Indian butter chicken for two.

Indian Butter Chicken For Two

File this under things you may not know about me: I am obsessed with Indian food. I once lived for 18 months in a place that lacked an Indian restaurant, and my tastebuds suffered.

Luckily, I went to grad school at a place (UC Davis!) with an Indian restaurant right on campus. I also once dated an Indian guy for a long time, and he cooked me dinner exactly one time, but I can still remember every single bite of that meal. Fresh curry leaves floated through the meal. Unsweetened coconut and fenugreek leaves in a potato side dish. I still think about it. It’s hard to forget the first time you have coconut in a savory way. This was, like 10 years ago, pre-coconut oil boom, kids.

I think I love Indian food because it’s very carb-centric. I love all colors of lentils equally, especially with piles of rice, a precarious stack of papadam on one side and naan dripping with ghee on the other. Did I miss any carb potential on my plate? This is what I ask myself when I’m at an Indian restaurant.

Indian butter chicken recipe:

Indian butter chicken recipe has long been on my ‘must make’ list, and I’m so glad I finally did it! It uses just one spice, well, one spice blend called Garam Masala. I think I love it even more for being so simple to make. Once you have Garam Masala in your pantry, you’ll come back to this dish again and again. If you shy away from things like heavy cream, you can certainly use half and half. But I definitely heard a story on NPR the other day about full-fat dairy making a comeback, so you should probably just spring for the heavy cream. Wait, was that a news story, or was it a dream?

You can easily scale this recipe up to serve more than two. I scaled it down from Mel.

Yield: 2 servings

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Instant Pot Butter Chicken, made in the Instant Pot mini. Butter chicken made with chicken thighs in the pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Indian Butter Chicken, made in the Instant Pot mini. Butter chicken made with chicken thighs in the pressure cooker.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 of a red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1" of ginger, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala spice blend
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 14-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed of fat and cut into 2" pieces
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • fresh cilantro, for serving
  • cooked basmati rice, for serving


Remove the lid from an Instant Pot 3-quart mini machine, and press 'SAUTE.'

Add the butter to the pot, and let it melt.

Next, add the diced onion and bell pepper, and stir to coat.

Using a microplane, grate the garlic and ginger into the pan, and stir again.

Add all of the spices (garam masala, turmeric, paprika, cumin, and salt) and stir. Add a dash of cayenne pepper if you want it spicy.

Stir everything in the pot together very well, and then turn OFF the Instant Pot.

Add the tomato sauce and chopped chicken thighs to the pot. Stir to coat everything.

Next, press 'PRESSURE COOK' on the Instant Pot, and toggle to 'HIGH.' Place the lid on the Instant Pot, turn the dial to 'Sealing,' and set the timer for 10 minutes.

Once the pot comes to pressure, the 10-minute countdown will begin. Consult your Instant Pot manual for any troubleshooting.

When the 10 minutes is up, do a 'forced pressure release' by covering your hand with a thick kitchen towel, and turning the sealing valve to 'venting.' Be careful--lots of steam will pour out of the valve.

When the pressure is done releasing, the float valve will drop, and it's safe to open the lid.

Meanwhile, whisk together the heavy cream and cornstarch very well. Remove the lid from the Instant Pot, and stir in the heavy cream and cornstarch mixture.

Let the mixture thicken a bit with the residual heat, and then serve over white rice and with chopped cilantro on top.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 815Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 348mgSodium: 1962mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 6gSugar: 12gProtein: 62g

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