Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

Butter chicken, or Murgh Makhani, is a popular Indian dish where chicken is marinated in a yogurt sauce and then cooked in a tomato curry sauce. Garam masala is used to season both sauces which gives them a delicious, aromatic flavor.  The chicken was traditionally cooked in a tandoori oven but can be easily made in a regular oven too.  Makhani, the tomato based sauce, is made by mixing tomato puree, butter, and cream to create a rich and creamy sauce.  I also added almond butter to the yogurt marinade for another layer of creaminess.  Cashew butter can also be used instead of almond butter.  The recipe is easy to follow since the chicken marinates overnight and the tomato curry sauce is pretty straight forward.  The only thing tricky was finding fenugreek and I could only find it at a spice store, not in a supermarket.  I thought this dish turned out beautifully and I look forward to leftovers! Butter chicken can be served with naan, rice, and topped with cilantro or yogurt.

Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
(Makes 4+ Servings)
Printable Version

Ingredients for Marinade:

  • 8-10 chicken thighs, boneless skinless
  • 2 tbsp butter melted
  • 3/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 2 heaping tbsp almond butter
  • 3 tbsp ginger, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, juice
  • 2 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • salt to taste

Ingredients for Tomato Curry:

  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp almond butter
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 5-6 tbsp butter
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 5 cups tomato puree
  • 8 oz tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 drops red food coloring (optional)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • salt to taste


  1. Rub the butter onto the chicken,
  2. Mix the dry spices in a bowl.
  3. Mix the yogurt, almond butter, and cream in a bowl
  4. Squeeze the lemon onto the chicken and pat with the spices, garlic, and ginger.
  5. Pour the yogurt mixture on top and coat the chicken on all sides
  6. Let marinate several hours to overnight.
  7. Bake at 325F for 45-50 minutes or until the chicken has reached 170 degrees.
  8. For the tomato sauce, mix the dry spices together in a bowl.
  9. In a large sauce pot, melt a tbsp of butter and add the spices and cook until fragrant.
  10. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes
  11. Combine the tomato puree,butter, heavy cream, honey, food coloring, and tomato paste.
  12. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Stir in the chicken and marinade mixture and let cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  14. Top with cilantro and sliced almonds and serve on basmati rice or with naan.

One Thought on “Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)

  1. Gordon Ramsey on October 3, 2011 at 6:37 pm said:

    That looks absolutely peerfect.

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