Vegan Butter Chicken

This vegan butter chicken recipe is made with tofu and a curried tomato-based sauce. It's smooth and creamy, comforting and so easy to make. Enjoy scooped over rice, or serve with naan bread.
Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr
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Vegan Butter Chicken

Hiya friends! Today I’m bringing you a delicious vegan butter chicken recipe, made using tofu! Certainly, this recipe is as comforting as they come. It’s made by simmering baked tofu in a creamy vegan butter chicken sauce until smooth and thick. Spread onto a bed of rice, or served with naan, and garnished with cilantro. What more could we ask for!?

All-in-all this vegan butter chicken recipe is warm and comforting, mildly spiced (as a butter chicken recipe should be), smooth, creamy and buttery.

I promise that nobody will be missing the real chicken in this recipe, because the baked tofu truly hits the spot. So, let me tell you exactly how to make this recipe so you can enjoy it pronto!

Vegan Butter Chicken Recipe

The ingredients

This recipe is divided into two sections. The first is for baking the tofu, and the second is for the vegan butter chicken sauce.

For the baked tofu, you will need:

  • tofu
  • neutral oil
  • corn starch (or arrowroot powder)
  • sea salt
  • garlic powder
  • pepper

For the vegan butter chicken sauce, you will need:

  • coconut milk
  • onion
  • garlic
  • neutral oil
  • maple syrup
  • diced tomatoes
  • ginger
  • garam masala
  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • cayenne pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • curry powder

As you can see, this recipe is made primarily of pantry staples, like canned coconut milk, diced tomatoes and of course –  lots of Indian spice! Certainly, a well stocked spice rack will be helpful for creating this recipe.

Tips for this recipes

Now, I can promise you that this recipe is very straight forward and easy to make. First, it begins  by baking tofu in the oven until crispy and golden. Next, we add the tofu to a spiced tomato-based sauce and simmer until smooth and creamy.

All-in-all, its a pretty straight forward recipe. But let me share a few tips for ensuring you make this vegan butter chicken recipe effortlessly.

How to bake tofu

Now, there are a couple things to keep in mind when baking tofu:

  1. Use extra-firm tofu for baking
  2. Press your tofu first

Extra firm tofu

If you’re new to cooking tofu, it’s important to know that tofu comes in various consistency. From smooth silken tofu (great for sauces, creams and desserts), to firm and extra-firm. Each variety can be used for different methods of cooking. Check out this article for all the full guide on tofu varieties, and how to use them.

Now, for baking tofu – I like to use the “extra firm” tofu.  This is because extra firm tofu holds its shape better, and will cook into delicious and crunchy golden cubes.

So, when searching for tofu for baking, make sure you pick the package that reads “extra firm” on the label.

Pressing your tofu

So, what does it mean to “press your tofu?” It means to press out all the water content before cubing and seasoning. Which will result in a crispier, more golden baked tofu.

Contrary to belief, you do not need any fancy gadgets to press your tofu. Yes, there are many tofu pressers on the market from best to budget picks if you’re interested in buying a tofu press.

But in fact, my preferred method is to wrap the tofu in a clean dish towel, and set a few heavy books on top. Lean the books against your countertop backsplash for support and leave for 10 minutes. This presses out the excess water so you have a drier tofu to work with. Which in turn will result in a crispier, more golden tofu when baked.

Vegan butter chicken sauce

Now, for the vegan butter chicken sauce. This is a simple sauce made by simmering onions and canned tomato with Indian spice and coconut milk. We’ve added spices like garam masala, curry powder, cumin and fresh ginger. All-all-all it’s full of flavour, yet still mildly spiced as a butter chicken recipe should be.

Simmer with your baked tofu until thick and smooth. Serve on rice with cilantro to garnish, or with naan bread.

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So there we have it! A very easy recipe for vegan butter chicken, made with tofu and a simple vegan butter chicken sauce. No doubt, this recipe is comforting, creamy and smooth, buttery, full of flavour and mildly spiced. It was a big hit in our home and I’m sure it will be in yours too!

And, if you do make this recipe please let me know in the comments below what you think! I love hearing from you. And of course, tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #twospoons. Nothing makes me happier than to see your recreations.


