Paleo Butter Chicken


This recipe seriously rivals an all time favourite take-out of ours, butter chicken. The secret to traditional butter chicken is the blend of spices, slow cooking time and the use of a tandoor oven. We don’t have a tandoor oven, but we have a good ol’ Aussie BBQ. So, let’s use what we have to create lots of amazing flavour and a healthy alternative to eating out.

This may look like a complicated recipe- but it’s not. It is divided into 3 parts- making a marinade and simmer sauce (in one recipe), Cooking the sauce, BBQing the chicken.

It is super easy, and if you plan ahead and marinade for 1-2 days, this will be the best chicken ever.

Marinade and Sauce base

  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 100g melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 tsp smokey paprika
  • 6 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp ground cardamom
  • 4 tsp ground coriander (or ground seeds)
  • 4 tsp ground cumin
  • 4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 teaspoons fresh ginger
  • 1 long red chilli, deseeded
  • 300mL coconut milk or kefir
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 kg chicken thigh, cut into strips

If you don’t have all the herbs and spices on hand, most Tandoori spice mixes have the same spices, you can just read the ingredients and sub in the other ones you do have on hand.

butter chicken




Place all ingredients except the chicken into a high speed blender and blitz into a sauce consistency.

Split the mixture into half. Set one half aside (as the base for the sauce) and one half will be the marinade.

In one half of the mixture, place strips of chicken thigh and mix the marinade through. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for up to 48 hours. You can do the marinade process as long as you like, but the longer- the better.

Place the other half of the mixture in the fridge to store, while the chicken is marinading.

After the marinading time is up, the fun begins.


In a large pot, heat up the sauce mixture that you set aside before. Add the following:

  • 400g coconut cream
  • 100 mL water (or 100mL of tomato passata)
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 200g tomato paste
  • 3 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh corriander

Simmer for about 30 minutes.


While the sauce is simmering, get the chicken thigh pieces out of the marinade, and BBQ them. Yep, get them nice and charchol-y so that there is lots of robust flavour.

You can add the marinade drippings into the simmering sauce if you wish. Waste Β not, want not.

Add the chicken to the sauce and simmer away for about another half hour.

Serve atop cauliflower rice, and voila- seriously good butter chicken!


2 thoughts on “Paleo Butter Chicken

    • megsjo

      Hi @girlgonefoodie, thanks for stopping by! Garam masala really makes this recipe- I hope you enjoy πŸ™‚ thank you so much for the nomination, I’m going to check it out xx


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