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Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe

Tender, yogurt-marinated chicken thighs cooked in the most glorious tomato-based sauce. This fantastic Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe is rich, it’s creamy, super tasty, and incredibly quick to make.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken served over rice in a black bowl.


 

Skip Indian take-out tonight and make this restaurant-style Butter Chicken right at home. This recipe is quick, easy to make, and full of wonderful flavors, using common spices and ingredients. Like Chicken Tikka Masala, Butter Chicken holds a beloved spot in the hearts of curry enthusiasts. It is renowned for its creamy tomato sauce and the tasty spice mixture, which may include garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and other flavors. Paired with fluffy rice and fresh, homemade Naan bread, this meal will impress all the skeptics!

What Is Butter Chicken?

Butter Chicken, or Murgh Makhani, is a dish that originated in Northern India and is celebrated for its luxuriously creamy and subtly spiced tomato gravy. In this quintessential dish, chicken is first marinated in a blend of yogurt and spices like garam masala, turmeric, and cumin. The marinated chicken is gently cooked and simmered in a sauce made of butter, onions, garlic, ginger, and tomatoes. It is finished off with the addition of heavy cream, lending the dish its iconic creamy texture.

A bowl of rice with Butter Chicken on top.

How To Make Instant Pot Butter Chicken

  • First, cut the chicken thighs into pieces and marinate them in spiced yogurt for 15 to 20 minutes or overnight if preferred.
  • As the chicken marinates, start the Makhani sauce. Sauté the onions in your Instant Pot with a touch of olive oil, followed by butter, garlic, ginger, spices, and marinated chicken. Finally, stir in the tomato paste and diced tomatoes.
  • Seal the Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 8 minutes. Once it’s done, do a quick release.
  • Remove the chicken and set it aside. To the instant pot, stir in the heavy cream and, using an immersion blender, blend the sauce for 30 seconds – just until creamy. 
  • Stir in the chicken and enjoy it over basmati rice or cauliflower rice

    Recipe Tips

    • Marinate the Chicken: The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavors it absorbs. If you have the time, marinate the chicken overnight for a deeper flavor profile.
    • Use Full-Fat Dairy: For a creamy and rich sauce, use full-fat yogurt for marination and heavy cream for the sauce. However, in place of heavy cream, you can use evaporated milk or half and half. I’ve also used coconut milk and cream.
    • Thicken the Sauce: If you want a thicker sauce, add more butter at the end, and stir the sauce until the butter has melted.
    • Tomatoes: Please use a can of diced tomatoes and not tomato sauce. Also, do not drain it. You’ll need the liquid.
    • Burn Notice: If you are getting the burn notice on the Instant Pot, I advise to add more water or chicken broth.
    • Make in Advance: As with many curries, Butter Chicken can taste even better the next day, as the flavors have more time to meld together.
    • Prep the Tomato Gravy in Advance: One of the great advantages of the butter chicken’s tomato gravy is that you can make it in advance, let it cool, and store it in a sealed jar or container in the fridge for up to two days. This allows the rich flavors to intensify before you add the chicken.
    • Adjust as Needed: The secret to a great Indian recipe is in the balance of tangy, sweet, and spicy flavors, so adjust your spices accordingly to your taste preference.
    A bowl of rice with Butter Chicken on top.

    Storing Leftovers

    • To Refrigerate: Store completely cooled Butter Chicken in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 5 days. 
    • To Freeze: Store completely cooled Butter Chicken in an airtight container or freezer bags; freeze for up to 3 months. 

    More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes

    Instant Pot Butter Chicken Low Carb and Keto

    Instant Pot Butter Chicken

    Katerina | Diethood
    Tender, yogurt-marinated chicken cooked in the most delicious and creamy tomato sauce.
    4.93 from 14 votes
    Servings : 6 servings
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 15 minutes
    Total Time 35 minutes

    Ingredients
      

    FOR THE YOGURT MARINADE
    • 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into one-inch pieces
    • ½ cup plain yogurt
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • ½ tablespoon finely minced ginger
    • 2 teaspoons garam masala
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
    • salt, to taste
    FOR THE TOMATO GRAVY
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 yellow onion, diced
    • 2 tablespoons butter
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon finely minced ginger
    • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon garam masala
    • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika or to taste
    • ½ cup low sodium chicken broth or water
    • 14 ounces canned diced tomatoes, undrained
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
    • ¾ cup heavy cream

    Instructions
     

    • In a large mixing bowl, combine cut-up chicken, yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, cumin, chili powder, and salt; mix to combine and set aside for at least 15 minutes or overnight.
    • Set the Instant Pot to Sauté. Heat olive oil in the instant pot; add onions, and cook for 2 minutes.
    • Add in the butter; stir in garlic, ginger, cumin, garam masala, and sweet paprika; cook for 30 seconds.
    • Add in the chicken and cook for 2 minutes.
    • Pour in the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste and stir. Lock the Instant Pot lid in place; turn the pressure valve to seal it. Set to 8 minutes on HIGH PRESSURE. When the timer goes off, do a quick release.
    • Remove the chicken; stir in the heavy cream and, using a hand blender, blend the sauce for 30 seconds – just until creamy.
    • Stir the chicken back into the sauce and taste for salt and seasonings; adjust accordingly. Serve over rice.

