Mughlai Chicken

Mughlai chicken recipe

The Spruce / Diana Chistruga

Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 35 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
516 Calories
30g Fat
8g Carbs
52g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 516
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 30g 39%
Saturated Fat 13g 63%
Cholesterol 191mg 64%
Sodium 394mg 17%
Total Carbohydrate 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 6%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 52g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 71mg 5%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 587mg 12%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This Mughlai chicken is a dish for special occasions—not because it takes a long time to make or requires many ingredients, but because it is rich and somewhat decadent. The recipe's mild, thick creaminess is heavily influenced by Central Asia's food and culinary traditions, which came to India during the rule of the famous Mughal dynasty. Serve with naan, parathas, rice, or roasted potatoes for a filling and succulent meal, so rich that you can stretch it out into more servings, as a little goes a long way.

Most dishes of this tradition are very elaborate and spice-heavy, and this chicken dish is one of the most renowned of this style outside of India. Best if made the day before, this is a great make-ahead celebratory meal that you can place in the fridge overnight and reheat. Although the dish is succulent when made with chicken thighs, any meat, dark or white, makes a delicious dish.

The list of ingredients is long but know that most are easily found spices and are perhaps already in your pantry. For example, ghee brings a caramel-like, nutty flavor, while cardamon, cumin, and garam masala add a fragrant aroma to the sauce. In the Mughal culinary tradition, nuts like almonds, cashews, and pine nuts are used as a thickener instead of dairy or flour, making the sauces very rich without the heavy filling that gravies made with just dairy can impart to dishes.


  • 10 to 15 almonds, blanched and skin removed

  • 1/4 cup ghee

  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped 

  • 1 teaspoon ginger paste

  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste

  • 1 cinnamon stick, 1-inch long

  • 5 cardamom pods

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder

  • 2 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, brown or white meat

  • 1 cup chicken stock

  • Salt, to taste

  • 5 to 6 tablespoons heavy cream, whisked

  • 2 teaspoons garam masala

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for mughlai chicken
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  2. Grind the almonds into a fine paste either using a mortar and pestle or a food processor. Set aside.

    Spices with mortar and pestle
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  3. Heat the ghee in a pan and fry the onions until they are translucent.

    Heat the ghee
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  4. Add the ginger and garlic pastes, cinnamon, and cardamom, and fry for a minute.

    Frying ginger, garlic pastes, cinnamon, and cardamom
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  5. Add the coriander, cumin, and red chili powder and fry until the ghee begins to separate from the spice-onion mix.

    Add coriander, cumin, and red chili powder
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  6. Add the chicken and fry until well seared and opaque outside.

    Mughlai chicken
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  7. Add the stock and salt to taste and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes.

    Add the stock
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  8. Add the whisked cream alongside the ground almonds and stir well to combine.

    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  9. Turn off the heat and sprinkle the garam masala over the chicken. Cover the dish immediately. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before serving.

    Add spices
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  10. Either discard the cinnamon stick or use it as a garnish. Serve with your favorite sides.

    Mughlai chicken recipe
    The Spruce / Diana Chistruga
  11. Enjoy.

What is ghee?

Ghee is clarified butter that's cooked further. After the milk solids have separated from the liquid, the mixture is simmered until all of the liquid has evaporated and the solids have started to turn brown in color. The resulting butter has a very high smoke point, making it ideal for frying. Because of its delicious flavor, ghee is the go-to fat for Indian cooking.

Recipe Tags: