What is Butter Chicken?

So, what is butter chicken? Butter chicken, traditionally known as murgh makhani, is a popular Indian dish. It is known for its creamy sauce, similar to the tomato-based chicken tikka masala. But instead of using tomatoes, butter chicken uses butter. While it may seem like an oxymoron, butter chicken is quite delicious! Read on to learn more about this delicious recipe. Then, make some for yourself!

What is Butter Chicken

Traditional butter chicken includes spices, aromatics, chopped tomatoes, and cream. It is often thickened with cashew nuts. You can omit the cashew nuts, but leave enough for the sauce to thicken. You can make this recipe keto-friendly by using reduced-fat coconut milk and a small amount of butter. However, you cannot skip the butter chicken sauce altogether. Following a low-carb diet, you can reduce the amount of butter and make the recipe keto-friendly.

What is Butter Chicken?

Butter chicken was first developed in the 1950s in Delhi, where Kundan Lal Gujral had a restaurant called Moti Mahal. There were leftovers of tandoori chicken, so he began to make a dish variation. The chicken was cooked in butter with diced tomatoes in a creamy tomato sauce.

This version of butter chicken is also known as murgh makhani, which means “chick with butter.” The traditional recipe for butter chicken is called murgh makhani, which is a rich, creamy tomato sauce that’s served with basmati rice and homemade naan. While this dish is a North Indian classic, it has made its way worldwide and has become a staple of many restaurants. It’s one of the most popular dishes in the country.

When it comes to real butter chicken, it’s all about that sauce. You’ll be surprised that you only need an onion, a can of crushed tomatoes, garlic, ginger, and a few spices to keep those wonderful flavors in the sauce. The key to making a great sauce is to let the tomatoes cook for at least 10 to 15 minutes, or until they are almost dry on the pan. You can also add a few tablespoons of water if it dries out too quickly.

Then, mix until smooth, and add the cream (heavy whipping cream or thickened cream). If you want fewer calories, you can use evaporated milk or half and half. If you want a creamier sauce, add a couple of tablespoons of butter (or Ghee) before serving and let it melt into the sauce.

How to Make Butter Chicken?

Creamy Butter Chicken is easy to make at home with just a few simple ingredients and one pan. It tastes great and can compete with any Indian restaurant. This Butter Chicken recipe is one of the best you will try. The chicken pieces are golden and smell great, and the rich and creamy curry sauce.

If you’re cooking butter chicken for a crowd, you can make a low-fat version with almonds, olive oil, and milk. Don’t use yogurt to replace the cream, as it will change the dish’s taste. You can also use a tandoori masala instead of individual spices, such as garam masala or red chili powder. When frozen, butter chicken will last at least two months.

Once your chicken has been marinated, it’s time to sauté it. Use Ghee to sauté the onions and scrape any browned chicken bits off the pan. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. After that, stir in the cream. You can serve it with rice. This Indian dish is also a great way to use up leftovers!

You’ll be so glad you did! To make butter chicken, heat extra virgin olive oil and add diced onions and ginger. Cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste and the cream, and let it come to a simmer. Once the butter is melted, add the chicken, and continue cooking until the chicken is no longer pink inside. This sauce takes less than 45 minutes to make, and it’s a great meal for busy weeknights! You can easily add chicken, potatoes, or other vegetables to the sauce.


For the Chicken Marinade:

  • 28 oz (800g) boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • One tablespoon minced ginger (or finely grated)
  • Two teaspoons of garam masala
  • One teaspoon turmeric
  • One teaspoon of ground cumin
  • One teaspoon of red chili powder
  • One teaspoon of salt

For the Sauce:

  • Two tablespoons of olive oil
  • Two tablespoons ghee (or one tbs butter + 1 tbsp oil)
  • One large onion, sliced or chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • One tablespoon ginger, minced or finely grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • One teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 14 oz (400 g) crushed tomatoes
  • One teaspoon of red chili powder (adjust to your taste preference)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • cup of heavy or thickened cream (or evaporated milk to save calories)
  • One tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kasoori methi (or dried fenugreek leaves)


  • The first step in making an authentic butter chicken recipe is to make the makhani sauce. This sauce is full-flavored and compliments the chicken perfectly. It is often served with naan bread or basmati rice. When you’re ready to eat, you’ll be satisfied and looking forward to the next meal! If you’re looking for a delicious chicken recipe, try this recipe! It’s easy, healthy, and full of flavor!
  • Mix all of the ingredients for the chicken marinade in a bowl, then add the chicken. Let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes to an hour (or overnight if time allows).
  • In a large pan or pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add two or three pieces of chicken at a time, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry for only 3 minutes on each side until browned. Set aside and keep warm. (The chicken will finish cooking in the sauce.)
  • In the same pan, melt butter or Ghee. Fry the onions for about 6 minutes, or until they start to sweat while scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute, or until the garlic and ginger smell good. Then add the ground coriander, cumin, and garam masala. Let it cook for about 20 seconds, stirring until it smells good.
  • Add tomato paste, chili powder, and salt to the bowl. Let the sauce simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until it thickens and turns a deep brown-red color.
  • Take it off the heat, put it in a blender, and blend it until it’s smooth. You might need to add a few tablespoons of water (up to 1/4 cup) to help it blend. Depending on the size of your blender, you may need to work in batches.
  • Pour the sauce that has been pureed back into the pot. Mix the crushed kasoori methi (or fenugreek leaves), cream, and sugar into the sauce. Add the chicken and its juices back to the pan and cook for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked and the sauce is thick and bubbling.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with hot, fresh garlic butter rice and homemade Naan bread.


