Home » mains » (Extra Creamy!) Butter Chicken 🍛 gluten free, keto & paleo

(Extra Creamy!) Butter Chicken 🍛 gluten free, keto & paleo

This keto butter chicken is ridiculously tasty, aromatic, and a breeze to whip up! Plus, it just so happens to be a naturally low carb dish (and we’ve since added a dairy free and paleo option too!).

Oh, and be sure not to forget the keto naan

Paleo & Keto Butter Chicken With Naan
Paleo, Low Carb & Keto Butter Chicken

Paleo & Keto Butter Chicken

Suuuper Creamy (& Easy!)

Butter chicken might just be the most famous curry export from India, wow-ing palates wherever it goes. Plus, it also happens to be incredibly easy to get just right!

And while there are a myriad of versions out there, it’s in essence a yogurt-with-spices-and-lime marinated chicken, cooked up in a mildly spiced and incredible curry sauce. And for a paleo version, coconut yoghurt and cream work wonderful with the flavors!

Said curry sauce is also a breeze to make. Think sautéed onions cooked up with the incredibly aromatic ginger, garam masala, cumin, turmeric and just a hint of cinnamon. All naturally keto ingredients, whoop whop!

Oh! And be sure not to forget to whip up a batch of our keto naan (with yeast!)

Fresh Keto naan with garlic butter and coriander
Gluten Free & Keto Naan (i.e. Flatbread!)

The Method 🔍

For exceptional butter chicken, browning each ingredient before adding on the next is paramount. You see this over and over again in cuisines worldwide: from Mexican mole, to American chili, Italian ragù, or French bourguignon.

The one thing all these stellar dishes have in common? Browning each ingredient fully before you add in the next one. The complexity of flavors that you get by doing this, simply cannot be replicated any other way.

So repeat after me: browning is truly essential.

The good news? This keto butter chicken ain’t mole or chili! i.e. you won’t need to leave it cooking all day. Think an hour tops, but more like 45 mins or so.

Serving Suggestions

If keto or low carb, I cannot recommend enough to serve it up with cauliflower rice. It’s wonderful this way, trust me. Just keep in mind that I prefer to rice our cauliflower slightly bigger here, so you get more of a ‘mouthful’ and it doesn’t completely blend into the butter chicken.

And once again, don’t forget the naan!

Dipping keto naan into a butter chicken bowl
Gluten Free & Keto Naan (i.e. Flatbread!)
Paleo, Low Carb & Keto Butter Chicken

Paleo, Low Carb & Keto Butter Chicken

This keto butter chicken is ridiculously tasty, aromatic, and a breeze to whip up! Plus, it just so happens to be a naturally low carb dish (and we've since added a dairy free and paleo option too!). 
4.86 from 61 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course Main
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6
Calories 367 kcal


For the chicken marinade:

  • 1 cup plain full-fat Greek-style yogurt or plain coconut yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 900 g boneless chicken skinless chicken, diced into bite-sized pieces*

For the butter sauce:

  • 60 g butter or ghee
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil such as avocado
  • 1 medium onion peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic ran through a press
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons cumin seeds optional
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 14-ounce can diced tomatoes or 2 medium-sized tomatoes diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper seeded and diced
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2-1 cup heavy cream or coconut cream/full-fat milk, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour

To serve:


  • Mix in a bowl yogurt, lemon juice, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and season with salt to taste.  Stir in chicken pieces. If possible, cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours (or up to a day). 
  • Melt butter with oil in a large pan over medium heat until bubbly. Add in onion and cook, stirring often, until translucent. Add in garlic, ginger, cumin seeds and cinnamon. Continue to cook until onions are browned, stirring frequently. 
  • Add in tomatoes, chili and season with salt. Cook until the tomatoes are fully cooked and the chili soft, about 10 minutes. 
  • Add in the chicken with the yogurt marinade into the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Pour in stock and bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.*
  • Stir in cream and almond flour and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes until chicken is fully cooked. Season to taste. 
  • Serve right away over a bed of cauliflower rice and garnished with cilantro leaves. 


*Feel free to use bone-in (skinless!) chicken, you'll just have to cook it a little longer in the sauce (think around 30-45 minutes). 
Please note that nutrition values for this dish may vary widely depending on the brands and amount of fresh produce you use (think onions and tomatoes). 


Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 146mg | Sodium: 266mg | Potassium: 666mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 610IU | Vitamin C: 6.1mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 1.1mg
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, keto, low carb, paleo
Whip up this recipe?Comment below or drop me a line @gnomgnom._ and tag #gnomgnomyum!


