Creamy Cashew Butter Chicken
This delicious Cashew Butter Chicken is as good as it gets. By using cashews instead of cream, this recipe is as rich and creamy as any restaurant-style butter chicken, but it's so much healthier for you. It's easy to make and a naturally dairy-free + paleo + Whole30 compliant recipe that EVERYONE will love.
Cashews for the win … again!
Also, healthy butter chicken for the win. Heck, ya! Those two can share the trophy and become collectively known as Cashew Butter Chicken.
I've gone back to my Easy Butter Chicken Recipe and tweaked it so it's now completely dairy-free but (IMO) even better than the original version.
What we've done here is blended the cashews to make cashew cream. Once you pour that liquid gold into the curry, you'd never know it wasn't whipping cream. That's how delicious it is.
This is restaurant-style butter chicken at its best.
The cashew cream trick is an old one around this blog. We used the same technique with the Not Yo Mama's Pork Chops and Mushroom Soup recipe. Have you tried it? I LOVE that recipe!
I've also used it in most of the ice cream recipes here, which makes them dairy-free + vegan, though you'd never know. ← Trust me on that one!
Even though a round of Brie doesn't stand a chance around me, I like to limit the amount of milk and cream I use when cooking. Using cashew cream means that I don't have to sacrifice taste for health. Big time bonus!
Back to this cashew butter chicken …
When I told my handsome man what we were having for dinner, his face got all twisted up like it would if I said we were having vegan, gluten-free, all-natural, clean-eating, cardboard-tasting pancakes for dinner. He LOVES curry dinners so I thought he was being a total weirdo and told him not to worry about it, he was going to like it.
Apparently, he thought we were having chicken with cashew butter, not butter chicken made with cashews.
Sidebar → Have you ever read the book Eats, Shoots & Leaves? If you haven't, please promise me you will. You'll literally laugh out loud from start to finish.
Sometimes grammar would be handy when speaking, too!
Now ACTUALLY back to this cashew butter chicken …
This is one of those easy dinner recipes that is perfect to keep in your back pocket. Whether you're rushing around with all the back-to-school prep going on, craving a warm and comforting dinner, or are wanting killer leftovers for lunch, this recipe's got your back.
Start to finish, you'll have dinner on the table in about 35 minutes. Talk about quick and easy, my friends!
Curry is my little girl's all-time fav dinner. You should see how much she can eat. And since curry leftovers make THE BEST lunch, this recipe wins twice. If you're feeding a family of four, I'd recommend doubling the recipe so you can all have happy lunchtime faces the next day.
Extras also freeze very well, so don't hesitate to make a big batch!
More delicious curry recipes:
- Creamy Coconut Lentil Curry
- Cashew Coconut Salmon Curry
- Autumn Roasted Pumpkin Curry
- Black Chana Masala
- Coconut Black Lentil Curry
- Easy Palak Paneer
This delicious Cashew Butter Chicken is as good as it gets. By using cashews instead of cream, this recipe is as rich and creamy as any restaurant-style butter chicken, but it's so much healthier for you.
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons oil, divided
- 1 lb. chicken thighs or breasts
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 – 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 – 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar (omit for Whole30)
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ to 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Seeds from 4 cardamom pods
- Place the cashews and 1 1/2 cups of water into your blender or food processor and blend on high until completely smooth. Pour into a bowl and set it aside. Don't clean your blender yet – you'll need it again.
- Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total. You don't need to cook the chicken all the way. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- While the chicken is browning, start cooking the curry. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion to the pan and cook until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and let it cook for 5 minutes more. Add all the spices to a small bowl while the onions are cooking.
- Add the spices to the onions and let them cook for a minute, stirring the whole time. Pour the tomatoes into the pan and scrape the bottom of the pan. Carefully transfer to your blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Pour the curry back into the pan, add the cashew cream, the chopped chicken, 1/2 cup of water, and (if using) the brown sugar. Bring the curry to a boil then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt.
Cashew pieces are less expensive than whole cashews and work well in this recipe. If you don't have a high-powered blender, I recommend soaking the cashews in water for a few hours. Rinse the cashews and discard the water before you blend them.
Feel free to use coriander and cumin seeds instead of ground if that's what you have on hand. Curry powder can be used instead of garam masala, although I personally prefer the taste of garam masala.