Chicken Tikka Makhani Recipe

Chicken Tikka Makhani

Chicken tikka makhani is a traditional dish that is better known as Indian butter chicken. It is rich, creamy, and flavorful. The best part is that you have complete control over the level of heat. You can make it as spicy or as mild as you like.

It is usually made with a tomato curry cream sauce and many herbs and spices to give it that depth of flavor you love. I personally adore Indian cuisine because it takes me a little bit out of my comfort zone while showing me how wonderful food from different cultures can be.

What is the Difference Between Chicken Tikka Makhani and Tikka Masala?

The biggest difference is the flavor. Even though both dishes are made with creamy tomato-based sauces, tikka masala has a more complex flavor profile because of the spices used. Tikka makhani still uses some spices, but it is made richer through the use of butter. Some people use these names interchangeably, but they are actually not as alike as you may think.

Here is a recipe that you can try out as a new dinner for your family. It is easy to make and doesn’t take a lot of time, making it ideal for a busy lifestyle.

Chicken Tikka Makhani

Chicken Tikka Makhani

Nicola Turner
Indian Butter Chicken
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4


  • skillet
  • saucepan
  • large bowl
  • Blender


  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into cubes
  • 2 tbsp oil vegetable, canola, or peanut
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger minced
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 onion diced
  • 3 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tsp kosher salt, more to taste
  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 1 can (400g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves


  • In a large bowl, combine chicken, yogurt, lime juice, 3 garlic cloves, half the ginger, garam masala, salt, and parika. Toss until the chicken is coated.
  • Cover and marinate for at least 20 minutes.
  • After marinating, heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add oil once it is hot.
  • Add marinated chicken to the skillet and brown all sides, about 2-3 minutes per side. Set aside once golden on all sides.
  • In a separate sauce pan, add 2 tbsp of the butter and bring to medium heat.
  • Sautee diced onions until transulcent, about 5 minutes.
  • Add crushed tomatoes, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook until bubbly
  • Add heavy cream and remaining butter, heat again until bubbly
  • Pour sauce into blender and pulse into smooth, then return to the saucepan.
  • Add browned chicken to the sauce pan, reduce to a simmer until thickened, about 8-10 minutes.
  • Crush the fenugreek leaves and add to the pot.
  • Turn off heat and serve.


This dish is best served with naan or over rice.
If you have time, marinate the chicken for 24 hours. It greatly enhances flavor and tenderizes the chicken.
I do not recommend substituting chicken breast in this recipe, as thighs are juicier and more flavorful.
Ghee is clarified butter and can be used in place of regular butter if you prefer.
Plain yogurt can replace Greek yogurt if you choose, but we use Greek yogurt because it adds more tang to the chicken.
If want to make this ahead and freeze, you can. Just be sure to store it in an airtight container and thaw thoroughly in the refrigerator before reheating.
Keyword chicken recipes, indian recipes, makhani, tikka

If you like Chicken Tikka Makhani then you will love some of my other Indian recipes:

Indian Spiced Onions

Date Paste Recipe

Tandoori Baked Salmon

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Nicola Turner

Attempting a more self-sufficient life abroad and bringing you the recipes and tips to follow along

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