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Instant Pot butter chicken in a large bowl with steamed rice and naan
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Instant Pot Butter Chicken

This Instant Pot butter chicken is Indian restaurant quality but made quickly and easily in the Instant Pot! Full of flavor, rich, creamy, with tender pieces of chicken, it's perfect over steamed rice with a side of naan.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword cream sauce, pressure cooker, restaurant quality
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Pressurizing Time 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 523kcal

Equipment

  • Instant Pot
  • Large wooden spoon or silicone spatula

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter or ghee
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1 pinch ground cardamom or 6 cardamom pods bruised with flat side of knife
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs excess fat trimmed away, chicken cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or sweetener of choice, see Notes
  • ½-1 cup heavy cream see Notes
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro chopped, for garnish
  • 1 cup steamed basmati rice or cauliflower rice; optional, to serve
  • fresh naan optional, to serve

Instructions

  • Set Instant Pot to Sauté mode. Add butter to pot and let melt, then add garam masala, paprika, coriander, ginger, garlic, chili powder, cinnamon stick, and cardamom. Stir well and sauté 1 minute or until fragrant.
  • Add chicken to Instant Pot. Stir well to thoroughly coat chicken in spices. Add tomato paste, tomato sauce, and sugar. Stir well and cook 3 minutes in Sauté mode.
    Butter chicken and spices in an Instant Pot
  • After 3 minutes, secure lid on Instant Pot with valve in sealing position. Set to Manual High Pressure with 7 minute cook time. After cook time is up, carefully Quick Release pressure in pot and remove lid.
  • Pour in heavy cream (see Notes) and lemon juice. Stir, then simmer mixture approximately 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened slightly. Taste and add salt as needed. Serve warm over steamed basmati rice with fresh naan and garnish with chopped cilantro.
    Instant Pot butter chicken

Notes

  • Heavy Cream: I like to use 1 cup of heavy cream, but it makes the sauce kind of thin. If you feel like your sauce is too thin, you can add a cornstarch slurry to thicken it a bit. Just whisk together 1 tablespoon cornstarch and 1 tablespoon cold water until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the slurry to the Instant Pot in Step 4 and cook for a few minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  • Make it Dairy Free: Use plant-based butter, and use coconut cream (only the solid white part of a can of coconut milk) instead of heavy cream. 
  • Make it Paleo: Use ghee instead of butter, coconut sugar or honey instead of sugar, and coconut cream (only the solid white part of a can of coconut milk) instead of heavy cream. Make sure your tomato products have no added sugar or sugar substitutes. Serve over cooked cauliflower rice, without naan.
  • Make it Whole30: Use ghee instead of butter, 1 tablespoon coconut aminos instead of sugar, and coconut cream (only the solid white part of a can of coconut milk) instead of heavy cream. Make sure your tomato products have no added sugar or sugar substitutes. Serve over cooked cauliflower rice, without naan.
  • This recipe was tested and perfected using my trusty 6-quart Instant Pot.
 
Recipe yields approximately 4 servings. Actual number of servings will depend on your preferred portion sizes.
Nutritional values shown are general guidelines and reflect information for 1 serving of butter chicken , not including rice or naan. Actual macros may vary slightly depending on specific brands and types of ingredients used.
To determine the weight of one serving, prepare the recipe as instructed. Weigh the finished recipe, then divide the weight of the finished recipe (not including the weight of the container the food is in) by 4. Result will be the weight of one serving.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving with rice | Calories: 523kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 33g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 287mg | Sodium: 1553mg | Potassium: 912mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 1782IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 71mg | Iron: 3mg | Net Carbs: 8g