Dairy-Free Butter Chicken

I LOVE BUTTER CHICKEN! I just don’t LOVE the fact that most butter chicken contains, well, butter, which doesn’t really vibe with my whole dairy intolerance thing. I recently discovered the miracle of vegan butter so I thought I would experiment with it and a few other dairy-alternative ingredients (cashew milk yogurt and coconut milk) on a recipe that is traditionally quite dairy-forward from start to finish. The result was, in my dad’s words, “everything you could want in a curry.” This immediately became a family favorite. If you make it, let me know!


For the chicken marinade:

1 5.3oz container plant-based yogurt (I used Forager Cashew Milk Unsweetened Plain)

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp turmeric

1 tbsp ground coriander

2 tbsp garam masala

2 tbsp cumin

3 lbs chicken thighs (bone in, skin on)

For the curry:

1/2 stick of plant-based butter (I used Miyokos Creamery)

4 tbsp avocado oil

2 yellow onions, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 tbsp ginger, grated

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 cinnamon stick

1 28oz can diced tomatoes

1 jalapeño, seeded and diced

2 tsp salt

1/3 cup chicken broth

1 13.5oz can full fat coconut milk

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/2 cup cilantro for garnish


Whisk together the marinade ingredients and coat the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

In a large pan over medium heat, melt the butter in the oil until it starts to foam. Add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent. Add the garlic, ginger and cumin seeds, and cook until the onions start to brown. Add the cinnamon stick, tomatoes, chiles and salt, and cook until the chiles are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the chicken and marinade to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock, coconut milk, and tomato paste. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for approximately 45 minutes.

Garnish with the cilantro leaves and serve!

Products I used:


My recipe was adapted from a THIS recipe I found on NYT Cooking.

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