A Glug of Oil

Easy and delicious recipes including midweek dinner ideas, English and world cuisine.

Butter Chicken Recipe

Indian Butter Chicken - Chicken Makhani 

Also known as Murhg Makhani is a curry dish similar to Chicken Tikka Masala and is also one of the most popular curries at any Indian restaurant.

Chicken makhani - Indian butter chicken.

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Aromatic and full of flavour, this is one of the best sweet curries and is a firm favourite in this house.

Murgh makhani, chicken makhani or Indian butter chicken whichever you prefer to call it!

Murgh makhani is the Indian name for butter chicken. According to Wikipedia, Makhani is an Indian word meaning "with butter". It has been given to Indian cuisine during the Mughal rule in India.

It is now used in the names of several dishes from Punjabi cuisine.

Anyway, after making this again last night (August 2023) my recipe has been updated since I've discovered a couple of shortcuts, but fear not, it tastes just the same 😋 Hopefully, I've made it easier to follow.

The rich tomato butter sauce has been perfected by Gordon Ramsay - seriously, you just want to keep on eating it.

I must say, Gordon Ramsay's recipe is just the best. I've been watching his 'Great Escape' programme on TV and it's brilliant. You can still buy Great Escape Gordon Ramsay book on Amazon.

Okay, the list of ingredients is quite long, but they are mostly spices and I will say it is so worth making.

This is one TASTY curry! 😋

However, when the book Great Escapes was published I'm thinking something was wrong with the butter chicken recipe.

In the programme talking about the butter chicken he had there, Gordon said: It doesn't taste tart like it's been laced with tomato puree, it uses fresh tomatoes.

Now, this is all very strange because the book says to use 275ml of tomato puree and there's not a mention of a tomato fresh, tinned or even passata.

But with that said, I do believe that in the USA tomato puree is known as tomato paste. So, perhaps it's just a misunderstanding by whoever wrote the recipe for the book.

Tomato paste in the UK is very different from tomato puree; confusing or what?! 😐

So, there I was, everything ready to go until I noticed the amount of tomato puree.

Not only would the dish have been very bitter, but there would also have been hardly any sauce at all. I used a good quality tin of tomatoes.

With all that in mind, I set about looking up different recipes on the net and the end result is my very much 'titivated' version of Gordon Ramsay's Indian Butter Chicken.

My Top Tip on tinned tomatoes

I prefer the brand Mutti; yes they are a bit expensive but look how amazing they are.

Mutti tinned tomatoes.

They're available in Tesco, Sainsbury's or Waitrose and in my opinion, you can't beat them.

Ingredients for butter chicken

  • 2 nice fat chicken fillets cut into biggish bite-sized pieces (3cm) Use 3 fillets if you want to serve 4 people
  • 2 garlic cloves - peeled and very finely chopped
  • 2 cm ginger - peeled and very finely chopped
  • 4 heaped tablespoons (enough to coat the chicken) I use TOTAL Greek 5% Natural Yoghurt
  • 1½ teaspoons hot chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • a little vegetable oil for brushing
Butter chicken ingredients.

Ingredients for butter chicken sauce

  • unsalted butter
  •  garlic cloves 
  • ginger 
  • cardamom pod 
  • whole cloves
  • ground coriander
  • ground turmeric
  • garam masala
  • hot chilli powder
  • tomato purée (tomato paste if you're in the US)
  • can of finely chopped tinned tomatoes
  • runny honey 
  • lemon juice
  • green birds eye chillies - left whole and pierced with a knife 
  • 100ml double (heavy) cream if you are in the US)
Butter chicken sauce ingredients.

Marinate the chicken.

Marinading the chicken.

Make the sauce.

Making butter chicken sauce in a frying pan.

Part cook the chicken in a griddle pan.

Cook the chicken for the butter chicken recipe.

Add the chicken to the sauce.

Indian butter chicken before adding the cream.

Add the butter and cream.

Butter chicken in a frying pan.

Serve with rice and naan bread and rice - we like Jeera Rice.

Butter chicken - chicken makhani.

