No Butter-Butter Chicken

Who says that you can’t make a butter chicken without butter. This creamy and smooth no butter version is as good as the butter loaded one, with way less calories. Serve it along cauliflower rice and enjoy your guilt free meal.

Creamy, rich and buttery. Who wouldn’t love butter chicken? But it’s not something that you can enjoy everyday if you have to watch out for the calories involved. This no-butter version is no less in flavor, but only in calories. It has a tangy, aromatic and smooth tomato based gravy. The coconut milk gives it a rich and creamy texture without loading it with additional calories.

What part of chicken to be used?

I use boneless chicken breast as it is what easily available here. But feel free to use boneless thighs as they are more moist and soft. I highly recommend you to marinate your chicken overnight, but if you are short on time, marinate at least 1 hour.

Ingredients for chicken marinade (from top left):
Apple cider vinegar, ginger-garlic paste, kashmiri red chili powder, salt.

Can I freeze the no butter-butter chicken?

Yes, it can be frozen for up to 6 weeks in an airtight container. To defrost either transfer from freezer to fridge 24 hours prior to consumption and heat in a pan. Or take out from the freezer and put to room temperature a few hours before needed. Heat in a pan before consuming.

What can I serve it with?

The no butter-butter chicken pairs well with both naan and rice. For a keto-friendly version, you can serve it with low carb tortillas or cauliflower rice (which would also be Whole30/Paleo compliant). Don’t know how to make cauliflower rice? Click here for instructions.

Ingredients for the sauce (From top left): Coconut milk, onion, ginger, red chilies, tomatoes, mace, green cardamom, salt, coriander powder, kashmiri red chili powder, ghee
(dried fenugreek: not pictured)

No Butter-Butter Chicken

This no butter version on butter chicken is only less in calories, not in flavor.
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marination time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 33 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 persons


For marinating the chicken:

  • 1 kg boneless chicken breast (or thighs)
  • 1 tsp kashmiri red chili powder (substitute: red chili powder)
  • 1 Tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt

For the sauce:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 piece ginger (5 cm)
  • 2 red chilies (substitute: green chilies)
  • 500 grams/ 5-6 tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp ghee
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 green cardamom pods
  • 1 piece mace
  • ½ can/ 1 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek


For marinating chicken:

  • Add all the marinating ingredients to the chicken and coat it well.
  • Cover and put in the fridge and let marinate for at least an hour, or preferably overnight. The longer, the better.

For the sauce:

  • Peel and roughly chop the onion and ginger, slice the red chilies, and dice the tomatoes. Keep aside.
  • Heat the ghee in a big pan on medium heat.
  • Add the chicken and spread it all over the pan in a single layer. Do not stir and let cook on this side on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • After 5 minutes, move the chicken pieces and gently stir from time to time. Cook for a further 5 minutes, or until there are no pink spots left and the chicken is fully cooked through.
  • After the chicken is fully cooked through, remove it from the pan leaving ghee inside the pan.
  • In the same pan add your chopped onion, ginger and chilies. Saute for 2 minutes.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes. Split open the green coriander and lightly crush the mace with your hands before adding them to the pan. Saute for 5 minutes on medium low heat.
  • When the tomatoes are mushy and there is no liquid left in the pan, turn off heat and let the mixture cool down.
  • Transfer to a blender and turn it into a smooth paste.
  • Transfer this mixture back to your pan on medium low heat. When it just starts to bubble, add the coconut milk and mix well. (The sauce will look pale at this step but it will get darker with further cooking).
  • Add the cooked chicken to the sauce, and let cook on low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and add the dried fenugreek. Mix well.
  • Enjoy!
Keyword healthy indian food, indian curry, Keto friendly, no butter chicken, whole30 approved

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