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


  1. Chicken - 500 gms
  2. Marinade

  3. Ginger and garlic paste -1 tbsp
  4. Kashmiri chilli powder - 2 tsp
  5. Roasted cumin – 1/2 tsp
  6. Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
  7. Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  8. Curd (thick) - 1/2 cup (or 100 ml)
  9. Colour (optional) - a pinch
  10. Salt - as per taste
  11. Basic tomato sauce

  12. butter - 1 tbsp
  13. Oil – 2 tbsp
  14. Cardamom - 7
  15. Cloves - 7
  16. Bay leaves (optional) – 1
  17. Cinnamon stick (1 inch) – 2
  18. Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
  19. Garlic (crushed, chopped) – 4
  20. Red plum tomatoes – 520 gms
  21. Kashmir chilli powder - 2 tsp
  22. Tomato puree (concentrated) – 1 tbsp
  23. Water – 1 1/4 cup
  24. Additional water – 1 1/2 cup
  25. Butter chicken sauce

  26. Butter – 2 tbsp
  27. Oil – 1 tbsp
  28. Ginger – 1 1/2 tsp
  29. Ginger and garlic paste – 1 tsp
  30. Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
  31. Roasted cumin powder – 3/4 tsp
  32. Tomato ketchup – 2 tbsp
  33. Kasoori methi powder - 2 tsp
  34. Sugar - 1 tsp
  35. Salt - as per taste
  36. Cream – 100 ml
  37. Kasoori methi powder - 2 tsp


  1. Roast 1 tbsp of cumin seeds on a pan in a low flame until the colour changes. Grind to a powder.
  2. Half or quarter the tomatoes roughly. Keep aside.
  3. Chop ginger finely. Crush or chop garlic finely. Keep them aside.
  4. 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

  5. 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.
  6. Add all the spices and yoghurt into a wide bowl. Mix well.
  7. Add chicken pieces and mix well. All the chicken pieces should be well coated with the marinade. Refrigerate for 4 hrs to overnight.
  8. 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.
  9. Cook the chicken for 15 mins on each side.
  10. Place the cooked tandoori chicken on a plate. It looks quite appetising and you can even serve it as it is as a starter.
  11. Slice the chicken if the pieces are big.
  12. Chicken will be just cooked about 90%. No need to worry here as it will be cooked again in the butter chicken sauce .
  13. Basic tomato sauce

  14. 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.
  15. Add halved tomatoes, chilli powder, tomato puree and roast for about 5 mins in butter on a low flame.
  16. 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).
  17. Add this water mixture to the tomatoes and cook for about 15 mins on a medium low flame with the lid closed.
  18. After 15 mins, you can peel the skin of tomatoes, which come easily.
  19. Cook more for about 25 mins at a low flame with the lid closed. Mix in between. Switch off. Allow to cool.
  20. Remove the bay leaf (if added) and puree it with a hand blender. Alternatively grind with all the ingredients in a mixer.
  21. 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.
  22. For the butter chicken sauce

  23. 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.
  24. Add 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder. Mix well.
  25. Add basic tomato sauce and stir quickly. The sauce can splutter on you.
  26. Add tomato ketchup, sugar and butter. Cook for 10 to 12 mins on a medium low flame with the lid closed.
  27. 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.
  28. After about 15 mins, the chicken pieces are combined well with the butter chicken sauce.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. Our creamy restaurant-style butter chicken is now ready.
  32. Serve the butter chicken in a serving bowl. Drizzle some cream on top and relish with naan or roti or peas rice.


  1. Use thick yoghurt or hung curd.
  2. The sauce can splutter while opening the lid and stirring the sauce.
  3. If the sauce gets very thick and dry, add milk or water and cook.
  4. If the sauce is still thin, cook for some more time until it is thick.
  5. You can prepare the basic tomato sauce one day before and refrigerate it.
  6. 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.