    Notes

    • Marinate the Chicken: The longer you marinate the chicken, the more flavors it absorbs.
    • Use Full-Fat Dairy: For a creamy and rich sauce, use full-fat yogurt for marination and heavy cream for the sauce.
    • In place of heavy cream, you can use evaporated milk or half and half. I’ve also used coconut milk and cream. If you want a thicker sauce, add more butter at the end, and stir the sauce until the butter has melted.
    • Use a can of diced tomatoes and not tomato sauce. Also, do not drain it.
    • If you get the burn notice on the Instant Pot, add more water or chicken broth. 
    • Make Ahead: Butter Chicken can taste even better the next day, as the flavors have more time to meld together.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 365 kcal | Carbohydrates: 10 g | Protein: 25 g | Fat: 24 g | Saturated Fat: 11 g | Cholesterol: 158 mg | Sodium: 312 mg | Potassium: 624 mg | Fiber: 2 g | Sugar: 4 g | Vitamin A: 1005 IU | Vitamin C: 10.3 mg | Calcium: 110 mg | Iron: 2.6 mg

    Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

    Course: Dinner
    Cuisine: Indian
    Keyword: butter chicken, instant pot chicken thighs recipe, instant pot dinner ideas, keto chicken recipes, keto dinner idea
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    25 comments on “Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe”

    1. Avatar photo
      tysmom13@gmail.com

      Huge hit it my house!!! My mother LOVES Indian food but I am such a punk when it comes to spicy so this was perfections. Will definitely make again!!!

      1. Katerina - Diethood
        Katerina Petrovska

        Hi! You can always just add more of the spices that you like. We prefer a little bit of spice, but nothing too overpowering – we like just enough to taste it. 😀

    2. I found this less flavorful than I expected. I made it with half and half and water rather than heavy cream and chicken broth, so I recommend the original recipe. I used relatively little salt, but I don’t think I would add much more. I would recommend a little more of each spice than the recipe prescribes. But this recipe is also a good bit of work. (I’m surprised that others categorize it as easy.) I anticipated how much chopping time I needed, but fishing the cooked chicken pieces out of the tomato base before blending it was laborious. Don’t cut tiny pieces or you’ll be there quite a while. I enjoyed the final product, but I doubt I will make this again.

      1. Katerina - Diethood
        Katerina Petrovska

        Hi! Yep, you can definitely use chicken breasts, and since chicken breasts need less time to cook, you will want to cook it for a minute or two less, depending on the thickness of the chicken bites. Hope you’ll enjoy it! 🙂

      2. I enjoyed making this and we love eating it even more!
        I found that the recipe made more sauce than we wanted for the chicken that I used (I suppose?)
        So I froze the extra sauce and used it for another pound of chicken later on. Fantastic!

    3. I found an excellent blog on the internet so far. Reason is that your provide proper details with nutrition chart. And i also find new ideas that i follow in my kitchen. My husband and kids love my cooking what i have done for them. The source of new ideas is only your blog.

    4. Why do people feel the need to post a comment when they haven’t even tried the recipe? It’s fine that you think it looks good and you plan on making it next week, but please hold off on rating the recipe until you have actually made it. This saves those of us looking for useful information about the recipe i.e., how easy it was, anything you might do different, maybe an ingredient was too much or not enough.
      Katerina, I’m sure all of these wonderful ‘looks good-can’t wait to make it’ replies are nice however, a lot of us would prefer to read a real Recipe Rating. Just a thought from someone who thinks 99% of your recipes look amazing but will hold off on my rating until I actually make the recipe. No hard feelings to you or your subscribers. And I am not a mean person, just honest. Wishing you continued success.

    5. Looks delicious, been printing out recipes to try out my new instant pot, will give this recipe a try, thanks for posting!

    6. Avatar photo
      Melanie Bauer

      Looks fantastic! I love all the flavors going on and it takes a little effort, need to make this soon!

    7. Avatar photo
      Chrissie Baker

      This is such a fantastic dish, it’s so flavourful! Thank you, for posting so many easy, tasty recipes!

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