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Chicken Malai Kabab

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Chicken malai kabab is a creamy kabab popularly served as an appetizer at restaurants. It is known for its silky, creamy texture and flavor. It differs from chicken reshmi kabab, which uses ground chicken mixed with cheese to achieve its creamy texture.

About this Recipe

Plate of malai chicken kabab

In a restaurant, these kebabs would typically be made in a tandoor, which provides a very high, dry heat. This recipe uses the air fryer, creating a high, dry heat. For that reason, this is a recipe that adapts very well to the air fryer. With the simplicity of the air fryer, it becomes a very quick, easy recipe for a highly snackable chicken. 

This is also a dish that could easily be barbecued. Simply cook your skewers on a heated, well-oiled grill instead of the air fryer.

Many other recipes for chicken malai kabab use a green chili paste, cilantro, or corn starch. I find the corn starch entirely unnecessary. Additionally, I do not think this dish should have chili paste or cilantro since they would give it a green color, spoiling the white creaminess of it. Instead, I use extra white pepper to maintain the kick.

Plate with three malai chicken kababs


Chicken malai kabab is a descendant of moghalai kebabs. It is often served as a starter, best eaten simply with onion slices, lemon juice, and green chutney (cilantro-mint chutney). You can also serve it as a main with the addition of a flatbread such as naan or kulcha.

Serve malai chicken kababs with onions and lemon slices

Much like chicken tikka bites and hariyali chicken, these chicken bites are also delicious when added to a salad or wrap.


Ingredients for malai chicken kabab.
Ingredients: kasoori methi, salt, garam masala, nutmeg, heavy cream, ground cardamom, white pepper, ginger-garlic paste, neutral oil (such as avocado oil), lemon juice, boneless/skinless chicken thighs, yogurt, and mozzarella cheese.

Chicken – I use boneless skinless chicken thighs, which lends well to Indian recipes cooked on high heat. Chicken thighs have more moisture and can handle the heat without drying out. They also have a better flavor.

Yogurt – a common marinade base with Indian food.

Mozzarella cheese – A soft white cheese gives the dish creaminess. It toasts up to create a bit of a crust. You can use cream cheese for a silkier texture.

Ginger-Garlic Paste – equal parts ginger and garlic, ground or grated into a paste. You can make it ahead of time.

Nutmeg and Cardamom – use nutmeg and green cardamom for aroma and flavor. They add a fragrant aroma and flavor to the kabab, making it unusual next to other kababs you might have had. 

White Pepper – preserve the white, creamy color of the recipe. White pepper is black pepper with the husk removed. If you don’t have white pepper, you can use black.

Close up of a malai chicken kabab


  • Add Green chili paste or chopped-up green chilies
  • Add chopped cilantro to the marinade
  • Double the yogurt if you want the marinade to be very thick.


These chicken bites will store well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. They also freeze well. Make sure to freeze them the same day you cook them for food safety reasons, and do not refreeze after thawing.


Plate of malai chicken kabab

Chicken Malai Kabab

Chicken malai kabab is a creamy kabab known for its silky, creamy texture and flavor.
4.80 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 174 kcal



  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 Tbsp shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • ¼ cup greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg
  • Salt
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • Oil spray
  • ½ tsp Kasoori methi optional
  • Lemon slices


  • In a large bowl, combine yogurt, cream, ginger-garlic paste, and spices. Whisk well.
  • Cut the chicken into 2” pieces and add the chicken to the marinade. Mix well to coat the chicken. For maximum flavor, allow it to marinate for 30 minutes to overnight in the refrigerator (optional).
  • Add the chicken to wood or metal skewers. If using wood skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes before adding chicken.
  • Grill the chicken in the air fryer for 14-16 minutes at 380°F until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.



You can also cook these on a pan or grill.


Calories: 174kcalCarbohydrates: 1gProtein: 24gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 137mgPotassium: 299mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 0.5gVitamin A: 134IUVitamin C: 0.05mgCalcium: 50mgIron: 1mg
Keyword chicken, kabab
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