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.
- 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. 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.
- Open the lid and select Sauté – More/High. Once the butter chicken is to desired consistency, cancel Sauté and add in the butter, heavy whipping cream, and dried fenugreek (if using). Taste and adjust salt and sugar. Garnish with garam masala and cilantro. Serve with naan or rice.
82 Comments on “Instant Pot Butter Chicken (Easy & Authentic)”
THIS IS SO SO SO YUM YUM YUM! given this recipe to all my guests who have asked for it! JazaakAllaahu khairaa for transforming my life!
Aw thank you so much, Ukhti! I appreciate you taking the time to share such kind comments! 🙂
Can you make this with canned diced tomatoes? Would the addition of tomato paste enhance the dish? Thanks very much!
Hi Jeff! Yes, you can use canned & diced tomatoes and also tomato sauce. Tomato paste enhances the sweet, tomatoey flavor. It’ll help if you find your masala needs a stronger tomato flavor.
Hi there! Question for you– have you ever meal prepped this meal and put it in the freezer? I’m expecting soon and trying to do some freezer meals but wasn’t sure if there was a way to make this one work.
Looks so tasty! Thank you!
No I haven’t but I think it should work. Probably best reheated on the stovetop though with a little water. Hope you like it!
I have frozen it, funnily enough when I was about to deliver as well, and it warmed up great!
Hi Izzah, thank you for sharing!
Quick question – I’m making dinner for close to 30 people. Can you please advise the measurements, how many lbs of chicken breast I should get and how long to cook in the instapot for please?
Thank you!! 😊
I think trippling would be more than enough, assuming you’re serving other dishes as well. So 3 lbs of chicken. I know sometimes scaling can get wacky but I think you’ll be okay tripling all the quantities and adjusting to taste. And cook time will remain the same. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions!
Cant wait to try this!
What could I substitute the heavy whipping cream with?
Looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it…do you recommend any particular brand of tandori masala?
You know, I developed this with Shan Tandoori Masala but grew to dislike a particular taste that it gives. I’ve also liked Urban Accents. Recently, I’ve started making my own and I hope to get it to the blog when it’s good enough to share!
Awesome. Can’t wait!
Izzah, I regularly follow your blog and am a fan and advocate of your recipes!
Which whipping cream do you use for this recipe? The one I buy is Nestlé MilkPak but it’s too expensive so I’m trying to find a replacement.
Thank you so much, Yusra! I’m honored to hear that! I use the runny kind of heavy whipping cream or double cream (36%+ fat) that can be used to make whipped cream. I’m sure most will work long as you like the taste.
How can I cook this without it being in a pressure cooker?
I don’t have one, can I just simmer in the pot until the chicken is cooked?
Hi Emma! Yes, you’d bring to a boil, lower the heat to low, cover, and then simmer for about 20 min, depending on the thickness of the chicken.
I would love to make this but I do not have the tandoori masala powder. Could I substitute garam masala, or do you have a suggestion for a better substitute? Thank you!!
Yes, go ahead and substitute garam masala and maybe add a bit of paprika to the mix!
I am not used to cooking with garam masala . Substitute ? Or suggested recipe to make it.
Hi Nabeelah! You can either omit it or make a quick one using:
2 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 tbsp Roasted Cumin Seeds or Black Cumin Seeds
1/2 tbsp Black Peppercorns
1 tsp whole cloves
1 black cardamom (or sub 5 green cardamom)
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
I do plan on updating the blog with a Garam Masala recipe once I can decide to stick to one 🙂