This Instant Pot butter chicken recipe is an easy, delicious dinner recipe. The aromatic sauce and juicy chicken is perfection serve with steamed rice.
- Chicken. I prefer using boneless, skinless chicken thighs but chicken breast can also be used.
- Butter and Vegetable oil.
- Fresh garlic.
- Fresh ginger.
- Spices: I prefer using a combination of Garam Masala (which contains turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, chili powder and cardamom) along with extra cardamom, paprika and coriander. You can however use any curry powder/blend that you have or like.
- Tomatoes. I used tomato puree (not paste). Passata can also work. Chopped tomatoes are also fine but I prefer the rich, smoothness the puree adds. You could also add a few teaspoons of tomato paste.
- Chicken stock.
- Cream. Heavy cream or whipping cream works best.
- Sugar. Optional, but I like the way it mellows the acidity of the tomatoes.
- Salt and black pepper.
How to make butter chicken in an Instant Pot
- Marinate the chicken: Traditionally, the chicken is marinated in yogurt to tenderize the meat but because we’re using a pressure cooker, I didn’t use it.This step is optional but it can be done up to 24 hours ahead of time. Combine the chicken with oil and half of the spices. Cover and allow to marinade for 10 minutes or up to 24 hours in the fridge.
- Cook the curry: Set the Instant Pot to sauté function. Add the butter and a tablespoon of oil. Allow to melt together then add the onion, ginger and garlic. Cook for a minute until fragrant then stir in the remaining spices. Cook for a few seconds to allow their flavors to be released then add the chicken mixture, tomato puree, stock, sugar, salt and pepper. Place the lid on and turn to sealing position. Pressure cook the curry on the meat function for 6 minutes. Quick-release the pressure.
- Finish and serve: Remove the lid and set back to the sauté function. Pour in the cream and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly. Season to taste then serve with fresh coriander / cilantro over steamed rice.
Can I make this ahead?
Curry is the perfect dish to make ahead as the flavors keep improving. The chicken can be marinated for up to a day in advance. The cooked butter chicken can also be made a day in advance and kept in the fridge. Any leftovers can be kept in an airtight container and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
What to serve with butter chicken
Classic Indian side dishes like basmati rice, naan bread and roti are all excellent served with butter chicken. A quick chopped salad is a delicious fresh addition.
Easy curry recipes
Instant Pot Butter Chicken
For the marinated chicken
- 750 g (1½lbs) chicken thighs boneless + skinless
- 2 tbsp canola oil / vegetable oil
- 2 tbsp Garam Masala
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- ½ tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp salt
For the butter chicken
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 2 tsp garlic crushed
- 1 tsp ginger crushed
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp ground cardamom
- 400 g (14oz) Tomato puree (not paste) Passata or crushed tomatoes are good substitutes
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1-2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1½ cups heavy / whipping cream
- Steamed rice
- Fresh coriander / Cilantro
- Combine the chicken with oil and the spices. Cover and allow to marinade for 10 minutes or up to 24 hours in the fridge.
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté function. Add the butter and a tablespoon of oil. Allow to melt together then add the onion, ginger and garlic.
- Cook for a minute until fragrant then add the remaining spices. Cook for a few seconds then add the chicken, tomato puree, stock, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Place the lid on and turn to sealing position. Cook the curry on the meat function for 6 minutes. Quick-release the pressure.
- Remove the lid and set back to the sauté function. Pour in the cream and allow to simmer for 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced slightly.
- Season to taste then serve with fresh coriander / cilantro over steamed rice.
Directions for cooking without Instant Pot
- Marinate the chicken according to above directions.
- Heat a large pot over medium heat and saute the ginger and garlic with the spices for a few seconds. Add the marinated chicken, tomatoes and stock. Season with salt, pepper and sugar.
- Cover and allow to simmer for 20-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked and tender.
- Remove the lid, pour in the cream and cook for another 10 minutes until the sauce has reduced.
- Season and serve.