How to Make an Authentic Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

Are you craving the rich, creamy flavors of Indian cuisine? Look no further than this authentic recipe for Indian Butter Chicken. This classic dish is known for its luscious tomato-based sauce, tender chicken pieces, and aromatic spices. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, you can easily recreate this restaurant favorite right in the comfort of your home. In this article, we’ll guide you through the step-by-step process of making this mouthwatering recipe, ensuring that you achieve the perfect combination of flavors and textures. So grab your apron, gather your ingredients, and get ready to embark on a culinary journey to India.

How to Make an Authentic Indian Butter Chicken Recipe | 101 Simple Recipe
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Introduction to Authentic Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

Discover the origins and unique flavors of the authentic Indian butter chicken recipe.

The History of Butter Chicken

Butter chicken, also known as murgh makhani, is a beloved and iconic dish in Indian cuisine. Its origins can be traced back to the streets of Delhi, where it was first created in the early 20th century. The dish was the brainchild of Kundan Lal Gujral, the founder of the famous restaurant Moti Mahal Delux.

Legend has it that Gujral was determined to find a new way to use leftover tandoori chicken, a popular dish in his restaurant. He decided to simmer the grilled chicken in a rich and creamy tomato-based gravy, creating what is now known as butter chicken. This innovative use of leftovers quickly gained popularity and became a staple in Indian restaurants worldwide.

Butter chicken soon became a favorite among both locals and tourists, and its fame spread beyond Delhi’s borders. Today, it is regarded as one of the most famous Indian dishes globally, representing the rich flavors and culinary traditions of the country.

The Flavor Profile of Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is known for its rich and indulgent flavors. The dish combines tender and succulent pieces of chicken with a creamy tomato-based gravy. The gravy is made by combining tomatoes, onions, garlic, ginger, and a variety of aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, and garam masala.

One of the defining elements of butter chicken is its use of dairy products. Cream, butter, and yogurt are added to the gravy, giving it a smooth and velvety texture. These dairy products also help balance the heat and spiciness of the dish, creating a harmonious blend of flavors.

The flavors of butter chicken are a perfect balance of savory, tangy, and slightly sweet notes. The richness of the gravy, combined with the tender chicken, creates a mouthwatering combination that is both comforting and indulgent.

The Role of Spices in Butter Chicken

Spices play a crucial role in the flavor profile of butter chicken. The dish typically incorporates a blend of spices, each adding its own unique taste and aroma to the gravy.

The key spices used in butter chicken include cumin, coriander, turmeric, garam masala, red chili powder, and fenugreek leaves. These spices not only enhance the flavor of the gravy but also contribute to its vibrant red-orange color.

Cumin and coriander add earthy and warm notes, while turmeric provides a beautiful golden hue. Garam masala, a spice blend of cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, and other spices, adds depth and complexity to the dish. Red chili powder adds a hint of heat, while fenugreek leaves contribute a slightly bitter and nutty flavor.

The combination of these spices creates a symphony of flavors in butter chicken, ensuring that each bite is packed with aromatic and delicious taste.

Note: Make sure to use fresh and high-quality spices to get the best flavor in your butter chicken. Do not be afraid to adjust the spice levels according to your taste preferences. Experimentation and personalization are key when it comes to making the perfect butter chicken.

In conclusion, the authentic Indian butter chicken recipe has a rich history and offers a delightful flavor experience. The genius of Kundan Lal Gujral in repurposing leftover tandoori chicken has resulted in a dish that is cherished and celebrated around the world. So, why not try your hand at making this classic Indian recipe and experience its unique flavors for yourself?

If you’re in the mood for a refreshing drink, you can make our Punch Bowl Recipe or our Cream Soda Recipe.

Preparing the Marinade for Butter Chicken

Master the art of marinating the chicken to infuse it with flavors and tenderize the meat.

The Purpose of Marination in Butter Chicken

Marination is a crucial step in preparing authentic Indian butter chicken. The process serves a dual purpose – to enhance the taste of the chicken and to tenderize the meat. The marinade acts as a flavor agent, infusing the chicken with a rich blend of aromatic spices and tangy ingredients. It also helps to break down the proteins in the chicken, resulting in a tender and juicy texture when cooked.

Note: Marinating the chicken overnight is highly recommended for the best results, but if you’re short on time, marinating for at least 3-4 hours will still yield flavorful chicken.

