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Butter Chicken with Coconut Milk in Silver Bowl with Cilantro and Naan
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5 from 1 vote

Butter Chicken with Coconut Milk

Inspired by the familiar Indian dish, our Butter Chicken with Coconut milk is frangrant, spicy and creamy. Served with warm naan and a sprinkling of cilantro, this dish has become a favourite in our home.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 15 mins
Course: Food + Drink, Main
Cuisine: Dairy-Free, Indian inspired, north american
Keyword: butter chicken, coconut butter chicken, dairy-free, how to make butter chicken sauce, Indian recipes
Servings: 4 Servings
Calories: 708kcal


Butter Chicken Sauce

  • 1 yellow onion chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic chopped
  • 3- inch knob of ginger chopped
  • 2 chili peppers chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek optional
  • ¼ cup ghee or coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can 796ml/28oz ground tomatoes
  • 1 can 398/14oz coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoon honey or brown sugar
  • salt and pepper

Chicken Marinade

  • 2 lbs chicken thighs boneless, skinless - cubed
  • ¼ cup yogurt
  • 2 tablespoon seasoning paste from butter chicken sauce method
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander


  • Prepare the seasoning mix. In a container of a blender or food processor pulse 1 chopped onion, 5 cloves of chopped garlic, 2 chopped chili peppers, and a 3-inch knob of chopped ginger. Add a few splashes of water as you pulse until it becomes a paste-like consistency and set aside.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, combine yogurt, 2 tablespoons of seasoning paste, 2 teaspoons each of chili powder, garam masala, ground cumin and 1 teaspoon of ground coriander. Add the chicken and toss to coat. Place in the fridge to marinate while you make the butter chicken sauce.
  • In a small mixing bowl combine a tablespoon each of chili powder, garam masala, and cumin, 2 teaspoons of coriander, and ½ teaspoon of optional fenugreek.
  • Heat a deep large heavy-bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Add  ghee and once it begins to smoke a bit, pour in the remaining seasoning paste and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until fragrant and beginning to brown slightly.
  • Add the spice mix and cook an additional 5 minutes, while stirring often, until deep in colour, then stir in 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, cooking another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Pour in a 28oz can of pureed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons of honey, then season with salt and pepper. Bring the sauce to a boil, then lower heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 minutes. Uncover the pot and stir in a 14oz can of coconut milk. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Preheat bbq on high heat. Transfer the marinated chicken onto skewers. Grill the chicken for 10 minutes, turning every 2 to 3 minutes, until lightly charred and cooked through.
  • Remove the chicken from the skewers and stir into the butter chicken sauce. Continue to simmer for 10 to 15 minutes to incorporate the grilled flavour.
  • Serve in a bowl with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro and a side of naan, flatbread, rice or potatoes.



  • We love the flavor the coconut milk gives this sauce, but it can easily be replaced with heavy cream.
  • For a vegan version of the recipe, replace ghee with coconut oil, honey with brown sugar, and chicken with tofu.


Calories: 708kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 52g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 9g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 253mg | Sodium: 344mg | Potassium: 827mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1364IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 101mg | Iron: 5mg