Chicken Tikka Masala, a restaurant favorite, is a creamy tomato based curry with chicken marinated in yogurt, red chili powder, turmeric and garam masala.
The traditional recipe for Chicken Tikka Masala involves grilling the marinated chicken first and then adding it to the sauce. I love the way tomatoes and onions cook in the Instant Pot to make a smooth curry without having to babysit over the stove. Using the Immersion blender brings out the creaminess in the curry.
This recipe uses a method similar to the tandoori chicken recipe in the Instant Pot. I cook the marinated chicken on the trivet, as pot in pot while cooking the sauce at the same time in the main pot, which to me is a great time-saver. By cooking the chicken over a tall trivet, the texture of the chicken is similar to the one in the oven or grill. The only thing missing is the smoky char-grilled flavor which can be achieved by broiling the chicken for a few minutes, after it has been pressure cooked. Although, most of the times I skip the broiling step and still enjoy this dish as much.
Here is a quick video to show how the chicken is cooked pot in pot for Chicken Tikka Masala:
Here are some tips to make this no-fail chicken tikka masala in the Instant Pot:
- Use plain full fat or greek yogurt for the marinade
- Pat dry the chicken to avoid extra liquids in the marinade
- Discard any leftover marinade or brush on the chicken for spicier curry
- Use 1 cup of pureed tomatoes can be substituted for fresh tomatoes
- Homemade garam masala works brings out the best flavors – Recipe
- Any mild red chili powder can be substituted for Kashmiri red chili powder
If you enjoy chicken curries here are my other go-to Instant Pot recipes:
A restaurant favorite, creamy tomato based curry with chicken marinated in yogurt, red chili powder, turmeric and garam masala.
- 1.5 pound Chicken breasts
- 1.5 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons plain yogurt
- 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ginger grated
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon oil for basting
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 medium yellow onions chopped
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 3 tomatoes chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 to 2 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 0.5 cup cream
- 1 tablespoon dry fenugreek leaves
- 2 teaspoons sugar optional
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped for garnish
- Apply salt and lemon juice to the chicken breasts. Mix yogurt, red chili powder, garam masala, ginger and garlic. Apply evenly to the chicken breasts and allow to marinate for 20 minutes or refrigerate if marinating ahead of time. Marinating chicken for 4-5 hours or overnight works well.
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and melt butter. Add onions and saute for 2 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and mix well.
Add tomatoes, turmeric, salt red chili powder and garam masala. Mix well. Press Cancel. Add 1/4 cup of water. Deglaze the pot if needed.
- Place the tall trivet in the main pot. Place the marinated chicken over the trivet. Baste the chicken with oil.
- Close the Instant Pot with pressure valve to sealing. Pressure Cook for 8 minutes followed by 10 minute natural pressure release.
- Open the Instant Pot. Take the chicken and the trivet out. Optional Step - Broil Chicken for 5 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until smooth. Stir in cream, fenugreek leaves and sugar. Cut chicken into 2 inch pieces and add the chicken to the sauce.
- Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and bring the sauce to a gentle boil. The sauce will thicken further as it cools down. Garnish with cilantro. Enjoy with steamed basmati rice and warm naan.
Hey there! I am a techie turned recipe developer, cooking instructor, and food blogger. I love food and enjoy developing easy and healthy recipes for busy lifestyles. I live New Jersey with my husband and two sons.