The Ingredients for the Marinade

The marinade for authentic butter chicken typically consists of a variety of spices and other key ingredients. To create the perfect marinade, gather the following:

  • Yogurt: The base of the marinade, yogurt adds a creamy texture and helps to tenderize the chicken.
  • Ginger and Garlic Paste: These two ingredients are the building blocks of Indian cuisine, adding a pungent and aromatic flavor.
  • Tandoori Masala: A blend of spices such as cumin, coriander, and paprika, tandoori masala adds a smoky depth to the marinade.
  • Garam Masala: Another staple in Indian cooking, garam masala is a warm spice blend that enhances the overall flavor profile of the chicken.
  • Lemon Juice: The acidity from lemon juice helps to tenderize the meat and adds a tangy element to the marinade.
  • Salt: A simple yet important ingredient to enhance all the flavors in the marinade.

Note: Feel free to adjust the spice levels according to your personal preference. Add chili powder or green chilies for extra heat, or reduce the amount of spice for a milder flavor.

The Perfect Marinating Time for Optimal Results

For the best flavor and texture, marinating the chicken for an adequate amount of time is crucial. Ideally, allowing the chicken to marinate overnight in the refrigerator will yield the most flavorful results. However, if you’re pressed for time, marinating the chicken for at least 3-4 hours will still deliver tasty butter chicken.

Note: When marinating the chicken, make sure to coat it well with the marinade. This can be done by thoroughly mixing the chicken with the marinade in a bowl, or by placing the chicken and marinade in a sealed plastic bag and massaging it gently to ensure even distribution of flavors.

Once the chicken has marinated for the desired time, it is ready to be cooked and transformed into a delectable Indian butter chicken dish. Mastering the art of marination is the key to achieving an authentic and flavorsome result that will impress your taste buds.

If you want to learn more about authentic Indian butter chicken recipe, check out this pillar article on our website: Authentic Indian Butter Chicken Recipe.

Cooking the Butter Chicken Sauce

In this section, you will learn the step-by-step process of creating the rich and creamy sauce that sets butter chicken apart. Making the sauce is an essential part of preparing an authentic Indian butter chicken recipe, and by following these techniques, you can achieve a delectable result every time.

The Technique for Making the Tomato Base

The first step in creating the butter chicken sauce is preparing the tomato base. Start by heating a tablespoon of oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add finely chopped onions and sauté until they turn translucent and golden brown. This will add a sweet, caramelized flavor to the sauce. Next, add minced garlic and ginger, and cook for about a minute until fragrant. These aromatic ingredients provide depth and complexity to the sauce.

Tip: For an extra burst of flavor, you can also add a pinch of sugar to the onions while sautéing. This will help caramelize the onions quicker and enhance their natural sweetness.

Once the onions, garlic, and ginger are cooked, it’s time to add the tomato base. You can use either fresh tomatoes or canned tomato puree. If using fresh tomatoes, blanch them in boiling water for a minute, then remove the skins and blend them into a smooth puree. Add the tomato puree to the pan and cook it down for about 10-15 minutes, until it thickens and the raw taste of the tomatoes disappears.

Pro Tip: For a smoother sauce, you can strain the tomato puree before adding it to the pan. This will remove any seeds or chunks, resulting in a more velvety texture.

The Makhani Sauce: Butter, Cream, and More

Now that you have the tomato base ready, it’s time to make the makhani sauce. Makhani means “with butter,” and true to its name, this sauce is made with generous amounts of butter and cream, giving it a luscious and indulgent taste.

To start, melt a couple of tablespoons of butter in a separate pan. Once melted, pour in the tomato base and stir well to combine. This will help the butter blend seamlessly into the sauce. Next, add a cup of heavy cream and stir it in gently. The cream adds richness and smoothness to the sauce.

Pro Tip: If you want a lighter version, you can use half-and-half or yogurt instead of heavy cream. This will make the sauce slightly tangier and healthier.

As the sauce simmers, it will begin to thicken. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent any sticking or burning. Let it cook for around 10 minutes to allow all the flavors to meld together. You’ll notice the sauce developing a beautiful orange-red hue, which is characteristic of authentic butter chicken.

Enhancing the Flavor with Garam Masala

Last but not least, the final touch to elevate the flavor of your butter chicken sauce is adding garam masala. Garam masala is a blend of aromatic spices such as cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, cumin, and more. It adds warmth and complexity to the dish.

Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of garam masala into the simmering sauce and stir well to incorporate it. Allow the sauce to cook for another 5 minutes to fully infuse the flavors of the spices into the dish.

️ Pro Tip: For an extra kick, you can also add a pinch of red chili powder or paprika to the sauce. This will give it a spicy twist that complements the creamy and buttery flavors.

There you have it—a detailed guide on how to make the authentic Indian butter chicken sauce. By meticulously following these steps and techniques, you’ll be able to create a sauce that has the perfect balance of flavors and a velvety smooth texture. Enjoy your homemade butter chicken with naan or rice, and savor the delightful taste of this classic Indian dish!

