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indian butter chicken

Indian Butter Chicken (Dairy Free)

Indian butter chicken was one of the first Indian recipes that I tried and loved! My dairy free Indian butter chicken recipe is made creamy with full fat coconut milk.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 6 people
Calories 456 kcal


  • Large frying pan or wok
  • Immersion blender


For the marinated chicken:

  • 6 chicken thighs sub 3 large chicken breasts
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon salt

For the dairy free butter chicken sauce:


How to marinate the chicken:

  • This chicken is best marinated overnight. But, in a time pinch, you can marinate the chicken while the sauce cooks.
    Add 6 chicken thighs to a large bowl along with the juice of 1 lemon, 2 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon garam masala, and 1 tablespoon salt.
    Use tongs to completely coat all the chicken thighs with the mixture.
    Cover and allow to marinate in the fridge overnight.

How to make the butter chicken sauce:

  • Heat 2 tablespoons avocado oil over medium heat in a large frying pan or wok.
    Add the 1 diced yellow onion and cook it until it is softened and translucent.
    Add the 4 cloves minced garlic and 1 tablespoon minced ginger and cook until it is just fragrant.
  • Next, add 2 tablespoons garam masala, ½ teaspoon smoked paprika, ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon, 2 teaspoons sea salt, 2 cups diced tomatoes, and a handful of fresh cilantro.
    Bring the mixture to a low simmer.
    Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce right in the pan.
  • Add the marinated chicken.
    Cover the pan with a lid and cook on low for ~1 hour.
    You can test and make sure the chicken is done before serving by cutting a piece of chicken in half if it is still pink it is not done. Or, use a kitchen thermometer, it should be 165 degrees internally.
  • While the chicken cooks, prepare your rice.
    I usually use about 2 cups of dry rice with 4 cups of water.
    But, you can make more rice than this.
  • Stir in the can of coconut milk just before serving.
    Serve warm with the cooked rice and naan bread.
  • Enjoy!


Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
Nutritional information does not include the naan bread or the rice.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 456kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 31gFat: 17gPotassium: 874mgFiber: 4g
Keyword butterchicken, butterchickenrecipe, dairyfreebutterchicken, garammasala, indianbutterchicken, indianfood
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