This butter chicken recipe is beyond delicious, insanely easy, and perfect for a Ketogenic diet. When you combine butter, chicken, and super spices like garam masala, turmeric, and cumin, you end up with a fantastic keto butter chicken with over 10,000+ shares.
⏲️ From 4 hours to 40 minutes
My family members and friends love butter chicken, but I would fret a little every time someone would request it. There is a stigma towards the difficulty of this food recipe, and I fully understand why. When I first started making this nearly ten years ago, it would take me between 4-6 hours, which is not easy and worse if you're not in the mood. Nevertheless, I would make it with love knowing it would bring everyone together and put smiles on more than a few faces. Yeah!
Earlier this month, a close friend requested this food dish for his birthday, which meant making this for eight people. He also happens to follow a healthy ketogenic diet while also being gluten-free. Thankfully this keto butter chicken recipe is naturally low-carb, but I did have to take a step back and review to ensure it was, in fact, keto and gluten-free.
On the day of his birthday, I got an early start, deconstructed my original butter chicken recipe, and came up with something unique, authentic, and super easy. The best thing about this recipe is that it's so much easier to make. Originally this keto butter recipe took 4+ hours. Now you can make it in under 60 minutes and realistically even pull it off in 40 minutes once you know how.
Impressive right? Lets recap! How to make butter chicken, which is keto-friendly, gluten-free, ready in 40 minutes, and serves a crowd. Indian food is one of my favorite foods, and now you can make this keto Indian butter chicken meal at home. Tender pieces of chicken simmered in a creamy spiced buttery sauce. Yes, it is that easy and tastes better than what you get in a restaurant. Let's make it now?
🥘 Key ingredients
This recipe is full of key ingredients, specifically super spices like garam masala, turmeric, and cumin. These super spices deliver a bomb of flavor but are also extraordinarily good for you. These spices are the key to the beautiful rich orange color in this dish.
A genuine super spice, this powerful combination of spices improves digestion, is linked to cancer prevention, fights diabetes, and general overall health booster (draxe). Adding garam masala to any chicken keto butter recipe elevates it to the next level. Garam masala is common in many Indian recipes and easy to buy.
This golden yellow spice is growing in popularity worldwide. Curcumin is the main active ingredient and has powerful anti-inflammatory effects, and is a powerful antioxidant. Note that it is recommended to consume turmeric with pepper, which enhances curcumin absorption. (healthline)
This super spice is far more common, and it is used in a variety of dishes. Even a small amount of cumin helps add depth to butter chicken and helps tie all of the spices and flavors together.
🔪 How to make
Yes, this is easy, like, super easy - one of the easiest Indian keto recipes ever! The marinade takes about 5-10 minutes, and the sauce takes about 30 minutes. And the best part is nobody will know you made this all in under an hour.
These delicious and healthy spices, coupled with the buttery mouthfeel, make this a dish to drool over. The best thing is that it's so much easier to make than you might think. This easy recipe allows you to get from start to finish in less than 60 minutes. One of my favorite keto butter chicken recipes!
For starters, combine all of your marinade ingredients: fresh lemon juice, greek yogurt, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and kosher salt into a mixing bowl and blend until smooth. Add boneless chicken pieces (chicken thighs or breasts), and make sure the marinade covers it so it can soak up this miraculous marinade. This step takes about 5 - 10 minutes. The secret to the tender, juicy chicken is the spice-infused greek yogurt marinade. Done!
Heat your skillet or casserole and add your ingredients: butter (ghee), olive oil, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves garlic. As soon as the ghee starts to bubble, give it another minute, and add your onion. Depending on your taste, you can sprinkle a tsp of sugar (brown) into the keto butter chicken sauce halfway through. A small pinch of brown sugar helps caramelize the onions and helps balance out the acidity in tomatoes.
Next, add a can of diced tomatoes, chili powder, and salt and cook on medium until the tomatoes are fully cooked. This will take less time with canned tomatoes and slightly longer with fresh tomatoes. And we are done, grab the marinade from the fridge and combine. Once the chicken is fully cooked, add sour cream or heavy whipping cream, simmer briefly and garnish. This beautiful sauce gets its creamy richness from the yogurt and the cream.
Your first time around, I'd estimate about 60 minutes. Your second time around, you should be able to pull this off in 40 minutes or less. I pretty much make this on autopilot, and we are eating keto butter chicken far more often now.
I love that this recipe is so easy, serves a crowd, tastes better the next day, and is a killer meal plan option. I've had people fighting over this the next day, which is pretty impressive.
💭 Quick Tips
If you followed along above, you'd recall adding several spices to the butter (ghee) and olive oil. This step helps release essential oils and re-activate ground spices.
