Better than take-out Butter Chicken

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After I made this butter chicken, J said I need to put it on the regular dinner rotation so you know it is a keeper! I will even say it is better than wedding or take out butter chicken. And yes I know that is a bold statement!

The secret is grilling the chicken first. I use a basic tandoori masala but if you can get marinated tandoori chicken at your local desi grocer just go for that and save even more time! Grill the chicken and then make the sauce. Right when you are ready to serve add the chicken to the sauce and instantly you have the best butter chicken ever!

We served this with fresh tandoori sourdough naan (made in my pizza oven but you can easily make them on the stovetop) and some zeera potatoes.

Highly recommend doubling the recipe. You will want leftovers because it tastes even better the next day when the flavours have had a chance to really develop.

The only question is will you serve this with naan or rice?

Better than Takeout Butter Chicken

A classic and fan fave when it comes to desi curries. Creamy, tangy and comes together in 30 minutes!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, pakistani
Keyword: gluten free, keto
Servings: 4


For Tandoori chicken

  • 1.5 lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces
  • 2 tbsp thick yoghurt/ Greek yoghurt
  • 2 tsp besan/chickpea flour/ gram flour
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 inch piece ginger peeled & minced
  • 1 green chilli, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mild paprika or tandoori spice mix
  • ½ tsp chilli powder or to taste
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • Pinch cinnamon powder
  • Pinch of saffron crushed
  • Salt to taste

For Makhni (Butter) Sauce

  • 1 ½ tbsp unsalted butter
  • 3 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 1 inch cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 1 small onion or shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder or mild paprika
  • ½ tsp garam masala powder
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1.5 cups heavy cream or whipping cream
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp dried kasoori methi/ fenugreek leaf powder
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


For the Chicken

  • This can even be done a few hours ahead. Or save time and get marinated boneless tandoori chicken from your local asian grocer and go straight to grilling the chicken and making the sauce!
  • Mix the yoghurt with the besan in a bowl to get rid of any lumps to form a thick paste like consistency. Add the ginger, garlic, green chilli, paprika, chilli powder, garam masala and coriander powder. Also mix in the ground cinnamon, saffron and salt. Stir well and add in the chicken pieces and mix well making sure to coat them in the thick marinade. Leave to marinate for a few hours or even overnight if you prefer.
  • Soak wooden skewers in water. Preheat the grill on medium. Shake off the excess marinade and thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers and set aside. BBQ the chicken on the grill for 15-20 minutes until cooked through to an internal temperature of 165F and slightly charred around the edges. Set aside and start to make the sauce.

For The Makhni (Butter) Sauce

  • Heat a heavy bottom sauce pan and add the butter. Add green cardamom, cinnamon stick and cloves. Fry for 20 seconds, add the onions and sauté for 5-7 mins on medium heat until they start to turn light brown.
  • Add the minced garlic, ginger and chopped green chillies. Fry for a minute till fragrant and add the chilli powder, garam masala powder along with the tomato paste. Stir well and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Slowly pour in the heavy cream, stirring continuously to mix all the spices with the cream. Simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add a splash of water if the curry is too thick. Stir in the honey. Add dried fenugreek leaves making sure to crush them slightly in your palm before adding them into the sauce. Adjust salt and spice to taste.
  • Add in the cooked chicken pieces and simmer the curry on a low heat for 8-10 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with fresh naan or rice.


The makhni (butter) sauce can be used with any protien you like. Try it with shrimp, tofu or paneer. It is a great basic curry.

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