The Best Butter Chicken Masala, aka-Chicken Makhani Recipe–seriously!
This is my family-friendly Butter Chicken Masala Recipe. It is the World’s Easiest and Best Butter Chicken Masala-no joke! It can be prepped and cooked in under 30 minutes from start to finish. This one pot recipe tastes better than take out and is a crowd pleaser with its full-flavor creamy gravy.
The Best Butter Chicken Masala
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This restaurant style Indian Butter Chicken Masala (also known as Chicken Makhani) is an easy and simple one pot meal that can be made in under 30 minutes from start to finish. Whether you are making it for the first time or 50th, the flavors of the creamy tomato sauce will make you add this to your weekly rotation. Fenugreek leaves, tomato puree, ginger, garlic, spices, and heavy cream are simmered together in this authentic butter chicken recipe. Delicious butter chicken sauce served with basmati rice and soft naan speaks to my soul. Give this a try and let me know what you think!
A comforting ONE POT meal 30 minute meal.
How this dish came about?
I first made this exact recipe when I was in college using the ingredients I had in my home. I did not have onions on this given day and thought the recipe would taste horrible without them. Little did I know, it would become a Curry Mommy original recipe. As the years passed the recipe improved with small tricks and tips, but the ingredients remained the same. I love being able to make one pot meals that the whole family can enjoy, and this Butter Chicken Masala is one I am very proud of.
One Social Media follower said… “We stopped eating this at Indian Restaurants. This recipe is so good!”
What is Butter Chicken Masala?
A North Indian dish that includes a creamy sauce made with heavy cream and tomatoes. This popular Indian chicken dish is tasty and delicious with homemade flatbread or even store bought. I enjoy it with cauliflower rice when on a keto or low card high protein diet. Often times this dish is confused with Chicken Tikka Masala, but in fact both are very different. Continue to read below to see what the difference amongst the two is.
These two are the same dish translated from Hindi to English and a little of both. When viewing a restaurant menu, you can find one or the other on the menu and they both are essentially the same thing just a preference on what the restaurant wishes to call the dish.
CTM vs BCM
Both recipes are different and delicious. The biggest difference in my recipes is that Chicken Tikka Masala Spices includes multiple different types of peppers where as Butter Chicken Masala includes Kasoori Methi (fenugreek leaves). Kasoori methi is a very important ingredient in North Indian Cuisine and needed for Butter Chicken. In fact, if you do not have any on hand, then please do not attempt to make this recipe. It is most definitely an important ingredient in this recipe. I sometimes make both Chicken Tikka Masala and Butter Chicken Masala for dinner when I really feel like indulging. Be sure to check out my follower favorite Chicken Tikka Masala Here.
A little history
My Butter Chicken Masala is THE dish I made most whenever I had friends and family over. You know, back when I had time for get togethers with a lot of help and no kids. Those days are long gone. None the less, this one pot quick meal is satisfying and most wanted by any being I know. Trust me when I say – IT IS GOOD! I always make extra and freeze in individual serving bags for quick means. It is not the healthiest dish I make, but it is down right satisfying!
How to make it healthier
Feel free to eliminate the butter all together and replace heavy whipping cream with full-fat coconut milk. The recipe will not taste the same, but it’s healthier than what I have listed. I guess, you win some and you lose some-right?
Chicken Makhani/Butter Chicken Masala is a North Indian dish that is commonly found at most Indian Restaurants. Most Indian restaurants have North Indian recipes, making this a popular go-to. There are many variations on how to make it, but the concept for the recipe remains the same. I guess you can say, it is the “meatloaf” of India.
What’s a good recipe for Indian Butter Chicken?
I am not even going to say I have a biased opinion when pointing to this recipe. Knowing it has been approved by so many individuals I can honestly say it is really good and it will not disappoint you. Make it in a big batch for you and your family or your next gathering. Either way, it will be a recipe that will win many of your close ones over and over again. In fact, the only person until date it was rejected by, is no longer in my life. That’s a different story for a different day-haha.
- Tomato Puree
- Butter Chicken Masala (shan brand is readily available at Indian grocery stores or Amazon)
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Garlic, Ginger, Red Chili Powder, Coriander, and Turmeric.
- Salt and Granulated Sugar
- Fenugreek Leaves/Kasoori Methi (not to be confused with fenugreek seeds or fresh methi leaves)
- Chicken (I prefer chicken breast or tenders for this recipe)
This one pot meal is super easy to make. Heat a sauce pan or large wok with butter and oil. Cook the chicken with some butter chicken masala without a lid until it is no longer pink. Add the spices and cook for an additional minute or two. Then pour in the tomato puree and mix it well. Add the heavy whipping cream and kasoori methi. Additional butter can be added at this point as well. Let it simmer. Do a quick taste test and then add additional sugar, salt, and spices as needed.
As the sauce cools down it will thicken which makes it perfect to dunk with naan or eat with plain rice. I serve it with a fresh chopped onion salad that includes peeled cucumbers sprinkled with chaat masala. OH. SO. GOOD.
Still a bit confused and need some guidance? I have a full highlight dedicated to this recipe on my Instagram page! Check it out here.
This recipe is one that may come off unique to you if you are accustomed to using onions in most Indian Sauce/Gravy recipes. I wanted to make a very easy version of a butter chicken recipe and eliminated the onion all together for this recipe. I can definitely say you will not miss the onions in this recipe. In fact, I have tried to make it with onions and it threw the flavor off completely. For that reason I do not recommend adding onion to this recipe.
