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5 from 318 votes

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

The easiest ever Instant Pot butter chicken! This super creamy, and fragrant Indian dish is so comforting, healthy and delicious.
Author Diana
Servings 6 servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
IP to come to pressure + reducing the sauce 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 cloves garlic about 5 teaspoons, minced or crushed
  • 2 inch (5 cm) fresh ginger root grated (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder optional
  • 1 teaspoon salt add more if needed
  • 2 pounds (900g) chicken thighs skinless, boneless, diced into bite-size pieces
  • 17 oz (500g) tomato sauce or passata
  • 1 cup (250ml) heavy whipping cream or coconut milk, or half and half*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, mint, or cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  • On the Instant Pot press on SAUTE and melt the butter. Add the garlic and ginger, and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  • Add all of the spices, and the salt, stir, and cook for a minute. You might want to deglaze the pot at this point if the mixture is stuck to the bottom of the pot, just add a splash of water and scrape off any stuck bits with a wooden spoon. Then add the tomato sauce (passata) and a ¼ cup of water. Switch off the saute setting.
  • Add the chicken thighs, give everything a mix.
  • Secure the lid and set the vent to SEALING. Select the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL setting and set the cooking time for 6 minutes at high pressure. The Instant Pot will take around 10 minutes to come to pressure and start cooking. When the cooking program ends, quickly release the steam.
  • Carefully remove the lid, and press on SAUTE. Stir in the cream, and allow the sauce to reduce a little (season with more salt if necessary). Taste the sauce and see if you need to add a little bit more salt. Serve warm over rice with chopped parsley or cilantro.

Video

Notes

  1. Do not add water, the chicken will produce enough liquid for the Instant Pot to come to pressure (if worried you might get a BURN message, read note #8).
  2. Chicken breasts can also be used in this recipe, however, chicken thighs are more flavorful and are more tender. If using chicken breasts, pressure cook for 5 minutes.
  3. The Passata sauce can be substituted with tomato sauce, or a can of plain tomatoes that are blended and sieved.
  4. You can substitute heavy cream with half and half, or coconut milk for a non-dairy option. Keep in mind that the sauce won't be as creamy as if you use heavy cream.
  5. This dish is medium spicy (heat), so if you're feeding children then I recommend that you leave the chili powder out.
  6. You can skip sautéing the garlic and ginger for a speedy dinner, but the ginger might have a little bite if left without the sautéing. 
  7. Do not add the cream before pressure cooking as it might separate.
  8. If you double the ingredients, do not adjust the cooking time.
  9. You should not get a BURN message, unless you're using less tomato sauce than indicated in the recipe. I also heard that newer Instant Pot models show BURN messages more often. If you get a burn message, add 1/4 cup of water to the sauce and using a wooden spoon scrape off any bits that are stuck to the bottom and start the Instant Pot again.
  10. Traditionally, a little bit of sugar is added to the sauce to make it sweeter. I personally don't add any sugar to my butter chicken, and it tastes great. But feel free to add 1 teaspoon of granulated or brown sugar to the sauce before pressure cooking.
  11. You can stir in more butter in the sauce after pressure cooking for a creamier texture. This recipe calls for butter just to saute the aromatics, and it tastes wonderful. But you can add more butter at the end if you like.
  12. Garnish with fresh herbs before serving. The recommended herbs for garnish are fresh cilantro, mint leaves, and parsley.
  13. Serve with Instant Pot basmati or brown rice, and/or fresh naan.
  14. If you store the leftovers in the fridge, the sauce will thicken up. Reheat in the microwave by adding a splash of water and mix. You can store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  15. Freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.
  16. The recipe makes 4 large portions or 5-6 medium portions.

Nutrition

Calories: 548kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 46g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 218mg | Sodium: 945mg | Potassium: 644mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1442IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg