Is Butter Chicken Gluten Free?

Trying to maintain a gluten-free diet but still craving your favorite chicken? I’ve been there; it’s tough. Did you know about butter chicken dairy? This traditional Indian dish is typically free of gluten, making it an inviting choice for folks like us.

This informative blog post will detail what determines the ‘gluten-freeness’ of butter chicken and how to navigate common pitfalls when choosing or preparing this dish. So, is butter chicken gluten-free?

Let’s dig in!

Key Takeaways

  • Butter chicken curry is typically a gluten-free recipe, as the main ingredients, like chicken and tomato sauce, do not contain gluten.
  • However, it’s important to check labels for potential sources of hidden gluten in pre-made mixes or sauces used in butter chicken recipes.
  • Naan bread, traditionally served with butter chicken, does contain gluten and should be avoided by those with celiac disease or severe intolerance to gluten.

Understanding Gluten in Butter Chicken

Does butter chicken curry contain gluten? Is the simmer sauce gluten-free? What are some common gluten-containing ingredients in butter chicken curry?

Does butter chicken curry contain gluten?

Most people assume butter chicken curry is naturally free of gluten. After all, the main ingredients are chicken and a mildly spiced, tomato paste or sauce and neither contains gluten. However, this isn’t always true due to variations in recipes.

Many times, pre-made mixes or sauces used for convenience can contain hidden gluten. Also, it’s worth noting that despite the dish itself being free of gluten, it is traditionally served with naan bread, which does indeed contain gluten.

So, for those with celiac disease or severe intolerance to gluten, simply requesting your butter chicken without naan may not be enough to avoid exposure.

Is butter chicken simmer sauce gluten free?

Butter chicken simmer sauce can be gluten free, depending on the brand and ingredients used. It is important to check the label or ingredient list to ensure that there are no gluten-containing ingredients present. So, after you know, “is butter chicken gluten-free?” you should know if the sauce is. And it is!

Some common gluten-containing ingredients in simmer sauces include wheat flour or soy sauce, which may contain wheat. If you have a gluten intolerance or celiac disease, it’s recommended to choose a certified chicken simmer sauce or make your own using gluten-free spices and thickening agents.

By being mindful of the ingredients used dairy free butter chicken, you can enjoy a delicious gluten-free butter chicken dish without any worry.

What are some common gluten-containing ingredients in butter chicken curry?

Butter chicken curry can sometimes contain gluten due to certain ingredients. Here are some common gluten-containing ingredients to watch out for in an easy butter chicken recipe:

  • Pre – made curry sauces or pastes that may contain wheat as a thickening agent
  • Store – bought marinades or spice blends that may include gluten as a filler
  • Naan bread often served with butter chicken, which contains gluten
  • Some brands of basmati rice may be processed in facilities that also handle gluten products

Factors that Determine Gluten-Free Butter Chicken

These include variations in recipes, the use of thickening agents, sauces and marinades, as well as the risk of cross-contamination.

Variations in recipes

Recipes for butter chicken can vary based on personal preferences and regional influences. Some indian butter chicken recipes may include additional spices or ingredients to enhance the flavor, while others may focus more on simplicity and traditional flavors. If you are not sure if butter chicken gluten free, try to make a little variation.

When making this chicken, it is important to choose a recipe that uses gluten-free ingredients and avoid any potential cross-contamination with gluten-containing products.

Additionally, some variations may use alternative thickeners or sauces that are naturally gluten-free, ensuring a safe and delicious dish for those with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

Thickening agents

Thickening agents play a crucial role in the texture and consistency of butter chicken. These agents are used to enhance the richness and thickness of the curry sauce. Common thickening agents used in butter chicken include yogurt, cream, cashew paste coconut milk, or a combination of these ingredients.

These thickeners not only add depth to the flavor but also contribute to the creamy mouthfeel that is characteristic of this dish. It’s important to note that while these thickening agents don’t typically contain gluten, it’s essential to check for any potential cross-contamination or hidden sources of gluten when using pre-made mixes or sauces.

Sauces and marinades

Sauces and marinades play a crucial role in determining whether the chicken is gluten-free. Some pre-made sauces or marinades may contain gluten as an ingredient, so it’s important to read the labels carefully.

Look for gluten-free options that use alternative thickeners, such as cornstarch or arrowroot powder, instead of wheat-based flours. Making your own sauces and marinades from scratch with no gluten ingredients can also ensure that your butter chicken remains safe to eat for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

Keep in mind that traditional recipes may call for ingredients like yogurt or cream, which are typically gluten-free but could be altered by manufacturers, so always double-check the labels.


Cross-contamination can occur when butter chicken comes into contact with ingredients that contain gluten. This can happen during the processing or preparation of the dish. So, while your answer to is butter chicken gluten free may be a yes, there might be contaminants present.

It is crucial to be mindful of this potential risk, especially if you have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Reading the labels on pre-made mixes or sauces is important to ensure they are free from gluten.

