Close this search box.

Is Chicken Makhani the Same as Butter Chicken?

Last Updated on February 28, 2024 by Lauren Beck

Oh, the enchanting dance of tastes that is Indian food! Among the colorful assortment of dishes, one question frequently arises: Is Chicken Makhani essentially just Butter Chicken?

With spices as my guide and taste buds as my compass, I ventured to unravel this saucy enigma. Let’s dive into the world of Indian curries with a seasoned appetite.

Is Chicken Makhani the Same as Butter Chicken?

The battle of the pots and pans begins! While these two dishes may seem like cousins from the same culinary family, they’re not quite identical twins. 

Chicken Makhani and Butter Chicken share much in common, but a few key differences set them apart.

What is Chicken Makhani?

Picture this: tender chicken swimming in a velvety tomato-based sauce, lusciously kissed by creaminess. 

Chicken Makhani, also known as “Butter Chicken” by some, boasts a medley of flavors from slow-cooked tomatoes, cream, and an enticing blend of spices. It’s like a cozy hug for your taste buds.

What is Butter Chicken?

Butter Chicken, the dish that started it all, takes pride in its creamy tomato gravy elevated by the gentle embrace of aromatic spices. 

Tender pieces of chicken dance in a luxurious sauce that’s rich, tangy, and oh-so-satisfying. It’s like a symphony of flavors – and butter.

How Do They Differ?

Chicken Makhani

Here’s the twist: Chicken Makhani often leans on the creamier side, while Butter Chicken balances creaminess and tanginess. 

The line between them can be blurred, but it’s all about how much creaminess you crave.

What Does Chicken Makhani Taste Like?

Close your eyes and imagine the perfect blend of sweet, tangy, and creamy. 

Chicken Makhani, with its well-rounded flavors, presents a journey that starts with a mild tanginess and ends with the soothing creaminess of butter.

What Is the Original Butter Chicken?

Travel back to 1947, when a happy kitchen accident gave birth to the legendary Butter Chicken. 

At Delhi’s Moti Mahal restaurant, leftover tandoori chicken met a rich tomato gravy, resulting in history. It’s the OG comfort food with a twist.

Why Is Butter Chicken So Popular?

From Delhi’s streets to global stardom, Butter Chicken’s rise to fame is no fluke [1]. Its tantalizing blend of flavors, mellow spiciness, and luscious texture make it a universal delight. 

Pair it with naan or rice – it’s comfort on a plate, no matter where you’re from.

Is Butter Chicken Supposed to Be Spicy?

The heat meter may vary! While traditionally not meant to be fiery, some variations may carry a gentle kick. It all boils down to personal taste and the chef’s spice choices.


In Indian culinary intrigue, the conundrum of Chicken Makhani versus Butter Chicken remains delightfully unsolved. With a palate primed for nuance, I’ve savored the textures, tasted the stories, and indulged in the age-old debate. 

While they share a lineage, their distinct journeys shine through. Chicken Makhani’s creamier embrace evokes comfort, while Butter Chicken’s harmonious balance of tang and richness portrays tradition and innovation. 

As I sip my chai and muse on these saucy wonders, it’s clear that this is more than a culinary question—it’s a tale of taste, history, and the perennial pursuit of flavor-packed harmony.


Lauren Beck
Latest posts by Lauren Beck (see all)

Leave a Comment