Dairy Free Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala

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PaleoChickenTikkaMasala-2649A favorite of our pre-allergy days!  It was a sad day when I knew my favorite Chicken Tikka Masala was a big fat NO for my dairy hating body!  And while I have tried many recipes that were good in their own right, none of them reminded me of the dish my husband and I loved.

I checked out a book from the library, Entice w/ Spice, and discovered the inspiration for this recipe.  Of course I played with the ingredients, and had to make it dairy free.  But the end result is something we have made several times now, accompanied by my fermented rice and lentil flat-breads, aka dosas.  A post hopefully one day on those lovely crunchy additions too!


COOKING TOOL TIP: When it comes to grating ginger, or any zests, I swear by my Microplane, a must have tool in any kitchen!



4.8 from 5 reviews
Dairy Free Paleo Chicken Masala
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 7 tablespoons light olive oil, divided
  • 2 T minced garlic, divided
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon coriander, divided
  • 2 teaspoons Hungarian paprika, divided
  • 1¾ teaspoons sea salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons dairy free plain coconut milk yogurt (or any allowed)
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated or minced ginger (dried is not the same!)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved (or other tomato is fine)
  • ½ cup full fat canned coconut milk
  • ¾ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon honey, or a few drops liquid stevia (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons ghee or allowed vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  1. Mix your marinade together in a container large enough to accommodate all the chicken: 4 tablespoons olive oil, 1T garlic, 2T lime juice, ½ t coriander, 1t paprika, 1t sea salt and the yogurt. Marinate your chicken for at least 12 hours or better still, 24 hours!
  2. Preheat a grill to high heat. Place all the chicken in a grill basket, and cook, until very slightly charred. Toss around and cook chicken all the way through. Set aside.
  3. Make your masala paste.
  4. In a medium saute pan, heat 3 tablespoons light olive oil or coconut oil over medium heat.
  5. When the oil is hot, add in the ginger, garlic, and onion. Cook until the onion if softened, a few minutes.
  6. Stir in the tomato. Cook to soften the tomato skins: about 3-4 minutes.
  7. Shovel the mixture into a blender along with all the remaining ingredients. Puree the whole mixture to pulverize the tomato skins.
  8. Heat the sauce gently over low heat along with the chicken to warm. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed!


This recipe was shared with Mostly Homemade Mondays, Hearth & Soul, Fat TuesdaysWaste Not Want Not, GF WednesdayHomestead Blog Hop,  Foodie Fridays, Real Food Fridays, GF Fridays, Let’s Get Real Fridays,

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When her third child was born with severe food allergies, Tessa took to the kitchen to figure out how to feed her family well. Always up for a culinary challenge, their journey has taken many twists and turns! Lots of Paleo, and lots of top 8 free. Good food for families, that's what she's about!

Posted in Main Dish Tagged with: ,
26 comments on “Dairy Free Paleo Chicken Tikka Masala
  1. Wow. Looks fantastic Tessa. I can see myself making this time and time again.

  2. Wow, I love your Chicken Tikka Masala! I like that you’ve modified this recipe to be dairy free. Looks delicious!

    Stopping by from Allergy Free Wednesdays! (If you have a chance, stop by and check out the Potato Salad I’ve linked up, #41)

  3. Scrumptious!!! I think I am going to recommend this recipe be made this weekend! :)

  4. Diane Balch says:

    Long time no see… I love this recipe. The coconut milk is a wonderful substitute for dairy. I am still having my food party on Friday would love to see you there.

  5. Julia says:

    How exciting to be able to make this dairy free!

  6. Amber says:

    Hi Tessa,

    This is my kind of dinner!! Can’t wait to try. Looks amazing.

    Have a great rest of your week.


  7. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Tessa,
    Your Chicken Tikka Masala looks delicious! Hope you have a wonderful week end and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  8. Looks wonderful!
    Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friday

  9. I will definitely be making this! It looks delicious. Is the quantity for the garlic and lime juice 1 tablespoon? (it says 1 T). Thanks

  10. Did you substitute the coconut milk for regular milk?

  11. Your Chicken Tikka Masala looks so wholesome and delicious. You’ve used a lovely selection of spices. Great that it’s dairy-free too!

  12. Swathi says:

    Delicious chicken tikka masala, looks yumm. Thanks for sharing with Hearth and Soul blog hop.

  13. Maury says:

    I made this yesterday and it is delicious, my new favorite! I do not have a grill so I put the chicken with all of the marinade in a dish and baked it. I also used Pom tomatoes and doubled the amount of tomatoes and coconut milk. Then added a small amount more of spices with a pinch of cayenne.

  14. I was so excited to see a dairy free version of this recipe, but unfortunately my little one also has an allergy to coconut. Do you know of any other substitute that would work well? In general I use almond milk as a substitute, but I am guessing it won’t have enough fat in it to work for this recipe.

    • Hi Rachelle! You can definitely do this…two of the options I can think of….make your own almond milk, but make it cream style ( 1 cup soaked almonds blended with 1 1/2 cup water, the strained). Also, if you can get you mitts on any mimicreme, unsweetened you will be golden! Both of these options will replace Creme or full fat coconut milk n any recipe! Let me know if you need more info!

    • bee says:

      You can also make cashew cream, which I find to work really well in recipes, both sweet and savoury. I also find that using cashew cream is not quite as overpowering as coconut cream, but I may just be more partial to cashews ;).

      I can’t wait to try this recipe out for myself, Tessa 😀

  15. Melody says:

    Awesome dish!

  16. Cat says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. I hereby declare this to be the BEST paleo recipe of all time! My husband licks the plate, and my two year old will even eat it!

  17. I love tikka masala, and the addition of coconut milk sounds like an awesome flavor combo! I can’t wait to try this.

  18. Looks delicious! Thanks for sharing at Waste Not Want Not Wednesday!
    Elise @frugalfarmwife.com recently posted…Chicken Alfredo Pasta RecipeMy Profile

  19. Can’t wait to try this…it sounds like a delicious alternative! We love Chicken Tikka Masala too.
    Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life recently posted…Southwestern Black Bean and Corn SaladMy Profile

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Welcome, I am happy you are here!

My name is Tessa, and I have learned to cook without almost all major allergens! I have a focus on making family foods as healthy as possible. Real food is my obsession. Gluten free, casein free, vegan, Paleo, sugar free: I have a little of something for anyone with restrictions., Take a peek, you're sure to find something delicious, and if you need any help, I am always willing to help you tweak things to YOUR tastes and dietary needs!

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