This delicious Butter Tofu dish is what homemade takeout dreams are made of. Tasty and flavorful tomato, coconut cream, and butter based sauce tossed with crispy tofu and served with basmati rice, cilantro, and the best vegan naan ever. Put this one in the dinner rotation right now! So. Damn. Good.

What is Butter Tofu?

Butter Tofu is my vegan spin on the original Butter Chicken which is also called Murgh Makhani. Butter chicken is a tomato, cream, and butter based sauce that originated in India as a curry. Here is an article about the history of Butter Chicken that I found interesting! My version isn’t traditional but it was based off this well loved dish. Instead of chicken, we use tofu. Instead of cream, we are using canned coconut milk. And of course, vegan butter.

How to Serve Butter Tofu:

You MUST and I mean Must serve this Butter Tofu with my recipe for Vegan Cheese Stuffed Naan. That recipe is a star. It’s so complementary to this flavorful saucy tofu dish. I didn’t stuff mine with cheese and regretted it. Even though it’s still good without it. That recipe takes an hour for the dough to rise and then extra time needed to roll out dough and a quick cook on the stove top so plan accordingly but overall it’s a pretty easy recipe and highly recommended.

Basmati Rice is another given. Ya gotta have rice and cilantro for topping. Enjoy!

Main Ingredients:

  • Extra Firm Tofu
  • Garam Masala
  • Coconut Milk
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Cumin
  • Coriander
  • Red Pepper Flakes


  1. Extra Firm Tofu: Vegan Chicken is a good replacement for the tofu. Gardein Chicken Scallopini is a good option. As well as my Chicken-Style Seitan recipe.
  2. Garam Masala: Garam Masala is a spice blend and while it can’t be left out, it can be easily made at home. Here’s a good recipe.
  3. Coconut Milk: Canned coconut milk works best but it can be substituted with cashew cream. Simply boil cashews until soft and then blend them with water. I’d go with 1/2 cup cashews to 3/4 cup of water so it’s not as thick and heavy.

Tips & Tricks:

When crisping up the tofu, don’t over crowd it. If you overcrowd the tofu in the pan, it won’t ever get crispy and the cornstarch breading will get soggy and fall off. My best advice is to crisp the tofu up in batches so they have tons of space.

Sometimes canned coconut milk is a bit chunky. Sometimes this chunky texture goes away once heated but sometimes it doesn’t. This all depends on the quality of your coconut milk. Trader Joes brand as well Whole Foods has always been good quality in my opinion. The one I used here ended up being chunkier than I’d like so I simply blended half of my sauce and it created a great smooth texture. Easy fix!

More Recipes You Might Like:

If You Make This Recipe:

Tag me on Instagram! I’d love to see your delicious re-creations and feature them! As always, I would greatly appreciate if you share your review in the comments below. Don’t forget to add if you made any fun substitutions. Thank you!

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Butter Tofu

  • Author: Liv
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: 4 Servings 1x
  • Category: Mains
  • Diet: Vegan


This delicious Butter Tofu dish is what homemade takeout dreams are made of. Tasty and flavorful tomato, coconut cream, and butter based sauce tossed with crispy tofu and served with basmati rice, cilantro, and the best vegan naan ever. Put this one in the dinner rotation right now! So. Damn. Good. 


Units Scale

Crispy Tofu:

  • 1 Block Extra Firm Tofu
  • 1 tablespoon Cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Onion Powder
  • Pinch of Salt & Black Pepper
  • 12 tablespoons Vegetable Oil, for pan-frying

Butter Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons Vegan Butter, or Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 Large Sweet Onion, minced
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 cup Tomato Sauce
  • 1 can Coconut Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Organic Cane Sugar

For Serving:

  • Basmati Rice
  • Cilantro
  • Vegan Naan, link above


  1. Wrap the tofu in paper towels or a clean dish towel and squeeze out excess water. Cube the tofu and toss in a large bowl with the cornstarch, garlic, onion, salt, and pepper.
  2. Heat a large pan on medium-high heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the tofu in batches to ensure even browning. Toss the tofu until each side is crispy and golden brown. Remove and place on a wire rack until sauce is completed.
  3. In a small dish, measure out the Garam Masala, cumin, coriander, chili powder, ground ginger, turmeric, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
  4. In the same pan on medium-high heat, add the minced onion and vegan butter. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until the onion is soft and is starting to brown. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes or until fragrant.
  5. Add all the spices and seasonings to the onion and garlic mixture and toss to combine and toast. Once fragrant, add the tomato sauce, coconut milk and cane sugar. Whisk to combine. *If the coconut milk brand you have is a bit chunky and doesn’t go away once heated, blend half the sauce to smooth it out. 
  6. Bring the butter sauce to a boil and then reduce to a simmer on low for 20 minutes.
  7. After 20 minutes, toss in the tofu.
  8. Serve with basmati rice, extra cilantro, and naan. Enjoy!


This dish pairs well with my Cheese Stuffed Naan. This recipe requires an hour to let the dough rise so prep ahead.

Keywords: butter tofu, vegan butter chicken, indian inspired butter tofu, vegan butter tofu, vegan dinners, dinner ideas, cheese stuffed naan, naan, Garam Masala

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  2. Bruce Standen says:

    Hello Liv
    Cooked this and the sauce was delicious. It reminded me of the days before premade sauces. Starting a curry sauce from scratch is always going to be awesome. My vegan son asked if it was easy to make as he was wrapped in the taste. Next is to use it with the chicken recipe. The naan bread recipe is always great too. Thank you for another keeper.

    1. Liv says:

      Nothing quite like a delicious curry from scratch. Let me know how it is with the chicken seitan. I’m sure that would be wonderful! Can’t thank you enough for your support and all your kind comments.

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