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Close up of bowl with vegan butter chicken curry
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5 from 9 votes

Vegan Butter Chicken

The vegan butter chicken recipe is as simple as tofu simmered in rich tomato onion sauce. The detail lies in getting the right mix of spice combinations and the cooking method. 
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Diet: Vegan
Allergen: Dairy free, Soy free
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 4
Calories: 207kcal



To bake

  • 1- 16 oz firm tofu
  • 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For gravy

  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ginger minced
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste or 1 ½ teaspoon pink salt
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 ½ cup dairy free milk
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves


  • To begin with, you would have to bake or fry the tofu. Frying can be using the deep-frying way or the simpler way of pan-frying.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Press the tofu for 20-30 minutes, if needed to squeeze out the water.
    1- 16 oz firm tofu
  • Slice them as I have shown below. After that, rip each slice into smaller (not too small, though) chunks. Just tear them gently with hand pressure.
  • Next, place the torn tofu pieces in a bowl with olive oil, cornstarch, red chili powder, and salt. Toss them gently to coat the pieces evenly. Arrange them on the prepared baking sheet.
    1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ¼ teaspoon red chili powder
  • Leave room between the nuggets to make sure they are not touching each other. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the pieces are golden brown and crispy. After about 15 minutes of baking, flip the tofu chunks to get them to cook evenly. While the tofu is baking, it's time for us to prepare the creamy vegan curry or sauce.

Curry method

  • Place a pan over medium heat, and add few teaspoons of cooking oil. When the oil heats up, add cumin seeds and saute until they start to sizzle.
    2 teaspoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • Add chopped garlic and grated ginger and saute until the raw smell of garlic disappears.
    1 teaspoon ginger minced, 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • Add Chopped onions and saute until they turn translucent. Continue to saute as you add all the spice powders. Add salt, tomato paste and 2 tablespoons of water and saute on low heat for about 30 seconds to a minute.
    1 large onion, 1 teaspoon coriander powder, ½ teaspoon cumin powder, 1 teaspoon kashmiri red chili powder, ¼ teaspoon cayenne, ½ teaspoon garam masala, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, 2 tablespoon tomato paste, Salt to taste
  • Add the plant-based milk of your choice (I used almond milk) and cornstarch mix (1 teaspoon Cornstarch mixed well in ½ cup of water). Give it a nice stir and add salt.
    1 ½ cup dairy free milk, ½ cup water, 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • When it starts to boil, add the baked tofu and stir gently. Add Kasuri methi and let the vegan butter chicken curry cook on low heat for 2 minutes to allow all the tofu to soak in the flavors.
    2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves
  • That's it! Switch off the heat and garnish with cilantro.


  • You could also use soy curls instead of tofu. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time based on the size of the soy curls.
  • Use chickpeas if you want to avoid soy products. Canned or cooked chickpeas instead of tofu are a great alternative and also pack a solid serving of protein. 
  • If you prefer richer and creamier curry, use ¼ cup soaked cashews and blend with 1 cup of water and add it to the curry.
  • Use 1 ½ cup full-fat coconut milk for a creamy texture if you desire. Or any plant-based milk will just work fine.
  • I used 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and mixed it with ½ cup of water to get the thicker consistency. This is an optional step if you prefer a thicker consistency.


Calories: 207kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 117mg | Potassium: 229mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 565IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 287mg | Iron: 3mg