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bowl of dairy free butter chicken served with naan

Dairy-Free Butter Chicken Recipe

Make flavorful dairy-free butter chicken easily with this recipe! It's packed with robust flavors, completely gluten-free, and perfect for a delicious cozy meal!
4.96 from 44 votes
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Healthy Options, Indian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 460kcal
Author: Capri Lilly


Garlic Ginger Paste (make using a blender or mortar)

  • 3" Fresh Ginger, peeled
  • 8 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 tbsp Olive Oil
  • Pinch of Sea Salt

Marinade For The Chicken

  • 1 tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Chile Powder (Kashmiri Chili Powder)
  • 2 lbs Chicken Breast or Chicken Thighs, cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp Garlic-Ginger Paste
  • 1/2 Small Lemon, juiced

For The Sauce

  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Onion, Chopped
  • 1 (28oz) Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 cup Cherry Tomatoes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Raw Cashews
  • 1/2 cup Water
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp Green Chiles, chopped (optional)
  • 3/4 cup Canned Coconut Cream
  • 3 tbsp Vegan Butter
  • 1 1/2 tbsp White Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Garlic-Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp Ground Turmeric
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsp Chile Powder (Kashmiri Chile Powder works best)
  • 3 tsp Ground Coriander, divided
  • 3 tsp Garam Masala, divided
  • 1 tbsp Coconut Sugar (or cane sugar)
  • 1 tbsp Dried Fenugreek Leaves (optional)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste


  • Fresh Cilantro, chopped
  • A Dollop of Coconut Cream or Dairy-Free Yogurt



  • Start by making the garlic-ginger paste. Combine the ingredients for the paste in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.


  • Cut the chicken into cubes and place them in a bowl.
  • Add the marinade ingredients. Mix well and let marinade for at least 20 minutes.
  • In a large skillet or cast iron over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of cooking oil. Cook the chicken for about 5-6 minutes, or until all pieces are golden brown. Place the chicken in a clean bowl and set it aside.


  • In the same pan, add cooking oil and chopped onions. Cook the onions for 2-3 minutes, or until translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes, raw cashews, minced garlic, green chilies, and diced tomatoes. Mix well
  • Then, add the water, vinegar, ginger-garlic paste, chili powder, turmeric, cumin, sugar, bay leaf, and half of the garam masala and ground coriander. Mix well and let the mixture simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes.
  • After at least 20 minutes, the cashews and tomatoes should have softened. Remove the bay leaf. Carefully add the mixture to a heat-safe high-powdered blender and blend until smooth (or use an immersion blender).
  • Pour the sauce back into the skillet. Add the cooked chicken, butter, coconut cream, remaining garam masala, and ground coriander to the skillet. Mix well and simmer over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes. Mix in fenugreek leaves, optional.
  • Stir and taste, adjust the flavor as needed. Add more garam masala and ground coriander, as desired.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and coconut cream (or dairy free yogurt). Enjoy!


Tips To Making The Best Homemade Dairy-Free Butter Chicken

  • Marinate the chicken in the seasonings and ginger paste for at least 20 minutes. It gives the chicken incredible flavor that adds to the dish.
  • Make sure to add the cashews in early while the tomatoes are simmering. The cashews help make the sauce extra luscious and creamy when blended. However, you want to make sure the cashews have had time to soften before blending.
  • Use Canned Coconut Cream and be sure to use the thick part at the top only. You can always make coconut cream by placing a can of full-fat coconut milk in the fridge overnight. The top will solidify and be ready to use. (discard the clear liquid at the bottom)
  • The Fenugreek leaves help to give this dish the distinctive butter chicken flavor that we love. Adding the Fenugreek leaves is optional but highly recommended.
  • Want to make it spicy? Add red crushed peppers to the sauce to give your dish extra heat!


Calories: 460kcal