Yes, most traditional butter chicken recipes are marinated in a yogurt mixture and then cooked. I was really trying to go for an easy route when making this recipe and it worked out to my advantage since yogurt is an allergy I have. For that reason, my signature recipe has no yogurt and it tastes just great without it. If you are interested in a similar recipe with a marinated chicken ingredient list, then do check out my chicken tikka masala recipe.
Keto Friendly Indian Chicken
You bet it is! I should just rename it and call it Keto Chicken Makhani or Keto Butter Chicken because it really is a keto friendly meal. The dish uses heavy cream, butter, and keto approved spices. Enjoy it with some cauliflower rice or almond flour tortillas to make it a complete meal. Not all butter chicken recipes are keto friendly, so if you are following a keto lifestyle then I highly recommend this Indian Chicken Curry recipe! Let me know how you like it!
Chicken thighs vs boneless skinless thighs
For this recipe, I highly recommend boneless skinless meat. Preferably Chicken breast or chicken tenders. My husband likes it with boneless skinless chicken thighs as well, but just to be healthier and taste wise I personally prefer to go with chicken breast.
Fenugreek Leaves aka Kasoori Methi
I can’t stress how important it is to have kasoori methi in this dish. In fact it is a staple in Indian cuisine, and for that reason I highly recommend keeping it in stock if you prefer to eat Indian food often. Dried fenugreek leaves pair well with authentic North Indian Cuisine and comes in handy for various different recipes as well. I personally love to add it to roti and make spicy paratha type of breads.
PLEASE GRIND YOUR KASOORI METHI
If you are concerned about mud, dirt, rocks, in your kasoori methi product (which I always am), then I highly suggest washing the product in a large bowl. Then fill up that same bowl with water to the top and add the kasoori methi in the water. Let it soak for a few minutes. The sediments will settle at the bottom. Gently take the kasoori methi from the top of the water without mixing it. I use a wet/dry grinder and blend it the methi into a fine powder like form before adding it to the curry.
If you have leftovers from last night, then you can always freeze the chicken makhani. I do this often and consume it within weeks of doing so. Since it is kid friendly, it makes a quick meal that be warmed up within minutes giving you more time to dance around the room and be one with your family. It also comes in handy for those long work hours when you just don’t have time to cook but want something comforting.
Making the best butter chicken is definitely a lot easier than it sounds. A few simple spices is all it will take to make this dish top notch and drool worthy! Check out these instructions and tell me it doesn’t look achievable. It is easy Indian Food to cook especially if it is your first time making it.
The World’s Easiest and Best Butter Chicken Masala (Chicken Makhani)
- 1 lb chicken, cut into small cubes (I prefer tenders or breast, but traditional recipes use dark meat)
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 12 oz tomato puree (canned)
- 1 tbsp fresh garlic, grated
- 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
- 2 tbsp butter chicken masala (use more or less depending on spice level preference) shan brand works well
- 1 stick butter (salted or unsalted) can use half for a healthier version
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ cup kasoori methi leaves (finely grounded) dried fenugreek leaves
- 1 tbsp sugar (more or less-the measurement depends on tomato puree brand)
- 1 tbsp dry coriander powder
- red chili powder
- salt (amount will vary based on salted or unsalted butter usage)
- cilantro for garnishment handful
- Heat a pan on medium heat and add oil + half a stick of butter. Add chopped raw chicken and 1 tbsp of butter chicken masala. Mix and cook with no lid.
- Cook for about 5 minutes or until the chicken is no longer pink. Some water might form in the pan and that is okay.
- Add garlic, ginger, turmeric, dry coriander powder, and red chili powder. Mix and cook for about a minute.
- Mix it well.
- Cover the pot and simmer on medium high for about 5-7 minutes. Taste check and add salt according to your liking. At this point adjust sugar and red chili powder measurement as well.
- Garnish with extra cilantro. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes (uncovered) before serving.
- TIP: the longer it cools the thicker the sauce will get it. This also tastes great as leftovers and freezes well.
- ENJOY! Happy Eating Folks!
- Use more or less heavy cream based on your preference. The color of the curry will vary based on how much you use.
- I prefer chicken breast or tenders over dark meat for this recipe.
- Salt should be added at the end according to taste since a few of the ingredients are already salted
- Fenugreek Leaves/Kasoori Methi can be found at Indian Grocery stores or Amazon. It is dried green leaves. Please do not substitute fresh fenugreek leaves/methi or fenugreek seeds for this.
Dried Fenugreek Leaves are Important
I can not stress enough how important kasoori methi is in this recipe. I have had many individuals reach out to me asking for substitutions and I hesitate none when stating, there is nothing that compares. Honestly, fresh methi will not cut the mustard and neither will fenugreek seeds. There really is nothing out there that will compare to dried fenugreek leaves and for that reason, I just simply can not recommend a substitute.
When you do get dried fenugreek leaves, be sure to blend them well in a grinder/blender to assure that the stems and leaves are a powder versus being their natural large and dry self. It really makes a big difference in this and many other dishes.
If you make this recipe, I would love to know what you thought! Contact me below or via email, Facebook, or Instagram. I love hearing from you!
HAPPY EATING FOLKS <3