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe card below!

chicken makhani, butter chicken recipe, murgh makhani, butter chicken gordon ramsay,
dinner, main, curry
Yield: 2-4
Author: Jan Bennett
Chicken Makhani - Butter Chicken

Chicken Makhani - Indian Butter Chicken

Easy, butter chicken recipe that rivals any restaurant. Tender chicken pieces in a full-flavoured curry sauce. *To serve 4 just add another chicken fillet*
Prep time: 20 MinCook time: 20 MinInactive time: 1 H & 15 MTotal time: 1 H & 55 M


For the chicken
  • 2 nice fat chicken fillets cut into biggish bite-sized pieces (3cm) Use 3 fillets if you want to serve 4 people
  • 2 garlic cloves - peeled and very finely chopped
  • 2 cm ginger - peeled and very finely chopped
  • 4 heaped tablespoons (enough to coat the chicken) I use TOTAL Greek 5% Natural Yoghurt
  • 1½ teaspoons hot chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • a pinch of fine sea salt
  • a little vegetable oil for brushing
For the sauce
  • 30g plus 40g of melted unsalted butter
  • 2 garlic cloves - peeled and very finely chopped
  • 2 cm ginger - peeled and very finely chopped
  • 1 cardamom pod - seeds only and lightly crushed
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons hot chilli powder - or to taste, remember you can add more towards the end
  • 2 tablespoons tomato purée (tomato paste if you're in the US)
  • 400g can of finely chopped tinned tomatoes - good quality ones or the juice will be like water, I use the brand Mutti
  • 2 tablespoons of runny honey - or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 green birds eye chillies - left whole - each one pierced 6 times using a knife
  • 100ml double cream (heavy cream if you are in the US)
To serve
  • chopped coriander leaves (cilantro)


Prepare the chicken
  1. Put the yoghurt in a bowl with the garlic, ginger, salt, chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric and cumin.
  2. Mix well and then add the chicken making sure that each piece is well coated with the mixture.
  3. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour, but 3 hours would be better if you have time. Remove from the fridge 15 minutes before cooking.
Meanwhile, make the sauce
  1. Heat 30g of butter in a large frying pan and add the garlic and ginger, fry for a minute then add the cardamom seeds, cloves, ground coriander, turmeric, garam masala, and chilli powder. Stir well and fry for 1-2 minutes, until they give off a lovely aroma.
  2. Add the whole green chillies but be sure to have pierced each of them with a knife so they can release a bit of heat into the dish.
  3. Stir in the tomato purée and lemon juice and cook for another couple of minutes.
  4. Now add the can of tomatoes along with their juice and stir in the honey. If you need to, use a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes because you want the sauce to be quite smooth.
Cook the chicken
  1. Now thread the chicken pieces onto metal skewers and drizzle with a little vegetable oil and cook in a hot grill pan.
  2. Don't let them cook right through as they will finish cooking in the sauce. If you fully cook them now the chicken will end up dry.
To finish the dish
  1. Add the chicken to the sauce and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced to a nice thickness. Don't let it boil, just simmer gently otherwise the chicken will end up tough.
  2. Remove from the heat and let the sauce cool for a good 5 minutes. Use this time to remove the chillies and find the two cloves or someone will encounter a clove, and possibly break a tooth - so find them and throw them away!
  3. By now the sauce should have cooled a bit, if not the sauce will curdle. Add the rest of the butter (40g) and stir. Now add the cream stirring continuously until it's all melted.
  4. Put the pan back on the heat and cook until it's all piping hot. Have a taste to see if you want more honey or chilli or whatever then serve straight away, garnished with chopped coriander.


I really recommend you use double cream (heavy) if you're in the US otherwise if you use single cream the sauce is far more likely to curdle.

Did you make this recipe?
@aglugofoil #aglugofoil


  1. Butter chicken is just one of those dishes that transcends all nationalities.

  2. U cook Indian food so well. I heard that butter chicken was invented by an Indian in England instead, is it true?

  3. To me, that looks totally decadent and delicious......I am not a Ramsay fan(don't tell him,don't want to upset that man do we!)

  4. Your version looks great, Gordon: eat your heart out!

  5. It looks Murgh-a-licious...one of my fave Indian dishes, coming over now!

  6. This looks delicious! Thanks for sharing :)

  7. It looks so delicious... It's always interesting to see Indian dish.

  8. The butter chicken looks delicious and the recipe is really good too.
    We love butter chicken it is one of our favourites.

  9. I'm desperate for a curry now Jan, looks fabulous! I can never get enough spicy food, lol!

  10. That's a pretty impressive looking curry Jan. I can't stand Gordon Ramsay and I don't care if he knows it either! xxoo

  11. I thought exactly the same when I read Gordon's recipe in my book. 275ml tomato puree should never be used!!

    I never follow recipes 100% anyway and I am going to use fresh tomatoes and purree and blend the sauce. Will let you know how it goes!

  12. This is a great recipe and I did it for special anniversary meal for my family. I was concerned about the quantity of tomato puree too so I did 2 thirds pulled tomato to 1 third puree and it gave a lovely rich sauce that went down a storm.

  13. Thanks for the comment Bryan - glad you liked it too. I haven't made this in a while so now you've got me wanting it again!


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