Warming spices, rich cream, ghee, aromatics and tofu make this vegetarian butter chicken recipe simply irresistible! Toss those take-out menus and make your very own tofu butter chicken at home!
If you’re looking for a homemade butter chicken recipe, you’ve come to the right place!
This vegetarian butter chicken has the flavours of a traditional butter chicken recipe but is meatless.
Instead of chicken, you’ll find tofu. There are still all the regular players you’d expect to find, like garam masala, cream and butter.
This recipe is seriously good and a great way to enjoy more meatless meals.
Serve with rice to soak up all that flavourful sauce and you won’t be disappointed.
Also (what I love to do when I make this) is throw on my comfiest clothes, pin my hair up, glasses on, big blanket, wine and turn on whatever show we’re binging on at the moment. It seriously makes for the best kinda evening. Who needs take-out anyway?
Why We Love Vegetarian Butter Chicken
- It’s made in about 30 minutes
- Easy to prepare
- It’s vegetarian and gluten free
- Of course, it tastes delicious!
How to Make Butter Tofu
Full details on how to make this butter tofu are in the recipe card below, but here are the basics:
- In a pan, cook some onion in a little oil.
- Add garlic and ginger and cook for just a little.
- Stir in tomato paste.
- Pour in tomato puree, cream, seasonings and sugar (if using).
- Stir to combine and cook for a little.
- Allow the butter chicken sauce to cool slightly. Then, transfer the sauce to a blender, cover and blend until smooth.
- Pour the sauce back into the pot, along with the tofu. Cover and heat through.
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Do I Have to Press the Tofu?
Nope! Use firm or extra firm tofu in this recipe. We’re not frying or baking it or anything, so there’s no need to press any moisture out.
If you’re using softer tofu (or really want to press your tofu), you can do so for about 20 minutes or so.
Pressing tofu just means squeezing some of the moisture out of it. You can use a tofu press (meant specifically for that function) or wrap your tofu in paper towel and place something heavy on it, like a skillet. That’s what I did in this crispy tofu recipe.
Do I Have to Use Tofu?
Not at all!
If you’d rather use something else instead of tofu, paneer is a great option.
More Recipe Tips
I didn’t add any cayenne pepper to this vegetarian butter chicken recipe as butter chicken is not overly spicy. However, if you’d like a little spice (perhaps with some fresh chili pepper or crushed red pepper flakes), feel free to add some.
Though not traditional, if you want to add a pop of colour (and some veggie factor) to this dish, feel free to mix in & warm through some frozen peas or baby spinach.
Ghee was used as the butter component of this tofu butter recipe. Ghee is basically clarified butter. That just means that the milk solids are removed. You know how when you heat butter, there’s a foamy milk layer that floats to that top? That! Those are milk solids and they are removed. You can use regular butter here, though, if that’s what you have on hand.
Butter chicken (or butter tofu) goes great with rice and naan. Quinoa or cauliflower rice would also be yummy sides to soak up all that butter chicken sauce!
More Easy Curry Recipes
Hope you love this vegetarian butter chicken recipe as much as we do!
If you try this tofu butter chicken, please leave a comment below. Love to hear how you enjoyed the recipe!
Vegetarian Butter Chicken Recipe (with tofu)
Butter Chicken Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 yellow onion , peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 cups tomato puree
- 1 cup heavy cream (also known as 'whipping cream', 35% milk fat)
- 2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter or use regular butter)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar , or to taste, depending on your tomato puree or how sweet you want to balance the tomato flavour (optional)
- 14 ounces extra firm or firm tofu , cut into small squares, about the size of some dice (a little more than ¾ of a pound or about 400 grams)
- Freshly chopped cilantro (coriander) (garnish, optional)
- Fresh lime wedges (for serving with, optional)
- Rice (for serving with, optional)
- Heat oil in a 12-inch pan (about 2.5 to 3 inches deep) over medium heat.
- Add onion and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Add garlic and ginger, stir, and cook 1 minute.
- Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
- Pour in tomato puree, cream, garam masala, cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, turmeric, ghee and brown sugar (if using). Heat through about 5 minutes or so until the flavours come together and the sauce thickens a little.
- Allow to cool slightly. Then, transfer the sauce to a blender, cover and blend until smooth. You can loosely cover the vent in your blender lid with a clean tea towel to allow steam to escape.
- Pour butter chicken sauce back into pan and add tofu.
- Bring to a gentle simmer, cover and cook 10 to 12 minutes.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve with rice and lime wedges (if desired). Yields 4 large servings or 6 smaller servings. Enjoy!
Nutrition (ESTIMATE ONLY)
Nutrition estimate (if provided) is based on 1 Serving.
Nutrition information (if provided) is provided as a courtesy and should be considered an estimate only. Ingredients can vary and Girl Heart Food makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
A note on times provided: appliances vary, any prep and/or cook times provided are guidelines only.