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Butter Chicken served in a bowl with rice and naan bread

Easy Restaurant Style Butter Chicken Masala (Murgh Makhani)

This restaurant style butter chicken masala (murgh makhani) recipe is incredibly easy and takes under an hour! It's authentic, no fuss and perfect when you want Indian curry in a hurry.
4.95 from 75 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, North Indian, Punjabi
Keyword: Butter Chicken, Indian Recipes, Murgh Makhani, Restaurant Style
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6 Portions
Calories: 586kcal
Author: Richa


  • 1 kg Chicken Thighs skinless and boneless , cut into 1.5 inch pieces (or use bone-in Chicken pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon Oil

For the Marinade

  • 1/2 cup Hung Curd or Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Kashmiri Chilli Powder sub with 1/2 tbsp paprika + 1/2 tbsp cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt

For the Gravy

  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1 tablespoon Butter
  • 1 inch Cinnamon
  • 2 Green Cardamom Pods
  • 3 Cloves
  • 5 Kashmiri Red Chillies
  • 6 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Onion roughly chopped
  • 7 - 8 Tomatoes roughly chopped (or 1 (15-ounce) can canned diced tomatoes)
  • 1/4 cup Cashew Nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chilli Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Ketchup
  • 1 tablespoons Kasuri Methi dried fenugreek leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 3-4 tablespoons Fresh Cream


  • Start by mixing all the ingredients under marinade and adding the chicken to it. Mix well, cover and set aside for 15-30 minutes while you make the gravy.
  • For the gravy, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet or pan. Add cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, whole red chilies and garlic. Saute for a minute or so till fragrant. Add onions and saute on high heat for 2-3 minutes till pink and translucent. Add tomatoes and cashew nuts. Mix once, reduce the flame to a simmer and cover and cook for 10-15 minutes till the tomatoes start breaking down and becoming slightly pulpy.
  • Switch off the flame. Transfer to a blender or liquidiser, and blend till smooth. The trick to blending hot foods is to cover the lid with a thick towel and pulsing instead of blending at one go. This ensures that the lid doesn't explode.
  • In another pan, heat a tablespoon of oil. Add the chicken pieces and sear them on each side for 2-3 minutes on high heat, till theres a char on them. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
  • Transfer the puree back to the pan, add chilli powder, ketchup, salt and 1/4 cup water. Bring this to a boil. Reduce the flame to low, and cover and cook for 20-25 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the kasuri methi and fresh cream.
  • To smoke the chicken, place a small steel bowl (please don't use plastic) in the middle of the butter chicken while it's still in the pan. Heat a piece of charcoal or lump coal on an open flame till red hot and then place it in the bowl. Pour a teaspoon of oil or ghee over it, and as soon as it starts smoking, cover the pan with a lid. Smoke for 3-4 minutes. Remove the bowl and serve with naan or rice.



  • Chicken: Boneless, skinless chicken pieces work best. The pieces should be cut into 1.5 inch size. You can also use skinless, bone-in chicken thats cut into medium sized pieces
  • Tomatoes: Substitute fresh tomatoes with a 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes. Or use 1 1/2 cups Tomato Puree or Tomato Passata
  • Garam Masala: I use homemade garam masala, but you can substitute it with any store bought garam masala. Please note that garam masala is different from curry powder
  • Butter: I love adding butter to this dish, but you can substitute it with ghee
  • Sweetness from Ketchup: I think a really mild sweetness in butter chicken is actually nice and it balances the sourness from tomatoes. But feel free to reduce or increase the amount of ketchup based on what you like.
  • History of Butter Chicken: It is said that butter chicken was invented by Kundan Lal Gujral of the famous Moti Mahal chain of restaurants, who added leftover cooked tandoori chicken to a tomato gravy, in an attempt to use it and the rest is history. The dish became really famous. It is called Murgh Makhani on their menu. So if there is a debate, you know that butter chicken is definitely an Indian dish, unlike its counterpart Chicken Tikka Masala which was invented in the UK and is spicier and slightly different.


Calories: 586kcal | Carbohydrates: 24g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 174mg | Sodium: 615mg | Potassium: 1337mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 3662IU | Vitamin C: 98mg | Calcium: 100mg | Iron: 3mg