Punjabi chicken tikka masala is a delicious Indian dish that combines juicy chicken tikka with a rich, creamy tomato sauce. The traditional recipe uses heavy cream or yogurt to make the sauce creamy and decadent. However, this keto version uses almond butter instead to keep it lower in carbs and compliant with a ketogenic diet. The almond butter adds nuttiness and creaminess to this iconic keto chicken tikka masala with almond butter dish while keeping it keto-friendly.

What is Chicken Tikka Masala?

Chicken tikka masala is one of the most popular Indian dishes around the world. It consists of boneless chicken pieces that are marinated in spices and yogurt, then grilled or baked. The cooked chicken is then added to a tomato-based creamy curry sauce.

The sauce usually contains tomatoes, cream or yogurt, spices like garlic, ginger, coriander, cumin, and a touch of fenugreek. It has a bright orange-red color and rich, silky texture. The chicken absorbs the flavors of the sauce as it simmers together.

Making Keto Chicken Tikka Masala with Almond Butter

Switching to almond butter instead of heavy cream or yogurt keeps this dish lower in carbs. Almond butter adds creaminess and nutty flavor that complements the spices well. Here are some tips for making keto chicken tikka masala with almond butter:

Marinate the Chicken

  • Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Boneless chicken thighs also work well.
  • Make a marinade with full-fat Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, coriander, and a touch of cayenne.
  • Let the chicken marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to overnight.

Cook the Chicken

  • Thread the chicken onto skewers and grill or broil for 2-3 minutes per side until cooked through.
  • You can also pan fry or bake the chicken until no longer pink inside.

Make the Sauce

  • Heat oil in a pan and cook minced garlic and ginger.
  • Add almond butter and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Pour in canned diced tomatoes and stir.
  • Season with garam masala, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, paprika, salt, and pepper.

Simmer the Dish

  • Once the sauce is simmering, add the cooked chicken pieces.
  • Let it simmer for 10-15 minutes so the chicken soaks up the flavors.
  • Finish with chopped cilantro.

What is Almond Butter?

Almond butter is made from ground, dry-roasted almonds. It has a creamy, rich texture similar to peanut butter. However, it has a milder, nuttier taste that pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes.

Almond butter contains mostly fat from the almonds, providing heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. It also delivers protein, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E. It has a low glycemic index, meaning it won’t significantly impact blood sugar levels.

With only 2-3 net carbs per tablespoon, almond butter fits perfectly into a keto diet. It can replace higher carb nuts or nut butters. Just be sure to get unsweetened almond butter with no added oils or sugars.

Benefits of Using Almond Butter in Keto Chicken Tikka Masala

Switching out the cream or yogurt for almond butter provides several benefits:

  • Fewer carbs – Almond butter only has about 3 net carbs per tablespoon versus the 12-15 carbs in heavy cream. This keeps the dish keto-friendly.
  • Nutty flavor – Almond butter adds depth of flavor and nuttiness that complements the warming spices.
  • Smooth texture – Properly emulsified almond butter provides a silky texture similar to cream.
  • Healthy fats – Almond butter boosts the monounsaturated fats and vitamin E in this dish.
  • Higher protein – You get more protein from almond butter than heavy cream or yogurt.

Overall, almond butter is an excellent substitute in keto chicken tikka masala. It provides the texture and flavor needed while keeping the carbs low.

Tips for Making Keto Chicken Tikka Masala

Here are some top tips to ensure your keto chicken tikka masala turns out perfectly:

  • Use full-fat canned tomatoes for the best flavor and texture. Crush them with your hands as they cook.
  • Add the almond butter a spoonful at a time, allowing it to melt and emulsify into the sauce.
  • Use a stick blender or regular blender to fully puree the sauce until silky smooth.
  • Simmer the dish for 10-15 minutes once the chicken is added to allow flavors to mingle.
  • Finish with a swirl of heavy cream or dollop of Greek yogurt (optional).
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice. Serve with cauliflower rice or low carb naan.

Keto Substitutions and Variations

There are many ways to customize this recipe to suit your needs:

  • For nut-free, use sunflower seed butter instead of almond butter.
  • Coconut cream or coconut milk can sub for almond butter for a coconut curry flavor.
  • For lower fat, try cashew butter or a small amount of reduced fat coconut milk.
  • For richer flavor, finish with a swirl of keto-friendly MCT oil or ghee.
  • Add different veggies like pan fried eggplant, roasted cauliflower, or sautéed spinach.
  • For more protein, add paneer or extra chicken. Tofu also works for vegetarian/vegan.
  • Use tandoori seasoning on the chicken for brighter red color and flavor.
  • Play with different spice blends like garam masala, tikka masala, chili powder, curry powder, etc.

