Healthier Indian Butter Chicken

Healthier Indian Butter Chicken

My Healthier Indian Butter Chicken has HALF the calories as traditional butter chicken! Same thick, creamy sauce with half the guilt. I’ll be talking about my favorite healthy swaps for this dish below!

Healthier Indian Butter Chicken

If Taylor ever has evening plans without me, I always seize the opportunity to order Indian food takeout: butter chicken, garlic naan, and samosas. He doesn’t like it, so I always get my fix when I can. However, we all know anything called “butter chicken” can NOT be that good for you. It’s so delicious, but it’s all so fattening. The rice, the bread, the butter, the cream. The no vegetable thing.  So the last time he went out to dinner with a friend, I decided to make healthier Indian butter chicken at home! I even made homemade paleo naan bread, but that’s the next post 😉

How to Make Healthier Indian Butter Chicken

Let’s get this straight: this dish is never going to be 300 calories, but there are lots of healthy swaps to help make you feel better about this meal and pack extra veggies and nutrients in there!

Calorie differences shown per serving, (4 servings total) compared to a traditional recipe

  • Use 0% fat greek yogurt in the marinade instead of full fat (save 35 calories per serving)
  • Only use 3 Tbsp. ghee (clarified butter/ dairy free) or butter for sautéing instead of 1 stick of butter + 1/4 oil (save 255 calories per serving)
  • Substitute 1 can of coconut milk for 1.5 cups of heavy cream (save 150 calories per serving)
  • Serve over 1 cup of cauliflower rice compared to 1 cup basmati rice (save 200 calories)
  • Add some steamed spinach or kale on the side to increase your veggie intake!

Total Calories Saved per Serving: 640!

5.0 from 1 reviews
Healthier Indian Butter Chicken
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1.5 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 cup 0% (nonfat) greek yogurt
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp. cumin, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. garam masala
  • 1.5 Tbsp. turmeric
  • Salt and pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. ghee or butter, separated
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 serrano pepper, diced
  • 2 Tbsp. ground ginger
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • ⅔ cup chicken stock
  • 1 can (14 oz.) coconut milk (full fat)
  • 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3 Tbsp. minced almonds, (or pure almond butter)
  • Cilantro, for garnish
  • Cauliflower rice, for serving
  • Steamed kale, for serving
  • Naan bread, for serving
  1. Marinate: the chicken, yogurt, lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. cumin, 2 Tbsp. garam masala, 1.5 Tbsp. turmeric, and salt & pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour, and up to a day.
  2. Melt 2 Tbsp. ghee/butter over medium heat in a large pot that has a lid.
  3. Sauté the diced onion for 5 minutes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then add the serrano.
  4. Season with the ground ginger, stir, and let cook another minute or two.
  5. Add the garlic, letting cook for about 30 more seconds, and then add the tomato and cinnamon stick. Reduce the heat to medium-low.
  6. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Add another Tbsp. of ghee/butter about halfway through to keep it from sticking.
  7. Add the chicken and all the marinade to the pot, as well as the chicken stock. Raise the heat, and let the pot come to a boil. Once boiling, lower the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 30 minutes. Check on it and stir a couple times during the 30 minutes.
  8. Remove the lid once the 30 minutes is over, and stir in the can of coconut milk, 1 Tbsp. of tomato paste, and 3 Tbsp. of almonds/almond butter. Let cook 15 more minutes.
  9. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve over cauliflower rice!

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Written by Ally