OPTIONAL: To thin out the sauce, add a couple of tablespoons of Ghee or butter at the end of cooking and gently simmer it. Alternatively, add a small amount of water.


Calories: 580kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 250mg | Sodium: 1601mg | Potassium: 973mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1895IU | Vitamin C: 19.5mg | Calcium: 171mg | Iron: 4.1mg

What does Butter Chicken Taste Like?

Butter chicken has a mildly sweet taste that comes from the butter base, and this flavor balances out the strong curry spices used to make it. Its mildly spicy, creamy, and savory taste makes it more than just tasty; it is easy for almost anyone to enjoy. Butter chicken was first made in the 1950s in Delhi, India’s capital. Indian Butter chicken has a lot of flavor and spices, but it’s not hot. If you don’t like curry, you probably don’t like curry powder that has already been made. There is no curry powder in this. If your garam masala has too much cinnamon, this may taste very cinnamony to you if you are sensitive to cinnamon.

What to Serve with Butter Chicken?

There are 18 stunning dishes that you can eat together with butter chicken. You can find them in the shortlist below:

  1. Pulao or Basmati Rice
  2. Garlic Butter Kale Rice
  3. Garlic Breadsticks
  4. Naan Bread
  5. Papadum
  6. Samosa
  7. Broccoli
  8. Cauliflower
  9. Saag
  10. Aloo Gobi
  11. Daal
  12.  Raita
  13.  Chutney
  14.  Roasted Asparagus
  15. Kachumber Salad
  16.  Ginger Carrot Salad
  17.  Cabbage Salad
  18.   Cucumber Salad with Lemon Yogurt Dressing

Is Butter Chicken Bad for you?

This rich dish also has cream and butter, and knowing how many calories it has can help you change your diet so you can eat it. Here are the main parts of a four- to five-ounce serving:
  • Calories: 438
  • Fat: 28 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 14 grams
  • Protein: 30 grams

Butter Chicken Calories

The nutrition facts can differ depending on the recipe and the serving size. A serving of one boneless chicken breast with sauce, which is about 4 to 5 ounces, may have 438 calories on average.

Ensure you get the right calories daily to maintain the same weight. Most healthy, moderately active adults can keep their weight steady by eating between 1,800 and 2,800 calories daily. This is the same as walking 1.5 to 3 miles a day.

Fat Content and Considerations

Butter chicken is high in fat because it is made with butter and sometimes cream. Depending on the recipe, one serving of butter chicken may have about 28 grams of total fat and 12 grams of saturated fat.

Butter and cream both have a lot of saturated fat in them. When you eat a lot of saturated fat, your blood cholesterol level increases, and you are more likely to get heart disease. The Cleveland Clinic says that your daily intake of saturated fat should be less than 10% of your calories, or about 22 grams per day if you eat 2,000 calories.

Carbohydrates and Protein

There are 14 grams of carbs and almost 3 grams of fiber in one serving of butter chicken. Carbohydrates give your body energy and should make up the majority of the calories you eat.

45 to 65% of the calories in a balanced diet come from carbohydrates. On a diet of 2,000 calories, carbs would make up 900 to 1,300 calories, or 225 to 325 grams per day.

Butter chicken is a high-protein dish, with about 30 grams of protein in each serving. MedlinePlus says a healthy diet should have between 10 and 35% of its calories from protein, which is about 50 to 175 grams daily on a 2,000-calorie diet. With just one serving of butter chicken, you can get more than half of the protein you need for the day.

High in Sodium

 Butter chicken has a tomato-based sauce, and most recipes use canned tomatoes in some form, either pureed or whole. This can make the amount of sodium in the dish very high.
About 763 milligrams of sodium can be found in one serving of butter chicken. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says you shouldn’t eat more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily. If you are over 51 or have a history of high blood pressure or diabetes, you should eat less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium daily. Read food labels to keep track of how much sodium you are eating. If you eat too much sodium, you may be more likely to get high blood pressure.


In 1948, butter chicken was first made in Northern India. Kundan Lal Gujral made Butter Chicken, also known as murgh makhani, or “chicken with butter.” You may notice that it is similar to the British dish tikka masala. The texture is silky smooth and rich when curry sauce is made in gravy with butter and cream.

Most restaurants are known to put in a lot of butter, making you feel bloated or sick because of the grease. But when we tried out the recipe, we found that we like to start the sauce with Ghee (clarified butter, or you can use a combination of half regular butter and half oil). Adding cream at the end of cooking gives an authentic butter chicken the richness you want. Our version, less oil, makes you feel good and full.