings

Murgh Makhani or Butter Chicken Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Marinade Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 45 minutes

Butter chicken or Murgh Makhani is the classic Indian recipe featuring grilled chicken in a rich tomato sauce often thickened with nuts and enriched with butter and cream.


  • 2 Skinless Chicken Breasts

For the Marinade:

  • 1 Tsp Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tbsp Natural Yoghurt
  • 1/2 Tsp Salt
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 1/2 Tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp Amchoor

For the Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp Cooking OIl
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 35 g Ginger
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 4 Cloves
  • 4 Cardomom Pods
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 3 Dried Chilli Peppers
  • 350 ml Tomato Passata
  • 1/2 Tsp Kashmiri Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • 1/2 Tsp Sugar
  • 75 g Unsalted Butter
  • Salt to taste
  • 15 g Cashew Nuts
  • 50 ml Hot Water
  • 50 ml Double Cream


  1. Cut the chicken breasts into 5-6 pieces.
  2. Mix together the ingredients for the marinade and add to the chicken.
  3. Mix well, cover and then place in the fridge for 4-8 hours.
  4. About 40 minutes before you are ready to serve, peel and roughly chop the ginger and garlic.
  5. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and ginger.
  6. Fry over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  7. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves, dried chillies and cardamom pods and stir for a minute.
  8. Pour in the tomato passata and reduce the heat to low.
  9. Simmer for 20 minutes.
  10. Preheat your grill or broiler as hot as it will go.
  11. Thread the chicken onto skewers and place under the grill. The aim is to get some colour all over and not really cook all the way through.
  12. When the sauce has had 20 minutes strain through a fine mesh sieve into the marinade bowl
  13. Stir to combine and leftover marinade and return to the pan.
  14. Add the sugar, Kashmiri chilli powder, dried fenugreek leaves, butter and salt to taste to the sauce and bring to a simmer.
  15. Add the, by now, grilled chicken to the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
  16. Blend together the cashew nuts with the hot water and add to the pan with the cream.
  17. Stir until completely combined and heated through.
  18. Serve with more cream and some fresh coriander leaves.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 787Total Fat: 57gSaturated Fat: 28gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 212mgSodium: 1341mgCarbohydrates: 30gFiber: 7gSugar: 12gProtein: 45g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Monday 23rd of April 2018

Excellent recipe. I made this last night. We didn’t have time to marinate for 4 hours and I can only imagine how that would enhance all flavors. Nevertheless there were no leftovers. Thanks!

Brian Jones

Tuesday 24th of April 2018

So glad you enjoyed it Helen, it is a fab recipe :) Marinading makes a difference but I have skipped on occasions and like you cleaned my plate :D


Friday 9th of February 2018

This dish looks insanely good. I love all these amazing spices and the yoghurt integrated into cooking. So lucky here in London to find all the spices you desire for from all over the world. Asian food fascinates me. I cook a lot of Sri Lankan dishes. Yumm ? A superb dish, will definitely save it and make it. I really love the pictures too. ??

Brian Jones

Saturday 10th of February 2018

I lived in London for a while but it was what feels like an age ago... Well I guess it was 20+ years ago. The spices are not so readily available here but I put in a road trip to Budapest every couple of months to keep topped up :)


Sunday 4th of February 2018

I like Indian food but I definitely don't master their cooking skills. The video is very helpful. I love Rik Stain's recipes so I am sure not much needed to be changed. Now I need to go around with the list of those spices and find the French translation.

Brian Jones

Sunday 4th of February 2018

Have fun, hopefully the translation does not change too much, Indian spices typically retain either their western name or Indian name, I do however havea 300+km round trip to buy them :o


Sunday 4th of February 2018

Having been brought up in Scotland, Indian food was about the only 'foreign' food we ate out when I was young, and while I'm sure some were more of those dishes adapted to British taste, there were still so many I have a soft spot for. Your butter chicken looks wonderful, and definitely worth the extra effort.

Brian Jones

Sunday 4th of February 2018

That is not too different to growing up in Birmingham during the early 80's, eating curry definitely even predated McDonalds and Pizza :o

Byron Thomas

Thursday 15th of December 2016

Brian, this dish is calling my name - looks marvelous!

Brian Jones

Friday 16th of December 2016

Cheers Byron.

Skip to Recipe