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Chicken Korma ~ Instant Pot

Creamy, mild, and simply divine, Instant Pot chicken korma is a perfect weeknight meal. Sauced with yogurt and thickened with ground cashews, it is healthy too!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Chicken, Dairy-free, Entertaining, Freezer Friendly, Gluten-free, Instant Pot, Lamb, Low Carb, Make ahead, Mughal, Non-vegetarian, North Indian, Quick, Slow Cooker, Vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 4 minutes
Pressurizing & Natural Release 29 minutes
Total Time 39 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 606kcal


Soak the Cashews

  • 1/2 cup cashews ~ Chopped
  • 1/2 cup water


  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, skinless & boneless ~ Or breasts
  • 1 cup plain full-fat yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea or table salt ~ Substitutions
  • 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste ~ Buy or make; 1 T each pureed, grated, or very finely minced garlic and ginger
  • 1 teaspoon Kashmiri ground red chili ~ Or substitutions


  • 2 tablespoond ghee ~ Or oil of your choice
  • 1 cup onion ~ Finely chopped
  • 3/4 teaspoon sea or table salt
  • 3/4 teaspon ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika ~ Optional
  • 1/4 cups golden raisins (sultanas) ~ Optional
  • 1/2 cup water

Bloom Saffron

  • 2 tablespoons half and half ~ Or milk
  • 1 teaspoon saffron threads ~ Optional, see Notes below
  • 1 teaspoon rose water

Optional Garnishes

  • 2 tablespoons cashews ~ Or flaked almonds, toasted in ghee or oil, if possible
  • 1 tablespoon golden raisins (sultanas) ~ Toasted in ghee or oil, if possible
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro ~ Chopped


Getting Started

  • Gather your marinade ingredients and soak the chopped cashews in water.
    Chicken Korma ~ Instant Pot - Marinade ingredients gathered.
  • In a bowl large enough to hold the chicken mix together all the marinade ingredients except the chicken. Cut the chicken thighs into quarters or chicken breast into thirds. Add the chicken to the marinade and set aside until ready to cook.
  • Gather the masala ingredients and mix together in a medium bowl.
    Chicken Korma ~ Instant Pot - Masala ingredients gathered and ready to mix and mingle.
  • Blend the cashews and water together into a smooth paste in a personal blender, or blender with a small jar. If you don’t have the equipment to blend a small amount, using a spice grinder, grind the cashews into a fine powder, and then mix with 1/2 cup of water. Add the ground cashews and water to the masala mixture.

Cook in the Instant Pot

  • Top the masala with the marinated chicken and press the meat into the sauce.
    Chicken Korma ~ Instant Pot - Chicken bathed in the masala and showered with golden raisins, ready for its trial by fire.
  • Cover the pressure cooker, turn the pressure valve to closed, and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.

Cook in the Slow Cooker

  • Using 1/4 of water instead of 1/2 a cup, mix all the masala ingredients and the marinaded chicken together and add to the slow cooker. Cook the chicken on high for 3 to 5 hours, or on low for 6 to 7 hours, or until the meat is cooked through. How long it will take depends on the size of the chicken pieces and your slow cooker, but start checking at the 3-hour mark (high setting) or 6 hours (low setting). You are looking for an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C).

Final Steps

  • While the chicken is cooking, if using saffron, warm 2 tablespoons of half and half or milk, and add the saffron and rose water. Set aside.
    Chicken Korma ~ Instant Pot - Safron soaking in warmed half and half.
  • When the korma is finished the 10 minutes of natural pressure release, if the sauce is not thick enough, allow the curry to rest on warm for 10 minutes. Or turn on the sauté function and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. I have found that cooking korma in the slow cooker results in a perfect rich and creamy sauce.
  • Stir in the half and half, rose water, and saffron or turmeric (if using). Even if you are not using either the saffron or turmeric, be sure and add the 2 tablespoons of half and half and the rose water. Allow the masala to rest on warm for another 5 minutes to allow all the flavors to come together.
    Chicken Korma ~ Instant Pot - Korma finished and resting for a minutes in the Instant Pot.
  • Taste for salt, lemon juice, and enough heat. Add more Kashmiri red chili powder or black pepper to your taste if needed. Garnish as you wish with cashews, almonds, sultanas, and/or cilantro and served with fluffy basmati rice.
    Chicken Korma ~ Instant Pot -- Cooked and dished out in a dark yellow ceramic bowl garnished with mint and served with fluffy basmati rice.


  • Optional saffron substitute: If you are not using saffron, mix 1/8 tsp turmeric with the half and half, and rosewater. The turmeric is not a great substitute for saffron but will add some nice color. Or leave out the turmeric as well, but add the half and half, and rose water as a final step.
  • Swap out the chicken for cubed lamb or beef and cook on high pressure for 20 minutes, then allow 10 minutes to naturally release the pressure. If using the slow cooker, cook on low for 7 to 8 hours, or on high for 4 to 5 hours, or until the meat is tender.
  • Go vegetarian: Skip the marination step but add all the marinade ingredients to the masala mixture (except the chicken, of course) but reduce the yogurt amount to 1/2 cup. Follow the rest of the recipe but use 4 cups of your favorite vegetables (green beans, carrots, potato, cauliflower, peas). Stir the vegetables into the masala in the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 3 minutes, then quickly release the pressure. Frozen vegetables work well. If the sauce is not thick enough, allow it to rest for 10 minutes, or cook on the sauté function for 3 to 5 minutes.
  • To make this recipe dairy-free use plain coconut yogurt instead of the yogurt and coconut milk (or milk of your choice) instead of half and half..
  • If you would like a stovetop recipe, see my Indian chicken korma (shahi).


Calories: 606kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 179mg | Sodium: 1045mg | Potassium: 757mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 343IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 117mg | Iron: 3mg