This gluten-free and vegan butter chicken is made with tofu instead of chicken and wonderfully rich cashew cream instead of dairy. Serve over rice for a hearty, filling and flavourful plant-based meal. 

Vegan butter chicken with tofu on top of white rice on a plate.

Ingredient Notes

The ingredient might seem a bit long but most of it is spices so don’t be intimidated! Let’s go over a few notes about the ingredients:

  1. Raw cashews. You’ll need plain, raw cashews to make the cream base for this recipe. Raw cashews are light beige in colour and have no other added ingredients like oil or salt.
  2. Spices and herbs. You’ll need onion, garlic, ginger, chili powder, turmeric, coriander, cumin and cinnamon. 1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  3. Diced tomatoes. You’ll need 1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes and you’ll be adding the entire can right into the recipe. Choose organic and no salt added tomatoes if you can!
  4. Tofu. Firm or extra-firm tofu is best for this recipe. For best results you can press it before hand but it’s not totally necessary.
Cubed tofu on a small white plate.

How to Make this Recipe

This recipe is super easy to make. You’ll need just 30 minutes to make it and served over jasmine rice it makes a wonderfully flavourful and nutritious meal.

To make it, first you’ll need to blend up some raw cashews and almond milk or water to make cashew cream. You can find full details on how to make cashew cream here.

Next, saute the onions, garlic and ginger then add the spices and cook for a few more minutes. Finally, stir in the diced tomatoes, sweetener, tofu and cashew cream. Simmer until heated through and enjoy!

Onions, garlic and ginger in a skillet.
Diced tomatoes in vegan butter chicken in a white skillet on the stovetop.
Spices being added to sauteed onions, garlic and ginger in a skillet.
Cashew cream being poured from a blender into tofu butter chicken in a skillet on the stovetop.
Thick and creamy butter tofu in a skillet on the stovetop.
Vegan butter chicken with tofu on top of white rice on a plate with a skillet of butter chicken in the background.

Vegan Butter Chicken Recipe

This dish is rich and creamy, high in protein and packed with nutrition. The creaminess comes from blending raw cashews with almond milk, my typical go-to for replacing heavy cream in recipes.

This recipe is one of my favourites, the flavour is unreal and it takes less than 30 minutes to make! I hope you enjoy it.

More Vegan Curries and Stews

Here are some more delicious recipes you’ll love:

Watch the video below for how to make this recipe:

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Vegan butter chicken with tofu on top of white rice on a plate.

Easy Vegan Butter Chicken

  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 15 mins
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop, Blender
  • Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free, Indian

Incredible, vegan “butter chicken style” tofu ready in less than 30 minutes. This is so easy to make for a quick weeknight dinner!


Scale

Ingredients


Instructions

  1. Press your tofu for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Place the raw cashews and almond milk in a high speed blender and mix until completely smooth. Set aside.
  3. In a large pan, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.
  4. Add the ginger, garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes while stirring.
  5. Add all the spices and cook for a few more minutes.
  6. Add the diced tomatoes, maple syrup, cubed tofu and cashew mixture. Mix well and simmer for 10 minutes.
  7. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
  8. Serve with rice and fresh cilantro.

Notes

  • It’s not 100% necessary to press your tofu if you’re in a pinch. However, I would recommend it if you have time. Simply fold a dish cloth around the block of tofu and set a few heavy books or plates on top of it. Let it sit for about 20-30 minutes. This presses all the water out so it’s able to soak up all the yummy Indian flavours!

Keywords: butter tofu, easy, healthy, low-carb

This recipe as originally published January 19, 2015. It was updated December 2019 with new photos and text.