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(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

Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: dairy free, gluten free, keto, low carb, paleo
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories: 367 kcal

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!). 

Print

Ingredients

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:

Instructions

  1. 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). 

  2. 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. 

  3. Add in tomatoes, chili and season with salt. Cook until the tomatoes are fully cooked and the chili soft, about 10 minutes. 

  4. 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.*

  5. Stir in cream and almond flour and continue to simmer for 10-15 minutes until chicken is fully cooked. Season to taste. 

  6. Serve right away over a bed of cauliflower rice and garnished with cilantro leaves. 

Recipe Notes

*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). 

Nutrition Facts
Paleo, Low Carb & Keto Butter Chicken
Amount Per Serving
Calories 367 Calories from Fat 198
% Daily Value*
Fat 22g34%
Saturated Fat 12g60%
Cholesterol 146mg49%
Sodium 266mg11%
Potassium 666mg19%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 36g72%
Vitamin A 610IU12%
Vitamin C 6.1mg7%
Calcium 67mg7%
Iron 1.1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

165 comments

  1. Kristina says:

    I just started keto about two weeks ago. I’m getting tired of fish, rotisserie chicken, salad and vegetables for dinner. I saw this recipe so I thought I’d give it a try! I had no idea what Butter chicken was, but this recipe is really yummy. It is like a curry chicken. I chopped up some cauliflower and just pop it in the microwave for a couple of minutes and serve it with the chicken. It was excellent! Thank you for the recipe!

  2. Sara G says:

    I had bariatric surgery two months ago and made this dish tonight. OMGOODNESS. It hit the spot more than any other low carb dish I have ever made. I subtracted the hot pepper for my tummy but didn’t miss the heat. I sautéed the veg in the instant pot then added the marinated chicken cooking on high pressure for 17 min. Love it!!! Thank you!

  3. Kaitlin says:

    I have made this several times now and everybody raves about it! Silly question, about how many cups is one serving? I am trying to stick to the portion sizes, but struggling without having a measurement!

  4. Donna says:

    I want to add this to my keto calculator but one of the mandatory fields is serving size. If you follow the recipe exactly how big is the serving size for the the nutritional information provided.

  5. Samantha says:

    This might be a silly question but I’m starting Keto today so not used to using some of the ingredients. Can I cook this and then microwave during the week?

  6. Andrea says:

    My husband and I aren’t doing keto, but we still love this recipe. I used the whole can of tomatoes, several jalapenos, and cut out the chicken stock entirely so the sauce stayed nice and thick. A fabulous recipe–thank you!

  7. Sinead O Brien says:

    I made this this evening, it was so good, my God. Really tasty, and that naan bread, delicious. I brushed mine with some melted garlic and herb butter after cooking. Really lovely meal. My daughter’s loved it and went back for seconds.

  8. April says:

    Wow this recipe is a winner! So flavorful and my house smelled absolutely amazing! Only changes I made were instead of cumin seeds I just used 1tsp of ground cumin and I added a little less broth(probably 1/4 cup)cause I wanted it thicker. Also I found 1/2 cup of cream to be just the right amount. Thank you for this great recipe!!

  9. jetta says:

    Just made this and it’s really good. So glad I found your site. I’ve been enjoying making your recipes. Thanks again Paola!

  10. Tia says:

    I made the butter chicken tonight and my family and I loved it. I wanted to make sure that I had the nutrition facts correct. Do they include the bread and the cauliflower rice or just the chicken itself?

  11. Maghouin Beg says:

    This dish is absolutely wonderful. My family all enjoyed it and have asked for it to be put on a regular rotation on the menu.

    I omitted the garam masala (food intolerances), and bumped up the cinnamon and cumin a bit. It was wonderfully fragrant and the taste was fantastic. This ‘cool’ butter chicken is going to be a regular thing. I’ll also a veggie version too.

  12. Page says:

    OMG…My wife made this Butter Chicken for us and it was soooo good.
    Thank you for all you do to try to make this life changing journey possible for all of us…
    I’ve lost 38 pounds now in a little over 3 months…I have a ways to go, but I know I can do this….Thanks to all these wonderful recipes…
    I was a carb addict and these recipe creations make it all possible for me to forget that life….

  13. KIMBERLY SKAGEN says:

    Hi! Getting ready to try this… I’m always stumped by cauliflower rice. What do you do to prepare it? Throw it in a pan with a little oil and give it a quick sauté so it’s warm? Place it direct on the plate and let the entree warm it? Microwave it and all it good? Never sure!

