Butter Tofu (Vegan Butter Chicken) Easy Instant Pot Recipe

This Instant Pot butter chicken is full of healthy veggies like bell peppers, carrots, and onion. It uses tofu instead of chicken so it’s suitable for a vegan & vegetarian diet. Using the Instant Pot makes cooking it quick & easy!

I created this vegan curry recipe for a vegan butter chicken in the Instant Pot by total accident. I had too many bell peppers in my kitchen and needed to find some way to use them up. So I chopped and added red and green bell peppers, onions, carrot, a little tomato paste, and some curry powder… the end result just tasted so much like how butter chicken tastes so I decided to call it that.

This recipe is scandalously easy – you’ll be amazed! I used some special equipments that make it easy, such as the Instant Pot and also an immersion blender.

close up image of vegan instant pot curry - pieces of tofu on a spoon with butter chicken sauce and some rice.
Doesn’t this vegan butter chicken look tasty?

How To Make Vegan Instant Pot Butter Chicken

First, there is a little bit of chopping to do. Just a little! You’ll need to chop the carrots, bell peppers, and onion.

They go in the instant pot along with the tomato paste, curry powder, water, and the block of tofu. The tofu sits on top of all the other ingredients so it doesn’t burn. As the Instant Pot gains pressure, it will squeeze out some of the water in the tofu, changing the pressure a bit. When the pressure comes down again, it will absorb the flavors of the veggies. So no manual pressing, waiting for it to drain, or using up paper towels. Just let the IP do it’s magic in making your vegan butter chicken!

Step 1 – Add the ingredients to the Instant Pot

Adding all the ingredients to the Instant Pot: bell pepper, tofu, tomato paste, water and curry powder.
Adding all the ingredients to the Instant Pot.

Step 2 – After cooking, remove tofu and some veggies

Cooked vegetables inside the instant pot.
After the Instant Pot has pressure cooked everything, remove the lid and take out the tofu carefully. I also remove about a third of the veggies using a slotted spoon.

Step 3 – Add coconut milk and blend the sauce

Blending the cooked veggies and coconut milk using an immersion blender.
Then add in the coconut milk and use the immersion blender until it’s smooth.

Step 4 – Add the veggies back in & cut tofu

The finished sauce for the Instant Pot curry.
Add the rest of the veggies that you removed back in, chop the tofu and add it in, and you’re done!

Step 5 – Add tofu back in and serve with rice

The finished vegan butter chicken with rice, being scooped up on a spoon.

red bell peppers

Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C and vitamin A and have antioxidant properties (read about why antioxidants are thought to be good for you). Red bell peppers have 2x more vitamin C and 8x more vitamin A than green peppers.

Red peppers also tend to be more expensive than green peppers at the grocery store, which makes sense since they require more time and resources to cultivate.

Some quick tips on saving money on bell peppers

  • Check your grocery store’s discount produce section often! I’m always finding bell peppers for 70% off at my local store.
  • Shop at Aldi or Lidl. I use Aldi to do my weekly stock-ups. My sister swears by Lidl. If you don’t have these stores in your area check out an ethnic grocery store because they may have better prices than the big chains.
  • Grow your own! My dad has been growing tons of peppers all summer. He says they like a lot of sun, they need well-draining soil, and to protect them with netting if you live in an area with deer.

Other Vegan Instant Pot Curry Recipes

I have some more Instant Pot curry recipes you may like:

Vegan Instant Pot Chickpea Curry with Sweet Potatoes

A plate of instant pot butter chicken made vegan with tofu and accompanied with rice and garnished with cilantro.

Vegan Instant Pot Butter Chicken

This is the BEST vegan version of Instant Pot Butter Chicken – using whole food ingredients like bell peppers, carrots, and onions. It's got a mild creamy flavor with the addition of canned coconut milk.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 8 servings
Calories 147 kcal

Equipment

  • Pressure cooker
  • Immersion blender

Ingredients

  • 1 16oz block firm tofu
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 4 carrots
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1.5 cups canned coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder

Instructions

  • Chop up all of the peppers, onion, and carrots, and add them to the Instant Pot. Add in the tomato paste, water, and curry powder. Drain the tofu and place it on top of the veggies.
  • Close and seal the lid of the Instant Pot and cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. Do a quick release when done.
  • Carefully remove the tofu and a third of the veggies. Chop up the tofu into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add the canned coconut milk into the Instant Pot and use an immersion blender to blend until it's smooth. Then add in the chopped tofu and the reserved veggies. Enjoy with rice, naan, and a garnish of chopped cilantro (coriander leaves) if desired. Keeps in the fridge up to 3 days.

Notes

  • You can use whatever colors of peppers you want, or whatever you have on hand. If you don’t use any red peppers the end result may not be as orange/reddish as in my photos but it will still taste good!
  • It’s important to use a good quality canned coconut milk. Cheaper cans will just make the runnier without adding richness.
  • For a vegetarian version of Instant Pot butter chicken, use paneer instead of tofu. Just add it at the end, don’t cook it with the veggies.
Course: Main Course, Vegan Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: American, Indian

Nutrition

Calories: 147kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Sodium: 78mg | Potassium: 417mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 6181IU | Vitamin C: 56mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
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