Pakistani Butter Chicken Recipe

Pakistani Butter Chicken is a classic dish, known for its rich and creamy sauce infused with aromatic spices, is a staple in Pakistani cuisine. It’s a dish that lots of people enjoy because it’s creamy and full of flavor.

You will definitely enjoy making this Pakistani Butter Chicken as it is so comforting and super delicious. This recipe can be served with roti/naan or it can be paired with basmati rice for a hearty meal.

In Pakistan, this butter chicken pakistani recipe is also known as makhni chicken or makhni handi. With simple ingredients and easy-to-follow instructions, we’ll teach you how to make butter chicken pakistani style step by step, so you can have a taste of Pakistan right in your own home. Get ready to cook up something really yummy!

You can try our more related recipes Authentic Pakistani Chicken Keema Recipe: Flavors of Pakistan, Authentic Halwa puri recipe (Pakistani Breakfast), Juicy and Flavorful Full Chicken Tandoori.


Butter Chicken is a popular dish in South Asian cuisine, particularly in India and Pakistan. It consists of tender pieces of chicken that are marinated in a mixture of yogurt and spices, then cooked in a rich and creamy tomato-based sauce. The sauce is typically flavored with a combination of aromatic spices such as garam masala, turmeric, and chili powder, along with garlic, ginger, and onions.

One of the distinguishing features of Butter Chicken is its creamy texture, which is achieved by adding butter, cream, or sometimes both to the sauce.


1. Chicken Thighs, Boneless and Skinless: You will need 600g Tender chicken thighs, marinated and cooked to perfection, adding heartiness to the dish.

2. Yogurt: You will need 1 cup Yogurt that tenderizes the chicken and adds a tangy flavor to the marinade.

3. Ghee: You will need 3 tbsp Ghee, or clarified butter, which lends richness and depth of flavor to the sauce

4. Tomatoes: You will need 4 medium-sized Fresh tomatoes to form the base of the sauce, providing natural sweetness and acidity.

5. Ginger and Garlic Paste: You will need 2 tbsp Aromatic ginger and garlic paste infuses the dish with layers of flavor.

6. Spices (Garam Masala, Turmeric, Chili Powder, Cumin): You will need 1 tbsp each of traditional spices to add warmth and complexity to the dish.

7. Cream: You will need ½ cup Cream that enriches the sauce, creating a lusciously creamy texture.

8. Fresh Cilantro: You will need Fresh cilantro to add a burst of freshness and color as a garnish


Ghee, a staple in South Asian cuisine, plays a crucial role in enhancing the flavor and texture of chicken makhani recipe pakistani. This clarified butter is revered for its rich, nutty aroma and versatility in cooking. Unlike regular butter, ghee has had its milk solids removed, resulting in a higher smoke point and longer shelf life.


Step 1: Marinate the Chicken

In a mixing bowl, combine the boneless, skinless chicken thighs with yogurt, ginger and garlic paste, and the spice blend (garam masala, turmeric, chili powder, cumin). Ensure the chicken is evenly coated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a lid and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

Step 2: Prepare the Sauce

Heat ghee in a large skillet or pan over medium heat. Add finely chopped onions and cook until they turn golden brown. Stir in ginger and garlic paste and cook for another minute until fragrant. Add chopped tomatoes to the skillet and cook until they break down and become soft. Once the mixture has cooled slightly, transfer it to a blender and blend until smooth.

Step 3: Cook the Chicken

In the same skillet, heat a little more ghee over medium-high heat. Add the marinated chicken pieces, shaking off any excess marinade, and cook until they are browned on all sides. Pour the blended tomato sauce over the chicken and reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has thickened slightly.

Step 4: Finish with Cream

Pour in the cream and stir well to combine. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, adding more salt or spices as desired.

Step 5: Garnish and Serve

Garnish the Pakistani Butter Chicken with freshly chopped cilantro. Serve Pakistani Butter Chicken hot with steamed rice or naan bread for a delicious and satisfying meal.


Pressure Cooking:

Pressure cooking is a convenient alternative for busy cooks who want to save time without compromising on flavor. In this method, the marinated chicken and sauce ingredients are combined in a pressure cooker and cooked under high pressure for a shorter period. This results in tender, flavorful butter chicken recipe pakistani style in a fraction of the time compared to stovetop cooking. However, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe pressure cooking.

Slow Cooking:

Slow cooking is ideal for achieving melt-in-your-mouth tenderness and intensifying the flavors of Pakistani Butter Chicken. In this method, the marinated chicken and sauce ingredients are combined in a slow cooker and cooked on low heat for several hours.

Oven Baking:

Oven baking offers a hands-off approach to cooking Pakistani Butter Chicken while still yielding delicious results. In this method, the marinated chicken is arranged in a baking dish, and the sauce ingredients are poured over the top. The dish is then baked in a preheated oven at a moderate temperature until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce is bubbly and aromatic.


  1. Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or preferably overnight, to ensure it absorbs all the delicious flavors of the yogurt and spices.
  2. Opt for fresh, high-quality ingredients, especially tomatoes and cilantro, to enhance the overall taste and freshness of the dish.
  3. Tailor the spice level to your preference by adjusting the amount of chili powder used.
  4. When simmering the sauce with the chicken, maintain a gentle heat to prevent the sauce from overcooking or becoming too thick.
  5. Adding cream at the end of cooking lends a rich and velvety texture to the sauce.
  6. Garnish the Pakistani Butter Chicken with freshly chopped cilantro just before serving to add a burst of freshness and color to the dish.
  7. Pakistani Butter Chicken tastes even better when made ahead of time as the flavors have time to develop.
  8. Feel free to customize the recipe by adding vegetables such as bell peppers or peas for extra color and texture.


