Instant Pot Butter Chicken (Easy & Authentic)
This tried-and-tested Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe is easy to prepare yet yields authentic flavor and tender chicken!
“This recipe is fantastic! I’ve made it several times. Always a winner!! Thanks for sharing.”Katie
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 chicken curries are hard to pass up.
I’ve taken my personal restaurant favorite and made it easy to achieve at home in your Instant Pot!
You’ll love this Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe because…
- It’s super easy yet 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. We use a food processor to finely chop the onions and tomatoes before we add them to the Instant Pot. So you’re saving chopping time too. (For more Instant Pot recipes check out my collection of 15+ Easy Pakistani Instant Pot Recipes).
- 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.
Notes on the Ingredients
Most of the ingredients are readily available at American grocery stores except dried fenugreek leaves (or kasuri methi) and maybe Tandoori Masala (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 an optional ingredient that won’t make or break the butter chicken. It just gives a nice restaurant-like finish and scent, and you can use it for many more of my recipes like:
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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
- 1/2 inch piece ginger, roughly chopped
- 3 medium ripe tomatoes*, or sub 1 8-oz can tomato sauce – See Note 1
- 2 tsp tomato paste, optional
- 1 small Serrano pepper, chopped
- 1 tsp kashmiri chili powder or 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
- 1/4-1/2 tsp sugar, or more to taste
- 1/4 cup water
- 1-2 tbsp butter, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (methi) (optional), crushed between your fingers
- 1/4 tsp garam masala, optional
- 1-2 tbsp cilantro, chopped, for garnish
- 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. Make sure the garlic and ginger is properly minced. If you'd like, you can chop the onion first and then the garlic and ginger together.
- Sauté for about 8-10 minutes, until the onions are golden. Meanwhile, blend the tomatoes in the food processor. If needed, deglaze the pot with 1-2 tablespoons of water to help brown the onions evenly.
- Add the blended tomatoes, tomato paste (if using), 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.