Well, you read the title. This Makhni Chicken is not the sweet Butter Chicken or Chicken Tikka Masala popular in most Indian restaurants in the West.
“Makhni” in Pakistan literally means “buttery” having been derived from the Urdu word for Butter called Makhan. But don’t be fooled. Pakistani Chicken Makhni tastes nothing like the sweet Butter Chicken you’ve probably tried in the West because it is not sweet. Makhni is a handi that is made with simple steps that involve simmering juicy chicken pieces in a tomato curry until the oil separates; it’s then finished off with heavy cream, butter and kasuri methi.
You may ask yourself, well you just take out the sugar from Butter chicken and you’re done, right? Well, not really. Chicken Makhni is different and you’ll just have to trust me on this. Since I posted this recipe on my Instagram , it has received almost half a million views. SO many of my followers have tried and loved this Chicken Makhni and so many continue to send me their recreations every single day. It really makes my day. You can follow me on @rookiewithacookie to get my recipes as soon as I create them.
- Use Chicken Thighs because that’s the most forgiving cut of chicken. It stays moist and juicy during the entire cooking time which is needed to cook the masala. I usually don’t recommend chicken breast for my curry dishes because they tend to not be as flavorful and too often dry out. However, if you must use chicken breast, then let the masala cook till step 4 in the recipe card until the oil has separated, then add chicken and let it cook on medium for 10 mins. Follow it up with the final touches: cream, black pepper, butter and kasuri methi.
- Feel free to discard some of the oil after frying if you think it’s too much but reserve at least a 1/4 cup worth because it’s needed to cook the tomatoes and “bhoon” the masala. “Bhoon” is a cooking technique that involves frying the masala on high heat whilst continuously stirring it to evaporate the water and encouraging the oil to separate. Remember that the oil we start out with gets soaked up by the ingredients and must be released to fully cook and enhance the flavors of the dish. It’s a glossy sheen that comes to the surface after all the water has evaporated from the curry.
- I only recommend heavy cream because it not only makes the dish creamy but also adds an instant thickness. Milk and half-and half have too much water content which will only counter all the hard work we put in getting the oil to separate.
Makhni Chicken-It's NOT Butter Chicken
- 1/3 cup oil you can discard a bit of the oil when the chicken changes color
- 1 lb chicken thighs, cubed chicken breast is not recommend
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
- 3/4 tsp cumin powder
- 1/4 tsp coriander powder
- 1/8 tsp garam masala please use sparingly because this has an overpowering taste
- 1/4 tsp red chili powder
- 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
- 1/2 tsp black pepper ground
- 1/4 cup yogurt lightly beaten
- 3 tomatoes, pureed from a can of "whole peeled tomatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves kasuri methi
- Fry chicken in oil and once color changes, add salt and ginger garlic paste.
- Add spices and fry for 3-4 minutes to completely coat the chicken, then add yogurt and mix for another two minutes.
- Puree the tomatoes and pour into the pan. Let the tomatoes come to a boil, then cook covered on medium heat for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, remove the lid, and on high heat, "bhoon" the masala by continuing to stir it until the water completely evaporates and the oil separates.
- Turn the flame to medium low and add the heavy cream along with black pepper and a few green chili slit lengthwise for some more heat. Cover the pan again and low heat, let the makhni simmer for 2 to 3 minutes,
- Finally finsih off with butter and fenugreek leaves "kasuri methi" for fragrance and enjoy with naan.
This recipe is so easy to make and it tastes Amazing! I made this for a dinner and it was a major hit! Absolutely Loved it!
Insanely delicious, and easy to make!! I can’t wait to make it again, it was honestly finger licking good! ❤️
Ahh thank you for such a wonderful review!
Easily the best makhni recipe I’ve ever tried. Simple and delicious with the perfect balance of spice and cream in the sauce. Too good!
Great recipe! Super easy to follow and simple ingredients but I’m in a country where fenugreek leaves (dried or fresh) are nigh on impossible to find, what would you recommend I use as a replacement?
