Chicken tikka masala is one of the most popular Indian dishes around the world. The creamy, tomatoed curry sauce is incredibly flavorful and aromatic. However, the cream used in traditional recipes makes it difficult to enjoy on a ketogenic diet. Fortunately, this creamy keto chicken tikka masala recipe recreates the luxurious texture and taste of classic chicken tikka masala, without the cream.

Ingredients for Keto Chicken Tikka Masala

This easy recipe uses simple whole food ingredients to develop complex layers of spicy flavor.

  • Boneless, skinless chicken thighs – Using dark meat chicken keeps this dish juicy and tender. Chicken breasts would dry out.
  • Full-fat coconut milk – The high fat content mimics heavy cream to create a lush mouthfeel. Light coconut milk won’t achieve the same effect.
  • Grass-fed ghee – For optimal nutrition, choose quality sources of saturated fat like grass-fed ghee.
  • Broth – Chicken or vegetable broth provides moisture without adding unnecessary carbs.
  • Tomato puree and crushed tomatoes – Tomatoes flavor builds the base for tikka masala. Canned tomatoes make this quick and convenient any time of year.
  • Onion and garlic – An aromatic backbone that balances the other strong spices.
  • Ginger – Essential for adding an authentic tang.
  • Spices like chili powder, garam masala and coriander – A complex blend of seasonings is responsible for the signature warmth and savoriness.

Equipment Needed for Keto Tikka Masala

Part of what makes this recipe so easy is that it requires only basic equipment most home cooks have on hand.

  • Skillet – Sear the chicken and build flavor by sautéing onion, garlic and ginger.
  • Baking sheet – Turn your oven into a makeshift tandoor oven by broiling the chicken for color and char.
  • Saucepan – Simmer the sauce to meld flavors and thicken.
  • Optional but helpful tools:
    • Meat thermometer – Ensures chicken reaches a safe internal temperature.
    • Immersion blender – Blitzes the sauce smooth for a luxurious texture reminiscent of heavy cream.

Follow these tips for keto chicken tikka masala that rivals your favorite Indian restaurant!

Tandoori Marinated Chicken

Traditionally, tikka refers to pieces of meat marinated in spices and yogurt, then cooked in a tandoor oven. The smoky, charred chicken soaks up all that delicious flavor.

Recreate similar results at home by broiling the chicken after marinating. This step infuses color and intensifies the taste of the spice rub.

Yogurt Marinade Benefits

  • Tenderizes – Yogurt’s acidic quality helps break down muscle fibers.
  • Flavors – Spices blend beautifully with the tangy dairy.
  • Browns – Lactic acid promotes appealing charring.

Since regular yogurt contains too many carbs for keto, full fat coconut yogurt substitute works perfectly.

Tandoori Chicken Spice Mix

  • Smoked paprika
  • Garlic powder
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Turmeric
  • Cayenne pepper

Play with the spice measurements until you achieve your desired level of heat.

Tip: Blooming the spices briefly in the coconut oil deepens the flavor.

Marinating and Broiling Method

  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl or zip top bag. Mix well and add chicken.
  2. Refrigerate 30 minutes up to overnight so flavors seep in.
  3. Arrange chicken on an oiled baking sheet and broil 3-5 minutes per side.

The key is pulling the chicken before it fully cooks so it stays nice and moist when simmered in the sauce.

Building Creamy Keto Curry Sauce

Traditional chicken tikka masala features a creamy, mildly spiced tomato gravy. By swapping coconut milk for heavy cream, this recipe keeps that luxurious texture 100% keto friendly.

Adapt flavors to your preferences with more or less heat. Serve over riced cauliflower, wilted spinach or roasted spaghetti squash noodles for a complete low carb meal.

Coconut Milk Benefits

Full fat coconut milk makes an excellent heavy cream substitute. The high natural fat content mimics the rich mouthfeel. Light coconut milk won’t work the same way. Just be sure to stir well before using since the solids and liquid separate.

Pro tip: Simmering the coconut milk briefly prevents curdling as it melds with the other sauce ingredients.

Sauce Ingredients Breakdown

  • Onion and garlic build an aromatic foundation
  • Ginger adds sweet zing
  • Spices like coriander, cumin and garam masala flavor the gravy
  • Canned tomatoes provide tangy body at any time of year
  • Bone broth thins and moistens
  • Coconut milk lends its signature creaminess

Allow flavors marry by simmering the sauce for 10-15 minutes until thickened to coat the back of a spoon. Finish by blitzing it smooth with an immersion blender if desired.

