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Grilled Butter Chicken

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This could just be the best tandoori chicken on the planet! Grilled butter chicken is so good!

There’s tandoori chicken and then there’s grilled butter chicken. Grilled butter chicken takes things up a few delicious notches and it’s really easy to prepare too. Next time you’re considering grilling up some tandoori chicken, be sure to try this recipe. I promise… you’ll be amazed at how good it is.

This grilled butter chicken is so good served with rumali rotis and/or  homemade naans or chapattis and a good spicy chutney.

Grilled butter chicken

About this recipe

This grilled butter chicken comes to you straight from Old Delhi. It is very similar to the grilled butter chicken you will find at the infamous Aslam Chicken there. I actually made this recipe before visiting Aslam Chicken where I got to try it just as it’s served there. You will find a photo of the actual Aslam Chicken grilled butter chicken below. 

If you aren’t planning a trip to Delhi soon, you can and should recreate this dish soon. 

The chicken is first marinated in what is really just a standard tandoori chicken marinade. Then it’s grilled to perfection. After the meat is cooked through, it is taken off the skewer and mixed with chaat masala or tandoori masala, yoghurt and lots of boiling hot butter. 

Is grilled butter chicken good for you?

Probably not but it’s also not terrible for you. As with most Indian chicken dishes, the skin is removed which is of course a lot healthier. The cooked chicken is served in a pool of hot butter but the butter that’s left over when you finished eating doesn’t count. 

It’s there for flavour and you can eat as little or as much as you like of it.

Can you work ahead?

Yes! As with most tandoori recipes, grilled butter chicken benefits from a day or two of marinating. So feel free to start this recipe one or two days before serving. 

Then all you have to do is grill it on skewers over hot coals and mix it with the spices, butter and yoghurt.

How long will grilled butter chicken keep in the fridge.

It should last, covered in the fridge for at least three days. When doing this, I usually just store it in the yoghurt, butter and spice mixture. 

How do you reheat grilled butter chicken?

As the meat is already cooked, you just need to heat it up slowly over a medium-high with the butter and yoghurt until heated through.

Can you freeze grilled butter chicken?

Yes. But I recommend freezing the chicken tikka before adding the butter, yoghurt and chaat masala. 

You then just need to let it defrost, add the remaining ingredient and heat it through in a pan over medium-high heat.

Do you have to cook this over coals?

No. Cooking over hot coals will give the dish a much more authentic and in my opinion more delicious flavour though. If you would rather, you could pan fry the chicken. You could also place it in an oven pre-heated to 200c/400f. This should take about 20 minutes.

You might also like to place the chicken under your grill (broiler) for the last few minutes of cooking to char it some.

How do you serve grilled butter chicken?

In my photos you will see it served with naans and chutney. At Aslam chicken, it is served with rumali rotis. You tear pieces of the rumali roti off and grab a piece of buttery chicken. If you would like to try grilled butter chicken as they do at Aslam Chicken, purchase or make some rumali rotis! You will love this combo!

The grilled butter chicken served at Aslam Chicken in Old Delhi.

Here is the grilled butter chicken as it was served at Aslam Chicken in Old Delhi. So good! Lot of butter there. You can reduce the amount if you want. 

Rumali rotis for dipping into the butter chicken.

The grilled butter chicken was served with rumali rotis, sliced onions and a coriander and chilli chutney. You will find my rumali roti recipe here but you can purchase them. 


Top tips

  1. Marinate the chicken: Be sure to marinate the chicken for one to two days for best results.
  2. Cooking the chicken: If cooking for a crowd, par-cook the chicken over the coals first. Cook the meat until it is about 80% cooked through and then place the skewers over the coals again to char before serving.
  3. Serving: Be sure your butter is piping hot before adding it to the cooked chicken. Stir it in with the yoghurt and chaat masala or tandoori masala to coat.

Step by step photos

Chicken marinating in the first marinade.

Place the chicken pieces in a bowl and add the lemon juice, salt and garlic and ginger paste.

Second marinade blended and ready for the chicken.

Whisk the ingredients for the second marinade together. If it is too thick, you could add a couple more tablespoons of yoghurt.

Chicken marinating in the butter chicken marinade.

Add the second marinade to the meat and rub it right into the flesh. Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.

Cooking the chicken over the hot coals

Cook the chicken over the coals for about 10 minutes or until cooked through and charred to your liking.

Stirring ghee, yoghurt and chaat masala into the tandoori chicken

Stir some hot butter, yoghurt and chaat masala or tandoori masala into the cooked chicken.

Grilled butter chicken

Ready to eat! As you can see, I use a lot less butter than they do in Delhi. That chicken swimming in hot butter is spectacular though. Do it if you like. 

Grilled butter chicken

Dig in! 

A word about serving…

These photos were taken before my visit to Delhi. I recommend serving your grilled butter chicken just as they do at Aklam Chicken (See photo above), if extra calories aren’t something you’re worried about. 

I loved tearing pieces of rumali roti off and dipping it into the hot chicken and butter. Aklam chicken is so popular and part of the reason for this is that the dish is fun to communal. Just place the hot chicken in the centre of your table with some rotis and dig in. This is party food!

Yield: 6

Grilled Butter Chicken

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes


  • 1kg (2 1/4 lbs) bone-in or boneless chicken thighs, skin removed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 tsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • 70g (1/4 cup) Greek yoghurt
  • 1 - 3 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder (to taste)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp amchoor powder
  • 1 tbsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp garlic, ginger and chilli paste
  • 1 tbsp chaat masala or tandoori masala
  • 2 cubes butter
  • 4 tbsp Greek yoghurt
  • Flaky salt to taste


  1. Place the chicken pieces in a large mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, salt, garlic and ginger paste and oil and rub it right into the flesh. Set aside while you prepare the second marinade.
  2. In another bowl, whisk all of the second marinade ingredients together until smooth. Pour this marinade over the chicken and again, rub it right into the flesh of the chicken.
  3. You can go straight to cooking now but for best results, allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes. 1 to 2 day of marinating will be even better.
  4. When ready to cook, heat sufficient coals in your barbecue. Your coals are ready for cooking when it is uncomfortably hot for you to hold your hand 2 inches above cooking height for longer than 2 seconds.
  5. Skewer the chicken onto metal skewer by weiving it through the skewer. Don't just stick the skewer through or your chicken won't secure on the skewer properly.
  6. Place the chicken skewers over the fire. While the chicken is cooking, melt the butter over the coals in a small pan. Continue cooking and turning the skewers from time to time so that the chicken cooks evenly.
  7. Once your chicken is cooked through and nicely charred, pour it into a serving bowl. Add the chaat masala and yoghurt and stir it in to coat the chicken pieces. Finally, pour the hot butter over the chicken and again stir it in.
  8. To serve, season with flaky salt to taste. Not all of the butter needs to be eaten. It is there for flavour and to keep the meat moist.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 410Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 2741mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 4gSugar: 10gProtein: 13g

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I hope you enjoy this grilled butter chicken recipe as much as my family does. If you do try it, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear about your grilled butter chicken experience!


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