How to Make Smoked Butter Chicken at Home?

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When talking about Indian Food, the most common association that people may have are curries, rice and bread (roti/naan). Now off course I am oversimplifying it but from what I have seen from my friends and people who are generally not from India, is that for them when they hear Indian food they tend to associate it with dishes like “Tikka Masala” or “Butter Chicken”.

We have a lot more dishes than that, I can assure you. But from their experiences what I understood is that no matter where you go there are always some go to options when visiting an Indian restaurant.

For example chances are you will find some sort of “Dal” i.e. Lentil curry “Butter Chicken”, “ Jeera Rice” and lastly some type of “Naan” i.e. Bread.

Funny enough, even in my house hold when I ask my husband or daughter what they would like to eat for lunch / dinner I get standard 3 replies from them White Chicken Curry or Butter Chicken or Dal. Honestly 🤦🏽‍♀️ sometimes I ask myself why did I even bother asking them.

What is Butter Chicken?

Butter Chicken is an Indian curry prepared with Tandoori chicken pieces in a thick creamy gravy made with tomatoes, fresh cream and ground spices. Lastly smoked with charcoal to give it a smoky flavor.

Fun Fact about Butter Chicken, is that it originated sometime during 1950’s in India. So, it been around for a long time and in every Indian household having their own unique version of it.

That been said the flavour and taste profile are adjusted based on which country it is being served in to fit the palate of its residents and their respective spice tolerance ofcourse.

If you are looking for a rich, creamy dish then you can be sure that its velvety creamy texture with a perfect balance of tanginess from the tomatoes is a perfect combination for any get together right from someone who loves eating spicy food to someone who doesn’t.

Traditionally tandoori chicken used to be made in a tandoor (clay oven). As of today in this modern world, we use a grill instead of the traditional tandoor thereby maintaining the smoky flavour.

In this blog post I will show you an easy method to make Butter Chicken at home and yet achieving the smoky flavor by using a stove top instead.

  • Smoked butter chicken prepared by one life several stories served in a bowl.
  • Chicken being grilled on a grill pan for smoked butter chicken curry

There are quiet a few methods to prepare it. Some even give the grilled tandoori chicken pieces a smoky touch rather than the entire curry.

If you have left over tandoori chicken pieces then you could even prepare this curry using those by avoiding the grilled chicken step entirely.

Now before we jump into the recipe let me tell you that I have used Shan Butter Chicken Masala as it brings out an authentic restaurant style flavor of it and I have also used Puck thick cream to attain the creamy, velvety texture of the curry.

The above 2 ingredients can be easily replaced by what you have available with you in your pantry or at your local store or you could even order them online from Amazon.

What to serve with Smoked Butter Chicken

Smoked Butter Chicken can be a great choice for your family or friends get together be it any occasion. It is best enjoyed with Naan bread or Cumin Rice. Inorder to have a complete menu for your dinner parties you can accompany it with the following starter and main.

How to smoke the Butter Chicken using stove top

Usually when you have these restaurant style tandoori chicken you will always get a smoky flavor to it. As some would use a traditional tandoor (clay oven) to grill.

You can even achieve this smoky flavor if you use your outdoor charcoal grill. Well since this is the homemade version of the smoked butter chicken recipe you can very well achieve the smoky flavor by using your stove top.

What you need to do is;

  • Use a piece of foil to shape the bottom half of a glass. Which will then be used as a container to hold the lit charcoal in. Place the container in the centre on top of the curry.
  • Take a small piece of charcoal and lite it up on your stove top.
  • Once it has been lit place it carefully in the foil container.
  • Add 1 tsp butter or ghee to release smoke.
  • Close the cooking pot/ vessel with a lid immediately and allow it to sit for 5 mins until the smoky flavor gets well incorporated in the curry.
A piece of foil wrapped around the bottom half of a glassA bowl made out of foil by shaping the bottom half of a glass
Foil container
A small piece of coal being lit up on the stove topSmoking the butter chicken in a vessel by using charcoal
Achieving smoky flavor over stove top

Do note if you have time on your hands then marinade the chicken with the ingredients and let it sit over night in the fridge. You will have even more succulent pieces to enjoy. Incase you have less time on your hands for whatever reason then marinading them for 1 hour should be more than enough.

