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Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Instant pot butter chicken will be a welcome change from your usual weeknight chicken dinner. Plop the ingredients into your Instant Pot, and turn it on and put your feet up with a cup of tea or cocktail.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword Chicken, Curry, Dairy-free, Entertaining, Freezer Friendly, Gluten-free, Instant Pot, Low Carb, Make ahead, North Indian, Punjabi, Tofu, Vegan, Vegetarian, Weeknight
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Resting time 10 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 318kcal


Instant Pot Butter Chicken Sauce

  • 14.5 ounce can tomato purée
  • 5 teaspoons garlic ~ Finely minced or grated
  • 1 teaspoon ginger ~ Finely minced or grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kashmiri ground red chili ~ Or 1/4 teaspoon cayenne; substitutions
  • 1 teaspoon paprika ~ Preferrably smoked
  • 1 teaspoon sea or table salt ~ Substitutions
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala ~ Buy or make
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1.5 pound skinless, boneless chicken thighs ~ Cut in quarters; see Notes below about substitutions

To Finish the Masala

  • 2 to 4 tablespoons butter ~ Cubed; coconut oil, or oil of your choice
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or coconut milk ~ More to your taste, Ms. Pitre calls for 1/2 cup
  • 1/2 teaspoon garam masala ~ Optional, to your taste; buy or make
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) ~ Optional, crushed
  • 1/4 cup cilantro ~ Coarsely chopped


Cooking in the Instant Pot


    • Gather all your ingredients.
      Instant Pot Butter Chicken Gather your ingredients.
    • Place your sauce ingredients into an Instant Pot in the order listed in the recipe above, up to the chicken. Mix the sauce well then add the chicken on top.
      Easy Instant Pot Butter Chicken Ground spices added to the tomatoes to begin cooking.
    • Close the cooker and set the pressure valve for 10 mins on high pressure, and let it release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Release all the remaining pressure.
    • Wait 10 minutes before finishing the masala, or your sauce will be too thin. Remove the chicken.
      Instant Pot Butter Chicken The chicken and masala finished cooking in the Instant Pot.

    Finishing the Masala

    • Gather your final sauce ingredients.
      Instant Pot Butter Chicken Butter, methi, cilantro and garam masala ready to finish the sauce.
    • Mix together the butter, cream, more optional garam masala, dried fenugreek leaves (if using), and the cilantro and add to the Instant Pot. Stir well. If the sauce is thinner than you want, place in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes, and the sauce will thicken up. You are looking for it to coat the back of a spoon.
      Instant Pot Butter Chicken Finishing the dish with the final dollop of cream.
    • Add the chicken back into the masala and heat through. Taste for seasoning and add more garam masala, to your taste. Garnish with more cilantro if you wish, and serve with your favorite rice or flatbread.
      Instant Pot Butter Chicken Served with plenty of sauce and a side of raita and rice.
    • Keeping: store in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 


    • If you prefer using chicken breasts there are several things you can do to keep them from overcooking: leave the breasts whole and reduce the High-Pressure cook time to 8 minutes. Cut the chicken up before serving.
    • See Ms. Pitre's Q&A for notes, if you have questions, especially: on tomatoes, using white meat, tofu, paneer, or vegetables.
    • If using frozen chicken in your Instant Pot butter chicken, push it into the sauce a bit so that it defrosts properly.
    • If you prefer a vegetarian dish you can sub out the meat with 6 cups of steamed vegetables, adding 1/4 cup of the water used while steaming to the sauce. Add the vegetables into the sauce after pressure cooking.
    • If using tofu or paneer, add 1/4 cup of water to the sauce, pressure cook, and then add a 12-ounce block of firm tofu, or 14 ounces of paneer. Allow the sauce to flavor and heat through the tofu or paneer for 5 to 10 minutes.
    • Instant Pot butter chicken is one of the Top 20 Dishes in India, enjoy!


    Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 192mg | Sodium: 835mg | Potassium: 452mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 704IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 2mg