Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken) Recipe -
Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken) Recipe
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Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)
See how to make a simple, flavorful Indian recipe in just minutes. See more
  • READY IN 35 mins

Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

Recipe by  

"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."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 4 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    10 mins
  • COOK

    25 mins

    35 mins


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat. Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato sauce, and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in half-and-half and yogurt. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt pepper. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat, and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne. Stir in a few spoonfuls of sauce, and simmer until liquid has reduced, and chicken is no longer pink. Stir cooked chicken into sauce.
  3. Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.
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Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Mar 01, 2006

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.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Jan 26, 2004

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.

Nov 02, 2003

I haven't made this recipe yet, but am looking forward to it. But I wanted to put a word in about ginger/garlic paste. You don't have to buy this at the store -- an easy way to do this is to put equal amounts of ginger and garlic in the food processor and grind them up. They will naturally form a paste. Most Indian recipes have some variation of this -- common ones are a ginger/garlic/onion paste, or a ginger/garlic/onion/lime paste (try marinating chicken in this and roasting it!)

Sep 23, 2008

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.

Dec 14, 2005

This was absolutely delicious! My Pakistani in-laws are quite picky when it comes to traditional food, but this one is a new favorite! I made the following adjustments: Added 1 tbsp butter to the peanut oil, used 4 tbsp butter rather than 2, substituted 1/2 tsp ground ginger powder & 3 cloves crushed garlic for ginger/garlic paste, omitted salt & pepper, added breast meat pieces, substituted whole milk for half & half, used 1 full tsp cayenne pepper for chicken, doubled cornstarch (but not water) to thicken sauce, and garnished with fresh, chopped corriander. The 5-minute prep time is unreasonable. It took me about 30 minutes to prep and 1 hour to cook (including 20 mins of simmering to let sauce thicken and white rice, which is best served with this dish). Also, this only served 3 adults in my family, so I highly recommend doubling it!

Mar 01, 2004

This is an excellent recipe, however, the first time we tried it, we decided the chicken needed to be marinated first. The sauce was good, but the chicken (we used chicken breast) was a bit chewy. I use the marinade in the other Butter Chicken recipe by Vijar Bhaardwaj (15 minutes in the lemon juice, chili powder and salt and 3-4 hrs in the drained yogurt and spices marinade). The result is phenomenal! In place of the full-fat half and half, I use Land of Lakes Non-fat Half and Half. It does not affect the taste. I've also used stewed tomatoes in place of the tomato puree. A good side dish is Gobi Aloo (Indian-stype Cauliflower with Potatoes) by Shahzadi, also found on this website. Note: Use chopped tomato and coconut milk to make this recipe less dry. I served both at a dinner party for 14 and they were a hit, with many requests for the recipes.

Dec 24, 2003

Tastes just like the dish I love at our favorite Indian restaurant. I make it low carb by using 1/2 cup tomato paste in place of the tomato puree so it thickens without the cornstarch. I also eliminate the water. I add thinly sliced almonds or chopped pistachios also.

Jan 26, 2004

Wow! Finally a delicious Indian dish that doesn't take overnight marinating and tons of obscure ingredients. I didn't have any fresh ginger, so I used half crushed garlic and a pinch of ground ginger and this was dynamite! Have all the prep work done (chopping measuring, etc) before you heat the oil and you will be able to finish this dish in no time. My hubbie even loved it and he is not big on Indian food. This is definitely a keeper!


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  • Calories
  • 408 kcal
  • 20%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 15.6 g
  • 5%
  • Cholesterol
  • 107 mg
  • 36%
  • Fat
  • 27.8 g
  • 43%
  • Fiber
  • 2.2 g
  • 9%
  • Protein
  • 23.4 g
  • 47%
  • Sodium
  • 523 mg
  • 21%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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