Indian Butter Chicken

Waking up to snow this Tuesday morning bums me out and makes me happy at the same time. It’s a real bummer because well, it’s cold. And I’m literally cold all.the.time in the winter. But it’s awesome because I bought two new pairs of winter boots the other day. ON SALE. What is it about a sale that makes women feel like they conquered the world. I literally feel like I kicked some serious ass by saving 50% on boots. Killiiiiiiiiing it.

You guys, this past weekend was so fun. Instead of having a normal bridal shower, we decided to have a wedding shower together with all of our friends to celebrate with the people who couldn’t make it to our wedding that’s coming up in April. And when we decided to plan a shower, a friend mentioned having a Stock The Bar party where people bring alcohol or bar accessories to help stock your house. So then if you ever have friends over or a party, there is always some sort of alcohol in the house. I thought it sounded like an awesome idea (especially since we didn’t register anywhere) which is funny since I think most alcohol tastes like poison.

Well, the party was absolutely awesome. Friends from all walks of life came out to hang out with us, drink some cocktails, eat some snacks and bring alcohol or accessories. We got wine, liquor, bitters, wine glasses, cocktail recipe books, all the fun jazz. And we just had a friend build a bar cart for us for our dining room so we look like we drink a ton. I think I’m going to have to dust that area regularly, but it’s such a fun looking little area. Once I get it all decorated, I’ll share a pic with you guys!

The night was a complete success. I stayed out until 2 in the morning, like I’m good at partying or something. I drank dirty martinis, ate gluten free cupcakes, and caught up with friends that I hadn’t talked to in years. It was just wonderful. And made me even more excited about our upcoming wedding that’s going to be here in less than 2 months. HOLYCRAPLESSTHANTWOMONTHS. I need to find a checklist to make sure I have everything done before we leave for our destination wedding. I tried to find a veil the other day and the one that I wanted was $700!!! SEVEN HUNDRED DOLLARS. No effing way am I paying that to wear it for 20 minutes. No freaking way. I could buy so many cool things with $700. So I guess I need some jewelry. Balls. Does anyone have a checklist so I don’t end up forgetting my wedding dress…the only thing I actually have prepared.

PaleOMG Indian Butter Chicken


Indian Butter Chicken

  • Yield: 4-5 1x


  • 2 tablespoons ghee or butter
  • 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly minced ginger
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/2 teapsoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup tomato sauce
  • cilantro, to garnish
  • lime wedges, to garnish
  • coconut cauliflower rice


  1. Add ghee to a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add chicken and a pinch of salt and cook on all sides until chicken is browned but not fully cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. To the pan, add onion and garlic and cook for about 3-4 minutes, until onion becomes translucent. Add ginger, garam masala, turmeric, cayenne pepper, cumin, and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon, scraping the bottom of the pan for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add coconut milk and tomato sauce and bring to a low simmer for about 5 minutes, then add chicken back to the pan and let cook for 10 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  4. Serve with coconut cauliflower rice, cilantro and squeeze fresh lime juice on top.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

PaleOMG Indian Butter Chicken


You May Also Like:

PaleOMG Red Thai Beef Curry

Red Thai Beef Curry

PaleOMG Beef Bulgogi Bowls

Beef Bulgogi Rice Bowls


Click Here To Get All My PaleOMG Recipes Into Your Meal Planner With Real Plans!

PaleOMG + Real Plans

I may be compensated through my affiliate links in this post, but all opinions are my own. This compensation helps with expenses to keep this blog up and running!

Oh, Hi! I’m Juli.

I’m a food hoarder. And a really bad dancer. If you don’t know me well, you will probably not understand my humor. Therefore, I apologize ahead of time. Thanks for listening to my ramblings of my ever-changing life and trusting my kitchen mishaps. Your trust in me is appreciated.


72 thoughts on “Indian Butter Chicken”

  1. Juli! Try etsy for your veil. I think I got mine last year for like $40. Obviously depends on what you want but mine was shorter and simple. If you want to know who I went through let me know and I can check.

