Instant Pot Butter Chicken

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If your family enjoy Indian food, they’ll love this easy Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe! The buttery tomato sauce infuses into the tender chicken for so much flavor!

Serving bowl filled with homemade butter chicken in front of an Instant Pot.

Every time we go to an Indian restaurant, I love trying a different Indian curry. I also like to recreate these Indian recipes at home using non-traditional methods like pressure cooking.

My easy butter chicken recipe is so delicious that my whole family enjoys eating it. It can be made quickly for a weeknight dinner, but tastes so great it can be served on a special occasion too.

And the ingredients are pretty simple too. The only special thing you may have to buy is Garam Masala, which is a warm spice blend that is used in Indian cooking for things like soups, stews and curry recipes.

Ingredients

Ingredients for butter chicken measured out into small bowls.
  • ¼ cup of butter
  • ½ cup of diced onion
  • 6 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon of grated ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon of red chili powder (optional)
  • 2 pounds of cubed boneless chicken breast
  • ½ cup of chicken stock
  • 1 can of tomato sauce
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • ⅓ cup of chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup of coconut cream
  • 4 cups of cooked basmati rice

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Wooden spoon
  • Instant Pot

By the Numbers: How to Make Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Follow these simple step by step instructions to learn how to make the best butter chicken in the Instant Pot electric pressure cooker.

Step 1: Cook Onion in Butter

Melt ¼ cup of butter in the Instant Pot on Saute mode. Once melted, add ½ cup of diced onion to the pot and cook until translucent.

Onion being sautéed in butter in an Instant Pot.

Step 2: Add Garlic, Ginger and Cilantro

Add 6 cloves of minced garlic, 1 tablespoon of fresh grated ginger and ⅓ cup of chopped cilantro to the pot and stir to combine. Once fragrant, turn off the heat.

Garlic, ginger and cilantro added to onion in an Instant Pot.

Step 3: Add Spices

Add all of the spices to the pot, including 2 teaspoons of garam masala, 1 teaspoon of ground cumin, 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 teaspoon of coriander powder, 1 teaspoon of sea salt and ¼ teaspoon of red chili powder (optional). Stir to combine.

Warm Indian spices being stirred into cooked onion, garlic, ginger and cilantro in an Instant Pot.

Step 4: Add Chicken, Stock and Tomato

Next, add 2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breast cubes (cut into bite-sized pieces), ½ cup of chicken stock, 1 can of tomato sauce and 1 can of diced tomatoes to the pot and stir to combine. While you’re stirring, use your spoon to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot so you don’t get a burn error.

Raw chicken, tomatoes and stock stirred into cooked ingredients in the Instant Pot.

Step 5: Pressure Cook Butter Chicken Ingredients

Next, close the lid on your Instant Pot, make sure the pressure release valve is in the sealing position and set it to cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes. Once the cooking time is up, allow for a natural pressure release for at least 15 minutes before you quick release the remaining pressure. Open the lid.

Cooked butter chicken in an Instant Pot before adding cream.

Step 6: Add Coconut Cream

After you open the lid, turn your Instant Pot back onto Saute mode. Stir in one cup of coconut cream and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens.

Coconut cream added to cooked butter chicken in the Instant Pot.

If it doesn’t thicken well, you can make a slurry by whisking 1-2 teaspoons of arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) into a small amount of water. Then whisk that mixture into the pot to help thicken it.

Step 7: Press Cancel

Once it’s thick enough, turn the heat off on your Instant Pot by pressing the cancel button. Your butter chicken is ready to eat.

Butter chicken being ladled out of an Instant Pot into a serving bowl.

Step 8: Serve Butter Chicken

Transfer the butter chicken to a serving dish to set on the dinner table with the basmati rice (cauliflower rice also tastes amazing). Garnish your homemade butter chicken with chopped fresh cilantro or green onions.

Butter chicken in a large serving bowl on a wood table next to the Instant Pot.

Tips for Making Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Answers to all of your questions about making this authentic Indian butter chicken recipe, including tips and substitution ideas.

Substitutes

If you’re trying to make dinner with ingredients you have on hand or within your dietary restrictions, here are some substitution ideas:

  • Use the thick part of canned full fat coconut milk, heavy cream or Greek Yogurt in place of coconut cream
  • Use coconut oil instead of butter for a dairy free option
  • Use boneless chicken thighs instead of breasts for extra juicy chicken
  • Use leftover cooked chicken instead of fresh chicken
  • Use an immersion blender to puree the sauce before adding the chicken and pressure cooking for a really smooth sauce

What to serve with butter chicken

Butter chicken can be enjoyed in several different ways. It’s great as a main dish with one of these sides:

  • Basmati rice or other white rice
  • Brown rice
  • Garlic naan bread
  • Riced cauliflower for a lower carb option

Burn error

Some Instant Pot models seem to get a burn notice when cooking tomato-based ingredients. I have not experienced a burn notice with this recipe myself. However, if you have that issue, you can use the pot-in-pot method.

Storage tips

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator and eat within 4 days. I love the silicone lid for the Instant Pot because you can store leftovers right in the inner pot with one, making dinner cleanup a breeze.

Buy the best chicken breasts online

While you can buy chicken breasts at the grocery store, the ones I used in this recipe are from Perdue Farms. They are so tender and flavorful!

More Instant Pot chicken breast recipes

If you want more ways to use chicken breasts in your Instant Pot, check out these yummy recipes:

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Bowl of homemade butter chicken with a serving spoon on the table in front of an Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe

Learn how to make the best pressure cooker butter chicken in your Instant Pot. This simple Indian dish can be served with a side of rice or homemade naan bread.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Pressurizing Time: 22 minutes
Recipe Servings: 5

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • ½ cup onion - diced
  • 6 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger - grated
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red chili powder - or cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts - cubed
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • cup cilantro - chopped
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 5 cups cooked basmati rice

Equipment

Instructions

  • Melt butter in the Instant Pot using the Saute function. Add diced onion and cook until translucent.
    Onion being sautéed in butter in an Instant Pot.
  • Stir in garlic, ginger and cilantro. Once fragrant, press the Cancel button.
    Garlic, ginger and cilantro added to onion in an Instant Pot.
  • Add all of the spices to the pot and stir to combine.
    Warm Indian spices being stirred into cooked onion, garlic, ginger and cilantro in an Instant Pot.
  • Stir in cubed chicken pieces, chicken broth, tomato sauce and diced tomatoes to the pot. Use your spoon to make sure nothing is stuck to the bottom of the pot.
    Raw chicken, tomatoes and stock stirred into cooked ingredients in the Instant Pot.
  • Cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes. Allow for a natural release of pressure for at least 15 minutes before quick releasing any remaining pressure. Open the lid.
    Cooked butter chicken in an Instant Pot before adding cream.
  • Press Saute on your Instant Pot, then stir in coconut cream and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce thickens. To thicken it faster, you can make a slurry by whisking 1-2 teaspoons of arrowroot powder (or cornstarch) into a small amount of water. Then whisk that mixture into the pot.
    Coconut cream added to cooked butter chicken in the Instant Pot.
  • When it has thickened, turn off your Instant Pot.
    Butter chicken being ladled out of an Instant Pot into a serving bowl.
  • Serve the butter chicken in a bowl set on the dinner table with the basmati rice. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or green onions.
    Butter chicken in a large serving bowl on a wood table next to the Instant Pot.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 729kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 22g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 1445mg | Potassium: 1552mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 1328IU | Vitamin C: 24mg | Calcium: 98mg | Iron: 5mg

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