How to Make Chicken Butter Masala like an Indian

Chicken butter masala, also known as butter chicken, is a mainstay of many Indian restaurants and the flag bearer of Indian cuisine worldwide. While Indian cooking is more elaborate than what we are used to, you will notice that it is surprisingly simple and can become a part of your everyday dishes as well. In fact, butter chicken is regularly cooked in non-vegetarian Indian households. You too can make this mouthwatering dish at home. All you will need is the right recipe. So, here we go.


To cook a delicious, filling and rich dinner for 4, you will need 1.25 pounds of boneless chicken. Along with this, you will need a pinch of salt, some chilli powder (known as lal mirch. Don’t use chilli pepper or chilli flakes), two tablespoons of butter, one tablespoon lemon juice and a cup of full-fat yogurt. Apart from this, you will need ginger paste, garlic paste, olive oil, a few chopped green chilies, tomato paste (you can also use freshly crushed tomatoes, half a tablespoon of honey and a cup of heavy cream.

For the chicken

The chicken should marinade before it is used in the gravy. Take a big bowl and add the yogurt, some chilli powder, lemon juice and salt. You can also use liquid smoke. Now, add the chicken pieces to the marinade, coat evenly and let it sit in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

After an hour, add garam masala, garlic paste, ginger paste, chilli powder, butter, oil and lemon juice to the mix. This will infuse a variety of flavours in the food and make it more delicious too. Now, let the chicken marinate for another 3 to 4 hours.

When done, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Take the chicken pieces out, place on an oven sheet and bake them. Only 20 minutes of baking is enough to get the right flavours out of the meat and give you that awesome flavour.

For the gravy

Take a large saucepan and melt butter over medium heat. Now, add some ginger paste and garlic paste and stir it for a minute. Now, add some green chilies and garam masala to the mix and sauté for another 2 to 4 minutes. When done, add the tomato paste, another ½ teaspoon of garam masala, red chilli powder, and salt. Add liquid smoke if you prefer. Let this sauce boil and all the flavours infuse.

Simmer while adding cream, honey, and fenugreek leaves. Let the sauce cook for 7 to 10 minutes unless all ingredients make a perfect, thick gravy. Now simply add the chicken pieces to the gravy and cook on medium-low. You can leave the saucepan to slow cook the gravy in another 30 to 45 minutes. By this time, the quantity of the gravy will reduce to half.

Your chicken butter masala is ready. Serve it on a plate and garnish with cilantro. You should eat it with roti or naan. If you can’t make it, just enjoy with some flatbread.

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