This delicious dairy free butter chicken is healthy, gluten free, and full of flavour made easily on the stovetop or in the slow cooker/crockpot. A perfect comforting meal!
Healthy Comfort Food: Dairy Free Butter Chicken
This dairy-free butter chicken has been a blog favourite, a client favourite, and a personal favourite over the years. I usually shy away from Indian-inspired food as I find it can be challenging to create, and there are a lot of Indian dishes that contain dairy, like butter chicken (traditionally called Murgh Makhani) for example.
Despite the name, traditional butter chicken does not typically contain butter, but contains cream or yogurt which gives that unmissable rich, hearty consistency.
When I created this recipe a few years ago, I was inspired by this great recipe I saw on the beautiful Half Baked Harvest blog! Tieghans butter chicken looked absolutely delish, and I loved the idea of making butter chicken on the stovetop or in the crockpot, but as per usual, I wanted to healthify the recipe a little more, and make it dairy free to suit my dairy allergy.
Dairy Free Substitutions for Butter Chicken
For this delicious dairy free butter chicken recipe, instead of using the typical dairy products – milk, yogurt, or cream, I used two simple ingredients that can recreate a creamy, rich texture in many recipes:
- Raw Cashews
- Coconut Milk (canned)
Raw cashews, when blended up with the rest of the sauce ingredients create a lovely cream-like consistency that can be compared to a traditional Indian butter chicken sauce. After enjoying a few bites, you would likely never guess this recipe was actually dairy free.
The coconut milk is also a great substitute for the cream to blend with the cashews to create a wonderful flavour and richness.
Ingredients in Dairy Free Butter Chicken Sauce
To make the creamy and delicious sauce you’ll need a combination of ingredients and an aromatic blend of spices. Many of the ingredients you may already have in your pantry.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Canned coconut milk (full fat or light)
- Tomato paste
- Red curry paste
- Apple cider vinegar
- Raw cashews
- Garam masala
- Yellow curry powder
- Coconut palm sugar (or regular sugar)
The spices blend wonderfully with the tomato and red curry paste, coconut milk, cashews, sugar, and vinegar to create a delicious, robust, and savoury flavour that couldn’t be mistaken for anything but slow cooker Indian-inspired butter chicken!
Slow Cooker or Crockpot Butter Chicken Option:
I made this version of my dairy free butter chicken on the stovetop in less than 30 minutes, but if you have the extra time to “set it and forget it” you can definitely make this recipe in the slow cooker or crockpot. Here’s what you’ll need to do to make the slow cooked version of this dish:
- Blend up the dairy free butter chicken sauce (including the garlic and olive oil you would otherwise use in the pan for the stovetop version)
- Add the raw diced chicken, diced zucchini, carrot, and onion to the slow cooker/crockpot.
- Pour the butter chicken sauce over the chicken and vegetables and stir to coat.
- Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 6 hours (if using an Instant Pot use the “Poultry” setting)
- Stir everything in the slow cooker once or twice during the cooking process (do not do this if using an Instant Pot).
- Serve with rice/pita when finished.
If you are feeling like some warm, comfort food these days like I am, whip up this delicious dairy free butter chicken on the stovetop or in your slow cooker or crockpot. If you are avoiding grains you can also try the butter chicken alongside some cauliflower rice or over roasted potatoes. If you want a lighter fall/winter meal try this Fall Harvest Salad!
Be sure to pin the photo below the recipe to save this one for later and check out the other dairy free slow cooker recipes I have on the blog!
MORE DAIRY FREE SLOW COOKER RECIPE IDEAS:
Looking for more delicious dairy free recipes you can make in the slow cooker, Crockpot, or even Instant Pot? Check out some of my faves!
- Easy Healthy Crockpot Cashew Chicken
- Easy Slow-Cooker Paella
- Slow Cooker Thai Green Cashew Chicken Curry
- Slow Cooker Honey Sesame Pulled Chicken
- Slow Cooker Chicken & Chickpea Tagine
- Slow Cooker Cashew Chicken Curry