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This authentic and 30-minute Indian Butter chicken recipe is so easy and delicious that I guarantee that once you make it at home, it will soon be part of your weekly dinner menu.
What’s the difference between butter chicken and chicken tikka masala?
Butter chicken or Chicken makhani is one of the most popular North Indian dishes in which chicken is cooked in a buttery onion-tomato sauce with a medley of spices. Makhani, in fact, refers to the smooth and silky curry as well as the generous amount of butter used in the recipe.
Chicken tikka masala while being equally delicious is made by marinating chicken and grilling them before adding them to a spicy tomato-onion gravy.
How to make the best tasting butter chicken
- Thaw the chicken completely because not only it messes up your cooking time, you can also not brown frozen chicken properly (see note 2).
- Brown the chicken in butter – this one step takes only 5 minutes but it makes a world of difference. It not only gives the chicken a nice brown crust but also lends a rich flavor to the dish.
- Substitute cream with cashews – When you add cashews instead of cream you get the same end result – a creamy curry. In addition to the creaminess, you also get the added benefit of including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in your meal.
- Add honey for a hint of sweetness and to counteract the sourness of the tomatoes. Also, pick ripe tomatoes for this dish, they tend to be a little less sour. You could use sugar but honey is sweeter than granulated sugar, so you end up using a smaller amount.
- Use kasoori methi or dried fenugreek leaves as a flavor enhancer in this dish, but if you don’t have it, it is okay to skip it. Note: If using dried fenugreek leaves, roast it for a few seconds before adding it to the dish to get the best results. Also, use in moderation – like all dried versions of herbs, the flavor is very strong even in small quantities.
- Make it in an Instant Pot – Because when the chicken is cooked under high pressure for 5 minutes, it yields this juicy and flavorful dish that is finger-licking good. And yes, you heard that right – it needs only 5 minutes of cooking time [Note – I browned the chicken, if you are skipping that step, increase the cooking time to 6 minutes]
If you have been following my blog, you have probably realized by now that my goal is
- Help you make delicious meals
- Get you out of the kitchen quickly
- Avoid processed ingredients
- And still, keep the authentic taste of the dish
And this authentic tasting Indian butter chicken recipe does just that. It has no additives for color and yet it looks absolutely gorgeous! Make this recipe and impress your family with a dish that they will be clamoring for seconds!
– Instant Pot pressure cooker review – Do you really need one?
– 10 things to know before using your Instant Pot
– All you need to know about your Instant Pot
Looking for more curry recipes? Check out these popular ones from the blog –
- Tadka dal – One pot recipes are the best! That’s why you’ll love this Tadka dal (tempered dal) recipe – make it in an Instant Pot or a pressure cooker – and you’ll have your meal ready in no time.
- Dal fry – This recipe for Dal Fry is very close to my heart because it comes from my mom’s kitchen. This is my humble attempt to recreate the hearty and lip-smacking dal my mom makes at home.
- Chana masala – This vegan one-pot curry can be made in an Instant Pot as well as a stovetop Pressure cooker. Get all the deets on how to make this delicious curry at home!
- Restaurant-Style Dal Makhani – You’ve got to try this creamy and delicious Punjabi lentil curry that graces the menus of Indian restaurants worldwide. Learn how to replicate the flavors of this traditionally slow-cooked curry quickly in an Instant Pot.
- Salmon Tikka Masala – This delicious fish curry combines marinated bite-sized pieces of salmon in a creamy, spiced tikka masala sauce. Serve it with naan or Basmati rice and some onion raita to make it an extra-special weeknight dinner.
Authentic Indian Butter Chicken Recipe
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil or ghee or 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup finely chopped onions
- 1- inch piece of ginger finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced to a fine paste
- salt to taste
- 3 cups finely chopped tomatoes
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder
- ¼ cup unsalted cashews
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- 2 whole cloves optional
- 2 Indian bay leaves optional
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns optional
- 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs cut into 2-inch pieces and patted dry
- ½ cup water
- ¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds finely ground
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon dried and roasted fenugreek leaves kasoori methi for garnishing
- ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro / coriander leaves for garnishing cilantro/dhania
- Tools used
- Kadhai or Wok / Instant Pot
- Blendtec Blender
- Heat a wok or kadhai on medium heat and add butter. Once the butter melts, add onions and fry until translucent and soft.
- Add crushed ginger and garlic. Fry along with the onions for 30 seconds or so and then add cashews, salt, chili powder, and tomatoes. Continue cooking the gravy till the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
- Transfer this mixture to a blender and let cool for 5 minutes. Once it has cooled down, grind to a fine puree. For a smooth and silky texture, pass this puree through a sieve. [Note: I used the soup setting on my Blendtec Blender, and I didn't have to sieve it].
- While you are waiting for the mixture to cool down, add butter to the wok. If you are using the spices, add to the hot butter, saute for 10 seconds or so, and then add chicken. Saute the chicken until evenly browned on all sides (approximately 5 minutes)
- Add the sieved puree to the wok or kadhai, and add 1/2 cup water, or as needed to get the consistency you desire. Cook over medium heat for another 15-20 minutes till the chicken is done. Do a taste test and add more salt if needed.
- Add honey, cardamom powder, and garam masala, and mix well. Let simmer for a couple of minutes. Switch off heat.
- Powder the kasoori methi by rubbing it between your fingers. Garnish the gravy with the kasoori methi and mix well before serving.
- Serve hot with rice, rotis, or naan.
Instant Pot method
- Add oil to the steel insert of the Instant Pot and press the Saute function. Press the Adjust button to move the selection to “Normal” and wait till the display reads “Hot”. Add onions. Fry onions till they turn soft and translucent (approximately 5 minutes).
- Add ginger and garlic and saute with the onions for a minute or so. Add tomatoes, salt, and chili powder and continue frying till soft and mushy, (approximately 8-10 minutes). Transfer the contents of the Instant Pot to a blender and let cool while you complete step 3. DO NOT switch off the Instant Pot.
- While you are waiting for the mixture to cool down, add butter in the steel insert of the Instant Pot. If using the spices, add to the hot butter, saute for 10 seconds or so, and then add chicken. Saute the chicken until evenly browned on all sides (approximately 5 minutes).
- Blend the onion-tomato gravy to a fine puree. For a smooth and silky texture, pass this puree through a sieve. [Note: I used the soup setting on my Blendtec and I didn't have to sieve it].
- Add the sieved puree and 1/2 cup water to the steel insert of the Instant Pot. Mix well. Press the “Warm / Cancel” button, and then select “Pressure Cook.”
- Adjust the time to 5 minutes and set the pressure selection at high. Cover the Instant Pot lid and lock it. Make sure the vent is at the sealing position. Once the cooking cycle completes, the Instant Pot will switch to the Warm cycle.
- Press the Warm/Cancel button after 5 minutes and carefully release the pressure. Open the lid and add honey, cardamom powder, and garam masala. Mix well. [Note - To thicken the gravy, select the Saute function and cook for another 5 minutes at Low]
- Powder the kasoori methi by rubbing it between your fingers. Garnish the gravy with kasoori methi and mix well before serving.
- Serve hot with rice, rotis or naan.
- Feel free to skip the spices (bay leaves, black peppercorns, and cloves) if you don't have any. I love the flavor that it infuses into the oil and the dish.
- You can add 3 tablespoons of cream instead of cashews. Make sure to add it at the end, just before serving.
Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.
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