Putting It All Together

Now the fun part – assemble the decadent creamy keto curry!

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Generously coat skillet or saucepan with ghee before sautéing aromatics
  • Stir sauce frequently to prevent scorching on bottom
  • Simmer low and slow so flavors develop beautifully
  • Blend until completely smooth for that perfect velvety texture

And don’t forget the most important step…enjoy!! This lighter, healthier version of a takeout favorite not only fits into a keto diet, but makes for a truly satisfying meal packed with scrumptious flavor.

Possible Variations

Love experimenting in the kitchen? Try these tweak ideas:

  • Swap vegetables like cauliflower or paneer for the chicken
  • Add different spices like cardamom, fenugreek or Kashmiri chili powder
  • Finish with cilantro and lime juice for extra freshness
  • Make it more substantial with chopped cashews or almonds
  • Mix up proteins using lambshrimp or tofu instead

The possibilities for customizing are endless for adventurous home cooks.

Creamy Keto Chicken Tikka Masala Without Cream

Creamy Keto Chicken Tikka Masala Without Cream

This easy recipe for creamy keto chicken tikka masala uses coconut milk instead of cream to keep it low carb and satisfyingly rich.

  • Vessels for marinating
  • Baking sheet for broiling
  • Meat thermometer for checking doneness
  • Large skillet to sear chicken and simmer sauce
  • Spoon and blender for the curry
  • 500 g boneless chicken thighs (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (minced)
  • 1- inch piece of ginger (grated)
  • 2 tomatoes (pureed)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust according to your spice tolerance)
  • Salt to taste
  • Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
  1. In a bowl, mix the Greek yogurt, garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, turmeric powder, and red chili powder until well combined.
  2. Add the chicken pieces to the bowl and coat them in the yogurt-spice mixture. Let it marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  3. Heat ghee or coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the chopped onions and sauté until golden brown.
  4. Stir in the minced garlic and grated ginger, and cook for another minute until fragrant.
  5. Add the pureed tomatoes to the pan and cook until the oil separates from the masala.
  6. Now, add the marinated chicken pieces to the pan, along with the marinade. Stir well to coat the chicken in the masala.
  7. Cover the pan and let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
  8. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles for a Keto-friendly option.
  1. Make sure to cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces for even cooking.
  2. You can adjust the spice levels according to your preference. Start with a smaller amount of red chili powder and gradually add more if desired.
  3. If you prefer a smoother consistency, you can blend the onion, garlic, and ginger into a paste before adding them to the pan.
Main Course
HalalDiet, HinduDiet

FAQs About Keto Tikka Masala

Still have some questions? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What goes well with keto chicken tikka masala?

  • Riced or mashed cauliflower
  • Wilted spinach or kale
  • Spaghetti squash “zoodles”
  • Roasted eggplant
  • Low carb naan bread

Can I prepare the sauce ahead?

Yes! The sauce keeps well refrigerated for 4-5 days. Gently reheat over medium stirring regularly before adding chicken to finish.

How long will the chicken keep after marinating?

For best results marinate chicken no longer than 24 hours. The acidic yogurt can start to break down the proteins.

What kind of yogurt works best?

Full fat plain coconut or cashew yogurt provides richness without the carbs of dairy yogurt. Make sure it contains no added sugars.

Is chicken tikka masala gluten free?

Yes, all the ingredients in this recipe are naturally gluten free. As always, double check spice blends for hidden sources of gluten.

What is the difference between tikka masala and butter chicken?

Tikka masala features a more highly spiced tomato gravy, while butter chicken boasts a lush creamy sauce per its name. But they share delicious similarities!


This easy creamy keto chicken tikka masala delivers everything you love about the classic Indian dish in a lighter, healthier low carb version. Ditch the cream and let full fat coconut milk work its magic for a rich, fragrant curry bursting with authentic flavor.

Try this recipe when a savory, satisfying meal is just what your body craves! Adjust heat to taste preference and add extra vegetables if desired. Leftovers keep well for quick meals later in the week.

Now it’s your turn to enjoy tender, perfectly spiced chicken tikka masala without cream any night of the week!

“Did you enjoy this chicken tikka masala without cream recipe? Follow us on Instagram @ketotacosalad for more delicious keto recipes and mouthwatering food photos!

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.

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