I love Instant Pot Butter Chicken! The creaminess, the spice, the tender chicken meat. A restaurant favorite and a home cooked favorite! You can make this pressure cooker Butter Chicken recipe at home, in about an hour!
Originally published 9/21/17
Instant Pot Butter Chicken
We have a favorite Indian restaurant that we go to every once in a while. The owner is this very genteel man who greets you as you come in. He makes me feel like a special guest when he greets me. He is thoughtful about where we are seated, and that his staff is prompt with getting us all set up with Chai and water. Their chai is amazing, by the way. Free refills, too!
Paul always orders the Butter Chicken, and I get the Tikka Masala. The owner always gives us a free appetizer, and again, we feel special there! The quality of their food is excellent, and of course it has rave reviews! I even wrote one!
I make a few Indian inspired dishes at home. One of which is my Instant Pot Butter Chicken. I actually have two versions, and this Instant Pot Butter Chicken was born out of my curiosity about how it would cook in a pressure cooker. Spoiler alert: it comes out great!
My recipe is a little divergent from a purely authentic Butter Chicken, but when I was researching the methods and ingredients I learned one important thing; no one makes it the same. Everyone who makes it says theirs is the authentic way to do it. Even my Indian friends I spoke with and watched make it!
Some say it shouldn’t have onions, some say no turmeric, while others say the opposite! Some versions have ground nuts in the sauce, usually cashews (I didn’t want to do that in case someone has a nut allergy. I do sometimes garnish with toasted cashews!).
I think it’s a lot like American Chili. There are so many ways to make it, and you will eventually end up tweaking the recipe to suit your own taste. That’s what is so great about cooking! And making it in the Instant Pot is nice because it’s a one-pot meal. I even cook my basmati rice at the same time, in the same pot!
Here’s how I make Instant Pot Butter Chicken:
You can get fancy and garnish Instant Pot Butter Chicken with toasted cashews and cilantro, if you like a dramatic presentation!
Get your spices out and have some fun making delicious Instant Pot Butter Chicken that is rich and flavorful, and not difficult! Dare I say as good as the Indian restaurant I love? 😉
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Instant Pot Butter Chicken is a rich and super flavorful Indian dish. Make this awesome tasting and easy Butter Chicken in your pressure cooker!
- 1 1/4 tsp Cumin
- 1 1/2 tsp Coriander Seed, ground
- 2 tsp Garam Masala, plus 1 tsp to finish
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp Sweet Paprika
- 3/4 tsp Coarse Salt
- 1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper (more if you like it spicy)
- 1 tsp Fenugreek (optional) (not everyone has this, and if you don't it's okay. It's a traditional Butter Chicken spice)
- 1 Tbsp Neutral Oil (Peanut, Sunflower, Light Olive)
- 6 Tbsp Butter, divided (4 Tbsp, then 2 Tbsp to finish)
- 2 small Bay Leaves
- 1/2 Cinnamon Stick
- 6 Garlic Cloves, pressed or finely minced
- 1 Small Onion, finely minced or chopped fine in a food processor (I use a mini processor and make a paste from them)
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger, grated (or 1 tsp ginger powder)
- 1 Tbsp Lime Juice
- 1 14.5 oz Can of Diced Tomatoes, juice and all
- 1/2 cup Chicken Broth, low sodium
- 1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 2 lbs Chicken Thigh Meat, Cut in 1-2 inch cubes
- 1 tsp Garam Masala
- 2 Tbsp Butter
- 1/2 cup Heavy Cream
- 1 14 oz can Coconut Milk Cream (optional) (just the thick, cream from the can. Save the watery part for another recipe)
- Cilantro Leaves chopped
- Cashews toasted
Combine the dry spices in a bowl and set aside.
Turn on the Sauté setting of your pot. When the display reads Hot, add the oil and 4 Tbsp of the butter.
Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick, garlic, and onion. Stir and let cook for a minute, stirring frequently. Don't let it burn.
Add the fresh ginger, if using. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes.
Add the spices. Stir well to combine.
Add the tomatoes, broth, and lime juice. Stir well.
Add the tomato paste, but don't stir it. You want it in there, but you don't want to risk it burning.
Add the chicken and don't stir too much. Just spread it out.
Turn off the sauté setting.
Place a tall trivet over the chicken and set the pan of rice/water on it. I like to use Jasmine or Basmati rice, with a 1:1 rice/water ratio.
Close the lid. Set the steam release knob to the Sealing position.
Press the Manual (or Pressure Cook) button or dial and then the + or - button or dial to select 8 minutes.
After cook cycle ends, let the pot naturally release the pressure for 8 minutes. Then manually release the remaining steam and open the lid.
Use a slotted spoon to take out the chicken, and set it aside in a bowl covered with foil.
Use an immersion blender to make the sauce really smooth. You could use a blender if you want. Either way, be very careful since the contents are so hot!
Add remaining 1 teaspoon of Garam Masala and the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter. Stir until butter is melted.
Add the heavy cream & coconut milk cream if using, and the chicken, and stir until combined. Taste and adjust salt if necessary.
Serve over rice, or with naan, and garnish with cilantro leaves and toasted cashews (optional).
You can cook the basmati rice at the same time if you wish We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
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1. After adding the chicken, set a long legged trivet in the pot. Set a pan with 1 cup of rinsed basmati rice, and 1 1/2 cups of water or broth (stirred) on the trivet (I use one of my ekovana Stackable Stainless Steel Steamer Insert Pans).
2. That's it! You don't have to cover the pan, and it cooks in the same amount of time as the Butter Chicken! Just take the pan out of the pressure cooker and fluff the rice with a fork. Set it aside while you finish the Butter sauce!
Some of my inspiration for this recipe came from Flo Lum's video - Butter Chicken in the Instant Pot, and also my friends Lakshmi and Meenah, who let me watch them make tasty things!
Resources to make this recipe and more
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Five stars. Great recipe. I love that the rice and chicken are cooked together. Lots of sauce but my 10 year ask just for sauce.
What is this trivet i see in several of your recipes? I use a trivet to rest a hot pot or pan.
Hi Clifford, I thought the same thing when I first got my Instant Pot! They call the steam rack with the handles (or without) that came with the pot a trivet.
Made this tonight was really good the closest I came to the real thing but something was missing to get it to THE perfect butter chicken :\
Followed it to the tee the only thing I was missing was: 1 tsp Fenugreek, I can’t imagine 1tsp of this would make all the difference but maybe?
Hi Jessica, Hmmm, it could be the brand of garam masala you are using, but it’s hard to say. Maybe another pinch of salt and cinnamon, or even a teaspoon of sugar would tip it over the edge for you. Thank you for your review!
Made this last night for dinner. It was fantastic. Love the flavor! Wish I had added a few extra thighs, there was plenty of sauce and I would have had more leftovers, which my hubby and I both agreed was the best time to eat it, left over! Was great in my lunch! Thanks Sandy for another hit! 🙂 It wont let me give it a star rating, but I give it 5~
Hi Shannon, thank you for your review. The stars are showing up! I’m glad you liked it, and yes, leftovers are the best!