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Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)


  • 1tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1shallot, finely chopped
  • 1⁄4white onion, chopped
  • 2tablespoons butter
  • 2teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1teaspoon garam masala
  • 1teaspoon chili powder
  • 1teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1bay leaf
  • 1⁄4cup plain yogurt
  • 1cup half-and-half
  • 1cup tomato puree
  • 1⁄4teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1pinch salt
  • 1pinch black pepper
  • 1tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1teaspoon garam masala
  • 1pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1⁄4cup water


  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.
  • Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent.
  • Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf.
  • Cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Stir in half-and-half and yogurt.
  • Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillt over medium heat.
  • Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
  • Reduce heat and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne.
  • Stir in about 1/3 of the sauce and simmer until liquid has reduced and chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour the rest of the sauce into the chicken.
  • Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce.
  • Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until thickened.


  • timber_newton_interiors

    I don’t get how this recipe has such good reviews. This was not good at all. The yogurt curdled immediately and ruined the whole dish. The taste otherwise was nothing to write home about. Total aggravation and wasted food.

  • amandazarifah

    I loved loved loved this! I’ve tried a few different recipes for Butter Chicken but this one far exceeded the others in taste and difficulty (ie much easier). I only used half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and it was the perfect spiciness for me (I’m a bit of a wimp with really spicy stuff!)

    Thank for posting this!

  • Heather V.

    Loved this! Wasn’t quite sweet enough, so added some grated jaggery (sugar from palm sap) and adjusted it. Maybe because I used grape tomatoes that changed the recipe. Also, made my own “ginger garlic paste” and rendered the fat I cut off the thighs and cooked the chicken in that instead of peanut oil. Cooked the veggies in ghee. Mmmmm, this sauce is excellent on basmati rice.

  • Sadorani

    It is an awesome recipe. It came out pretty tasteful even though I was missing some ingredients. I used sour cream instead of yogurt and used heavy whipping cream in the end, and garnished with cilantro.

  • billyzoom666
  • coneathea_11171011

    Absolutely one of the best recipes I have tried. Taste just like the local Indian Restaurant we have in our area. It was quick and easy I didn’t have ginger paste; however, I did use about a tablespoon of powdered ginger.

  • Stephen B.

    Great recipe! I substituted sour cream for yogurt and made my own garlic-ginger paste out of ground ginger, fresh garlic, and olive oil. And made a curry rice as a side dish. The sauce was creamy and the spice combination was perfect. Thanks!

  • Mama Wendy

    I am re-reviewing this as I have learned some things that are worth sharing: 1) it is okay to substitute another oil for the peanut. I don’t think you’ll notice a big difference and it may save you some cash. Also, I turned this into a one-skillet dish and it is a little faster to cook and less mess. I added all the oil (I used shortening) at the beginning and then added the chicken after the shallot/onion mixture was translucent. I added extra garam masala and cayenne to make up for the missed chicken browning step. This yielded the same delicious dish that the two skillet method did. Also, I simmered the final product on medium low for an extra 10 or 15 minutes and it thickened up nicely and did not need cornstarch. Also, I added a half cup or so of chopped cilantro. Thanks – my husband and I LOVE this wonderful dish. Served with basmati and flat bread.

  • The Tiny Chef

    My boyfriend and I made this tonight for the second time, and it turned out great. I made a few deviations from the exact recipe because I didn't have things like peanut oil or ginger-garlic paste but I, like other reviewers, also made it into a one dish recipe by browning the chicken with the onions. I didn't have cayenne pepper but I used smoked paprika instead and I think it gave the dish a great flavor.<br/>We served it over basmati rice and both of us finished this, even though it was supposed to be 4 servings.

  • Louise C.

    This recipe is delicious! My family loved it!