Additionally, if you are dining out and want to enjoy butter chicken, it’s essential to communicate your dietary needs with the restaurant staff and inquire about their practices for preventing cross-contamination in their kitchen.

Gluten-Free Butter Chicken Options

There are various options for enjoying butter chicken, including gluten-free butter chicken paste and curry kits, homemade gluten-free recipes, and substituting ingredients to create a gluten-free version.

Chicken paste and curry kits

I have found some options for gluten-free butter chicken paste and curry powder kits. These kits are convenient and allow you to enjoy butter chicken without worrying about gluten. You can simply follow the instructions on the package and have a delicious gluten-free meal in no time. With these kits, you can still enjoy the flavors of traditional butter chicken while sticking to your gluten-free diet.

Homemade gluten-free butter chicken recipe

I love making my own gluten-free recipe at home because I am not sure if the butter chicken gluten-free that I buy from outside. Here’s how I do it:

  • Start by marinating high protein chicken in a mixture of grated ginger, garlic, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, chili powder and Indian spices.
  • In a pan, heat coconut oil and sauté chopped onion until golden brown.
  • Add the marinated chicken to the pan and cook until it is no longer pink.
  • Next, add a can of gluten-free tomato sauce and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  • Stir in garam masala and any other desired spices for extra flavor.
  • Finally, finish off the dish by adding a generous amount of cream and simmering for another 5 minutes.

Substituting ingredients for a gluten-free version

When preparing this chicken, there are several ingredients that can be substituted to make a gluten-free version of this of this easy recipe. Some options include:

  1. Using gluten-free flour or cornstarch instead of regular flour as a thickening agent for the sauce.
  2. Opting for tamari or gluten-free soy sauce instead of traditional soy sauce.
  3. Choosing gluten-free chicken stock or broth to enhance the flavor.
  4. Use coconut cream or dairy-free alternatives instead of heavy cream for a creamy texture.
  5. Using gluten – free spice blends or individual spices to season the dish.
  6. Avoid marinating the chicken in sauces that contain gluten and opt for homemade marinades using gluten-free ingredients.

Health Benefits of Gluten-Free Butter Chicken

It provides a delicious and nutritious option for those with gluten intolerances or following a gluten-free diet.

Nutritional value of butter chicken

Now that you know that butter chicken is gluten-free, let’s talk about its nutritional value!

Butter chicken is a delicious and flavorful dish that not only satisfies the taste buds but also delivers important nutrients. A serving of gluten-free butter chicken typically contains 260 calories, with 35 grams of carbohydrates, 6 grams of fat, and an impressive 18 grams of protein.

This makes butter chicken dairy-free, and it is a high-protein option that can help keep you feeling full and satisfied. With its combination of creamy tomato sauce and tender chicken, butter chicken provides essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, iron, and calcium.

So while enjoying the scrumptious flavors of butter chicken, you’re also nourishing your body with valuable nutrients to support overall health.

Gluten-free diet considerations

When following a gluten-free diet, it is crucial to consider the ingredients and preparation methods of dishes like butter chicken. While the main components of butter chicken are typically gluten-free, there may still be factors to take into account.

For instance, pre-made mixes or sauces used in the recipe might contain gluten, so it’s essential to read labels carefully. Additionally, traditional accompaniments like naan bread are not gluten-free and should be avoided.

By being mindful of these considerations and opting for gluten-free alternatives when necessary, individuals can enjoy delicious butter chicken while adhering to their dietary needs.


Here are some commonly asked questions about whether butter chicken is gluten-free.

1. Is butter chicken gluten free?

It can be made without gluten if the recipe uses gluten-free ingredients and does not include any wheat-based products, such as flour or breadcrumbs.

2. What ingredients should I look out for to ensure butter chicken is safe?

To ensure that butter chicken has no gluten, you should check the ingredient list for any wheat, barley, rye, or other gluten-containing grains. You should also be aware of any thickening agents or sauces that may contain gluten.

3. Can I order butter chicken at a restaurant if I have a gluten intolerance?

It is important to inquire with the restaurant about their preparation methods and ingredients used in their specific butter chicken dish to determine if it is safe for someone with a gluten intolerance. Some restaurants offer gluten-free options or are willing to accommodate dietary restrictions.

4. Are there any variations of butter chicken that are naturally gluten-free?

Yes, there are variations of butter chicken that naturally do not contain gluten. These versions typically use alternative flours or thickeners instead of wheat-based ones and rely on naturally gluten-free ingredients like spices, yogurt, and tomato sauce for flavoring.


In conclusion, butter chicken curry is typically gluten-free as the main ingredients, such as chicken and the creamy tomato sauce, do not contain gluten. However, it’s important to be cautious of potential cross-contamination or added gluten-containing ingredients in pre-made mixes or sauces.

By choosing gluten-free alternatives for naan bread and being mindful of ingredient sourcing, individuals with a gluten intolerance or following a gluten-free diet can enjoy this delicious Indian dish without worry.

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