by Olena

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Olena Osipov
5 from 42 votes

Instant Pot Butter Chicken is easy, healthy and 30 minute restaurant quality dinner you can make whenever you crave Indian food. Many readers give it 5 stars and call this recipe authentic!

instant pot butter chicken

Pressure Cooker Butter Chicken

This Instant Pot butter chicken is of Indian restaurant quality! Pressure cooker makes your favorite take out meal healthy and ready in 30 minutes.

Chicken comes out tender, coconut milk sauce flavorful and authentic with a touch of butter and cilantro, served over freshly cooked rice and with a naan bread. Delicious!

instant pot butter chicken in the pot with metal spoon

Butter chicken is the only Indian recipe we make at home because we just love it! Our family is not huge on eating out because it is extremely expensive, hard to eat healthy, and frankly it’s not easy to be wow-ed when you can cook.

Once you learn how to cook easy healthy Instant Pot dinners, your takeout bill drops dramatically. We would rather make $15 pressure cooker butter chicken, serve it over the most fluffy brown rice and eat all weekend.

Ingredients for Instant Pot Butter Chicken

  • Chicken: Boneless and skinless chicken breasts or thighs.
  • Coconut milk: From a can and from a carton. I used full fat  and my favourite brand is Thai Kitchen for its ingredients and consistency.
  • Tomato paste should be no or low sodium. If not, use less salt.
  • Cornstarch to thicken the sauce. Substitute with flour or arrowroot powder.
  • Fresh garlic and ginger: I would not recommend to use dried ginger but you can.
  • Spices: Curry powder, garam masala and chili powder. This butter chicken is kid friendly but if you want it spicier, add more curry powder.

chicken breasts, spices, ginger, butter, coconut milk, tomato paste, onion

How Make Instant Pot Butter Chicken

  • Add ingredients in exact order listed in the recipe: onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, salt, pepper, coconut milk, maple syrup, tomato paste and chicken. In my photo, spices are on top of chicken and I learnt it’s better to add them first, so they get incorporated in the sauce. Adding tomato products on top avoids Burn.
  • Cook on High Pressure for 12 minutes: Depending on a model, you will need to press Pressure Cook button and make sure Instant Pot is set to High pressure. Or some models have Manual button only which equals to pressure cooking on high. It will take about 15-20 minutes for pressure to build up.
  • Release pressure: Wait for 3 or so minutes and do Quick Release by turning valve to Venting. A few minutes of wait are to make sure bubbling comes down and strong pressure doesn’t pull out moisture from meat. You can also wait for pressure to subside on its own called Natural Release. Doesn’t really matter for this recipe as pot will stay on Keep Warm.
  • Remove chicken and add butter: Add butter into sauce, stir and let melt. Meanwhile, cut up chicken on cutting board. Use forks to remove and hold meat as it’s hot.
  • Thicken the sauce: Press Sauté. In a small bowl, whisk cold (!) water and cornstarch with a fork, then add to the pot, stir and cook until sauce has thickened, for a few minutes. Cold water is important to prevent cornstarch from clumping.
  • Combine: Add back chicken, give a few stirs and I like to add some cilantro into the pot and some over butter chicken served with rice in individual plates.

Do you have an Instant Pot but still not 100% confident around it? Read my Instant Pot guide. Lot of tips and tricks. Still on a fence about Instant Pot? Check out which one I recommend to buy from my experience.

Substitutes, Tips and Variations

  • Frozen chicken: You can use frozen boneless chicken breasts or thighs, just make sure they are separated. Cook time should be 15 minutes, just in case.
  • Bone in chicken: I had this recipe originally posted with 3 lbs of chicken drumsticks. Feel free to use them or chicken thighs as well. Cook time will be 20 minutes.
  • More chicken: You can use up to 3 lbs of meat, there is enough sauce for it. Might adjust salt to taste after.
  • Less tomato paste: If you like more orange and less tomatoey sauce, use 3 tbsp only.
  • Dried ginger powder: I have not tried replacing fresh ginger with dried, but I recommend to start with 1 tsp. It is more concentrated than fresh. Easier to adjust after.
  • Low fat coconut milk: You can use canned (not from a carton) light coconut milk, sauce will be more flat though.
  • Garam masala substitute: Combine 2 tsp cumin with 1 tsp allspice. Or just replace with curry powder.
  • 3 quart Instant Pot: Follow teh recipe, it will fit.
  • Can I double the recipe? Yes, in 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot.

