Authentic Indian butter chicken recipe

Butter Chicken, also known as Murgh Makhani, is a classic Indian dish with a rich history. It was invented in the 1950s in Delhi, India, by Kundan Lal Gujral, the owner of the famous restaurant Moti Mahal. The story goes that Gujral, trying to minimize waste, decided to create a tomato gravy to use up unsold tandoori chicken pieces from his restaurant. The resulting dish, enriched with butter and cream, became a sensation and is now beloved worldwide.

Authentic Butter Chicken Recipe

Here’s a classic recipe for making butter chicken:


Chicken Marinade:

  • 500g boneless chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1½ tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1½ tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Salt to taste

For the Gravy:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1½ tablespoons minced ginger
  • 1½ tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 can (400g) of crushed tomatoes or fresh tomato puree
  • 1-2 green chilies, chopped (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1½ teaspoons garam masala
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 cup cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi), crushed, for garnish
  • Fresh coriander (cilantro), for garnish


Marinate the Chicken:

  • Combine yogurt, ginger, garlic, chili powder, turmeric, garam masala, cumin, and salt in a bowl.
  • Add chicken pieces to the marinade and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight.

Cook the Chicken:

  • Preheat your oven to 200°C (390°F) or heat a grill.
  • Place the chicken pieces on a grill rack or a baking sheet and cook for about 20-30 minutes until done.

Prepare the Gravy:

  • In a large pan, heat butter and sauté onions until translucent.
  • Add ginger and garlic, sautéing for a few minutes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, green chilies, chili powder, garam masala, and cumin. Cook until the mixture thickens and oil separates.

Combine and Finish:

  • Add the cooked chicken pieces to the gravy. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the cream and continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes on low heat.
  • Add salt to taste and garnish with crushed fenugreek leaves and coriander.
  1. Serve: Serve hot with naan or rice.


  • The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavorful it will be.
  • Using fresh cream will give the dish a rich and creamy texture.
  • Adjust the spices and chili to suit your taste.

Enjoy this delectable dish that captures the essence of Indian culinary tradition and the ingenuity of a classic recipe’s origin!