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Instant Pot chicken tikka masala in a copper serving bowl with chopped cilantro and cauliflower rice in the background

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Paleo, Whole30, Low Carb)

This is the best Instant Pot chicken tikka masala recipe! It uses a restaurant-style technique paired with the Instant Pot for an easier, insanely delicious Indian dinner recipe. The sauce is creamy, super rich, perfectly spiced but not too spicy, and the chicken is so tender. Low carb, too!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword indian restaurant, instant pot, low carb, whole30 indian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Marinating Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 354 kcal



  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts about 2 pounds, diced
  • 1 cup plain yogurt non-dairy if paleo, on Whole30, or need dairy-free. Can omit entirely
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice about half a lemon
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. dried ginger


  • 1/4 cup ghee or butter 4 Tbsp., use ghee if paleo or on Whole30
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 2 serrano chiles minced (deseeded for mild, seeds left in for medium/hot)
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. fresh ginger grated
  • 4 1/2 tsp. garam masala
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 15- ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper deseeded and sliced into strips
  • 1 Tbsp. dried fenugreek leaves
  • salt to taste
  • 1-2 cups coconut cream just the solid white part from a can of coconut milk or cream

Equipment Needed

To Serve

  • steamed cauliflower rice or basmati rice use cauliflower rice for paleo or Whole30
  • fresh cilantro chopped


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients besides chicken. Toss chicken in marinade to coat well. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to overnight.
  2. In the Instant Pot in Sauté Mode, Normal Heat, heat the ghee or butter. Add onion and cook until softened, about 4-5 minutes. Reduce heat to Low Heat. Add serrano chiles, garlic, and ginger, and cook, stirring occasionally, until a nice, even toffee-brown color, about 10 minutes. Add 1-2 teaspoons water as needed if you notice the mixture sticking or drying out. If you cook this part over Normal Heat, monitor the mixture very closely. It will burn if you don't watch it well!
  3. When mixture is a toffee brown color, add garam masala and paprika; stir well. Cook a few minutes, or until fragrant, adding a couple tablespoons of water to reduce sticking, if necessary.
  4. Add the tomato sauce and stir well; transfer mixture to the blender and blend until smooth. Return sauce to pot and simmer for 15-25 minutes over Normal Heat or until thick like a paste, rather than like a sauce.
  5. Add chicken, sliced bell pepper, fenugreek leaves, and salt. Secure lid and cook on Manual High Pressure for 6 minutes. Carefully Quick Release.
  6. Add the coconut cream and stir until smooth. Taste and correct seasonings, adding more salt or fenugreek leaves as necessary. Serve over steamed cauliflower or basmati rice and top with plenty of chopped fresh cilantro.

Recipe Notes

For a dairy-free version, use non-dairy yogurt to marinate and refined coconut in place of the ghee or butter.


Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala (Paleo, Whole30, Low Carb)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 354 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 18g113%
Cholesterol 60mg20%
Sodium 485mg21%
Potassium 806mg23%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 6g7%
Protein 17g34%
Vitamin A 890IU18%
Vitamin C 27.6mg33%
Calcium 86mg9%
Iron 2.8mg16%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.