Restaurant style Butter chicken

Butter chicken is a very popular dish and is also known as Murg makhani. Butter chicken is luscious and creamy and is similar to chicken tikka masala - creamy and tomato based. Kids love it as it is quite mild. I have prepared many variations of butter chicken, but this one is my son's favourite. Prepare this restaurant-style butter chicken at home and enjoy.

Preparation time: 15 mins (excluding marination time)

Cooking time: 2 hours (basic sauce and cooking chicken)

Cuisine: North Indian, Punjab

Spiciness: Mild and sweet

Serves: 4


  • Chicken - 500 gms
  • Marinade

  • Ginger and garlic paste -1 tbsp
  • Kashmiri chilli powder - 2 tsp
  • Roasted cumin – 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  • Curd (thick) - 1/2 cup (or 100 ml)
  • Colour (optional) - a pinch
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Basic tomato sauce

  • butter - 1 tbsp
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Cardamom - 7
  • Cloves - 7
  • Bay leaves (optional) – 1
  • Cinnamon stick (1 inch) – 2
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  • Garlic (crushed, chopped) – 4
  • Red plum tomatoes – 520 gms
  • Kashmir chilli powder - 2 tsp
  • Tomato puree (concentrated) – 1 tbsp
  • Water – 1 1/4 cup
  • Additional water – 1 1/2 cup
  • Butter chicken sauce

  • Butter – 2 tbsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Ginger – 1 1/2 tsp
  • Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Roasted cumin powder – 3/4 tsp
  • Tomato ketchup – 2 tbsp
  • Kasoori methi powder - 2 tsp
  • Sugar - 1 tsp
  • Salt - as per taste
  • Cream – 100 ml
  • Kasoori methi powder - 2 tsp


  • Roast 1 tbsp of cumin seeds on a pan in a low flame until the colour changes. Grind to a powder.
  • Half or quarter the tomatoes roughly. Keep aside.
  • Chop ginger finely. Crush or chop garlic finely. Keep them aside.
  • Preparing butter chicken involves a few stages:

    1. Marinating and cooking the chicken (like tandoori chicken or chicken tikka)

    2. Preparing basic sauce

    3. Preparing butter chicken

    Marinating and cooking tandoori chicken

  • You can use boneless chicken or on the bone. You can use thigh or breast. I have used chicken breast with cartilage. Cut into medium sized pieces.
  • Add all the spices and yoghurt into a wide bowl. Mix well.
  • Add chicken pieces and mix well. All the chicken pieces should be well coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for 4 hrs to overnight.
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius for about 10 to 15 mins. Place the chicken pieces in a tray covered with aluminium foil. Alternatively, you can grease the tray with butter.
  • Cook the chicken for 15 mins on each side.
  • Place the cooked tandoori chicken on a plate. It looks quite appetising and you can even serve it as it is as a starter.
  • Slice the chicken if the pieces are big.
  • Chicken will be just cooked about 90%. No need to worry here as it will be cooked again in the butter chicken sauce .
  • Basic tomato sauce

  • Preheat a vessel with oil and butter. Add cumin seeds, cloves, cinnamon stick, and green cardamom. Stir for 10 secs. Add crushed garlic and stir well for about 10 secs on a low flame.
  • Add halved tomatoes, chilli powder, tomato puree and roast for about 5 mins in butter on a low flame.
  • Add 1 cup of water and the left over marinade liquid (I have used the water for clearing the remaining marinade attached to the bowl).
  • Add this water mixture to the tomatoes and cook for about 15 mins on a medium low flame with the lid closed.
  • After 15 mins, you can peel the skin of tomatoes, which come easily.
  • Cook more for about 25 mins at a low flame with the lid closed. Mix in between. Switch off. Allow to cool.
  • Remove the bay leaf (if added) and puree it with a hand blender. Alternatively grind with all the ingredients in a mixer.
  • Strain the pureed tomato base and keep it ready for the butter chicken curry. I have used 1 1/2 cup of water to clear the remaining tomato base attached to the strainer and mixer so that nothing is wasted.
  • For the butter chicken sauce

  • Heat a vessel with 1 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp butter. When hot, add chopped ginger and ginger and garlic paste Saute for about 15 secs on a medium low flame.
  • Add 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder. Mix well.
  • Add basic tomato sauce and stir quickly. The sauce can splutter on you.
  • Add tomato ketchup, sugar and butter. Cook for 10 to 12 mins on a medium low flame with the lid closed.
  • When the oil starts to separate, add sliced chicken pieces, salt and kasoori methi powder (crushed in hand). Mix and cook for about 15 mins on a low flame with the lid closed.
  • After about 15 mins, the chicken pieces are combined well with the butter chicken sauce.
  • Add cream, 1/2 tsp garam masala and 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder. Mix and cook for about 10 mins on a low flame. Keep stirring every now and then.
  • You can see that the sauce colour has now become similar to how it looks when served in the restaurants. Switch off and let it rest for a few mins.
  • Our creamy restaurant-style butter chicken is now ready.
  • Serve the butter chicken in a serving bowl. Drizzle some cream on top and relish with naan or roti or peas rice.


  • Use thick yoghurt or hung curd.
  • The sauce can splutter while opening the lid and stirring the sauce.
  • If the sauce gets very thick and dry, add milk or water and cook.
  • If the sauce is still thin, cook for some more time until it is thick.
  • You can prepare the basic tomato sauce one day before and refrigerate it.
  • Those who do not have an oven can instead cook the chicken in a pan or grill with the lid closed on a medium flame until the marinade is cooked and the chicken is well coated. Add butter in between so that it doesn’t stick to the pan/grill.

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