Most spices are now available in your local supermarket, but they can be a hit or miss. There is nothing worse than not finding an essential spice; it is flat-out frustrating. When it comes to spices, Amazon Pantry Staples is both a time saver and a helpful link. And I am picky when it comes to spices.
Another big time saver is how well this keto recipe works for meal plans, and this is a recipe that tastes better with time. A delicious keto butter chicken meal that you can make ahead and serve anytime!
And you could quickly turn this into a Vegan Butter Chicken recipe by substituting tofu or possibly a veggie option. If you modify this recipe in any way and like how it turns out, please let me know!
What is butter chicken?
Butter chicken is a famous Indian food and originally called Murgh Makhani. Food in India is so flavorful and aromatic. This curry recipe is considered to be mild compared to the spiciness of other Indian dishes. Indian butter chicken is made with chicken cooked in a spiced tomato, butter, and creamy sauce.
Is butter chicken keto?
This rich, creamy, spiced chicken, flavored with Indian spices served over cauliflower rice, makes a perfect keto meal. And the tender, juicy keto butter chicken is packed with protein. This recipe's net carbs are 6 carbs per serving, and this recipe is based on 4 servings. Most of the carbs are coming from the tomato and onion. It will soon be one of your favorite "go-to" recipes - and even better - it is so good for you!!
How long should I marinate the chicken?
Marinate the chicken as long as it takes you to prepare your butter chicken sauce. Of course, you can leave it longer; however, the benefits are trivial.
What cuts of chicken to use in this recipe?
Any cut of chicken will work. I used chicken breast pieces for this recipe, but you can also make them using boneless skinless chicken thighs. My preference is chicken breasts, but some prefer chicken thighs, so use whatever you have in your fridge. If you opt for bone-in chicken pieces, you will need to add additional cooking time.
How do you make butter chicken less spicy?
This recipe is considered mild, but everyone's tastes are different. You can always use dairy to make this food less spicy. Add a dollop of sour cream or Greek yogurt before serving if you need to adjust this delicious dish's spiciness.
What if you don't have garam masala spice?
You can make garam masala at home. This garam masala is fantastic and is based on a blend of aromatic and sweet spices. The spice ingredients list includes coriander, cumin, peppercorns, green and black cardamom, fennel, cinnamon sticks, cloves, nutmeg, curry leaves, and star anise. This spice is used in many Indian-based recipes and great to have in your pantry.
How to make butter chicken creamy?
Ingredients that will make this butter sauce creamier include heavy whipping cream (heavy cream), coconut cream, coconut milk, or Greek yogurt.
Can I substitute fresh or canned tomatoes with tomato sauce or tomato paste?
You can use both; however, tomato paste and sauce have a higher carb count than fresh or canned tomatoes, so check labels for the carb count.
What should I serve with
Oh, and be sure not to forget the cauliflower rice, which pairs perfectly with this Keto Butter Chicken! This will help you keep your net carbs per serving low. If you prefer noodles, serve over a bed of zucchini noodles - this also an excellent option to keep your net carbs low. Cauliflower rice is my absolute favorite side to serve with this meal. My family eats cauliflower rice regularly, and they prefer it over white rice.
Those not following a low-carb keto diet, go ahead and serve this Indian food with authentic naan bread or rice. Naan bread is perfect for dunking and soaking up this famous delicious sauce.
🐓 Butter Chicken
The aroma of this butter chicken will drive you crazy, and I guarantee you won't be able to resist eating it straight out of the pot with a spoon - it is so good!! There are many wonderful keto recipes out there, but this is definitely on my favorite. Guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser and ready in less than an hour. I love simple recipes that taste this good! I can't wait for you to try it!!!
Keto Butter Chicken
- Grab your mixing bowl and add your yogurt (1c), fresh lemon juice (2T), garam masala (2T), ground turmeric (1T), ground cumin (1T), and Kosher salt to taste. Mix until fully combined.
- Add boneless chicken (900g) and combine well. Make sure the chicken is fully coated so it can absorb the spices and flavors and refrigerate.
Butter Sauce Instructions
- Heat a large pan or even pot and add the butter or ghee and olive oil.
- Add garlic, ginger and cinnamon and fry for one minute. This helps release the flavors!
- Add in onion, stirring frequently until browned.
- Combine tomatoes, chilli powder, and salt. Cook on medium heat until the tomatoes are fully cooked, about 8-10 minutes.
- Get the marinade from the fridge and combine in your pan and cook for 5-10 minutes. Cooking time here depends on thickness of chicken.
- Add a touch of salt or squeeze of lemon to taste.
- Stir in cream and simmer for a few minutes.
- Server over cauliflower rice and garnish with cilantro or parsley.