This easy vegan butter chicken recipe will blow your mind. Creamy and comforting without any dairy. This popular Indian dish is made with seasoned crispy tofu that's baked to perfection then mixed in a flavorful creamy tomato sauce.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- This tofu butter chicken is vegan, vegetarian, dairy free, gluten free and high in protein thanks to the tofu.
- Satisfies the craving for Indian food without having to order take out.
- Made with easy-to-find ingredients that can be found in most grocery stores or Indian grocery stores.
- This vegan version of murgh makhani (butter chicken) is a delicious recipe the whole family will love.
🍅 Ingredients & substitutions
- Extra firm tofu - If you want the tofu to be chewy like chicken, make sure to use extra firm tofu. We're going to press then bake the tofu as well to add even more chewiness.
- Crushed tomatoes - You can also use tomato paste, or fresh tomatoes. If using fresh tomatoes, chop them up well or blend them in a blender.
- Dairy free unsweetened yogurt - My favorite is the Forager, unsweetened cashew yogurt. Or Silk unsweetened soy yogurt. You can also use a homemade cashew heavy cream, coconut cream or full-fat coconut milk.
- Cayenne pepper - also called chili powder in Indian curry recipes. Use however much or little you need to reach your preferred spice level.
- Onions, garlic and fresh ginger - If you live near an Indian grocery store, you can but a garlic ginger paste to always have on hand.
- Variety of spices - I use a blend of coriander, ground cumin, turmeric powder, curry powder and cinnamon. You can also use a fresh cinnamon stick if you have that on hand.
- Garam masala - this can easily be found in the spice section of your grocery store. You can also order garam masala online.
- Maple syrup - It doesn't make the dish sweet but is used to help balance out the acidity of the tomatoes, like in pasta sauce.
- Dairy free butter - or a neutral tasting oil like avocado oil or olive oil.
👩🍳 Recipe tips
If you don't have a tofu press (Use code DAMNTASTY for 10% off) you can press the tofu by placing a towel over the tofu, then adding on some heavy books or pans.
Don't skip pressing the tofu, since this gets rid of any excess moisture, and makes the tofu crispier and chewier.
Make the vegan butter chicken sauce while the tofu is baking, to save yourself time.
If you want to make this even spicier, add minced hot peppers or chili flakes.
Make sure to scroll to the recipe card for full step-by-step instructions.
Step one: First we prepare the block of tofu by pressing it with a tofu press or setting some heavy pots and pans on top of it.
Step two: Cut the tofu up into bite sized, smaller pieces, or tear it to give it more of a chicken-like texture. Add it to a large mixing bowl and add oil, corn starch, salt and curry powder and gently mix. Add the seasoned tofu pieces to a lined baking tray and bake for 30 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.
Step three: While the butter tofu is baking we prepare the masala creamy sauce by sautéing the onions until translucent in some vegan butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the spices, garlic and ginger and sauté for 5 mintues.
Step four: Add in the crushed tomatoes and water and simmer for 5 minutes.
Step five: After about 5 minutes, add in the dairy free yogurt and maple syrup and we let everything simmer for 10 minutes.
Step six: Once the tofu is done baking, let it sit for 5 minutes, then stir it into the sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes. Top with fresh cilantro and serve over basmati rice.
🌱 Serving suggestions
This goes amazingly well on some basmati rice or with some Indian bread like chapati, roti or vegan naan bread.
Top with some fresh cilantro and extra chopped red onions. You can also serve this with homemade quinoa or any other grain that you prefer.
❄️ Storing tips
This dish tastes even better the next day and can last in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3-4 days.
❓ Recipe FAQs
Absolutely! Instead of using butter, just use water. And leave it out of the tofu when baking the tofu as well.
Yes, this recipe can be frozen! Let it cool to room temperature, then add it to a freezer friendly container. It can be frozen for up to three months. Let it thaw out in the fridge, then reheat on the stove or in a microwave. You may need to add a splash of water since it will thicken a bit.
This would taste really good using Homemade Seitan Chicken, vegan chicken alternatives, like Gardein, or soy curls.
Yes! I usually love adding in some cauliflower, carrots, peas or potatoes to this dish to add more veggies.
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Easy Vegan Butter Chicken (Butter Tofu)
- 2 (16 ounce) blocks extra firm tofu
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 tablespoon corn starch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons curry powder
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter (or oil)
- 1 small onion (diced)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons garam masala powder
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 16 ounce can of crushed or diced tomatoes
- ¼ cup water
- 1½ cups unsweetened dairy free yogurt (or 14oz can of full fat coconut milk)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Top with fresh cilantro and serve over rice
- Pre-heat oven to 420 degrees. Press the tofu for 15-20 minutes. Then cut or tear into bite sized pieces.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the tofu, corn starch, 2 tablespoons of oil, curry powder and ½ teaspoon of salt. Mix well. Spread on a lined or oiled baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.2 (16 ounce) blocks extra firm tofu, 2 tablespoons oil, 2 tablespoon corn starch, ½ teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons curry powder
- While the tofu is cooking, in a large sauce pan add the vegan butter on medium heat. Then add the diced onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and ginger, salt and all of the spices and cook for 2 minutes.1 tablespoon vegan butter, 1 small onion, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon ginger, ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, ½ teaspoon cumin powder, ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ½ teaspoon cinnamon, 2 teaspoons garam masala powder, 1 teaspoon salt
- Add the crushed tomatoes and ¼ of water. Cover and let every cook for 5 minutes. Add the dairy free yogurt and maple syrup. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.16 ounce can of crushed or diced tomatoes, ¼ cup water, 1½ cups unsweetened dairy free yogurt, 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Once the tofu is done baking, let it sit for 5 minutes. Then stir it into the curry sauce. Let everything simmer for another 5 minutes. Serve over white rice or with Indian bread like roti, or vegan naan. Top with fresh cilantro.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.