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Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala in a bowl with basmati rice and naan
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Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

This Instant Pot chicken tikka masala is my favorite restaurant-style chicken tikka masala but with all the shortcuts! Tender bites of chicken are bathed in a rich, creamy, tomato sauce - honestly the best Instant Pot chicken tikka masala you'll ever eat. Using techniques inspired by authentic recipes, this Instant Pot version of the Indian favorite is full of flavor but easier than ever to make.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Indian
Keyword pressure cooker, restaurant-style
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Marinating Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 464kcal

Equipment

  • Medium bowl with lid (or plastic wrap)
  • Whisk
  • Instant Pot
  • Large spoon or silicone spatula
  • blender

Ingredients

  • 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts approximately 2 pounds, diced

For the Marinade

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice approximately half of 1 lemon
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper

For the Sauce

  • ¼ cup butter 4 tablespoons
  • 1 medium white onion diced
  • 2 serrano chiles minced, see Notes for temperatures
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 ½ tablespoons fresh ginger grated
  • 2 ½ tablespoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 green bell pepper seeds removed, sliced into strips
  • 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves optional but recommended
  • salt to taste
  • 2 cups heavy cream

To Serve (Optional)

  • cilantro chopped
  • naan
  • basmati rice

Instructions

For the Marinade

  • In medium bowl, whisk all ingredients for marinade until combined.
  • Add chicken to bowl and toss to coat.
    Marinate the chicken in yogurt and spices
  • Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to overnight.

For the Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

  • Set Instant Pot to Sauté Mode, Normal Heat. Melt butter in Instant Pot.
  • Add onion. Cook until softened, approximately 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to Low Heat. Add serrano chiles, garlic, and ginger. Cook approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture develops a nice, even, toffee-brown color. Should mixture start to dry out or stick, add water as needed, 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time. If cooking over Normal Heat instead of Low, monitor the mixture closely, or it will burn.
  • Once desired color is achieved, add garam masala and paprika. Stir well. Cook 1 to 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Should mixture start to dry out or stick, add water as needed, 1 to 2 teaspoons at a time.
  • Add tomato sauce. Stir well.
    Chicken tikka masala sauce in an Instant Pot
  • Transfer mixture to blender and blend until smooth. See Notes for tips on blending hot liquids.
  • Return mixture to Instant Pot and set heat to Normal Heat. Simmer 15 to 25 minutes or until thick and paste-like.
  • Add chicken (and its marinade), sliced bell pepper, fenugreek leaves, and salt. Secure lid. Cook on Manual High Pressure for 6 minutes. When time is up, carefully Quick Release.
  • Add heavy cream. Stir until smooth. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt or fenugreek leaves as necessary.
  • Divide into portions. Optional: Garnish with chopped cilantro. Serve over basmati rice with naan.

Notes

  • Serrano Chiles: You can adjust the amount of heat in your recipe based on how you use the serrano chiles.
    • Mild: Use 1 pepper, seeds removed
    • Medium: Use 1 pepper, seeds left in
    • Hot: Use 2 peppers, seeds left in
  • Tips for Blending Hot Liquids: 
    • Fill the blender no more than halfway. You may have to blend your ingredients in a few batches.
    • After pouring the liquid into the blender, let it sit a few minutes to cool slightly before blending.
    • Before blending, remove the center cap from the blender lid and cover the hole with a dish towel instead. This will keep pressure from building up inside the blender. Keep your hand on the lid to hold it down while blending.
  • Make it Paleo/Whole30: Check out our Whole30 Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala!
 
Recipe yields approximately 6 servings. Nutritional values shown reflect information for one serving out of 6, not including any naan or rice. Macros may vary slightly based on specific brands or types of ingredients used.
To determine the size of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed, then weigh the each component of the recipe when finished. Divide the total weight (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by 6. Result will be the weight of one serving.
We used a 6-quart Instant Pot to test and perfect this method. As with any appliance, cook times may vary slightly from one Instant Pot to another, and from one altitude to another.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 464kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 41g | Saturated Fat: 24g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 170mg | Sodium: 186mg | Potassium: 447mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1721IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 1mg | Net Carbs: 7g