This Authentic butter chicken (Murgh Makhani) will satisfy your cravings and is a delicious, spicy Indian chicken dish with a creamy tomato sauce. What makes this recipe even better, is that it is a 30 minutes meal and is an Instant pot Indian butter chicken recipe.Jump to Recipe
Murgh Makhani - an easy Indian butter chicken recipe
We love Indian food. In our house, spicy food is the way of life, even from a young age. My children had no choice when it comes to spices, they learned to like it early on. This Indian butter chicken recipe is perfect for evenings when I don't have much time, and for when the craving for spicy food hits!
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Ingredients for Indian butter chicken
The ingredients for this Indian butter chicken recipe are: boneless skinless chicken thighs (or chicken breasts) onions, butter, yogurt, tomato sauce, heavy cream (or half and half), water, garam masala (an Indian spice blend), cumin, turmeric, Indian chili powder (or cayenne pepper powder), ginger garlic paste and salt.
What spices to use in authentic butter Chicken
Indian food is known for using spices! If you have ever had Indian food, you know that there is nothing bland about it. Check out this amazing Garam Masala spice blend from The Spice House
Another spice I want to talk about is "Indian Chili Powder." I have some that a friend brought me from India. It is made with ground up hot peppers and also garlic cloves as well. You can buy some at your local Indian store, or just use Cayenne pepper powder instead.
Why is it called butter chicken?
Butter chicken has it's name because the spices and onions are sautéed in butter (or ghee). Many Indian dishes use oil to sauté the spices and onions, however this particular dish uses actual butter.
Is butter chicken the same as Tikka Masala?
Butter chicken originated in India, and this recipe is a great authentic recipe for butter chicken, however Chicken Tikka Masala originated in the UK. I don't think there is much of a difference between the 2 dishes, but I do think the traditional Indian Butter Chicken recipe has more flavor.
How to make Murgh Makhani- How to make Instant Pot Butter Chicken
First, you can make this dish in a regular Dutch oven or pot on the stovetop and it will taste the same. I use an Instant Pot because it cuts alot of the time out of cooking it. I love my Instant Pot! If you don't have one yet, it's time for you to get one! They are easy to use, and once you use it, you will realize it's not scary at all!!
I used to be scared of pressure cookers (and I still have reservations about stovetop pressure cookers and canners), however after using an Instant Pot, I realize how easy and safe it really is! One of the things I LOVE about an Instant Pot, and that is superior to a slow cooker, is the different functions an Instapot has. The sauté function is the best! That means I can sauté meat or onions in the same pot I will be cooking it in, unlike a slow cooker. Check out the best Instant Pot below
In a mixing bowl, add the plain yogurt (I use whole milk yogurt), garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, Indian chili powder (or cayenne pepper powder), salt, and paprika and mix it together.
I use 3 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, but boneless chicken breasts can be used as well. I like using thighs because they come out tender and juicy. Sometimes the chicken breasts can get tough or dry, so if you want tender chicken I recommend using boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and mix in the chicken pieces with the yogurt and spices.
Finely dice the onions and add it to the Instant Pot with the butter. Set the Instapot on the sauté function over medium heat and sauté the onions for several minutes until they begin to soften and become translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and sauté for 3-4 more minutes. I use this ginger garlic paste in many Indian dishes.
If you want, you can add grated fresh ginger and minced garlic, however, I don't always have fresh ginger on hand. That's why I always have a jar of ginger garlic paste in my fridge. It's handy and it has a long shelf life in the fridge.
Finally add the tomato sauce, water and chicken and stir it together. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure it is sealed. Manually set the Instant Pot to 6 minutes.
After the timer goes off, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes or so then you can open the sealing vent or pressure release valve. Remove the lid and turn on the sauté function again. Add the half and half or heavy whipping cream and sauté for about 5 minutes. I use half and half in this recipe, but using heavy cream is great as well. You can't go wrong either way.
What do you serve with Indian butter chicken?
Serve this over basmati rice and with naan bread if desired. Add chopped cilantro if desired.
Like this recipe? Check out these other popular recipes
Should I use tomato paste or tomato sauce?
Many recipes for Butter Chicken call for tomato paste. I use tomato sauce, it seems to be less bitter and I get the texture of the sauce the way I like it.
Can I make this murgh makhani recipe on the stovetop?
Yes! Making this recipe for Indian butter chicken can easily be done on the stove. Just use a large pot and follow the same directions, just increase the cooking time to 30-35 minutes.
How spicy is Indian Butter Chicken?
I will be honest here, this recipe I cut back on the chili powder (cayenne pepper powder). I personally use 2 tablespoons of cayenne powder because we like it spicy. Please feel free to use more if you like it more spicy.
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Murgh Makhani - Instant Pot Indian Butter Chicken Recipe
- 3 lbs skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
- 2 onions
- 4 tablespoon butter
- ¾ cup plain yogurt whole milk
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 teas ground cumin
- 1 teas ground coriander
- 1 teas turmeric powder
- 1 teas cayenne pepper powder *see note below or Indian chili powder
- 2 ½ teas salt
- 2 teas paprika
- 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
- 1 15 oz can tomato sauce
- ½ cup water
- ½ cup half and half or ⅓ cup heavy cream
- Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces
- Mix the yogurt together with the garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper powder, salt and paprika and coat the chicken with the yogurt and spice mixture
- Place the butter in the Instant pot and turn on the sauté setting to medium. Finely dice the onions and sauté them in the butter for 4-5 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent
- Add the ginger garlic paste and sauté another 1-2 minutes
- Stir in the tomato sauce, water and the coated chicken
- Manually set the Instant Pot to 6 minutes (it will take longer to come to pressure). When the the timer is up either release the pressure valve manually or allow it to naturally release for 10 minutes
- After the pressure is released, remove the lid and stir in the half and half, setting the pressure cooker to the sauté function for another 5 minutes in order to thicken up the sauce
- Serve over basmati rice with diced cilantro and naan bread
- Indian chili powder is a dried hot pepper that is ground. Cayenne pepper powder is very comparable. I use much more than 1 teaspoon when I cook this recipe because we like it spicy, HOWEVER most people don't like is as spicy as we do, so I cut it down in this recipe. I use 2 tablespoons of Indian chili powder and it is spicy.