You can skip it, it’s really for the aromatics.
I have made this recipe countless times for my family, my extended family, my friends & it has always been an absolute show stopper ! A stunner ! Couldn’t thank you enough for sharing this easy recipe 🙂
Thank you so much for your lovely feedback. I had no idea this recipe will be so loved!
What a beautiful simple recipe. Everyone loved it, so delicious and will be making it again. Thank you Izzah ❤️
Thank you for your comment!
Asslamualaikum! Thank you so much for the recipe. It turned out really nice. Only problem was that the curry was very little though in your picture there is so much of it. I used just as many tomoatoes and yoghurt. What would make the curry more?
Hi Anum, so glad you enjoyed. One reason could be that your tomatoes are smaller than mine. You can add up to 5 small tomatoes in that case for more curry. It may also be that you bhoonified a bit too long. Maybe try it again one more time keeping these in mind and let me know if that helped.
I haven’t tried this recipe yet, but as a general principle, after you’ve well “bhoon”ified a dish, it is ok to add some water if it’s gotten too dry. It has achieved the desired flavors and adding some water won’t take away from flavor. To enhance flavor you can add chicken stock instead of water.
yes I agree with that approach. I’m a stickler for thicker curries but typically know when to stop. I definitely avoid adding any extra water after bhooning because it does alter the taste a tiny bit. But again, more my personal preference 🙂
Such an easy and yummy recipe to make!!
When I tell you this was the easiest and the most delicious desi dish I have ever cooked. Such simple ingredients, barely took 20-30 minutes. Loved it! ❤️
I made this a month back and my daughter has been on my back to make it since! It was an absolute hit in our house. Thank you for sharing the recipe with us 😊
After making your reshmi chicken recipe, we tried this one next and it’s also delicious!! Loved both of them
HI , recipe looks so simple and hyet delicious in taste !!!
Absolutely delicious and so easy to make!
thank you for sharing your feedback. So glad you enjoyed it!
Loved it, so easy to make!! The taste was amazing and I will definitely make it again!
This recipe is a keeper! It is a constant repeat in our menu and i have also made it in for a dinner for friends. It is the most simplest, easiest yet tasty at the same time! We like food a bit spicy so usually I increase the spices a little. But even without that, this is a must try
Loved this recipe made it for my husband and he asks me every week to make this dish it’s super super yummy !
I’m so happy to hear that!
So easy and yummy recipe 👍🏻
Tried the recipe , was very nice 👍🏻
This was just fantastic! So comforting on a Sunday night. The bhoon-o-ing process was just beautiful! Thank you Izza for making the simplest, yet tastiest desi recipes out there
Thank you for your amazing review Titiksha!
This is an amazing recipe- foolproof. I’ve made it a few times and it’s just beautiful!
So happy to you find this fool-proof too!
Amazing Recipee !!
I’ve tried this recipe like around 4 times now.
It always turn out yummy! Love it!
Easy and delicious! 10/10 points! 🖤
The recipe is so easy and so delicious!! Perfect blend of spices and “makhni” taste to it. Love it! Thanks for sharing
Thank YOU for taking the time review my recipe 🙂
Easy peasy recipe! It’s a must try!
Easy and super tasty. There weren’t any leftovers cause it was sooooo delicious,ate it all. Definitely try this recipe.
hahah this is no-leftovers space!
So easy to make and absolutely delicious!! Loved it
The best recipe
An absolutely amazing recipe which me and my husband love. We make this every other week and it has never failed us. It’s hard to stop once you have had a taste of it. I also once substituted almond milk with cream because we are trying to be more ‘healthy’ but it still tasted amazing.
oh love the substitution if it works for you guys! so glad to hear this is on your weekly menu!
This recipe is a keeper! Love the flavors. The whole family begged for more and I had to make it again within 2-3 days of making it the first time.
omg best kind of compliment:D thanks for the feedback
The best recipe I have tried from the internet till date. This is just some restaurant quality Makhni that you’ll ever make at home.
