Restaurant Style Dairy Free Murgh Makhani

Restaurant Style Dairy Free Murgh Makhani

Sharing is caring!

Here’s a new Indian recipe for ya’ll that I made along with my dairy free carrot pudding last weekend. I’ve already got one version of butter chicken on the site but I experimented with a new recipe over the weekend and it turned out so amazing! Indian food can be a bit complicated, mostly because it includes a bazillion spices! But let me tell you, it’s so worth it! Every spice plays a part and I think Indian food is some of the most flavorful food on the planet. I’ve got an Indian restaurant down the road from my house that makes the BEST butter chicken, only they call it Murgh Makhani and it starts with a base of tandoori chicken. Now, I didn’t create the recipe I used for my tandoori chicken. You can find that recipe HERE from Simply Recipes. I just put that recipe together one night, shredded the leftovers and created the butter sauce the following day. Voila! A dairy free Murgh Makhani recipe that tastes just like the restaurant!

You absolutely do not have to make tandoori chicken if you don’t have the time. Just take some chicken tenders, sprinkle them with some curry and lime and grill them quickly. If you don’t do the tandoori first, this dish comes together in under an hour! However, if you have the time, making the tandoori chicken first gives a depth of flavor that is missing when you just grill chicken beforehand. Or even if you simmer boneless chicken in the sauce itself like I do with my other butter chicken recipe. This dish pairs oh so great with my naan bread (find that recipe HERE) and it’s all gluten, grain, and dairy free! Doesn’t get much better than that, right? You can even freeze this sauce recipe for future use. And freezer meals are the best, especially on those busy midweek nights. 

This recipe is much richer and slightly less creamy than my other butter chicken recipe. It has more tomato in it and swaps the coconut milk for yogurt (I used Kite Hill’s plain almond yogurt to keep it dairy free. And because I love Kite Hill with every fiber of my being!). It also calls for grilled chicken, which I mentioned above, and slightly different spices. It really does taste different, even though it looks pretty similar. I have to say, it’s one of my favorite recipes I’ve created in a long time!

Dairy Free Murgh Makhani

Murgh Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

Servings 4 people


  • 2 lbs bone-in chicken thighs, prepared tandoori style and shredded
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion diced
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 4 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup yogurt, plain I used Kite Hill's
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • chopped cilantro if desired
  • 1 lime if desired


  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

  2. Tranfer onions and garlic to preheated skillet and saute for 10 minutes or until onions are cooked through and translucent.

  3. Add cinnamon and ginger to pan and fry for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant.

  4. Add the rest of the spices along with 2 cups of water and tomato paste. Stir to combine.

  5. Stir in chicken to sauce and simmer for 30 minutes until cooked through and sauce is slightly reduced. Add yogurt at the last minutes and stir to combine.

  6. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and lime. Serve hot.