    Thanks! Kim

    • Paola says:

      Hi Kimberly! I put it in a pan with a little water (a couple tablespoons), cover it and let it steam until soft. Season it a bit too! xo

        • KIMBERLY SKAGEN says:

          Just have to end the week on a good note…this was incredible! I was thinking there’s might be a little more heat but overall it wasn’t disappointing! Did a quick sauté on the cauliflower rice as you suggested and the whole meal was great! Will most definitely be making this again!

  14. Micki says:

    Wow! Fantastic. Nice mild curry (I left out the jalapeno). My husband won’t eat curry and he loved it. I found that it was the right consistency without the broth. Thanks so much.

  15. Brandon says:

    Absolutely delicious butter chicken, but I for the life of me cannot figure out how you got the nutritional facts!

    Made it, ate it, loveddd it. But once I start logging the ingredients I was more then double the listed carbs. And it seems to be from the spices I looked up the same spices across multiple brands and they all came up with basically the same numbers. Not sure how that worked out on your end but left me with no carbs for the day.

    • Paola says:

      Awesome to hear Brandon! This is a recipe where numbers are all over the place (I get calculations that do less and others much more), having said that I hope that you understand that I am unable to spend time checking the ingredients with individual readers 🙁 xo!

  16. Desiree Jane Robinson says:

    Proper butter chicken doesn’t involve jalapenos. Ever. Green finger chillies, yes, but not jalapenos!! And where is the cardamom, the fenugreek or the kashmiri chilli powder?
    Sorry – this is a poor reflection of a wonderfully fragrant dish, amazing when cooked with the right ingredients (and the missing ingredients aren’t left out because they’re carb-heavy, as they’re not).

    • Treena says:

      You obviously know how to make butter chicken so why are you looking up recipes on a blog ? I think the true measure of a chef is creativity … and Paola is a chef in her soul.
      She has taken a classic and made it into a dish that is easy enough for even a novice to make will still retaining ample flavor.
      I am sure if you search you can find more “authentic” recipes to copy precisely. I hope you do, because the more traditional preparation is also very labor intensive. It will give you something more productive to do with your time than criticize someone who works hard and shares straight from the heart.
      I will be starting my own food blog and I tend to take classic recipes as a guideline then get creative and use my flavor sense ( and 35yrs experience) to work with whatever ingredients I have on hand. Again I think people with a gift for cooking instinctively understand how to balance flavors. But hey, when I get my blog up you are welcome to come over and judge me too because I definitely color outside the lines ! The thing is… most people look up recipes because they are learning and a very complex recipe is intimidating. That’s why I am here. Keto and gluten free was not the way I ever cooked before. So I am here to learn because I admit that I don’t know everything. A little humility and gratitude goes a long way.

      • Paola says:

        Awww thank you Treena, I actually know exactly what comment you’re responding too without looking (some are just too epic to forget 😂!). All my best wishes in your new blog and food endeavors! xo!

  17. Karen Dolan says:

    At the top of the recipe it’s described as a spices and lime marinated chicken, but the recipe calls for lemon. Guess it doesn’t really matter, but the flavors are different.

    This sounds wonderful and as soon as I use up the leftovers in my refrigerator I’m making it. One dish I have is kheema … an Indian spiced ground lamb dish (keto, of course), also yummy with cauliflower. I don’t rice mine either, just chunk it up to get a better bite.

  18. Kathleen Brown says:

    Hi, I love butter chicken! Thank you!
    I also wanted to recommend Kite Hill Almond Yogurt for those of us who don’t do dairy in the U.S. I get it usually at Whole Foods or Kroger. http://www.kite-hill.com/
    They make regular and greek, I use it also as a sour cream substitute. A close second is Forager Project Cashewgurt, also Whole Foods or Kroger. i like the Kite Hill better and it has fewer carbs.
    https://www.foragerproject.com/cashewgurt/
    Enjoy!

  19. Anna says:

    Hi ! I really want to try this recipe out but I wanted to know what type of yogurt brand you use? Most of the ones that I find say it’s got 9+ grams of carbohydrates but I’m your nutritional fact it’s only 4 grams. Can you help? Thanks

    • Paola says:

      Hi Anna! I’m in Mexico City right now, so the brand I use is a local organic. BUT, full fat Greek style yogurts are mostly good. Also keep in mind that the yogurt you use for the recipe (which is not too much), will be divided between all the servings xo!

  20. Tom Fris says:

    Amazingly good! Family devours this – and I make double batch’s of it. I add on more onion per batch and you can easily spice it up more as you taste/try it. We also used the Cauliflower rice and the kids actually like that better. I make my own in a cast iron pan with very little salt and pepper.

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