      1. Seriously, Etsy. Also, look there for your jewelry. I have two friends who got beautiful stuff, and for good prices too.

  2. Ummm…could your recipes be any more perfect?! I bought your book at Christmas and have been loving all of the recipes that I’ve tried so far. I feel like I will be making this one asap! Do you think it could be converted to a slow cooker recipe? My love affair with the slow cooker is still going strong!

    I’m planning my own wedding too (it’s not until next summer though), and I feel like there is so much I’m already going to forget! I bought the Knot Ultimate Wedding Planner & Organizer and it has a fantastic list. But I’m sure you could find a list on Pinterest?

    Also, a super cool wedding cake topper with Jackson on it is a must! We ordered ours off etsy, it’s a silhouette of a bride and groom, with a frenchie and a cat on it. It’s perfect!

  3. I really love the Out of Milk App for making lists for everything from grocery shopping, vacations, and even a hospital check list prior to giving birth to my daughter. It’s free too!

  4. I bought a head piece for my wedding in June that matches absolutely perfectly with my dress! It went well with our vintage theme and was $113. Its a good option if you aren’t specifically wanting a veil.

  5. I got my veil for $30 on a facebook wedding swap shop, then sold it on a swap shop for $30. Lol. It was pretty, matched my dress, and had embellishments like I wanted. I didn’t even have to steam it!

  6. Boneless and skinless, or just boneless thighs?

    Also, you can rent veils from Rent the Runway! I’m not married and thus have never done it, but they’re on there!

    1. THIS. RTR is awesome. I haven’t bought a new dress for a wedding or formal event or party in forever. they have combs and headbands and veils and belts and if they’d had that stuff while I was getting married, I’d have gotten it from there (because my veil, while cheaper than $700, was still $70 of “I’m going to wear this for an hour and never look at it again”)

  7. Caroline Parr Gross

    I bought a hair clip for my wedding on “Tradesy” ( It’s a website where you can buy and sell stuff and I see some veils on there that are cheaper than $700!! What kind of veil are you looking for? I have a long simple tulle one you can borrow, seriously! Fingers crossed I’ll never need it again anyway, haha! If you’re interested I’ll email you some pics.

  8. Reading your blog makes my whole day!
    I just recently got married and I borrowed my veil from a friend it became my “something borrowed!” Its not worth paying $700 wear it for no more than 20 minutes! Find a friend borrow that veil! Also I have some earrings I paid $150 to wear for 5 hours.Let me know if you would like to borrow them!

  9. I actually just came across and They are rental websites for bridal jewelry, veils, hairpieces…etc! I haven’t fully checked them out yet cause I’m still like 7 months away from my wedding, but they looked pretty promising! 🙂

  10. Juli- I’m getting married in September, also a destination wedding! I found a great check list on Real Simple. Just google “Real Simple Wedding Check List,” & you can print it off. I had a friend send it to me & I found it super helpful! Good luck! Xoxo


  11. Ebay! I just bought my vail for $6.99+$5 for shipping. Yeah, it’s coming from China, but oh well, it’s cheap! Spending a ton of money on a veil just makes no good sense. Ebay has a ton of options.

  12. Amazon! I think I got my veil for like 15$. I wanted a cathedral veil with two tiers. I sewed some satin beaded ribbon stuff on it from a craft store and it looked perfect. No, the quality wasn’t the very best, but I wore it for a few hours and haven’t looked at it since!

  13. Make a veil! Buy a little hair clip and get some tulle (netting) at Joann’s fabric. Attach the the tulle to the clip/comb with a needle and thread. It is super easy and will be less than $10. If you are really not into that, get a crafty friend to help you. I would make you one if you lived in Alaska!

