Indian Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani) is a flavorful tomato cream curry dish made in just 30 minutes with an optional extra marinade that’s restaurant quality!
There’s no question that Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken is one of our fan favorite recipes. This stovetop Indian Butter Chicken is a great recipe when you are craving Indian Food in less than an hour.
INDIAN BUTTER CHICKEN
Butter Chicken is similar to the well known Tikka Masala. In fact, Tikka Masala was created because people wanted the flavors of Indian Butter Chicken and restaurants wanted a recipe that didn’t rely on leftovers. If you like Chicken Tikka Masala, this a great recipe to try the next time you are craving a classic Indian dish.
Also known as Chicken Makhani, authentic Indian Butter Chicken is a flavorful Indian dish that braises leftover Tandoori chicken in a rich tomato puree flavored with garam masala, butter and heavy cream. The heavily spiced leftover chicken adds layers of flavor to the sauce.
Optional Marinade to make this EVEN BETTER
Unlike traditional Indian Butter Chicken, this butter chicken recipe uses boneless chicken breasts instead of tandoori chicken. You still get the tandoori flavors thanks to the overnight marinade of a yogurt and spice mixture, without the extra cooking.
If you want to skip the overnight marinade (please don’t though), you can skip the yogurt and add the lemon juice and half the amount of spices to your sauce mixture when you add in the cumin.
Despite the name, Butter Chicken doesn’t have that much butter in it. It’s the heavy cream, or other thick cream, that gives the sauce a buttery, silky texture. This tomato puree recipe is heavily spiced with cumin, paprika, and garlic cloves, with just a bit of heat from diced jalapeños, but you’ll notice there is no garam masala.
Garam masala is a traditional spice blend that you will find in many Indian and Southeast Asian recipes. While it gives so much warm, spicy flavor, it can be hard for home cooks to find and keep on hand. This homemade butter chicken spice blend brings all the flavor of garam masala with pantry spices you already have on hand.
Serve this slightly spicy Indian Butter Chicken with a cool cucumber Indian Raita, a tasty sauce that is similar to a greek yogurt tzatziki. Butter Chicken is usually served with basmati rice and naan, but it also goes great with light Coconut Rice, Roasted Broccoli, or Roasted Potatoes.
Tips for Indian Butter Chicken
- if using your marinade, don’t marinate your chicken for more than 24 hours. The lemon and acid in the yogurt will start to break down the chicken texture after a day.
- Make the butter chicken sauce ahead of time and freeze for up to 6 months! Simply cook the sauce without the chicken and store in plastic bags. Thaw overnight in the fridge and cook marinated chicken in the sauce as usual.
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VARIATIONS ON INDIAN BUTTER CHICKEN
- Meat: You can use any kind of chicken in this recipe, like chicken thighs and bone-in chicken legs. This dish
- Spices: If you have it on hand, add 1 tablespoon garam masala to your marinade and another tablespoon to your butter sauce for more classic flavors.
- Spicy: Add more or less jalapeños to make this dish spicer or more mild. You could also use really spicy peppers like Thai bird peppers or Serrano peppers if you are fan of heat!
- Dairy: Instead of heavy cream, you can substitute full fat coconut milk or half-and-half. If you use non-fat milk, the sauce won’t be as rich and creamy.
- Yogurt: You can use any full fat or non-fat yogurt in the marinade. If you want a tangier marinade, use Greek yogurt.
Instant Pot Indian Butter Chicken
- Marinate the chicken overnight as usual. This step is optional but adds a lot of flavor.
- Add all the Butter Sauce ingredients to the pressure cooker except the heavy cream.
- Close Instant Pot lid, seal valve, and set to Manual High Pressure for 10 minutes.
- Naturally release pressure for 10 minutes, then release pressure.
- Carefully remove the chicken and set aside.
- Blend sauce ingredients with an immersion blender. Add 1/2 cup sauce to room temperature heavy cream.
- Add heavy cream mixture, butter, cilantro, and oil to the pressure cooker and stir to combine.
- Return chicken to Instant Pot. Set cooker on Soup until chicken is heated through.
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HOW TO STORE INDIAN BUTTER CHICKEN
- Serve: Butter Chicken can be at room temperature for up to 2 hours before it should be cooled and stored.
- Store: Place cooled Butter Chicken in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
- Freeze: Cool Butter Chicken completely before storing in a sealed container and freezing for up to 3 months.
Indian Butter Chicken
Indian Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani) is a flavorful tomato cream curry dish made in just 30 minutes with an optional marinade that’s restaurant quality!
Butter Chicken Marinade
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3/4 teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 chicken breasts , boneless, skinless
Butter Chicken Sauce
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 1 jalapeno pepper , finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 8 ounces canned tomato sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro , chopped
In a large ziploc bag the night before cooking add the yogurt, lemon juice, cumin, cinnamon, cayenne, black pepper, ginger, salt and chicken and mix well.
If you don't want to marinade overnight, you can either marinade for 15 minutes or simply add the lemon juice and half the spices to your sauce (when you add in the cumin). Skip the yogurt.
Butter Chicken Sauce
Add the butter, garlic and jalapeño to a large skillet on medium heat until you can smell the garlic, about 1 minute.
Add the 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon salt and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly until the spices darken in color.
Add in the tomato sauce and heavy cream, stir and cook for 1 minute.
- Remove the sauce from your pan and keep to the side then wipe skillet clean.
- Add in 2 tablespoons of butter and vegetable oil to your large skillet on medium high heat.
Remove most of the marinade (and discard this marinade) from your chicken and add it to the skillet (you can keep the chicken whole or cut into large chunks).
Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through.
- Top with sauce and bring to a simmer, then top with cilantro.