4.67 from 27 votes
big white platter with a bowl of chicken tikka masala, 2 bowls of white basmati rice, naan and lemon wedges on the side
Chicken Tikka Masala - Instant Pot
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr

A restaurant favorite, creamy tomato based curry with chicken marinated in yogurt, red chili powder, turmeric and garam masala.

Course: Entree
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Tikka Masala
Servings: 5
Calories: 425 kcal
Author: Archana
  • 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 or oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions diced
  • 1 teaspoon ginger grated
  • 1 teaspoon garlic minced
  • 3 plum tomatoes chopped or 1.5 cups diced or pureed tomatoes
  • 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
  1. Make 2 to 3 slits in the chicken breasts. 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.

  2. Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and heat butter or oil. 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 2 tablespoons of water. Deglaze the pot if needed.

  3. 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.

  4. Open the Instant Pot. Take the chicken and the trivet out. Using an immersion blender, blend the sauce until smooth and bring the sauce to boil on saute mode.

  5. Stir in cream, fenugreek leaves and sugar. Note the optional step is to broil the cooked chicken for 5 minutes to get some char marks. Cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces and add it 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.

  6. Enjoy with steamed basmati rice and warm naan. Tip - I LOVE the naan from trader joe's - both frozen and not frozen ones. Also the fresh naan at whole foods are delicous!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes


  1. Use plain full fat or greek yogurt for the marinade
  2. Pat dry the chicken to avoid extra liquids in the marinade
  3. Discard any leftover marinade or brush it on the chicken for spicier curry
  4. 1 cup of pureed tomatoes can be substituted for fresh tomatoes
  5. Homemade garam masala brings out the best flavors
  6. Any mild red chili powder can be substituted for Kashmiri red chili powder
Nutrition Facts
Chicken Tikka Masala - Instant Pot
Amount Per Serving
Calories 425
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.