Indian Butter Chicken with Dairy Free Option

Indian Butter Chicken on a white plate.

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5 from 5 reviews

Chicken simmered in butter and a delicious blend of Indian spices makes a delicious meal. We made our Indian Butter Chicken without dairy, and provide you with that option. You can use regular dairy butter if you like.


  • 9 tbsp “butter” — we use Earth Balance Buttery Spread (nondairy)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces — 3 good sized chicken breast fillets
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • couple grinds black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced, or 1/2 tsp dried ginger
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce (optional)
  • 1 cup coconut milk creamer (we use SoDelicious) — or 1 cup heavy whipping cream if you prefer the dairy option.
  • Handful of chopped cilantro leaves for topping
  • Basmati rice for serving — we like to use brown basmati rice for more nutrition


  1. Melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large nonstick pan. Add the onion and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes until the onion begins to soften, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add the chicken to the pan. Cook until it begins to turn white on one side, then stir and cook until it is mostly white on the outside, about 10 minutes total.
  3. Stir in the garlic, and cook until it starts to get fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the spices — garam masala, cumin, turmeric and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine, then add the ginger, black pepper and salt.
  4. Add the remaining butter, and stir to combine. When the butter has melted, stir in the cream. Simmer on medium low for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve the chicken with the sauce over basmati rice, and garnish with a few bits of cilantro. Enjoy!


  • We prepare this as a dairy free recipe, but feel free to substitute regular dairy butter here if you like.
  • The recipe creates enough sauce to increase the chicken quantity a bit. You could use closer to 2 lbs chicken without changing the rest of the recipe.
  • We have generally been skipping the tomato sauce. Using it doesn’t change the flavor a lot but gives the dish more of a reddish color.
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