  14. Any particular brand of tomato sauce you use when you find yourself too lazy to make your own? (as I am feeling right now haha) I’m wary when it comes to jars of tomato sauce as I’ve come across some pretty bad ones in the past

  15. Hi! Just stumbled upon your recipe by chance, and it looks nice!

    As an Indian, especially from Delhi in the north, I must tell you that coconut milk is NEVER used in a proper, Punjabi Murgh Makhani, and an excellent, albeit rich substitute (if you do not eat dairy) is a paste of soaked cashew nuts or almonds. The use of coconut or coconut milk in butter chicken, or anything savoury is considered blasphemous by people in the north! We typically use coconut in certain sweets! 🙂 Adding coconut is a southern thing, and butter chicken is NOT from the south!

    Another thing is that the use of red onions is preferred in India, as they lend a more peppery bite to any dish. When making this, you really need to caramelize the onions, garlic and ginger to a golden-brown color, as gelatinous, semi cooked onions are never liked. Then, chopped tomatoes and/or tomato paste, a bit of sugar and garam masala are added, along with spicy green chilies and this is reduced to a thick paste.

    Making the base masala is often labour-intensive, but it really is worth it. Just remember, that the texture of onions is not to be noticed in the end! Then, coriander powder, cayenne, and cumin powder is added, along with double cream and/or the nut paste to form the gravy. This is then cooked a bit more to thicken it slightly.

    Usually, before the onions are added, ‘pura garam masala’ or whole garam masala spices are usually browned in butter – that gives an amazing flavour! This includes whole cumin seeds, black and green cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and a bay leaf. The larger spices are removed before serving.

    The one step you must never skip while making a murgh makhani is the marination of boneless chicken, and the marinade is made out of thick, sour yogurt, cayenne powder, salt, and a paste of garlic, ginger and onions. The chicken, after about 24-30 hours of marination, is half cooked until lightly browned from the edges, akin to a good steak. The chicken, dried fenugreek leaves (about 1-1.5 tbsp) and the drippings are added to the gravy and then cooked again for about 30-40 minutes. Remember, the gravy should form a rich, thick sauce around the chicken pieces!

    Garnish the dish with bit more cream, butter, and finely chopped coriander and serve!

    मुझे आशा है, कि अगली बार आपकी मुर्ग मखनी ज़रूर अच्छी बनेगी! (I hope your butter chicken turns out to be great the next time!)
    Best of luck,

    — Amay

  16. I made this tonight and it was amazing! The hubby loved it also! I put it on top of spaghetti squash, because I had one that needed to be used. Thanks for posting such great recipes!

  17. This was delicious! Cut the cayenne by half and was perfect for entire family (including 3 & 7 year old kids). All loved it! My husband raved…it was so yummy! There was plenty of sauce so I added more chopped rotisserie chicken to extend the life of this meal to leftovers today! Make it! Here’s a easy recipe for a good garam masala in case you can’t find it at the store: 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg — makes more than you need for recipe. Thank you for the recipe!!

  18. Made this last night for dinner and it was wonderful!! I have made a lot of Indian food over the years and most of the time it’s rather labor intensive. This involved a bit of effort — but that was mostly with making the coconut “rice” — gaaaaaaahhh!! I always dread getting out the food processor to make the cauli-rice, but I sure do love the end result and your coconut rice was especially delish!! Thank you for this awesome dish that can easily be made on a weeknight or for company 🙂

  19. I bought my veil at the Wedding Seamstress shop in Arvada for $70! She had quite a few options that were WAY more reasonable than other dress shops.

  20. I made this for the fam, with cauliflower rice for me (whole30) and regular rice for the fam, and it was da bomb. This was so delicious, it’s saved to my “I’d make that again” folder on Pinterest.

  21. Wow this was delish. My extremely 5 yr old picky eater had two servings. Thanks for the recipe. So comforting.

  22. Wow! I made this recipe tonight and it was DELICIOUS! My husband and my 5 & 6 year old boys had a second helping. YUM!!! I will be making this again.

  23. I made this and it was so good, I’m already planning to make it again. Thank you for this amazing recepie. Do you have a recipe for Saag – the creamy green curry that can be used with either Chicken or Lamb?

