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  • busyvegetariankitchen

Butter everything: a basic but glorious makhani sauce in minutes

Throw some onions, tomato sauce, spices, and cream in a pot and simmer it down. That's basically it. Your favorite Indian restaurant down the street does not want you to know this. But it's actually that easy.

This makhani sauce can be used for butter paneer (a.k.a. paneer makhani), butter chicken (I use frozen meatless chick'n strips), or anything else you want to "makhani" -- lentils, chickpeas, potatoes, or other vegetables. Check out the very versatile recipe below!

Makhani Anything


1 onion, finely chopped

2-3 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 tablespoon bottled or minced garlic

1 tablespoon ginger paste (from tube or fresh)

1 14-ounce can of tomato sauce

1-2 teaspoons Kashmiri chili powder (or 1 teaspoon red pepper powder)

1 teaspoon garam masala

½ teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon cardamom powder

1 ½ teaspoons sugar

1 ½ teaspoon salt

1-2 cups of your filling of choice -- e.g., cubed paneer, tofu, veggie chik'n strips, or cooked potatoes

2 tablespoons heavy cream or half & half (add more or less depending on how creamy you like it)



1. Finely chop the onion.

2.  In a medium pot over medium heat, melt the butter.  Then add the cumin seeds and roast them for 30 seconds.  Then add the onions, garlic, and ginger to the butter.

3.  Once the onions, garlic, and ginger are translucent and browning at the edges, add the tomato sauce and all the seasonings (i.e., the chili powder, garam masala, coriander, cardamom, sugar, and salt).  Stir the tomato gravy mixture well and cover.


4.  Simmer the tomato gravy over low heat for 5-6 minutes, occasionally stirring.  Meanwhile, prep/chop your filling. If you are using paneer or tofu, cube it now. If you are using a frozen filling, like veggie chik'n, chop and lightly fry it until cooked through.


5.  Add the filling to the tomato mixture, stir, and warm through for 2-3 minutes.  (Cook longer if the filling needs extra cooking.) Remove from heat and allow the makhani to cool slightly before stirring in the cream.

Tip: Make this vegan by swapping in vegan butter and coconut cream.

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