Grill up the tastiest Indian inspired keto friendly butter chicken recipe with this simple to make weeknight kebab recipe the whole family will love.
Butter chicken is my go-to anytime we order Indian food for take out. There is something so good about this style of marinated chicken that’s also coated in a rich and flavor packed sauce that hits all my comfort food buttons. Though I have this quick, weeknight friendly butter chicken meatball recipe and even a butter chicken hot wings recipe, I did want to recreate this classic Indian dish for the grill.
This recipe needed to hit a few major criteria for me to be worthy to share!
- It needed to be easy to prep and cook even on a weeknight. Trust me, if I can say this weeknight roast chicken recipe is doable, then these chicken skewers are as well!
- I wanted it to be authentic, but still have a keto friendly butter chicken marinade that would work for my low carb lifestyle.
- That making this on the grill would be doable with little mess and would overall add flavor to this dish.
I’m happy to say that this keto butter chicken recipe ticks all those boxes and then some! With a few minutes of morning prep work, this grilled chicken recipe is a perfect way to nail down dinner or even acts as a great meal prep. Get all the details below on how to slay this recipe on the grill all while being keto diet friendly too.
- Mixing Bowl
- Knife & Cutting Bowl
- Baking Sheet
What’s the best chicken cut for grilling?
Before we dive into the marinade base for this recipe, I wanted to quickly talk grilled chicken. As a culinary educator and lover of the grill, I think it is best to point out that there are a handful of options for grilling up some chicken pieces that can make or break this recipe.
While a good chicken marinate is a great way to tenderize and add flavor to a recipe, I do believe the right chicken cut also plays a roll. That’s why I chose and would highly recommend cooking with boneless, skinless chicken thighs for this dish.
Why chicken thighs in particular? A few reasons!
The first and most important is that chicken thigh meat is considered dark meat. Dark meat poultry can contain almost double the unsaturated (healthier) fats than white meat. Fat is what gives the meat flavor and is especially important when cooking on the grill. The leaner the meat, the more likely it can dry out or get overcooked.
Chicken thighs that are boneless and skinless are idea for this recipe because you will need to skewer and grill the kebabs. This makes it easier to prepare, assemble and eat. Pick out 1-2 lbs of chicken thigh meat, pat it dry, and cut the chicken into even two inch size pieces that can be marinated.
How do I make a keto friendly butter chicken marinade?
Marinades help tenderize and infuse flavor into all kinds of foods, but work really well with a leaner meat like chicken. In order to keep this recipe keto friendly I opted to swap yogurt for the acidic base with sour cream.
Sour cream provides a similar texture and acidity level as the yogurt, but has less natural sugars and therefore fewer carbs. I prefer to combine the sour cream, garam masala spice, garlic, tomato paste, salt and pepper, lemon juice and zest together in a bowl and test taste it. Coat the chicken entirely by mixing the marinade by hand or by folding it into the chicken pieces.
For this recipe to taste best and tenderize, I do prefer to do this in the morning and then grill after work. Do you have to do this for it to still come out great? No, but it does help to let the flavors develop and penetrate the meat better if you do!
How to grill marinated chicken kebabs?
Have you grilled chicken kebabs before? Easy enough right? Crank the grill, toss on the skewer, eat the chicken. That’s perfect for a thinner oil and vinegar based marinade but this marinade is thicker and creamier and deserves a little more time and attention so that it stays on the chicken and does burn all over your grill instead!
For this recipe I utilize two zone grilling. I have talked about two zone or indirect grilling in several recipes on my site and feature a similar method with these delicious Greek Chicken Kebabs too. Set your grill so half has medium heat and the other half is cool (no burner/ charcoal on this side are lit).
I like to place the chicken pieces onto the skewers evenly, lay them on a cooling rack and then elevate it onto a baking sheet. This allows the indirect grill heat to reach under the skewer and allows it to evenly cook. I cook this way to start on the grill so the marinade “sets” and essentially bakes on a bit before I sear the kebabs.
Once they have cooked to about 145-150 F. I move them to the direct heat side of the grill (the side that is lit) and cook each side a few minutes, turning as needed over medium heat. Rotate the kebabs as needed to achieve a nice sear and some grill marks until it hits an internal temperature of 165 F. The kebabs are usually fully cooked in about 15 minutes give or take.
What is the best way to serve these?
While you can leave the marinade on this chicken and eat it as is, I do enjoy making an additional sauce to drizzle over the chicken pieces once they’re of the grill and removed from the skewer. The sauce is easy to make and can be made with heavy cream or coconut milk per your preference.
I love to serve this meal family style on a larger platter with some of my fool proof cauliflower rice or even my low carb flatbread recipe (it makes a great keto friendly naan bread) as a great side. Feel free to pair with some grilled veggies and a glass of wine too.
Get all the details below and be sure to share your keto grilling adventures with me over on Instagram or make your next meal plan and save this recipe for later over on Pinterest!
Love a good kebab recipe, check these out too:
- 2 lbs. Skinless/Boneless Chicken Thighs
- Butter Chicken Marinade-
- 1/2 cup Sour Cream
- 1 Lemon, juiced
- 1 tsp Lemon Zest
- 1 tsp. Tomato Paste
- 1 tsp. Garam Masala
- 1 tsp. Curry
- 1 tsp. Cumin
- 2 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 tsp Salt & Pepper (each)
- Butter Chicken Sauce-
- 2 tbsp. Butter
- 1 tsp Tomato Paste
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream or Full Fat Coconut Milk
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- In a mixing bowl, stir the marinade ingredients all together and set it aside.
- Cut the chicken thighs into 2 inch pieces and pat them dry with a paper towel.
- Combine the chicken pieces and the marinade together in a bowl and coat them completely. You can skewer them and cook now, but this recipe is best when the marinade is left to marry on the chicken for at least 2 hours. Try and prepare earlier in the morning for dinner that night if possible for best results.
- When ready to grill, place the chicken on your skewers. Place the skewers on a cooling rack that's elevated over a baking sheet.
- Preheat your grill to 400 F. and set it for two zone cooking (indirect heat). See the post above for how to do this (it's easy)!
- Cook the butter chicken kebabs on indirect heat until they hit 145-150 F. Move them to direct heat and cook them on a lightly greased grill grate and sear each side for 1-2 minutes. Cook and turn as needed until they hit an internal temperature of 165 F.
- Remove from the grill and set them aside with lightly tented foil.
- Next, make the butter chicken sauce by melting the butter in a sauce pan and whisk in the tomato paste and seasonings until fragrant. Slowly whisk in the heavy cream or coconut milk over medium low heat until it comes together.
- Garnish the finished kebabs by serving the sauce over the top or on the side and enjoy!
Serve with low carb flatbread and cauliflower rice for low carb options!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 196mgSodium: 472mgCarbohydrates: 3gNet Carbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 37g