Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe--a creamy, tangy chicken recipe with Indian spices made in the instant pot. Serve this Butter Chicken over white rice and a side of naan bread, and enjoy. If you love this Instant Pot Butter Chicken, be sure to check out all of my Instant Pot Mini recipes.
Can we talk a bit about food budgets?
I just wrapped up final recipe testing for cookbook #4, and took a quick look at my books. On average, I spent $100 every 3 days at the grocery store for 4 months. And honestly, that was just the last round of recipe testing; I don't have the heart to go back and track it beyond 2018.
This latest book was 2 years in the making, and it's a blessing that I had so much time to work on it.
If you're wondering: it will be more dinners for two with a release date of April 2019. I'll keep you updated: here's the pre-order link.
It's not that the book contains complicated recipes that have long ingredient lists (you know from my book Sweet & Simple that I'm a 10-ingredients or less kind of cook). It's that I made everything at least 3 times, and I'm a chronic over-buyer. I buy a bunch of cilantro and parsley every time I step in the grocery store, just in case the one in my fridge isn't perky enough for food photography.
I came out of the experience with an overstuffed freezer, a fridge full of food, and an overflowing pantry. (And then I landed right in 'book edits land', which is its own level of hell; ask me in 5 years and I'll tell you the story of this book).
I'm currently playing Grocery Games with myself each night, and coming up with recipes to use everything I have on hand. I've only been to the grocery store twice this month, and it was for toddler basics (Camille needs these 3-ingredient pancakes like I need coffee every morning).
Why Instant Pot Chicken Thighs are better than breasts:
With a small bag of frozen boneless chicken thighs, a messy spice rack, and partially full containers of heavy cream littering my fridge, I made this instant pot butter chicken in my instant pot mini.
Chicken thighs are absolutely the way to go when it comes to the instant pot because they stay moist. I used chicken breasts in my Instant Pot Salsa Chicken, because the starch from the rice helps with moisture in the pressure cooker. When I make Instant Pot Chicken Stock, I use bone-in skin-on thighs. Oh, and my Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings also uses chicken thighs.
When it comes to chicken, I'm an instant pot chicken thighs kind of girl it seems!
Instant Pot Butter Chicken, a list of reasons to love:
I love that this recipe is gluten free; I love that it's creamy, comforting and faster than take-out. Plus, I made you a video to show how fast this recipe is! Scroll up to see it, or check the side bar, where it sometimes lives. :)
Also, let's be honest--my favorite Indian restaurant is 25 minutes away. But, giving Camille a taste of pappadams and a cooling mint raita is on my summer bucket list. (Your summer bucket list is all food related, yes?)
There are a lot of recipes for instant pot butter chicken on the internet, and they're mostly too watery. Even though I closed the lid on thick tomato sauce barely clinging to cut up chicken thighs, I always opened the lid to a watery sauce. As a result, I eliminated the canned tomatoes, chicken broth and water commonly used in this recipe. I still thicken my final sauce with a bit of cornstarch, but it's entirely optional now.
Serve this Instant Pot Butter Chicken with chopped fresh cilantro, basmati rice, and a side of warm naan bread. If you have a minute to brush the naan bread with melted butter and finely chopped garlic, even better!
Instant Pot Butter Chicken
Instant Pot Butter Chicken made so fast!
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- ½ 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
- ½ 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
- ⅓ 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.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 815Total Fat: 45gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 348mgSodium: 1962mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 6gSugar: 12gProtein: 62g
Norma Mitchell says
Yummy! Made it in my 6quart, was going to get the mini but none of the accessories fit. I am cooking for 1, so probably have at least 3 leftover meals. Never had butter chicken before, will make again. Tastes great
Gregory E. Davidson says
Delicious! Comfort food.
Heather Hogan says
Hello! I wanted to drop you a message to thank you for this recipe. My son said this butter chicken “is life”! In fact, my not very food adventurous extended family members raved about how the meal was so delicious.
I have made the recipe twice now due to my son wanting more the next day. The first time I made it I too got burning on the bottom but no burn notice. The second time I made it same thing but no burn notice. The burning on the bottom both times were on the outer ring of the pot and it didn’t change the flavor. No big deal actually. I was thinking about next time doing the pressure cooking on low and extending the cook time to see if that will prevent some burning. Or the other idea is slow cooking it for several hours.
Again, thank you!
This is a good recipe! Your video instructions don’t match the written recipe: adding water with the tomato sauce and letting the pot rest for 5 minutes before opening it.
I know there is a way to just throw the frozen chicken thighs in there but what would the time conversion be?
I simply adore this recipe (it is a staple in our home now) but find myself forgetting to thaw the chicken.
Christina Lane says
I have read in the Instant Pot Facebook group (are you in that? The one with like 1 million people?) that you just throw frozen meat into the recipe like normal and don't adjust the time. This is because the frozen meat will make the pot take longer to come up to pressure while it defrosts, which means the actual cook time stays the same. Does that make sense? Add frozen chopped meat, and except for it to take longer to come up to pressure, but the same amount of time to cook once pressure is reached. I haven't tried this, so proceed carefully, but I think it will work :)
I have favor to ask, could you tell us people that don't have instant pots on to make the recipe in a slow cooker or another way to make it. I would like to try several of recipes but I don't own an instant pots.
I really like your recipes. My husband and I are empty nesters now that all 3 of our girls moved out. Of course with.our oldest daughter we where beginning to think she was going to live with us forever, but we moved to a different state she decided she was not comfortable to move with us.
Thank you and may God bless