Butter Chicken! Is it possible to enjoy "healthy" Butter Chicken without compromising on the authentic flavors? Yes!! Read on for an EASY authentic-tasting butter chicken recipe in your Instant Pot that is ready in 30 minutes with an option to cook rice at the same time. Serve with rice and naan for a perfect home-cooked meal!
Punjabi Murg Makhani is also known as butter chicken and is one of the most popular Indian dishes across the globe. Smoky flavorful chicken, grilled in the tandoor with the heavenly aroma of the garam masala and fenugreek, dunked in a creamy sauce with an orangish hue from the red chili powder and turmeric - is how I reminisce this dish!
What is the difference between Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala
Butter Chicken is a Classic Indian restaurant/roadside Dhaba dish that is cooked in a buttery tomato-based sauce until the chicken is tender, fall-off-the-bone. Indian Butter Chicken is also a sweet and mild curry compared to Chicken Tikka Masala.
Chicken Tikka Masala, on the other hand, is more British than an Indian dish. A national dish of England, chicken tikka masala is made by marinating chicken in warm spices mixed with yogurt and then grilling it in the tandoor-clay oven. The cooked chicken is then simmered in an onion and tomato-based creamy tangy sauce.
I recently purchased my Instant Pot electric pressure cooker and have been loving the one-pot cooking experience! Not much cleanup, no babysitting for the food and so many healthy dishes that can be cooked in no time.
- Skinless and boneless chicken thighs
- Yellow onions, fresh ginger, and garlic paste
- Fresh tomato puree or canned tomato puree
- Spices - turmeric, Kashmiri red chili, garam masala, and dried fenugreek leaves
- Coconut milk and ghee
This Butter Chicken recipe uses unsweetened coconut milk and ghee to get the same authentic creamy taste without having to use cream and butter. Best of all the butter chicken is ready in 30 minutes and there is no need to marinate the chicken. Try this paleo-friendly recipe and I promise it will become your new GO-TO recipe for easy weeknight dinners as well as hosting.
I am so excited to post my first Instant pot recipe! Here is my EASY Instant Pot butter chicken recipe that is now on repeat in my house.
Here are step-by-step instructions with photos to show you each step. All of the steps and the ingredients are in the printable recipe card just a little further down in this post.
Step 1: sauté onions & spices
Set the Instant Pot on Sauté mode and heat ghee. Add onions and salt. Cook until onions are soft and translucent for 2-3 mins (with a glass lid on to speed this process). Add ginger, garlic, turmeric, and red chili powder. Mix well and cook until fragrant for 2 mins (photos 1 - 2)
Step 2: Add chicken and tomato puree
Separate the coconut cream and water. Keep the coconut cream aside. Add only the watery portion of coconut milk and pureed tomatoes mixing with spices and deglazing the pot if needed so there is nothing sticking at the bottom. Add chicken and mix well (photos 3 – 4).
Step 3: Optional Pot-in-Pot Rice
This is an optional step to make pot-in-pot rice with butter chicken: To make rice, place a tall trivet over the chicken in the instant pot. Place a stainless steel pot with white rice, water, and salt over the trivet.
Step 4: Pressure Cook
Close the Instant Pot lid with the steam release handle to the sealing position. Pressure cook for 8 minutes followed by a quick release. (Note: If using chicken breasts, pressure cook for 5 minutes followed by 5 minutes of Natural Pressure Release)
Step 5: Finishing ingredients & Garnish
Open the Instant Pot, and stir in coconut cream, tomato paste, garam masala, fenugreek leaves, sugar, and half of the cilantro. Add more salt if needed. Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode. Cook without the lid to allow the curry to thicken for 5 minutes. If the sauce starts to splutter, set adjust to Saute(Less). Garnish with remaining cilantro (photos 5 – 8).
Any leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the curry for up to 2 months.
More Indian Chicken Curries
Did you enjoy Butter Chicken? Here are some popular Indian chicken recipes to try:
Butter chicken is always a big hit and I often make this one-pot meal when friends come over. It's quick, easy, and delicious. A gathering is not complete without dessert, so finish off the meal with a batch of Almond flour brownies. Your friends will love you for it!
Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons ghee or coconut oil
- 1 large yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger grated
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 tablespoon Kashmiri red chili powder
- 3 plum tomatoes pureed
- 1 can unsweetened full fat coconut milk allow these to separate - DO NOT shake. Best if left in fridge overnight
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 teaspoons sugar skip for paleo
- 1½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup cilantro chopped, for garnish
- Set Instant Pot to Saute mode and heat ghee. Add onions and salt. Cook until onions are soft and translucent for 2-3 minutes (with a glass lid on to speed this process)
- Add ginger, garlic, turmeric, and red chili powder. Mix well and cook until fragrant for 2 minutes.
- Separate the coconut cream and water. Keep the coconut cream aside. Add half a cup of the watery portion of coconut milk and pureed tomatoes mixing with spices. Add chicken and stir well.
- Close the Instant Pot lid with steam release handle to sealing. Pressure cook for 8 minutes followed by quick release. (Note: If using chicken breasts, pressure cook for 5 minutes followed by 5 minutes of natural pressure release)
- Open the Instant Pot, stir in coconut cream, tomato paste, garam masala, fenugreek leaves, sugar, and half of the cilantro. Add more salt if needed.
- Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode. Cook without the lid to allow the curry to thicken for 5 minutes. If the sauce starts to splutter, adjust to Saute(Less).
- Instead of coconut milk, you can use ½ cup of water to pressure cook the chicken and then add heavy cream in the end to garnish
- ¾ cup of store-bought puree can be used instead of homemade tomato puree
- Skip tomato paste if you do not have it, tomato paste adds vibrant red color and thickness to the butter chicken
- Check out my Paneer Makhani recipe that uses the same sauce for a delicious vegetarian option
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