Instant Pot Butter Chicken made with tender chicken in a richly spiced tomato sauce, delivers all the traditional flavors of Butter Chicken in a fraction of the time!
Butter Chicken, also known as Makhan murg, is delicious served with naan or Instant Pot Rice to soak up all the delicious sauce.
One of my closest friends shared with me her authentic recipe for Butter Chicken several decades ago. It came straight from her grandmother's kitchen in India, and I have to say, it was better than any Butter Chicken I have eaten at any Indian restaurant.
The downside to my friend's recipe is that it takes FOREVER to make and features many ingredients that may be difficult to find at local grocery stores.
However, I decided to try to replicate my friend's authentic recipe using ingredients that are easy to find using the Instant Pot, to drastically but down the time it takes to make Butter Chicken.
Good news!! I succeeded!
I have created a recipe for Instant Pot Butter Chicken that even my friend gave her seal of approval on. The sauce is perfectly spiced with all the authentic flavors you crave in Butter Chicken, just minus the hard work, lengthy time, and hard-to-find ingredients.
How to Make Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute and allow it to heat up.
- Add in butter to melt and then add in the garlic, ginger, onions, tomato paste dry spices to toast in the melted butter. This really helps to enhance the flavor.
- Once the spices have been toasted, add the chicken stock into the inner pan and use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. This helps prevent any burn warning from occurring.
- Add in the chicken and the tomato sauce and seal the instant pot.
- Set to cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally--this keeps that chicken tender.
- When pressure is released, open the lid, and turn the Instant Pot Off.
- Turn the Instant Pot back to saute.
- Add the cream and saute until the sauce is just thickened, stirring constantly.
- Once the sauce has thickened slightly, serve with Instant Pot Brown Rice or cauliflower rice and Naan bread, and chopped cilantro if desired.
Is it necessary to toast the spices?
YES! Traditionally, recipes for Butter Chicken call for toasting whole spices and then grinding them. However, by simply toasting the ground spices, you still can achieve incredible flavor. But if you skip the step of toasting, the resulting dish will lack flavor.
Can you make Instant Pot Butter Chicken Dairy-Free?
Absolutely. While it may seem weird for the dish with the term butter in it to be able to be made dairy-free, this is actually one recipe that still tastes delicious when dairy-free counterparts are used. To make this recipe for Butter Chicken dairy-free, use coconut oil in place of butter and canned coconut milk in place of heavy cream.
Can you use Frozen Chicken?
Yes, you can use frozen chicken thighs or breasts. If using frozen cubes of chicken, cook on high for 8 minutes. If using a full chicken breast/thigh that is frozen increase cook time to 10 minutes on high pressure. Once cook time has elapsed and pressure has been released, remove chicken from the Instant Pot and shred or chop up and return to the sauce to finish simmering with the heavy cream.
Can you make rice at the same time as the Butter Chicken?
Yes. I have used the pot-in-pot cooking method to cook the rice above the chicken. To do this, place rinsed long-rain white rice in a stainless steel bowl with an equal amount of water. Place a trivet above the chicken and set the bowl on the trivet. The rice needs a bit longer to account for the stainless steel bowl, so the cooking time of 5 minutes with at least 10 minutes of natural pressure release.
Can I omit a dried spice if I don't have it on hand?
No. This recipe does require a lot of spices, but most of them you may already have in your pantry and they are needed to replicate the authentic flavor. Just be sure your spices have not been sitting in your pantry for years--they will lose their potency and taste after 6 months.
What is the best way to store leftovers?
Leftover Instant Pot Butter Chicken will last in the fridge for 3 days. You can also freeze for one month. Just let the butter chicken defrost overnight in the fridge and warm in 30-second intervals in the microwave. I have had no issues freezing this recipe when I have used heavy cream.
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes
- Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken
- Instant Pot Lemon Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
- Instant Pot Chicken Marsala
- Instant Pot Sweet and Sour Chicken
If you enjoyed this recipe for Instant Pot Butter Chicken, I would love for you to leave a review.
Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup minced onion optional
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger grated
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon coriander ground
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 15 ounces crushed tomatoes (tomato sauce)
- 1 pound chicken breasts or thighs, boneless and skinless cut into 1 inch pieces
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- Cilantro for serving
- Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting and let heat until it reads hot.
- Add the butter and onion and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add in the garlic, and ginger and saute for one minute longer.
- Add the spices and tomato paste and saute for 1-2 minutes, or until spices are fragrant. Be careful not to burn the spices or tomato paste. Turn the Instant Pot OFF.
- Add in chicken stock, and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and chicken and stir to combine.
- Close the lid and set to cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. (Hit Manual or Pressure Cook and adjust the time to 5 minutes using +/- buttons.)
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. Do a quick pressure release of any remaining pressure to open the lid to the Instant Pot.
- Turn the Instant Pot back to saute.
- Add in the heavy cream and simmer for 3- 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce begins to thicken. Turn the Instant Pot Off.
- Serve warm over rice and with naan.