Coconut Cream Chicken Makani (A Healthy Version)

Butter chicken

Creamy chicken makani aka butter chicken in a rich sauce made of almonds and coconut cream!  Well, since this recipe has no butter in it I thought chicken makani was a better title for it.  This recipe is super creamy and loaded with fat! Healthy fat from coconut and almonds! Traditionally butter chicken is made with butter and cream so coconut cream and almonds are a good substitute. If you want a healthier version of this recipe, check out my heart healthy butter chicken made with olive oil and Greek yogurt. I blogged that a few years back when I first started blogging so excuse the rusty pictures :)!  Since then, I have tried out this improvised version with coconut cream which my family seems to like better. It’s more like restaurant style chicken makani I guess. I make this dish a few days back for an international potluck at work and it was quite a hit. No leftovers! It’s an easy recipe and only needs a few key ingredients that you can pick up at any Indian store. Coconut cream is available in most grocery stores, but you may have to look for it in the specialty foods aisle. If you cannot find coconut cream, use cream. Boneless chicken chunks simmered in a sauce made of tomatoes and ground almonds with some coconut cream stirred into it. That’s all there is to this recipe! Next time you get the craving for something spicy, creamy and exotic, make this reasonably healthy butter chicken or chicken makani and indulge!!  You can eat it with over some rice or dunk some bread into it! I like eating it with naan or Indian bread. Check out all that creamy goodness!

Butter chicken-7

Nutrition Wise!

Chicken is a good source of lean protein, vitamin B, zinc and iron. Coconut oil and coconut cream have fats that get burnt as fuel as soon they are eaten and a healthy dose of MUFA (Mono unsaturated fatty acids) that support a healthy immune function and healthy brain function. Almonds add a boost of vitamin E and healthy fats. This chicken makani packs a powerful punch.

Butter chicken-2

Butter chicken-5

Coconut cream chicken makani

Serves 10
Dietary Diabetic, Gluten Free
Meal type Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Gourmet, Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Region Indian
By author sunithi selvaraj;


  • 2 Lbs boneless chicken
  • 1 Large onion (sliced)
  • 2 Medium tomatoes (chopped)
  • 1 Tsp ginger (paste or grated)
  • 2 Tsp garlic (paste or finely chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 Heaped tbsp tandoori masala powder or paste (available at Indian stores)
  • 1 Tsp chili flakes (optional)
  • 1 Tsp garam masala (available at Indian stores/Asian markets)
  • 1 Tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup almond flour (or 1/ 2 cup almonds blended into a paste)
  • 1 cup coconut cream (or whipping cream)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)


In place of tandoori masala you can use 1 tsp cumin + 1tsp turmeric + 1 tsp paprika . It may taste a little different but will still have that spicy tangy taste


Heat oil. Add onion and saute 3-4 minutes till it becomes translucent. Add ginger, garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
Add tomatoes, tandoori masala, salt, chili flakes and cook about 3-4 minutes till oil floats on top. Add chicken and cook uncovered about 10 minutes.
Add almond flour/paste and cook another 10 -15 minutes till chicken is cooked and mixture is like a sauce
lower flame, add garam masala and coconut cream and gently stir in. Add cilantro. Cook about 2-3 minutes and take off the fire
About Sunithi Selvaraj, RD

Registered Dietitian with a sweet tooth and a passion for eating healthy ( quite a combo) Nutrition Geek, Healthy Nut.........


  1. This looks totally craveable! I imagine if I make it once, I’ll want it again and again, with a big stack of naan bread at my side 🙂

  2. This looks SO good. Thanks for the recipe

  3. Yummm !! Making this as soon as I pick up the spice mix. Terrific color.

  4. Love all the substitutions. Trying to go dairy free so coconut cream will be a great option. Almonds sound great too. What do you think about adding blended cashews. Happen to have some in my home now.

  5. Yay! Now I don’t have to go to an Indian restaurant every time I crave. Simple recipe Sue, love this !!!

  6. This sounds awesome! Can’t wait to try!

  7. It looks absolutely goood! Must try….

  8. This sounds delicious, I look forward to trying it!

  9. Sue, I’m craving a giant bowl of rice and your coconut cream chicken makani right now! This looks incredible! I love butter chicken but I love even more the fact that this dish packs the same flavour but with less calories. Fabulous!

  10. This dish is insane!!! I really had to stop myself from eating ALL.OF.IT! I was concerned about the coconut milk, but with all the spices you don’t even taste the full flavor of the milk at all. It just adds the creaminess, but does not taste coconutty. My kids loved it. Will definitely be one of our ‘go tos’ — thanks! I work with a lot of folks who cook Indian dishes and that’s how I first go introduced to Butter Chicken. Had been wanting to make it for a while. So glad for this Paleo version!! We ate it over cauliflower rice!


  1. […] 4. Coconut Cream Chicken Makhani Makhani is more widely known in the States as Butter Chicken, and is usually not included on most diet programs because of the fat content. But here on Paleo we’re not worried so much about fat, carbs, calories, and such, as long as the ingredients are wholesome and all natural, and as long as the foods are all on the authorized foods list. Here there is plenty of boneless chicken used, as well as coconut cream and plenty of traditional herbs and spices to make it taste just right. There are two tomatoes used to give this plenty of lycopene and other beneficial nutrients. […]

  2. […] 7. Coconut Cream Chicken Makhani This chicken makhani has a ton of flavor, and if you’ve never tried it before you owe it to yourself to give it a go. It’s better known as butter chicken, and this particular makhani is made with coconut cream, so it has a coconut flavor all the way through it. The end result is that you get a very robust tasting dish that doesn’t use any butter or any other dairy, but still delivers massive traditional flavor. This is due to the use of garam masala, a blend of Indian spices that not only taste great, but have shown to have health benefits as well. […]

Speak Your Mind