Going low carb doesn't mean giving up flavour! This easy keto butter chicken is absolutely delicious, definitely passing for the real thing.
I’d already had to swear off naan on account of the gluten, but not being able to drown a plate of rice in rich, restaurant curry... hasn’t been fun! There’s a local Indian restaurant that probably misses us, LOL.
Anyway, I’ve already managed to keto-up (Keto down?) a couple of our Indian cuisine favourites: Keto Chicken Korma and Keto Chicken Biryani... so it was clearly time to tackle developing a keto butter chicken recipe.
Butter chicken - murgh makhani - is one of my favourite Indian recipes.
While it does have butter in it, that’s not really the focus of the dish: tender chicken cooked in a rich, creamy sauce with a variety of spices in it!
I know it may feel like this calls for tons of spices, the good news is that they’re all relatively easy to find, and great to use in all kinds of other dishes, as well.
That easy butter chicken recipe didn’t need a TON of tweaking to become a low carb butter chicken recipe
I swapped the milk out in favour of increasing the amount of heavy cream, swapped the canned tomato puree out for Rao’s marinara sauce, and changed the type of yogurt used.
Fairly small changes, but it took it from 15 grams of total carbs with 8 grams of sugars, to less than 10 grams of carbs and 5 grams of sugars.
If you’re using Rao’s - or another sugar-free tomato sauce - note that the actual carbs will be lower than it shows in the recipe card data, as it doesn’t have the option to specify sugar free marinara.
So, it’s assuming you’re using a higher carb marinara, which is reflected in the data.
Anyway, this easy recipe comes out to less than 7 grams of net carbs per serving, and has quickly become one of our favourite keto chicken recipes.
Keto Butter Chicken Ingredients
This recipe is broken down into 2 ingredient groups: The marinade ingredients & chicken, and the sauce ingredients.
They’re all common ingredients that should be available in your local grocery store, though!
I usually use boneless skinless chicken breasts for this recipe, but sometimes use a mix of boneless skinless chicken pieces, both breast and chicken thighs.
The chicken is marinated in a mix of:
Grated fresh ginger root
You can swap avocado oil for the olive oil, if you like.
Butter Chicken Sauce
The Indian spice blend is a little bit of a laundry list, but it’s not actually a LOT of spices. I use:
Don’t be intimidated, this blend of spices is what gives the sauce its characteristic flavour! It’s actually a very easy recipe to make.
Anyway, in addition to the spices, I use:
Rao's Marinara Sauce
Heavy whipping cream
Full fat plain Greek yogurt
Salt and black pepper
As a note, you can swap out the heavy cream for a 50/50 mix of coconut milk and coconut cream, if you’d like to decrease the amount of dairy in the dish.
I chose to use Rao’s Marinara, as I had it on hand and it was convenient - as a tomato sauce, it had already been simmered down to a thicker sauce, something you need to do yourself if using tomato puree or crushed tomatoes.
If you happen to have a batch of my Keto Marinara Sauce, that works, too!
While it’s not a stated ingredient, I do like to garnish this recipe with some chopped fresh cilantro, as pictured.
This recipe doesn’t require a lot of equipment, but best results I recommend using a mini food processor for putting the marinade together.
Not a necessity, mind you - I just like how it breaks down the ginger and garlic while really combining the marinade ingredients well.
How to Make Keto Butter Chicken
Full recipe follows in the recipe card at the end of this post, this is a pictorial walk through with additional tips and info
Marinate the Chicken
Cut chicken into large cubes, place in a large bowl. I like to keep the pieces all relatively the same size, to ensure even cooking.
Put ginger, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and 1-2 teaspoon garam masala into a blender or food processor – process till it’s a thick paste.
Pour over chicken, toss to coat, and marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight. You can do this in a covered bowl, airtight container, or large Ziplock baggie.
Cook the Meal
In a small bowl, measure out the 1 tablespoon garam masala, pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, bay leaf, and fennel seed. Set aside.
Add marinated chicken to the hot skillet, cook over medium high heat until it starts to brown slightly.
Reduce heat to medium or medium low, simmer for about 20 minutes – sauce will thicken.
After 20 minutes, taste. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes.
Serve over cauliflower rice.
Keto Jeera Rice
You know the amazing rice you get from Indian restaurants? All decked out with fragrant cumin seeds, just glorious?
That’s called Jeera (cumin) rice, and it’s something that you can make a quick and easy low carb cauliflower rice version of!
How we make it:
- Heat up a bag of frozen riced cauliflower. We usually cook it for about 7 minutes, right from frozen.
- Drain any water that may have formed in defrosting.
- Add about 1 tablespoon of butter to the “rice”, stir well to combine.
- Season with some Cumin Seeds. Go light, go heavy - do whatever you want.
- Squeeze a small amount of fresh lemon over it, stir well.
- Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
More International Keto Recipes
Looking to add some international flavour to your menu? Try some of these low-carb versions of my favourites!
Keto Cabbage Rolls
Keto Doro Wat
Keto Gyoza [Potstickers]
Easy Keto Ramen Recipe
Keto Orange Chicken
Keto Pad Thai
Keto Sauerkraut Buns
Keto Sushi Rice
Low Carb Shanghai Noodles
Low Carb Vietnamese Noodle Salad
Paleo Stuffed Grape Leaves
Sugar Free Furikake Seasoning
... also, check out our International Keto Recipes for even more options!
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Keto Butter Chicken
- 3 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken**
- 2-3 tablespoon Freshly Grated Ginger Root
- 5 Garlic cloves peeled
- 1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1-2 teaspoon Garam Masala
Butter Chicken Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
- 1 tablespoon Crushed Chilies
- 2 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 2 teaspoon Ground Coriander
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon Fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- 1 Medium onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups Rao's Marinara Sauce
- 1 ½ cup Heavy cream
- ¼ cup Butter
- ½ cup Full fat plain greek yogurt
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut chicken into large cubes, place in a large bowl.
- Put ginger, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and 1-2 teaspoon garam masala into a blender or food processor – process till it’s a thick paste.
- Pour over chicken, toss to coat, and marinate in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
- In a small bowl, measure out the 1 tablespoon garam masala, pepper flakes, cumin, coriander, bay leaf, and fennel seed. Set aside.
- In a large pan, cook chopped onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil until tender and translucent.
- Add chicken, cook until it starts to brown slightly.
- Add marinara, heavy cream, butter, spices, yogurt, and milk, stir well to form a coherent sauce. reduce heat to medium, simmer for about 20 minutes – sauce will thicken.
- After 20 minutes, taste. Season with salt and pepper, stir well, continue to cook for another 5-10 minutes.
- Serve over cauliflower rice.