Vegan Butter Chicken

This vegan butter chicken recipe is made with tofu and a curried tomato-based sauce. It's smooth and creamy, comforting and so easy to make. Enjoy scooped over rice, or serve with naan bread.
Vegan Butter Chicken
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Serves 4 people


For the tofu:

  • 16 oz extra-firm tofu (450g)
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil avocado oil or coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 tbsp corn starch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt finely ground
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil avocado oil or coconut oil
  • 1 can diced tomatoes 28 fl oz/795 ml
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 can coconut milk (14 fl oz/400 ml)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper flakes
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup

Serve with:

  • cooked rice or naan bread
  • fresh coriander (cilantro) chopped, to sprinkle


  • Preheat oven to 400F/200C. Drain extra firm tofu and rinse well. Press tofu by wrapping in a clean tea towel and placing a few heavy books on top. Use your backsplash to secure books in place. Press for 10 minutes. Then unwrap tofu and cut into bite-sized cubes.
  • In a mixing bowl combine tofu, oil, corn starch, sea salt, garlic powder and pepper. Toss gently to combine. Line a baking tray with parchment and transfer tofu cubes onto tray spreading out so there aren't any clumps. Bake for 20-25 mins, or until golden and crispy.
  • Meanwhile add diced onions, garlic and neutral oil to a deep skillet. Bring to medium heat and cook until onion turns transluscent (about 10 mins).
  • Pour diced tomatoes, tomato paste and freshly grated ginger. Then season with garam masala, chili powder, curry powder, cumin, and sea salt. Add coconut milk and baked tofu and bring to a low simmer. Finally, add cayenne pepper flakes for heat, and maple syrup for sweetness.
  • Scoop vegan butter chicken over cooked rice, or serve with naan bread. Sprinkle with fresh coriander.


Meal-prep: Recipe will keep in fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy throughout the week. Reheat on stovetop, or in microwave. 
Recipe can also be frozen in a freezer-safe container for up to one month.
Nutrition information is a rough estimate. Based on 1 serving of vegan butter chicken (without rice/naan bread)



Calories: 421kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Sodium: 1301mg | Potassium: 698mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 423IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 105mg | Iron: 6mg

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  1. Amazing! Doubled it and the tofu – and added a can of chickpeas. Made it 2 days in advance for a potluck – kept beautifully and there wasn’t any left! Making it again today…

    • Oh this makes me so incredibly happy Janelle! I am thrilled that you enjoyed the recipe so much, and that it was such a success at your potluck. Adding chickpeas sounds like a fab idea! Must try that next time. Thanks for the sweet comment. 🙂

  2. This recipe is super quick and easy to make and it doesn’t require any ingredients I didn’t already have in my pantry. My husband is really particular about Indian food and said this was the best curry I ever made (even thought that it was a restaurant that published their recipe!)
    I will definitely make this again. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    • Hi Bojana! Wow what a compliment! I am so flattered that you and your husband loved this recipe so much. Your comment made my day. Thanks so much for sharing. 🙂

  3. I just tried making this dish and it came out really tasty! I omitted the maple syrup because I figured tomatoes & coconut milk were already sweet. Next time I would omit the cayenne pepper flakes because the dish was quite hot & spicy! I also wouldn’t add baked tofu to sauce in step 4. It went from nice and crispy to soft again. I would just spoon it on top when serving.

    In step 4 it doesn’t say how long to simmer?

    • Hi Donna! Thanks so much for your note. I love that you’ve taken initiative to make the dish your own by omitting the maple syrup and next time the cayenne pepper (this curry definitely has kick to it!). Of course, if you prefer the tofu to stay crispy you can add it at the end, instead of having the tofu simmer like traditional butter chicken.

      As for step 4, since the tofu is already cooked and ready – we are just simmering to blend the flavours together to combine (about 2-5 mins), but you can keep the curry on a low simmer until you’re ready to serve. I kept mine on for about 25 minutes, until my husband got home from work. I hope that helps to clarify, and thanks again for the comment. 🙂

  4. I highly recommend!! This recipe is for sure one of me and my husbands favourites!! It’s so easy and SO yummy! We were actually surprised at how much the tofu reminded us of chicken, but the tofu is way better! The spices in this dish are delicious! This recipe exceeded my expectations!

    • Thanks so much for the sweet review Krystal!! I’m thrilled you enjoyed this recipe. I love those tofu “chicken” cubes too. The baked tofu really reminds me of chicken nuggets for kids! haha. I’m thrilled you liked the recipe as much as we do. 🙂