For other delicious recipes, you can try our White Castle Recipe or our Weight Loss Recipe.

Cooking the Chicken and Assembling the Dish

To make an authentic Indian butter chicken recipe, you need to follow the final steps to cook the marinated chicken and bring all the elements of butter chicken together. It’s a dish that is loved by many for its rich and creamy flavors. Let’s dive into the cooking process and learn how to assemble this delicious dish.

The Best Cooking Methods for Butter Chicken

When it comes to cooking the chicken for butter chicken, there are a few methods you can choose from. One popular method is to grill or roast the chicken pieces in a tandoor or oven. This method gives the chicken a smoky flavor and adds a nice char to the meat.

Another method is to pan-fry the chicken until it’s browned and cooked through. This method is quick and convenient, making it a popular choice for home cooks. Whichever method you choose, make sure the chicken is cooked until it’s tender and juicy.

The Art of Simmering the Chicken in the Sauce

Now that you have cooked the chicken, it’s time to simmer it in the butter chicken sauce. The sauce is made with a blend of tomatoes, onions, spices, and of course, butter and cream. It’s the rich and creamy texture of the sauce that sets butter chicken apart.

To simmer the chicken in the sauce, heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the sauce to the pan and bring it to a simmer. Gently place the cooked chicken pieces into the sauce and let them simmer for about 15-20 minutes. This allows the flavors to meld together and the chicken to absorb the delicious sauce.

Garnishing and Serving Suggestions for Butter Chicken

Once the chicken is simmered and the flavors have developed, it’s time to garnish and serve the butter chicken. Traditionally, butter chicken is garnished with fresh cilantro and a drizzle of cream. The vibrant green color of the cilantro adds a pop of freshness to the dish, while the cream enhances the richness of the sauce.

To serve butter chicken, you can pair it with steamed basmati rice or naan bread. The fluffy rice or the soft naan is perfect for soaking up the savory sauce. You can also serve it with a side of cucumber raita or a refreshing salad to balance out the richness of the dish.

Remember, making butter chicken is all about the balance of flavors. The combination of spices, butter, and cream creates a harmonious blend that is both indulgent and comforting. By following these steps and using fresh ingredients, you can create an authentic Indian butter chicken that will impress your friends and family.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have some questions about this authentic Indian butter chicken recipe, we’re happy to help!

No. Questions Answers
1. Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs? Yes, you can use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs. However, keep in mind that chicken thighs are more flavorful and moist, so the result may differ slightly.
2. Is it necessary to marinate the chicken? Marinating the chicken is not necessary, but it helps to enhance the flavor of the dish. If you’re short on time, you can skip the marination step.
3. Can I make the dish less spicy? Absolutely! You can adjust the amount of spices according to your taste preference. Start with less chili powder and add more if desired.
4. Can I substitute heavy cream with yogurt? Yes, you can substitute heavy cream with yogurt for a lighter version of the dish. However, it will alter the taste and texture slightly.
5. How long can I store the leftovers? You can store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat before consuming.
6. Can I freeze the butter chicken? Yes, you can freeze the butter chicken for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

Thank You for Reading!

We hope you enjoyed learning about this authentic Indian butter chicken recipe. Now it’s time to put your culinary skills to the test and savor the flavors of this delicious dish. If you have any more questions or crave more mouthwatering recipes, visit us again later. Happy cooking and cheers to a delightful meal!

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How to Make an Authentic Indian Butter Chicken Recipe | 101 Simple Recipe

Authentic Indian Butter Chicken Recipe

Indulge in the rich flavors of an authentic Indian butter chicken recipe. This delectable dish combines tender chicken in a creamy tomato-based sauce infused with aromatic Indian spices. Perfect for a cozy dinner at home or to impress your dinner guests!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 350 kcal


  • 2 lbs chicken thighs boneless and skinless
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 4 tomatoes pureed
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Salt to taste
  • Cilantro for garnish


  • In a bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, garam masala, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder, chili powder, cumin powder, and coriander powder. Mix well. Add the chicken thighs and marinate for at least 1 hour, or overnight for best results.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until golden brown. Add the pureed tomatoes and cook until the oil separates. Add the marinated chicken and cook until it is browned and cooked through.
  • Reduce the heat to low and add the heavy cream to the skillet. Stir well to combine. Simmer for 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld. Season with salt to taste.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with steamed rice or naan bread. Enjoy!
Keyword butter chicken, Indian cuisine, chicken recipe, Indian spices, creamy tomato sauce

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