This tried-and-tested restaurant-style Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe is easy to prepare yet yields authentic, deep flavor and tender chicken!
Instant Pot Butter Chicken – Chicken Makhani
Whenever I go to Indian or Pakistani restaurants, I’m inclined to order either butter chicken or chicken tikka masala. As much as I want to try different menu items, those rich, creamy, tomato-based curries are hard to pass up.
So guess what? I’ve taken my personal restaurant favorite and made it easy to achieve at home in your instant pot or pressure cooker.
You’ll love this Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe because…
- It’s super easy! I actually taught this recipe at a cooking and food photography class and everyone was awed at how easy it was to make.
- Yet it tastes authentic. We’re using traditional spices and simple South Asian cooking techniques to create that depth of flavor that butter chicken is famous for.
- There’s less work. No need to take out the tomato mixture to blend it! You don’t even need an immersion blender! We use a food processor to finely chop the onions and tomatoes before we add them to the instant pot. So we’re saving chopping time too!
- The chicken is perfectly tender. We use chicken tenderloin to make sure the chicken is extra tender and restaurant-like. Chicken tenders are the little strips of meat that are attached to the underside of the chicken breast. If you don’t have tenders, you can also use thighs or breast, though they may not give equally tender results.
- Most of the ingredients are readily available at grocery stores except dried fenugreek (or methi) and maybe tandoori masala powder (though I’ve seen it at many American stores). Dried fenugreek is an herb available at most Indian/Pakistani grocery stores. If you don’t have it, no worries. It’s a totally optional ingredient and it won’t make or break the butter chicken. It just gives a nice restaurant-like finish and scent, anddd you can use it for many more of my recipes like:
If you try this recipe, do let me know in the comments! And be sure to grab your free E-book filled with 7 tried-and-tested South Asian dinner recipes.
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Instant Pot Butter Chicken (Easy and Authentic)
- 1 lb chicken tenderloin (you can also use thighs or breast) cut into 1” cubes
- 3 tbsp plain yogurt
- 1-2 tbsp tandoori masala powder depending on how spicy you want it
- ½-1 tsp lemon juice
- ½ tsp salt
To Pressure Cook
- 2 tbsp ghee or butter
- 1 tbsp neutral oil
- 1 small to medium yellow onion
- 5 garlic cloves
- ½ inch piece ginger
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes*
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 small Serrano pepper chopped
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- ¼-½ tsp red chili powder or cayenne
- ¼ tsp black pepper powder
- 1 tsp salt or more to taste
- ¼ tsp sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1-2 tbsp butter, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ tsp dried fenugreek (also called methi) (optional) crushed between your fingers
- 1/4 tsp garam masala optional
- 2 tbsp cilantro
- Combine the chicken with the ingredients to marinate. Mix well and set aside.
- Place the onion, garlic, and ginger in a food processor and chop very finely.
- Turn Instant Pot on sauté mode. Once hot, add ghee, oil and chopped onion mixture.
- Sauté for about 8-10 minutes, until the onions are golden. Meanwhile, blend the tomatoes in the food processor.
- Add the blended tomatoes, tomato paste, Serrano pepper, spices, salt and sugar and sauté for 6-7 minutes. Once the tomatoes have broken down well and most of the moisture has evaporated, add the water and marinated chicken. Mix well to coat the chicken and close the pressure cooker.
- Cancel sauté and pressure-cook on high for 8 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 5-7 minutes. Then, manually release any remaining pressure.
- Once safe to do so, open the lid and turn to sauté mode. Once the butter chicken is to desired consistency, cancel sauté mode and add in the butter, heavy whipping cream, and dried fenugreek (if using). Garnish with garam masala and cilantro. Serve with naan or rice.