Thank you so much for your review Chithira; so happy you loved it. Your comment will inspire someone to make this Makhni!
Izza’s chicken makhani recipe is just heavenly. I cannot believe that I made it at home and it tasted like authentic Pakistani makhani!! I think it turned out so much better than the ones from restaurants.. Very simple, quick, easy to follow and beginner friendly! I plan to make this again and again. Thank you Izza!!
Thank you so much for sharing your review Pooja! I’m so happy that I could bring some restaurant flavor to your kitchen.
I’m a big time foodie and I was looking for a recipe that was filling delicious and easy at the same time. That’s when I came across this recipe and my mum loved it so much that she took the credit for it lol
And it took me minimum 30 minutes from prep to cooking it’s a must try !
haha love it! But feel free to slip my Instagram handle to your guests 😀
This was such a quick and easy dish to make, especially since we already had a majority of the ingredients. So delicious and creamy, even my husband loved it and he’s not really a fan of chicken. My 4 year old daughter thought it was the best!
Yay so so happy to hear the hubs and little one approved!
I tried this Makhni Chicken today……amazing and finger licking. I used to make butter chicken at home before but it was always a lengthy process. This chicken makhni is quick and easy and one pot dish.
Thankyou for sharing it with us.
This looks incredible! Thank you for your review and sharing a picture of your Makhni 🙂
Such a simple but such an amazing recipe! I used chicken breast and as recommended in the recipe, I added it at step 4 once the masala was ready and it was perfect, thank you Izza!
Love it! Thank you for your review:)
Delicious! It’s a weekly recipe in my house now
This recipe turns out absolutely delicious. And it’s so so easy to make! Thank you, Izza! ❤️
You’re so welcome!
Wow this dish tasted amazing. I didn’t have chicken thigh on hand so
Made it with chicken breast and was still great. The spices are mild. I loved it. I
Will try with chicken thigh next time.
Thank you for the review! I so appreciate it:)
Easy to follow recipe. Absolutely loved how it turned out. Thank you for sharing this recipe.
Really easy to follow! Simple ingredients used for a delicious turnout.
Thank you for the review!
As my 11 year old puts it “It is the best chicken dish I’ve ever had” trust me that’s a compliment!!! Thank you for sharing 😊
That’s the absolute best comment! I’m so happy you and your little one loved it
The most easiest and the yummiest buttery recipe I have ever come across!
Thank you for your review Urooba!
Tried & it WAS A HIT!
Loved everything about this recipe♥️
yay! So happy to hear you loved it.
INSANELY TASTY AND EASY TO MAKE!!
Loved it easy to make delicious to eat
Really good..ive tried with boneless thighs and a bone in full karahi cut chicken. Its a very balanced recipe mix..great job Izzi👍
You’re welcome! So happy you enjoyed the recipe.
Hi!! Thinking of making this today. For one bone-in chicken, did you double the quantities or stick to the recipe?
Same quantity works. I had several people try this with bone-in to rave reviews. Good luck!
Can we make this one without the cream?
Hi Mia, Heavy cream is one of the most important ingredients so you can’t skip that. It adds a richness and creaminess that just isn’t possible with yogurt, milk or half and half.
This was absolutely delicious!! Thank you for such a yummy recipe. Will definitely be putting this in our dinner rotation 🙂
Yay this makes me so happy.
Y’all. This recipe is IT! So easy, so perfect. Everyone loved it. To top it off, I was excited to cook it and I HATE cooking.
No onions means no fuss! So glad you enjoyed cooking it!
Thank you for this super simple and super delicious recipe! Yum yum yum!
You’re so welcome! It’s one of my favorite recipes to make☺️
Can I use store bought curd instead of yogurt? I am gonna try it this weekend.
yep curd works just as well. Make sure you lightly beat it to prevent it from curdling. Good luck!