Main Dishes

Paleo Butter Chicken (Murgh Makhani)

September, 2019 (Last Updated: April, 2020)

This Healthy Butter Chicken recipe tastes just as good as the conventional Indian Murgh Makhani! My Paleo Butter Chicken will WOW your tastebuds and is very simple to make!

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Blue bowl with half butter chicken and half cauliflower rice cooked, topped with green chili pepper, sliced almonds and parsley

Authentic Indian recipes are actually pretty hard to make. They take a lot of time and I’m certain only the real Indian grandmothers can make them the best way. I’m not Indian but hey, that doesn’t mean I can’t find a way to enjoy a similar recipe. I think the “paleo” bit already shows this is one inspired recipe that tastes very similar to butter chicken!

I have also found a way to cut down how long this dish takes whilst still ensuring you get the full, bold flavours from a hearty butter chicken recipe! One way to try to keep this authentic is by adding Kasoori – Methi leaves which is actually Fenugreek in Hindi. However, if you’re like me and cannot source proper fenugreek leaves, you can buy ground fenugreek powder which is a great substitute for that sweet but slightly bitter taste you need.

This paleo butter chicken recipe is also Keto friendly and therefore low carb! Remove the honey and this also becomes a whole30 friendly recipe!

Paleo Butter Chicken

Ingredients for Paleo Butter Chicken

  • Chicken Thighs
  • Chopped Tomatoes
  • Coconut Milk
  • Ghee
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Coriander/Cilantro
  • Garam Masala powder
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne/Chilli powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Turmeric powder
  • Cumin powder

Substitutes for Butter Chicken to make Paleo

For this dairy free butter chicken recipe, I opted to use ghee instead of butter. Ghee is clarified butter which means the dairy solids have been removed and what you are left with is a sweet tasting, creamy consistency. Ghee is actually used a lot in Indian recipes! I also use coconut milk in this recipe but again, coconut milk is used in a lot of curries and Indian sauces.

For the seasonings, these are very specific seasonings used in Indian cooking so it is best to source these from an Asian food store or your local supermarket may carry these items. You could also try to order these online. If you are not able to find certain seasonings, please do comment below and I will help you work out a substitute!

Paleo Butter Chicken recipe

How To Make Butter Chicken

When making this simple butter chicken recipe, there are many methods you could use to get to the final result. For example, you can either use fresh tomatoes and cook this down, then blend with your onions or you can just use chopped tomatoes and blend it all before cooking.

It really does depend on how much time you have. I also add honey to my recipe, which may not be the Indian way but if you want to keep this a sugar-free recipe, then you can simply caramelise your onions before blending down the sauce.

Time needed: 1 hour and 20 minutes.

There are many ways you can attempt to make the butter chicken but this is my easy foolproof way to get the desired texture and flavour needed!

  1. Marinate the chicken

    This recipe uses chicken thighs which are known for being the juicy part of the chicken. I marinate the chicken for at least 30mins to an hour if I’m in a hurry with all the butter chicken seasonings. This ensures the chicken is flavourful with each bite! The seasonings list is exactly what you needDiced chicken thighs in a bowl with cayenne pepper, onion powder, fenugreek powder, garam masala and smoked paprika

  2. Brown the chicken

    Don’t skip this step as it adds a really nice crispy finish to the chicken and helps it to hold its form in the sauce. Do this for 5-7 minutes in a bit of coconut oil and just make sure not to overcook the chicken before heading to the next step.

  3. Blend sauce ingredients

    This is the step that can be different depending on how you want to make it (see excerpt above). For me, it is easier to blend the the onions, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and coriander without first cooking any of these. You won’t have to handle the heat from the cooked sauce and I think it actually cooks better in the final sauce.Butter chicken sauce in blender

  4. Add ghee to a cooking pot on medium heat

    If you don’t have any ghee at this point, please use some coconut oil. You may not get the same flavour the ghee provides but coconut oil is a great substitute for oils. Let it heat up for a minute before going to the next step.

