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Butter Chicken AKA Murgh Makhani

You’ve got a hankering for Indian cuisine? Perhaps a creamy curry sauce with turmeric, cumin and garam masala…? This Butter Chicken recipe (Murgh Makhani) should fulfill your desires! Follow it to the letter, or substitute chicken breasts for the thighs. We tried other variations, but determined this version published in NYT Cooking, really is the best. Originally from Amandeep Sharma, and adapted by Sam Sifton. Cooked and enjoyed many times by Smith & Truslow!

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  • 1.Whisk yogurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala and cumin in a large bowl. Add chicken, and coat with the marinade. Cover, and refrigerate for at least one hour (and up to a day).
  • 2.In a large pan over medium heat, melt butter in oil until it starts to foam. Add onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent.
  • 3.Add garlic, ginger and cumin seeds. Cook until onions start to brown.
  • 4.Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, chilies and salt. Cook until chilies are soft, about 10 minutes.
  • 5.Add the chicken and marinade to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken stock. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes.
  • 6.Stir in cream and tomato paste. Simmer until chicken is fully cooked, approximately 10-15 minutes.
  • 7.Add the almonds, cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from heat. Garnish with the cilantro leaves.


  • 1-1/2 cups full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons ground turmeric
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 3 pounds chicken thighs, on the bone
  • 1/4 pound unsalted butter
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 medium-size yellow onions, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated or finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 medium-size tomatoes, diced
  • 2 red chili peppers (Anaheim), or 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
  • Kosher sea salt, to taste
  • 2/3 cup chicken stock, low-sodium, gluten-free
  • 1-1/2 cups cream
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, stems removed