Who doesn’t love butter chicken? It’s easier to make than you might think. This recipe is also low-fat. Yes, butter chicken that’s low in fat! It’s also ridiculously delicious. This may be the best recipe I have ever posted. Check it out.

I used to only have butter chicken in restaurants, but now that I know how easy it is to make at home, I make it quite often. The butter chicken you have in restaurants tends to be really high in calories because there’s loads of butter and cream in it. Most of the flavour in butter chicken comes from the spices. You don’t need all of that fat to develop good flavour. This recipe uses only two tablespoons of butter. That’s right, only two. You could add a little more if you wanted to. I won’t tell.

I have included substitutions in the ingredient list for those of you who are vegan or dairy-free. I prefer the cashew cream to the dairy options, but all of them are really tasty. Of the vegan protein options, I prefer the tempeh and cauliflower options.

If you want to make your own fresh naan to go with the butter chicken and you don’t have a tandoor oven like me, just make your favourite pizza dough, divide the dough into 3 inch balls and roll them out fairly thin. Then cook them on the stove top in a non-stick frying pan with a very small amount of oil on medium heat. The dough will puff up just like naan. If you want my pizza dough recipe, you can find it here.


If you’re on a low-carb diet, cauliflower rice would go really well with the butter chicken.

Butter Chicken
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr

Easy, low-fat and delicious butter chicken.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 3
  • 2 Chicken breasts, or 1 1/2 cups tempeh, or cauliflower, or firm tofu
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, or vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp butter, or vegan butter
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 halved garlic cloves
  • 2 bay leafs
  • 2 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 3 cups crushed tomatoes, (28 oz can)
  • 1/2 cup cream or 1/3 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt, or 1/2 cup cashew cream (vegan cashew cream recipe in notes below)
  1. If you have time, you can marinate the chicken overnight with a cup of yogurt, some sliced onions, garlic, ginger and a pinch of cumin. (I usually skip this step). 

  2. Combine all the dry spices and set aside.

  3. Cut the chicken breasts (or substitute) into one inch cubes. Sprinkle with salt. Add 3 tablespoons of oil to a large pan. Turn the burner to medium heat. Add the chicken to the pan and brown lightly on all sides. Turn the heat down to low. Sprinkle a third of the dry spices on the chicken. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. 

  4. Add 1 more tablespoon of oil to the pan. Lightly sauté the onions on low heat. Sprinkle the onions with a little salt. Sprinkle the onions with some of the dry spice mixture. Add the garlic and ginger and stir. 

  5. Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan. Add the remainder of the dry spice mixture. Add the bay leafs and stir. Put a lid on the pan and allow the flavours to meld together for about 15 minutes. 

  6. Turn the burner off and allow the sauce to cool a little. Taste for salt. Add a little more if necessary. Remove the bay leafs. Pour the sauce into a blender and blend until smooth.

  7. Put the blended sauce back into the pan. Turn the burner to low heat. Add the cream (or substitute) and butter (or vegan butter) to the pan and stir. Add the browned chicken back to the pan and stir. 

  8. Put a lid on the pan and allow everything to simmer on low heat for about 20 minutes. That should be enough time for the chicken to finish cooking and for all the flavours to come together.

  9. Serve the butter chicken with rice or naan. Finish the dish with some red onion slices and some fresh cilantro. 

  10. You can make the butter chicken a day ahead. It tastes just as good the next day, if not better.

Recipe Notes


  • To make the cashew cream, soak 1/2 cup cashews in boiling water for 10 minutes. Then discard the water. Measure 1 cup of almond milk or cashew milk. Put the soaked cashews and the almond milk in a blender and blend until smooth. 
  • If you find that the sauce is too thick, just add a little water.