This keto butter chicken is so easy and quick to make, it's sure to be a staple in your weeknight meals! It's creamy, delicious and great with a side of your favorite low carb rice or naan!
Keto Butter Chicken
Butter chicken is a popular Indian dish that is loved by the world over.
It has succulent bite sized chicken pieces in a creamy tomato based butter sauce.
It's naturally low carb and can be easily made at home.
With my easy recipe and simple tweaks you'll be making a restaurant-quality keto butter chicken at home in no time.
There are so many recipes to make butter chicken. The basic recipe is marinated chicken cooked and tossed in a mildly spiced tomato based creamy gravy.
I have made it as easy as possible with less steps and few simple ingredients so you can make it better than your favorite Indian take out and in less time than it takes to order.
Use skinless, boneless chicken breast or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces. I like to use chicken breast as they are tender.
These are the spices used in the recipe
- red chili powder/cayenner pepper
- black pepper
- garam masala
- garlic powder
The chicken is marinated in spices and yogurt.
I use to use a store bought tandoori masala for this. But realized not everyone has tandoori masala in their pantry. So I have used a few simple spices that you will sure to have at home. If you happen to have tandoori masala go ahead and use it instead of the other spices in the chicken marinade.
If you are cooking Indian food, garam masala powder should be in your spice arsenal. Garam masala is a spice blend and is quintessential to Indian curries. It can be made at home too with several spices but for convenience sake I recommend you buy.
Despite many recipes online using copious amount of garam masala in butter chicken, it is a mildly spiced dish and has sweet taste to it and should not be overpowered with loads of bold garam masala. Of course, you can increase the heat with red chili powder but keep the garam masala to a mere half or one teaspoon.
Lemon juice and Mayonnaise
I have not used yogurt to marinate the chicken though Greek yogurt is totally acceptable in keto. I find that the yogurt go to waste as we cook only the chicken and discard all the liquid from the marinade.
For me, lemon juice and mayonnaise does the trick to pack the chicken pieces with flavor and moistness. Yes, you read that right. Mayonnaise. Just a tablespoon or two will be enough to coat the chicken.
Butter chicken has creamy smooth sauce. That involves blending the sauce. I eliminated this extra step by using strained tomatoes (passata). I love using passata in my cooking and you can find why here. Tomato sauce (without any seasonings added) would be a good substitute. You can use crushed tomatoes but the sauce needs to be blended and if you don't mind a chunky butter chicken sauce, leave it as it is.
Heavy cream is the preferred choice here but use half and half or table cream in a pinch. Coconut milk would be a great substitute for dairy free.
How to make low carb keto butter chicken
Cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. Add the spices, lemon juice, mayonnaise, salt and marinate for at least 20 minutes. The chicken can be covered and kept in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours to marinate. The longer you keep the better, as it helps to develop the flavor.
Cook the the chicken in a heated skillet until golden. Remove the chicken. At this stage, you can continue to make the curry sauce in the same pan. If you are meal prepping, store the chicken in the fridge until it's time to use.
To make the curry sauce, melt butter in the same skillet and sauté finely chopped onion. Since we don't blend the sauce, I like to chop my onion finely and mince fresh garlic and ginger to make it as smooth as possible. Once the onion is translucent add in the minced ginger and garlic. Sauté until raw smell disappears and you get a nice aroma.
Mix in the spices. Stir for a minute. Add the tomato passata and water. Let it come to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Toss the cooked chicken in, cover and simmer for another 5 minutes.
Lastly, stir in the heavy cream and let it simmer for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Adjust seasonings. If it's too thick thin it down with water. Serve with your choice of low carb rice or naan.
Here I have served it with my favorite keto cauliflower rice.
Here are some answers to common questions asked about the butter chicken recipe.
Butter chicken is naturally low in carb. A serving of this keto butter chicken has 6 grams of total carbs and 2 grams fiber, having just 4 grams of net carbs.
Butter chicken is mildly spiced and heat level is customizable. If you want to up the heat level, add in more red chili powder or cayenne pepper. To keep it down always start small, like a half a teaspoon and increase to your liking.
Yes, you can. Replace heavy cream with coconut cream or coconut milk and butter with coconut oil to make it completely dairy free.
More Chicken Recipes
Easy Everyday Keto Butter Chicken
- 1.5 lbs chicken breast or thighs (boneless, skinless) cut into 1" pieces
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper powder
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoon butter
- ½ small onion finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1" piece ginger minced
- 1 ½ teaspoon coriander powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 teaspoon red chili powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala powder
- 1 ½ cup strained tomatoes (passata) see note
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoon salt adjust according to taste
- In a mixing bowl add the chicken, lemon juice, garlic powder, red chili powder, pepper powder, salt and mayonnaise. Mix until the chicken is well coated.
- Marinate the chicken for 1 to 2 hours or overnight in the fridge. If short on time, let the chicken marinate for at least 20 minutes.
- Heat a skillet on medium high. Melt one tablespoon of butter and toss in the marinated chicken. Cook until the chicken is cooked through and golden. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate.
- In the same skillet, melt the remaining tablespoon of butter. Add the finely chopped onion and sauté till translucent.
- Add the minced ginger and garlic. Alternatively, if you have ginger garlic paste add 2 teaspoons. Sauté until the raw smell disappears.
- Add the spice powders : coriander, cumin, red chili and garam masala. Sauté for a minute.
- Add the strained tomatoes, salt and one cup of water. Cover and let it come to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Toss the cooked chicken in mix in to the curry.
- Cover and simmer for 5 more minutes. Stir the heavy cream in and let it heat through for another 2 minutes. Taste and salt if needed.
- Serve warm with low carb cauliflower rice or naan.