Go Back
+ servings
Vegan Paneer Butter Masala
Print Recipe
5 from 13 votes

Vegan "Paneer" Butter Masala

Taking the dairy out of this vegan Paneer Butter Masala, a Punjabi classic, does not take away from its mindblowing flavor or its authenticity or its deliciousness. Give this gluten-free recipe a try with roti or naan and you'll be hooked for good.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: gluten-free, Indian Punjabi, Vegan
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 139kcal


  • 2 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped)
  • 4 cloves garlic (crushed into a paste)
  • 1 inch ginger (crushed into a paste. You can do this along with the garlic)
  • 3 medium tomatoes (chopped)
  • ¼ cup raw cashews
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 2 teaspoon paprika (or Kashmiri chili powder)
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoon kasoori methi (dry fenugreek leaves)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 10 oz super firm tofu (cut into ½-inch cubes)
  • 2 tablespoon cilantro (chopped, for garnish)


  • Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan.
  • Add the onions, garlic and ginger and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions turn translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes and the cashews. Cook, covered but stirring frequently, until the tomatoes have reduced to a pulp. Add the coriander powder, turmeric and paprika and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
  • Carefully, taking care not to burn yourself, ladle out the tomato-onion-spice mixture into a blender. Or, if you have an immersion blender, use that. Add a cup of water or preferably vegetable stock and blend into a very, very smooth paste.
  • Pour the sauce back into the saucepan. For an even smoother texture to your sauce, you can strain it. Add the garam masala and stir in.
  • Add the kasoori methi and sugar and stir well. If the sauce looks too thick, you can thin it out with more vegetable stock. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium heat.
  • Add the cubes of tofu, season with salt, bring back to a boil, and continue to cook, covered for another five minutes.
  • Turn off the heat, garnish with cilantro, and serve hot with naan or roti or rice.


  • Blend the sauce for best results. The masala sauce needs to be really creamy -- the creamier the better. Some cooks strain the sauce after blending -- I don't, but I'll leave that to you.
  • Use a vegetable stock rather than water. This is not necessary, but it helps build layers of flavor into your dish.
  • The Paneer Butter Masala sold in restaurants is a deep orange because the cooks add food coloring to make it appear more appetizing. You'll get a really nice, rich orange color with the tomatoes and paprika alone. But your homemade butter masala will likely not be as deep orange as what you'd find in the restaurant.
  • This recipe is a much healthier version of what you'd find at a restaurant, but I do use a couple of tablespoons of vegan butter to give it that authentic flavor and mouth-feel. Use it for best results.


Calories: 139kcal | Carbohydrates: 14g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Potassium: 377mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1542IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1mg