Allow the Pakistani Butter Chicken to cool down to room temperature before storing it. This helps prevent condensation, which can make the dish soggy. Transfer the Pakistani Butter Chicken to airtight containers or resealable bags for storage. Ensure that the containers are clean and dry to prevent contamination. Store the Pakistani Butter Chicken in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make sure to place it in the coldest part of the fridge, typically the back shelves, to maintain its freshness.

When ready to enjoy your leftover Pakistani Butter Chicken, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator if frozen; Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave until heated through.


  • Butter Chicken Wrap: Use leftover Butter Chicken as a filling for wraps or sandwiches. Simply warm the leftover chicken and sauce, and then wrap it in a tortilla or flatbread along with fresh vegetables.
  • Butter Chicken Pizza: Turn your leftover Butter Chicken into a unique pizza topping. Spread a thin layer of sauce on pizza dough, top with shredded cheese, leftover chicken pieces, and any other desired toppings.
  • Butter Chicken Fried Rice: Incorporate leftover Pakistani Butter Chicken into fried rice for a flavorful twist on a classic dish.
  • Butter Chicken Pasta: Create a creamy pasta dish by mixing leftover Pakistani Butter Chicken sauce with cooked pasta. Add in leftover chicken pieces and vegetables, and then toss everything together until well combined. Garnish with grated cheese and fresh herbs for extra flavor.


  1. Butter or Cream Swirl: Before serving, add a small knob of butter or a swirl of cream on top of the Butter Chicken.
  2. Toasted Almonds or Cashews: Toasted nuts add a delightful crunch and nuttiness to the dish.
  3. Fried Onions: Crispy fried onions add a burst of flavor and texture. Top your Butter Chicken with a handful of fried onions.
  4. Dried Fenugreek Leaves: Crushed dried fenugreek leaves impart a distinct aroma and flavor.
  5. Sliced Green Chilies: For those who enjoy a bit of heat, add sliced green chilies to the Butter Chicken for an extra kick of spice.


Can I use chicken breast instead of chicken thighs in Butter Chicken?

Yes, you can substitute chicken breast for chicken thighs in Butter Chicken. However, chicken thighs tend to be more flavorful and juicy, so you may need to adjust the cooking time to prevent the chicken breast from drying out.

Is Butter Chicken spicy?

The level of spiciness in Butter Chicken can vary depending on the recipe and personal preference. Typically, Butter Chicken has a mild to moderate level of spiciness, but you can adjust the amount of chili powder used to suit your taste.

Can I make Butter Chicken ahead of time?

Yes, Butter Chicken can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. In fact, the flavors often develop and deepen when the dish is allowed to sit for a while, making it even more delicious the next day.

Is Butter Chicken gluten-free?

Yes, Butter Chicken is naturally gluten-free as long as gluten-containing ingredients such as wheat flour are not added to the recipe. However, it’s always a good idea to double-check ingredient labels, especially for store-bought sauces and spice blends, to ensure they are gluten-free.

Can I freeze Butter Chicken?

Yes, Butter Chicken freezes well and can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. To freeze, transfer the cooled Butter Chicken to airtight containers or freezer bags, making sure to remove as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.

Is Butter Chicken the same as Chicken Tikka Masala?

While Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala share some similarities, they are distinct dishes with their own unique flavors and ingredients. Butter Chicken is known for its creamy tomato-based sauce, while Chicken Tikka Masala features a spicier tomato and yogurt-based sauce with grilled chicken tikka pieces.

Pakistan Butter Chicken

Indulge in the rich flavors of Pakistani cuisine with this delightful Butter Chicken recipe. Tender chicken simmered in a creamy tomato-based sauce infused with aromatic spices creates a dish that's both comforting and flavorful. Perfect for a cozy family dinner or special occasion, this Butter Chicken is sure to become a favorite in your home.
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 380 kcal


  • Large skillet or pan
  • Blender or Food Processor
  • Serving platter


  • 600 g Chicken Thighs, Boneless and Skinless
  • 1 cup Yogurt
  • 3 tbsp Ghee
  • 4 medium-sized Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp Ginger and Garlic Paste
  • 1 tbsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tbsp Turmeric
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 1/2 cup Cream
  • Fresh Cilantro


  • Step 1: Marinate the Chicken:
    1.    In a mixing bowl, combine yogurt, ginger and garlic paste, garam masala, turmeric, chili powder, and cumin.
    2.    Add chicken thighs to the marinade and coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Step 2: Prepare the Sauce:
    1.    Heat ghee in a skillet over medium heat.
    2.    Add chopped onions and cook until golden brown.
    3.    Stir in ginger and garlic paste, then add chopped tomatoes.
    4.    Cook until tomatoes soften, then blend the mixture until smooth.
  • Step 3: Cook the Chicken:
    1.    In the same skillet, heat more ghee over medium-high heat.
    2.    Add marinated chicken and cook until browned.
    3.    Pour in the blended tomato sauce and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Step 4: Finish with Cream:
    1.     Stir in 1/2 cup of cream and simmer for an additional 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
    2.     Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary, adding more salt or spices as desired
  • Step 5: Garnish and Serve:
    1.     Garnish the Butter Chicken with freshly chopped cilantro.
    2.     Serve hot with steamed rice or naan bread for a delicious and satisfying meal.


  • Adjust the spice level by altering the amount of chili powder used.
  • For a healthier option, use Greek yogurt instead of cream.
  • Leftover Butter Chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Nutritional Information per Serving:
  • Calories: 380 kcal
  • Protein: 26g
  • Fat: 27g
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 380mg


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