FAQs About Keto Chicken Tikka Masala with Almond Butter

Is almond butter keto?

Yes, unsweetened almond butter is keto-friendly. It contains mostly fat from the almonds with about 3 net carbs per tablespoon. The high fat and low carb content makes it perfect for a keto diet.

What can I use instead of almond butter?

Sunflower seed butter, coconut cream, cashew butter, and reduced fat coconut milk all work well instead of almond butter. You can also use a small amount of heavy cream.

Is Greek yogurt keto?

Full-fat plain Greek yogurt contains around 6-8 net carbs per serving. So it’s higher in carbs but can fit into keto diet in moderation. Some also tolerate it well. Mix in some almond butter to lower the carb count.

Can I make it nut-free?

Yes, use sunflower seed butter instead of almond butter for a nut-free version. Coconut milk is another great nut-free alternative.

Can I use chicken breasts instead of thighs?

Absolutely. Chicken breasts work well, just cut them into bite-sized pieces to match the thickness of thighs. Monitor closely when cooking so they don’t overcook.

How long will it last in the fridge?

Keto chicken tikka masala will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days. Store leftovers in an airtight container. The flavors develop even more over time.

Can I freeze this recipe?

Definitely! Let it cool completely then transfer into freezer bags or containers. It freezes well for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge then reheat gently before serving.

How do I reheat the chicken without drying out?

Reheat the dish gently in a saucepan with a splash of water or broth, stirring frequently. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave with a bit of water covered.


Keto chicken tikka masala made with smooth and creamy almond butter is an amazing low carb recipe. The almond butter provides richness and nutty flavor that complements the warming spices beautifully. Customize the dish to your liking with various keto substitutions. This flavorful Indian curry is sure to satisfy your cravings when eating low carb or keto. Enjoy it over cauliflower rice or with low carb naan for a delicious keto-friendly meal.

Keto Punjabi Chicken Tikka Masala With Almond Butter

Keto Punjabi Chicken Tikka Masala With Almond Butter

This delicious keto chicken tikka masala is made with almond butter for a creamy, low carb sauce. The chicken is nicely spiced and simmered in the flavorful tomato curry.

  • Large skillet
  • Small bowl
  • Baking sheet
  • Mixing bowls
  • Whisk
  • 1 lb boneless (skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup ghee or oil (divided)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish
  1. In a small bowl, stir together the yogurt, lemon juice, 3 cloves garlic, 1 Tbsp ginger, and the garam masala, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and marinate for 30 mins up to overnight.
  2. Heat 2 Tbsp ghee in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade, letting excess drip off, and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until browned and cooked through. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add remaining 2 Tbsp ghee to the skillet. Sauté onion for 2 minutes then add garlic and ginger. Cook 1 minute more.
  4. Add the almond butter and stir constantly for 2-3 minutes until well incorporated.
  5. Pour in canned tomatoes and spices. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, crushing tomatoes with back of spoon.
  6. Return chicken to skillet and simmer for 10-15 minutes until chicken soaks up flavors.
  7. Garnish with cilantro and enjoy!
  • Use full-fat canned tomatoes for best flavor. Crush them with your hands as they cook.
  • Add the almond butter a spoonful at a time to emulsify into the sauce.
  • Simmer for 10-15 minutes once chicken is added so flavors mingle.
Main Course

Myra Henry created the Keto Taco Salad blog to share my favorite delicious low-carb recipes without sacrificing flavor. when i started the keto diet 2 years ago, I discovered a love for making healthy Mexican dishes like keto taco salads. My blog features easy keto taco salad recipes and tips for keto success.

1 Comment

  1. This chicken tikka masala recipe looks absolutely delicious! I love how you’ve adapted traditional Indian flavors into a keto-friendly dish. The marinade and use of almond butter instead of cream to make the curry base are ingenious substitutions. The chicken looks so flavorful and juicy in your photos. I appreciate all the detailed steps you provide in the recipe. I can’t wait to give this a try on the weekend – I have a feeling it’s going to become a new favorite low-carb meal! Thanks for sharing such an inspiring and mouthwatering keto Indian recipe.

Write A Comment

Pin It