  1. Vanessa says:

    5 stars
    Ever had butter chicken before so I have nothing to compare this dish with but my family loves this recipe. I made it because I’m so tired of the same foods and needed a different flavor. My family asked for it to be in our rotation. Oh and the naan was delicious. I will have to make the recipe bigger for my family. Was absolutely delicious. Thank you!

  2. Max says:

    3 stars
    I have been following your recipes along with suggestions and hints to the “tee” for a few years now – love your site ! But very disappointed that the yogurt curdled and separated, and a got a grainy texture at the end. There was no warning or hints about this possibility !!

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Max this def (def!) shouldn’t have happened. And since this hasn’t been an issue that has come up for you guys yet, I could use more deets from you to help diagnose what could’ve gone wrong. What type of yogurt did you use? Full fat? Greek? And most important, at what stage did it curdle?

      • Paola van der Hulst says:

        Hi Debbie! It probably just means that you needed to reduce it further (i.e. cook it a bit longer so the water evaporates and you end up with a thicker dish) xo!

    • Anne says:

      Browning is really just cooking it a little bit, in this case letting it cook for a few minutes (usually gets a little brown color on things like onions or garlic) before adding the next ingredient. It lets the individual flavor of each ingredient intensify a little.

  3. Emilie says:

    5 stars
    Hubby and I are craving indian food since we started keto. I found this recipe just before dinner and oh boy! It was amazing! Tasty, creamy and so delicious we almost ate the full recipe! If I could I would have give 10 stars!!! Next time I’ll try to leave the turkey in the yogurt marinade more than an hour in the fridge.

  4. Shannon King says:

    5 stars
    I have tried many keto butter chicken recipes over the past year and have been disappointed until tonight! You got the flavors SPOT ON, Paola. You impress me more and more with each new gnom gnom recipe I try! I’m continuously impressed with both the flavor profiles AND the textures in your recipes. Your Butter Chicken is now in rotation at my house. Thank you for all you do for keto!

  5. Ekisha Poddar says:

    5 stars
    today was day one of my keto diet and not gonna lie i prepared myself to be disappointed cus in my head i convinced myself diet food is just not worth it. I just made this for me and my dad and its safe to say thanks to this recipe im really excited to try this whole keto lifestyle. The recipe was honestly so good, and cauliflower rice didnt seem like i was eating a cauliflower. I did end up changing a few things cus of the quarantine, like i added powdered cashew instead of almonds, and standard indian green chillies instead, but it still tasted SO GOOD.
    definitely gonna recommend this to my friends who (just like i used to) think keto is more expensive, more time consuming, and not worth it.
    Thank you!

  6. Patty says:

    I made this several times but not in the last six months or so. Has it changed? I recall using many more spices and no pre-made garam masala. Is that version of the recipe still available?

  7. Anna says:

    5 stars
    This was delicious. I doubled the recipe for visitors and the leftovers are fabulous. Made raita, eggplant Baghi and cauliflower rice to go with.

  8. Cynthia says:

    Does anyone have a suggestion for a cauli rice sub? I would love to have something rice-like with the Butter Chicken but me and cauli are not friends. Thanks in advance.

    • jaimie haasnoot says:

      Hi Cynthia!

      Sorry this is so late – shirataki rice-shaped noodles are a great sub. They’re not a perfect replica texture-wise, but they’re low-carb and keto friendly. you can buy them packaged in the health food section of most grocery stores.

    • Betty says:

      shirataki rice is my go to if I don’t want cauliflower rice for some reason. The non drain odorless
      ones are quite good.

      • Paola van der Hulst says:

        Agreed! I’ve also been experimenting with making resistant starch rice (and working in actual GI numbers to share with you guys!) xo!

  9. Jane Robinson says:

    The intro talks about the chicken being ‘spice and lime marinated’ … but I’m glad to see that lemon juice is actually used instead. And, as others have asked, is the ‘chili’ – listed in the ingredients – meant to be chili powder?
    PS I love your website Paola, but is there a way to prevent your recipe pages having SO many auto-play videos/music? It’s a little offputting suddenly having music playing, and scrolling up and down like a crazy person, trying to find out which video or advert is making the noise so I can shut it down!

  10. Raye Senecal says:

    5 stars
    I made made this for the first time tonight- absolutely delicious! My husband and I both loved it just as written. A great recipe whether you are keto or not. Thank you!

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