If you have tried out this recipe or anything else from our blog then we would love to hear your feedback. Please give it a rating and leave a comment in the section below or tag a photo and #familyfuntech on Instagram. Thank you!

Smoked butter chicken prepared by one life several stories served in a bowl.

Easy Way to Make Smoked Butter Chicken at Home

Smoked Butter Chiken that can be easily made at home thereby achieving the smoky flavour by using a stove top.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Resting Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 People


  • 1 Bowl To marinade
  • 1 Cooking Pot
  • 1 Grill Pan
  • 1 Mixer Grinder


Chicken Marinade

  • 3 Chicken breasts Washed and cut into medium size squares
  • 2 tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • ¾ tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 2 tbsp Yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp Shan Butter Chicken Masala
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • Salt as needed

Curry Paste

  • 3 medium Onions Thinly sliced
  • 2 big Tomatoes Roughly chopped
  • 20 Cashews
  • 1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
  • 1 tsp White Distilled Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • ¾ tsp Garam Masala Powder
  • 2 tbsp Shan Butter Chicken Masala
  • 4 tbsp Puck Thick Cream
  • 1 tsp Kasuri Methi Dried Fenugreek Leaves
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 tbsp Oil

Smoking the curry

  • 2 inches Charcoal
  • 1 tsp Ghee or Butter
  • 1 Foil shaped container Refer to image


Grilling Chicken

  • Place a grill pan on medium high heat. Drizzle a little oil and spread evenly until pan is well coated. Add the chicken pieces. Do not clutter.
    Cook on one side until you get the grill lines then flip it over. Cook until chicken is ¾ done only as we will be cooking it again in the curry paste. Once done set it aside on a plate.

Curry Paste

  • In a cooking pot on medium heat add the butter and oil. Once its hot, add in the thinly sliced onions. Cook stirring frequently until they turn translucent and not burn.
  • Add ginger garlic paste and sauté until the raw smell goes away.
  • Now add the roughly chopped tomatoes and cashews. Cook until the water from the tomatoes dries out.
  • Add sugar, salt, vinegar, garam masala powder, red chilli powder and Shan butter chicken masala. Stir well.
    Then switch of the flame and remove the masala in a plate or bowl to cool down.
  • Once it has cooled down, should take around 15 to 20 mins grind it into a smooth paste using little water.
  • In the same cooking pot on medium low heat add the curry paste. Also add in 1 glass of water and let it cook stirring occasionally.
  • Add water as desired for the curry.
    Add more water if you want a thinner curry and less water if you want the curry to be thick.
    Turn the heat to low and cover the cooking pot with a lid and continue to cook
  • After 5 mins or so you notice the butter/ oil appearing on the top of the curry paste now you can add the grilled chicken pieces.
  • Also, add in thick cream and kasuri methi. Stir well and then cover with a lid and continue to cook.
    Add in more water if the gravy has become too thick.
    Let it simmer on low flame for around 10 mins then switch off the flame.

Smoky Flavor

  • Take a piece of charcoal and on low flame keep it on the gas burner to light up.
  • Meanwhile prepare the foil container using a glass as shown in the image
  • Once the charcoal has been lit up, place the foil container in the centre of the cooking pot that has the curry in it and then place the charcoal inside the foil container.
  • Put 1 tsp butter or ghee on top of the lit charcoal. As soon as it starts to release smoke cover the cooking pot with a lid.
    Let the charcoal sit in there for around 5 mins.
  • After that you can now open the lid and remove the foil container with the charcoal in it carefully and discard the same.
  • Finally garnish with fresh coriander / cilantro leaves and serve with cumin rice or naan bread.


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2 responses to “How to Make Smoked Butter Chicken at Home?”

  1. Mom the Lunch Lady Avatar

    We love butter chicken but I have never tried making it at home. Your recipe seems simple enough and I love the tip about how to achieve a smokey flavor at home on the stove top.

    1. One Life Several Stories Avatar

      Thank you do try it, you will surely love it.

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