  5. Add in blended ingredients with extra seasonings

    Let this cook for about 10 minutes. The sauce should be a deep brown colour and should be slightly thick. Reduce the heat to a low-medium heat so the sauce begins to gently simmer

  6. Add coconut milk and honey

    Honey is optional here but will add a nice sweetness to the sauce. Your sauce should look a much lighter orange now and will be slightly thinner consistency.

  7. Add browned chicken

    Reduce the heat to a low and simmer for 15 minutes. This is where the magic happens, all the seasonings are really blending together and the taste will become much bolder and flavourful. Cooked butter chicken with sauce in pot

  8. Serve with some cauliflower rice and enjoy!

    Make sure you top with some sliced almonds and some slices of green chilli pepper for a nice finish

Do not be afraid of the ingredients list! I have added all the seasonings you need to make this burst with flavour! I would recommend marinating the chicken overnight; however, if you are short on time, 30 minutes is fine. If you are really short on time, I guess it’s okay to just throw everything in the pot straightaway. I mean, I guess *shrugs*.

You can make this a slow cooker butter chicken recipe but I chose to make this recipe in my cast iron pot right on the stove. Enjoy this recipe with cauliflower rice and you have a winner! Seriously, this may be the best butter chicken recipe ever (as I say with all my meals because sorry, I’m biased)! This is a great meal prep recipe and perfect for filling weeknight dinners!

Paleo Butter Chicken
  • Easy
  • Flavourful
  • Similar to authentic Butter Chicken
  • Paleo, Keto and Low Carb!

Recipes such as these can be a little confusing to make especially if you have never heard of this before! Please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or queries you may have – I am here to help!

5 from 1 vote
Blue bowl with half butter chicken and half cauliflower rice cooked, topped with green chili pepper, sliced almonds and parsley
Paleo Butter Chicken
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
35 mins
Marinating time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins
An easy butter chicken recipe made Paleo, using ghee to create a creamy sauce bursting with flavours. Perfect weeknight meal.
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian, Paleo
Keyword: paleo
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 202 kcal
Author: WhittyPaleo
For the chicken:
  • 3-4 chicken thighs diced into medium-sized cubes
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
For the blender:
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 knuckle of fresh ginger
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 14 oz. canned chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped coriander
For the sauce:
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4 tsp kasoori methi leaves or fenugreek powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 tbsp honey
To top (optional):
  • cashew nuts or sliced almonds
  • sliced green chilli pepper
  1. Firstly, marinate chicken in the seasonings. Cover and leave in the fridge for half an hour (or overnight if you are making this ahead).
  2. Next, cook your chicken in coconut oil for 5 – 7 mins until browned and cooked through. Set aside
  3. Whilst chicken is cooking, process your blender ingredients.
  4. Next, add your ghee to the pan and heat on medium high heat.
  5. Add in your sauce and seasonings and cook for 10 mins. It should be a deep brown colour now.
  6. Next, add in your coconut milk and honey. The colour should now be much lighter, closer to orange.
  7. Now, add in your chicken. Simmer on low for another 15mins.
  8. Once done, serve with some cauliflower rice, top with almonds and green chilli pepper and enjoy!
Recipe Notes
  1. You can use either chicken thighs or breasts but I prefer chicken thighs in these kind of sauces.
  2. If your sauce seems to thick whilst cooking, simply add in some water to reduce and simmer down to your desired consistency.
  3. If you find you’ve added too much kasoori-methi and becomes overly bitter, add a bit more honey and 1 tbsp of lemon juice to try and cut through. Adding in more turmeric seasoning will also help to cut any bitterness, I would recommend adding in ¼ tsp at a time.

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  • Reply
    November, 2019 at 3:32 PM

    Keeping this recipe for my meal prep, it tastes so good!

    • Reply
      November, 2019 at 3:40 PM

      Yes, perfect for meal prep! 🙂

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