Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Last fall I purchased the Instant Pot after hearing about it from a friend. Apparently, it is all the rage with Indian professional women who want to prepare Indian food for their families after a full day of work (who knew?).  My mom made Indian meals almost nightly after a full work day when I was growing up so I wanted to see if I could cut out some of the time/effort and still end up with good results.

I was a little skeptical about all of its functions (7 in all)  and reading the manual was a bit daunting (but very necessary!) and it does take up quite a bit of room in my appliance nook but I have to say, I use it often.  My non-scientific and very biased opinion is that it works really well for Indian food (and most likely, other ethnic foods).  I think the flavors are able to develop in the pot whereas I feel like my cuts of beef and whole chicken, although they cook in record time, aren’t too flavorful and end up looking a little pathetic when they are done pressurizing!  I also love the homemade yogurt option as it’s nice to have the guesswork taken out of knowing whether your yogurt has cultured enough or not.

This butter chicken recipe is a big hit with the family and it cooks in about 20-25 minutes from start to finish.  I do feel chicken thighs work really well in this recipe; breast meat might become too tough but I haven’t tried it.

What do you like to make in your Instant Pot?

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Adapted from:  My Heart Beets

  • 1 1/2 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (I get mine here)
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced (I used yellow)
  • 1 15-ounce can of tomato sauce
  • 1 cup of low-fat coconut milk
  • cilantro or fresh mint for garnish

Press the saute button on the Instant Pot.  Once warm, add ghee and onions, fry the onions until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and ginger, fry for another 30 seconds.

Add in all the spices and combine.


Add chicken and stir until the chicken is well-coated in all the spices.  Sear the chicken for 4-5 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce and bell pepper and combine.  Place cover back on Instant Pot and lock the lid, making sure the steam valve is closed.

Press Keep Warm/Cancel to cancel the Saute function.  Press the Poultry button, this will automatically set to 15 minutes.  Once the timer goes off, release the pressure and stir in the coconut milk.  Garnish with chopped cilantro leaves or fresh mint.


I served this alongside naan (thanks, Costco!) and a side of sautéed purple cabbage.

One Comment Add yours

  1. Chris says:

    This looks really good, Susy! I will definitely try this one. The chicken tikka I made in the IP was very good. I agree that “recipes” tend to turn out tastier than whole, plain cuts of meat. Soups & stews also work well, though I think some things like chili benefit from long simmering. I have yet to try making yogurt, but it’s on my list. Thanks for sharing! Love your blog! xo, Chris


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