This Indian Butter Chicken recipe, or Chicken Makhani has quickly become a favorite. It’s nice to be able to make a big batch and freeze some for a quick dinner the following week. I find that stew-y meals are best for re-heating, and most of the time even more delicious as leftovers! I love that the only other thing you really need for this to be a complete meal is some rice. Bonus points if you have some naan or pita on hand (I am in LOVE with Trader Joe’s frozen Naan, the garlic one is amazing) This is definitely a comfort meal, the chicken is a little rich, but soooo good. This is one of my favorite things to make lately. Enjoy :)
What is Butter Chicken called Butter Chicken?
It is called Butter Chicken because it is prepared with butter! Butter is used to cook the chicken, as well as to sauté the ingredients for the sauce.
Butter Chicken Ingredients
Ingredients in our Butter Chicken recipe are pretty common. Here they are:
- Chicken Thighs
- Garam Marsala
- Smoked Paprika
- Chile Powder
- Tomato Puree
- Heavy Cream
- Salt and Pepper
How to make Indian Butter Chicken
This recipe for Indian Butter Chicken is actually really simple to make! 8 easy steps is all it takes!
- Toss chicken thighs with seasonings – cumin, coriander, salt, cracked black pepper.
- Cook chicken thighs in a large skillet with butter. Remove.
- Add more butter and cook shallots and ginger.
- Add remaining spice and cook.
- Stir in tomato puree and simmer.
- Add chicken back into skillet.
- Stir in cream or yogurt.
- Top with cilantro and serve with rice and pita or naan.
What does Indian Butter Chicken Taste Like?
Butter chicken, or Chicken Makhani is a type of curry. The Makhani sauce taste is creamy, and tastes of tomato. If you blend the sauce as per the directions at the bottom of our recipe the sauce is really smooth silky. The chicken is juicy and soft because it’s been cooked in butter and then simmered in the sauce.
What is the difference between butter chicken and chicken tikka masala?
Butter chicken and tikka masala are similar curry dishes for sure. Tikka masala has a more complex flavor profile, and it less creamy than butter chicken. Butter chicken is cooked in a skillet over a flame, while tikka masala is cooked in a tandoori – so it’s much dryer than butter chicken.
Is Butter Chicken and Chicken Makhani the same thing?
Yes. Butter chicken and Chicken Makhani are the same thing. Chicken Makhani uses the word Makhani, which is the Hindi phrase for “with butter.”
For a vegetarian version, try our Indian Butter Cauliflower or Cauliflower Makhani.
Hungry for more?
Indian Butter Chicken recipe (Chicken Makhani)
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 teaspoons cumin, divided
- 2 ½ teaspoons coriander, divided
- 3 ½ tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 shallot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 2 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons chile powder
- 1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
- ¾ cup heavy cream (or 3/4 cup plain yogurt)
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped cilantro, garnish
Recipe instruction visual controls:
- Place chicken thigh pieces in a mixing bowl, add 1 ½ teaspoons cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, a sprinkle of salt, and some cracked black pepper and toss together until chicken is well coated.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat and melt 1 ½ tablespoons butter.
- Add chicken and sauté for 3 to 4 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon, transfer chicken to a plate and set aside.
- Add remaining butter to skillet. Add shallot, garlic and ginger and sauté 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add remaining spices and continue to sauté for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.
- Stir tomato puree into skillet and lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Stir chicken back into skillet, season with salt and pepper and continue to simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Stir cream or yogurt into chicken mixture and simmer for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until sauce is thick (enough to thoroughly coat chicken) and creamy. Adjust seasonings.
- Top with chopped cilantro and serve over basmati rice, with a side of grilled pita bread.
- ** For a smooth sauce: Blend sauce mixture from step #7 in blender until smooth. Pour sauce back into skillet and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Stir chicken back into skillet, from step 9 and continue from remaining recipe directions.