Vegan Butter Chicken

This vegan butter chicken is decadent and flavorful! Super easy to make and tastes just like the real deal.

Wooden Table Set with Skillet, Water Glass, and Plate of Vegan Butter Chicken

Well, I’ve found my new favorite comfort food: this vegan butter chicken.

Holy moly, guys. When I set out to create this recipe I was sure it would be good, but it blew away all of my expectations. It was so rich, so decadent. I’ll confess that I’ve never had regular old butter chicken, but I can’t imagine it being better than my vegan version.

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What You’ll Need

Vegan Butter Chicken in a Skillet with Wooden Spoon
  • Raw cashews. It’s really important that you use raw cashews — not roasted, which will result it a totally wrong flavor. You’ll also need to soak them in water for a few hours before you start cooking.
  • Vegetable broth. I like Better Than Bouillon in Roasted Vegetable flavor.
  • Vegan butter. Look for brands like Earth Balance or Miyoko’s.
  • Onion.
  • Seitan. You can use homemade seitan or store-bought. If you’re using store-bought, try to find diced or cubed seitan. I like WestSoy’s cubed seitan for this recipe. If you’re not a fan of seitan, you could try Butler Soy Curls or tofu (pan-fried according to this method) instead.
  • Garlic.
  • Ginger.
  • Spices. We’re using garam masala, cumin, and paprika.
  • Fire roasted tomatoes. Regular canned diced tomatoes will work if you can’t find these.
  • Tomato paste.
  • Salt & pepper.
  • Fresh cilantro.
  • Basmati rice. For serving.

How to Make Vegan Butter Chicken

The following is a detailed photo tutorial on how to make this dish. Scroll all the way to the bottom if you’d prefer to skip right to the recipe!

  • Place your soaked cashews into a blender or food processor, along with some vegetable broth.
  • Blend everything until it’s nice and smooth. Be patient — this can take a few minutes, especially if you don’t have a high-powered blending device.
Two Images Showing Cashew Cream Ingredients in a Blender Before and After Blending
  • Melt some vegan butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook it for a few minutes, until it begins to soften up.
  • Now add some cubed seitan. Just add the seitan and not the liquid it’s packed in. Sauté the seitan with the onion for a few minutes, until it begins to brown.
  • Now stir in the garlic, ginger, and spices. Cook everything for about a minute, until the mixture becomes very fragrant. Be sure to stir the mixture frequently during this time to prevent burning.
  • Now stir in some broth, fire roasted tomatoes, and tomato paste. Bring the mixture to a simmer and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
Collage Showing Steps for Making Vegan Butter Chicken: Sweat Onions, Brown Seitan, Add Aromatics, and Add Broth and Tomatoes
  • Now stir in that cashew cream that you blended up earlier.
  • Bring the mixture back up to a simmer, and take the skillet off of the burner.
Collage Showing Last Two Steps for Making Vegan Butter Chicken: Add Cashew Cream and Simmer
  • Season your vegan butter chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Top it with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
  • Spoon it over basmati rice. I like to scoop it up with vegan naan!
Close Up of Vegan Butter Chicken on a Plate with Rice

Shelf-Life & Storage

This dish will keep in a sealed container in the fridge for about 3 days, or in the freezer for about 3 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can this recipe be made gluten-free?

Probably! Butler Soy Curls have a very similar texture to seitan, and they’re gluten-free. To substitute them in this recipe just soak them in vegetable broth for a few minutes, then drain chop them up roughly, and add them to the recipe just like you would seitan.

Is this dish spicy?

Yes, in that it has a lot of flavor from spices, but it’s not very hot. If you’d like a little heat, add some cayenne pepper to yours.

Is there a substitute for cashews?

Macadamia nuts or raw sunflower seeds often work, but I haven’t tested the recipe with either, so no promises. If you’re up for some experimentation, you could also play around will full-fat coconut milk to create the sauce. Check out my vegan korma recipe for some guidance.

More Vegan Indian Recipes

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Wooden Table Set with Skillet, Water Glass, and Plate of Vegan Butter Chicken

Print

Vegan Butter Chicken

This vegan butter chicken is decadent and flavorful! Super easy to make and tastes just like the real deal.
Course Entree
Cuisine American, Indian
Keyword vegan curry, vegan Indian recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Soak Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 400kcal
Author Alissa Saenz

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water 4 to 8 hours, drained and rinsed
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 16 ounces seitan* (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 (14 ounce or 400 gram) can fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Cooked basmati rice**, for serving

Instructions

  • Place the cashews and ¾ cup of broth into a blender or food processor fitted with an s-blade. Blend to a smooth paste.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the onion. Sweat the onion for about 5 minutes, until soft and translucent.
  • Add the seitan to the skillet. Cook the seitan with the onion, stirring frequently, until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the garlic, ginger, garam masala, cumin, and paprika. Stir to coat the seitan with the spices and continue cooking everything for about 1 minute, until very fragrant.
  • Stir in the remaining ¾ cup of broth, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste.
  • Raise the heat and bring the liquid to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer everything for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Stir in the cashew mixture. Continue cooking everything until the sauce comes back up to a simmer.
  • Remove the skillet from heat and season the curry with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
  • Serve with basmati rice.

Notes

*If you use my homemade seitan, you’ll need about 1 ½ batches.

**Nutrition information does not include rice.

Nutrition

Calories: 400kcal | Carbohydrates: 23.2g | Protein: 29.8g | Fat: 22.9g | Saturated Fat: 4.9g | Sodium: 756mg | Potassium: 476mg | Fiber: 4.1g | Sugar: 6.2g | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 4mg

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