Butter Chicken – Instant Pot

Punjabi murg makhani also know as butter chicken is one of the most popular Indian dish across the globe. Smoky flavorful chicken, grilled in the tandoor with heavenly aroma of the garam masala and fenugreek, dunked in a creamy sauce with orangish hue from the red chili powder and turmeric – is how I reminisce butter chicken!

instant pot paleo butter chicken 1

I recently purchased my instant pot/electric pressure cooker and have been loving the one pot cooking experience! Not much clean up, no baby sitting the food and so many healthy dishes that can be cooked in no time. While I was searching for some instant pot recipes, I came across theprimaldesire.com, a wonderful blog with a delicious and healthy recipe for Paleo butter chicken. Not that I am dairy free but looking at the ingredient list, the butter chicken that is usually drenched in butter and cream all of a sudden looked so much healthy and appetizing!

instant pot paleo butter chicken ingredients

The Paleo version using the coconut milk and ghee to get the same authentic creamy taste without all that butter or cream! And to top it off all under 45 mins,  no chicken to be marinated or grilled. I have tried the recipe few times and loved it every single time. Thanks to Holley & Raj now I am hooked to this healthy, delicious and most of all quick recipe.

instant pot paleo butter chicken 2I am so excited to post my first Instant pot recipe and thought a video to go with it would hopefully make it easier for everyone to follow this recipe:

Here is my version adapted from the original recipe that is now on a repeat list in my house.

Butter chicken {Instant pot paleo recipe}
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
butter chicken -A flavorful chicken with heavenly aroma of the garam masala and fenugreek, in a creamy sauce with orangish hue from the red chili powder and turmeric.
  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into 2 inch pieces)
  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp kashmiri red chili powder **
  • 3 plum tomates pureed
  • 1 can full fat coconut milk (allow these to separate - DO NOT shake. Best if left in fridge overnight)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp garam masala**
  • 2 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • salt to taste
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped, for garnish
  1. Set Instant Pot on Saute(More) mode, after the 'hot' sign displays, add ghee.
  2. Add onions and 1 tsp salt. Cook until onions are soft and translucent for 2-3 mins (with a glass lid on to speed this process)
  3. Add ginger, garlic, turmeric and red chili powder. Mix well and cook until fragrant for 2 mins.
  4. Separate the coconut cream and water. Keep the coconut cream aside.
  5. Add only the watery portion of coconut milk and pureed tomatoes mixing with spices. Add chicken and stir well.
  6. Close instant pot with steam release handle to sealing position. Set to Manual Mode and cook on high pressure for 8 mins followed by quick release. (Note: If using chicken breasts, cook on Manual(Hi) for 5 mins followed by 5 mins NPR)
  7. Open the instapot, stir in coconut cream, tomato paste, garam masala, fenugreek leaves, sugar and half of the cilantro. Add more salt if needed.
  8. Turn the instant pot to Sauté mode. Cook without the lid to allow the curry to thicken for 10 mins. If the sauce starts to splutter, set adjust to Saute(Less).
  9. Garnish with remaining cilantro.
  10. ** Add more red chili powder and garam masala for spicer version.



27 thoughts on “Butter Chicken – Instant Pot

    1. Thank you Loretta! Instant pot Instant Pot does the job of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and warming pot. I bough it recently and loving it so far!

  1. Hi Archana your instant pot cooker looks good. My friend has also been raving about it now I need to buy this! The curry looks delicious btw 🙂

  2. Archana,
    I am about to buy the instant pot too. It looks like you can cut down on cooking time.The butter chicken looks awesome!

    1. I add the liquid while I cook the chicken. And add the cream in the end with the tomato paste, garam masala etc – in step 6! Let me know how you like it!

        1. If you do not like coconut you can use full cream. Or cashew cream – soak cashews in warm water for 20 mins, blend to smooth paste.

          1. Cathy, So in step 4 instead of coconut milk, you add 1/2 cup of water. And then in step 6 add 1/2 cup of cashew cream or heavy cream.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe and video for the instant pot! While traveling around India, butter chicken was one of my favorite dishes. I’m not much of a cook, so Indian food has seemed a bit daunting to undertake. Your recipe makes it feel very approachable and I’m hoping for some delicious results this evening. One question, I haven’t been able to find Kashmiri red chili powder. What can work as a comparable substitute? Will it impact the flavor much? Thanks!

    1. Hi Margi! So fun that you got to travel India and taste the amazing foods there. You can substitute kashmiri chili with any other mild red chili powder or paprika. It will not impact the flavor. Kashmiri chili powder is very mild but gives a beautiful orangish color to the curry.

Leave a Reply