Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

    40 mins

    Chicken Makhani is one of my favorite Indian dishes. It is a full flavored dish that complements the chicken well. It can be made as mild or spicy as you wish by adjusting the cayenne. Serve with basmati rice and naan bread.

    1076 people made this

    Serves: 4 

    • 2 tablespoons (30ml) peanut oil
    • 3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
    • ½ white onion, peeled and chopped
    • 40g butter
    • Juice of ½ lemon
    • 1 clove of garlic, crushed or chopped
    • 2cm piece of fresh ginger,peeled and finely chopped
    • 2 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 3 tablespoons natural yogurt
    • 1 cup (250ml) cream
    • 1 cup (250ml) tomato puree
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 1 pinch black pepper
    • 500g boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
    • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon cornflour
    • 3 tablespoons (45ml) water

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:30min  ›  Ready in:40min 

    1. To make the sauce: heat half of the oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Fry the shallots and onion until soft and transparent.
    2. Stir in butter, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, half the garam masala, the chilli powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
    3. Add tomato puree, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
    4. Stir in the cream and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
    5. Heat the rest of the oil in a large heavy frypan over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, turning once, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and season with the rest of the garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Spoon the cooked chicken into the sauce.
    6. Mix together the cornflour and water, then stir into the sauce. Adjust seasonings and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.

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    Reviews in English (929)


    I wanted to comment on this recipe and some tips to make it authentic and give it that restaurant touch. The recipe itself is fairly good . The only thing I would add to make it a bit more authentic are as follows: 1/4 cup of finely ground cashews (unsalted). These should be used as a thickner and not corn starch. Indian recipes or sauces never use corn starch. For richer gravies we use ground almond or cashews and heavy cream or yogurt. 1/4 cup of heavy cream (substitute it in place of half and half) Finally if you are a true Indian curry lover and love Chicken Makhani you should buy some fenugreek(called methi - pronounced "Mei" "thi") seeds. You only use 1/4 tsp of these (they are very bitter) and grind them. Then add them to the curry when you add your other dry spices. The cashew and fenugreek is what gives Chicken makhani it's authentic flavor.  -  01 Jul 2003  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    I am an Indian native looking for an Americanized version of this dish for a friend who is a little intimidated by Indian food. I gave this recipe a try, and it is almost there. First, I used fresh minced ginger and garlic, but had to triple the amount. That made a huge difference. I noticed that many reviewers said the recipe is missing something. I think that something is coriander. Most Makhani dishes have a cumin/coriander combination which is missing from this recipe. I added a little ground coriander and the dish was great. Perfect for a new Indian cook.  -  01 Mar 2006  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    This dish is SO good, my hubby requests it often. Even though I modified the recipe to make it healthier, I still gave 5 stars because the original tastes good too. My changes: I followed others' advice and added ground cashews instead of cornstarch. The nuts make ALL the difference. To make it healthier, I used smartbalance light spread instead of butter. *HUGE TIME SAVER: Instead of cooking the sauce first and then the chicken, have them both going at the same time. By the time the sauce is finished, the chicken is browned and ready to be combined with the sauce. ** UPDATE** I substituted fat free buttermilk for the half&half, yogurt, and lemon (cuts way down on the fat and ingredients). While the sauce was simmering, I ground the cashews in a blender and then added the sauce (minus the bay leaf) to the blender to puree all the onion pieces and cashews into a smooth and creamy sauce. Otherwise, you'll end up with small bits of onion and nuts - not bad, but better smooth. I then poured the sauce onto the chicken and simmered with the bay leaf until cooked. Other lower fat options for half&half are light cream and nonfat evaporated milk, but I liked the nonfat buttermilk the best because it did not separate when heated.  -  02 Jan 2008  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)