  24. Wow! This recipe is absolutely delicious! Even my twelve year old son who is normally very picky loved it!! I am new to paleo and am going to try many more recipes from your site! Thanks for the amazing recipe!

  25. I made this last night and my husband hates curry and guess what?! He loved it. This recipe is delish. This is my 2nd recipe I’ve made, the other is the meat loaf with chorizo which was fantastic!!. Love everything you do!

  26. Could you please tell me whether tomato sauce refers to tomato paste or more like a passata? Here in Australia, tomato sauce is what Americans refer to as ketchup I think. I have generally used tomato paste in other butter chicken recipes but I thought it best to check. 🙂

    I made the Brazilan Curry Chicken for the first time two nights ago. It was the first of your recipes that I have tried and it was so simple and delicious. First of many I will try I am sure.

  27. Loved this recipe! My husband said it tasted like it came from a restaurant. My 10 year old son and his friend loved it too. Thanks for another amazing recipe!!

  28. Any thoughts on a coconut milk replacement? I can’t stand the flavor of coconut (which I know is sacrilege to paleo)! Thanks Juli, love your posts!

    1. that’s hard with this recipe. you could use a nut milk that you prefer, it just won’t thicken up quite the same as coconut milk does

  29. In your recipes in your cookbook (and this one) I notice frequent use of butter. What butter do you recommend to keep recipes paleo? We are loving your cookbook over in Italy! Thanks for the great posts too!

  30. From my very picky 7 year old: “Mom, you know how I don’t ever like when you make gross meals? Well this one is the best!!” He had 3 bowls!!

  31. Oh man, Juli. This recipe was fantastic. I know you don’t like it when people alter your recipes and then complain – and I’m NOT complaining – but I did alter this by adding some red bell peppers. It was AH-MAZING. My guests were floored. Well done, I can’t wait to make this again!

    1. hahaha i get made when people alter a main ingredients (like liquid aminos instead of coconut aminos) then poorly rate the recipe. adding in peppers always makes everything better! glad you liked it!

  32. Made this tonight! I only had light coconut milk (mistakes…) but it was still tasty. I ended up adding more spices and kind of did the method suggested above of cooking the spices first in the fat before adding onion and garlic. Super tasty! I liked the heat + balance of flavors. Can’t wait to eat it all week long.

  33. This doesn’t taste like authentic butter chicken at all. It’s also not very good as it’s own dish.

  34. This remains one of my faves! I actually doubled this and served it to our entire wedding party a couple nights before my wedding… Even the kids loved it, despite the pizza we ordered for them. I cannot wait for the Texas Summer to end (November?) so I can make this recipe again.

  35. Is it possible to do this recipe without the tomato sauce? Or is there a good replacement? This looks absolutely delicious, but my body just can’t handle tomato.
    Thank you!!

  36. Sooo delish! Love the takeout, but you never know what they’re adding to the recipe?!
    And love the coconut sticky “rice” cauliflower.
    Love the variety on the keto/paleo journey
    Thank you!!

      1. I have made this before but I haven’t in SO long and I’m thinking of trying my hand at it again tomorrow night so I can have delicious food at work! I’ve been following you for a long time Juli, and I kinda got off the wagon for awhile (blog wagon I mean ) and when I came back you had a freaking baby!!!!! Sooooo adorable by the way, last time I actually read a post you were about to get married (ummmm waaaay toooooo long). But I’m happy to see you are still rocking it girl but now you’re a hot mom! Congratulations on your marriage and your sweet girl! Can’t wait to see more to come from you annnnnd try all the old recipes again….. after this will be the spaghetti squash pizza recipe!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating


Sign up for my PaleOMG newsletter to get recipes,
discounts, and stories straight to your inbox for FREE!

Don't Miss A Bite!

Sign up for my PaleOMG newsletter to get recipes, discounts, and stories straight to your inbox for FREE!