Where Mommyhood Meets The Kitchen!

Finger Lickin’ Good Butter Chicken

Finger Lickin’ Good Butter Chicken

Let’s face it Butter Chicken aka Chicken Makhani is a dish that every Indian and Non-Indian LOVES. This creamy, succulent, tangy and fragrant curry is a must on every North Indian restaurant buffet and menu. I have tried this dish numerous times at restaurants all over the world, but have always yearned to have it at home. So after many mediocre attempts, my husband and I finally have a hit on our hands. This finger lickin’ good butter chicken is the most requested recipe that I have ever had and a must at all of my get-togethers! Do try it out and let me know what you think!

5 from 2 votes
Butter Chicken
Finger Lickin' Good Butter Chicken
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
50 mins

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 people
Marinade for Chicken
  • 2 Boneless Chicken Breasts cut into 1 and 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 2 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1/2 cup Yogurt
  • 3 tsp Vegetable/Canola/Corn Oil
  • 3 tbsp Shaan Tandoori Masala
  • 3 tbsp Ghee(Clarified Butter)
  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream half and half will not work!
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp Ginger Paste
  • 4 Plum Tomatoes Diced
  • 2 tsp Chilli Powder Adjust according to your taste
  • 2 tsp Cumin/Coriander Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 Large Onion Sliced
  • 4 Black Peppercorns
  • 2 Cardamom Pods I used green cardamom
  • 3 Cloves
  • 1 Star Anise OPTIONAL
For the Chicken
  1. In a medium bowl, combine the Tandoori Masala, ginger, garlic,oil and yogurt. Whisk until smooth, adjust seasonings to preference. Add the chicken and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes and ideally for 12-24 hours, covered in the refrigerator.

Butter Chicken Sauce Method
  1. Heat the Ghee in a heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Add the peppercorns,cardamom,cloves, star anise to the pan,let saute for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the onions and sauté until they turn translucent and start to sweat, about 6-7 minutes, onions should be slightly brown at the edges. Add ginger and garlic paste and let cook for a few seconds, making sure to stir it so it doesn’t burn.
  3. Once the raw smell of the garlic and ginger is gone add in diced tomatoes and let the mixture cook down till it become almost pulpy.
  4. Once the mixture has become pulpy turn off the stove and let it cool
  5. Puree the mixture in a blender along with 1 cup water and return to the pan on a medium flame. Remember to hold the lid of the blender down with a kitchen towel when blending, to avoid accidents.
  6. Strain this mixture into the pan to avoid any small pieces of spices getting into your dish.

  7. Cook for approximately 4 minutes and then add in chilli powder,coriander/cumin powder,garam masala. Continue to cook for about 5 more minutes (careful as the liquid does sputter outside the pan)

Put your dish together
  1. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the pan over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken (discard any excess marinade) and cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring as required to brown all sides. You can also grill the chicken or cook in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes(it will finish cooking in the sauce) I especially love grilling it on my charcoal grill in the summertime.

  2. Add the butter chicken sauce to the pot and heat everything through. Once it starts to bubble, add the butter, cream and garam masala. When the sauce regains a simmer, add the crushed fenugreek leaves (rub them in between your fingers/palm).

  3. Serve over Basmati rice or with naan.

  1. If you want to freeze the sauce for future use you can. Just cool the sauce and freeze it for up to 4 months., it will help blend the flavors even more, just remember to bring the sauce back to room temperature  before proceeding with the recipe. DO NOT ADD CREAM TO SAUCE IF YOU ARE FREEZING IT!

Recipe Notes

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In order to achieve that restaurant reddish/orange hue I add a few saffron strands to the dish. This is optional but I find it helps!