More Storing and Reheating Tips

Storing: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Or if you have room in the fridge, you can stick entire inner pot covered with glass or silicone fitting lid. Then reheat right in Instant Pot on Saute mode. Ha!

Freezing: You can freeze cooked butter chicken leftovers for up to 3 months. Then thaw in the fridge overnight or on a counter for 6 hours.

instant pot butter chicken freezer meal

How to Make a Freezer Meal

  • Prep: In a gallon size Ziploc bag, add all ingredients (minus butter, water, cornstarch and cilantro), let air out and reseal the bag. Swoosh it all around with your hands to make chicken breasts separated with other ingredients.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months: Stand bag in an upright position in your freezer, so frozen blob fits into Instant Pot.
  • Cook from frozen: When ready to cook, cook from frozen for 15 minutes. Should not need water. After follow Step 4.

Check out my full list of healthy freezer meals. I’m obsessed!

I hope you enjoy this Instant Pot butter chicken as much as we do!!!

More Instant Pot Recipes

instant pot butter chicken served over brown rice and with naan bread in a bowl

instant pot butter chicken

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Instant Pot Butter Chicken is easy, healthy and 30 minute restaurant quality dinner you can make whenever you crave Indian food. Many readers give it 5 stars and call this recipe authentic!
5 from 42 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Indian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 435kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves minced
  • 2 inch fresh ginger minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 oz can coconut milk full fat
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or honey
  • 2 lbs chicken breasts or thighs boneless & skinless
  • 6 oz can tomato paste low sodium
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Brown rice for serving

Instructions

  • In Instant Pot, add ingredients in exact order as listed above: onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, salt, pepper, coconut milk, maple syrup, tomato paste and chicken. *In my photo, spices are on top of chicken and I learnt it's better to add them first.
  • Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cook on High or Manual for 12 minutes.
  • After 12 minutes is up, wait 3 minutes or so, and release pressure using Natural Release by turning valve to Venting.
  • Open the lid, remove chicken onto a cutting board and cut into bite size pieces.
  • Press Sauté and add butter. In a small bowl, whisk cold water and cornstarch with a fork, pour into the pot and whisk. Cook for a few minutes until sauce has thickened a bit. Press Cancel.
  • Return chicken to the pot, stir and serve over brown rice garnished with cilantro.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

    Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw in a fridge or on a counter.

      Video

      Notes

      • Freezer Meal:
        • In a gallon size Ziploc bag, add all ingredients (minus butter, water, cornstarch and cilantro), let air out and reseal the bag.
        • Swoosh it all around with your hands to make chicken breasts separated with other ingredients.
        • Freeze for up to 3 months in an upright position, so frozen blob fits into Instant Pot.
        • When ready to cook, cook from frozen for 15 minutes. Should not need water.
        • After follow Step 4.
      • Frozen chicken: You can use frozen boneless chicken breasts or thighs, just make sure they are separated. Cook time should be 15 minutes, just in case.
      • Bone in chicken: I had this recipe originally posted with 3 lbs of chicken drumsticks. Feel free to use them or chicken thighs as well. Cook time will be 20 minutes.
      • More chicken: You can use up to 3 lbs of meat, there is enough sauce for it. Might adjust salt to taste after.
      • Less tomato paste: If you like more orange and less tomatoey sauce, use 3 tbsp only.
      • Dried ginger powder: I have not tried replacing fresh ginger with dried, but I recommend to start with 1 tsp. It is more concentrated than fresh. Easier to adjust after.
      • Low fat coconut milk: You can use it, sauce will be more flat though.
      • Garam masala substitute: Combine 2 tsp cumin with 1 tsp allspice. Or just replace with curry powder or any combination of coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg.
      • 3 quart Instant Pot: Follow teh recipe, it will fit.
      • Can I double the recipe? Yes, in 6 or 8 quart Instant Pot.
      Recipe has been re-tested and updated Nov 2020. However, video is old and new one is coming Dec 2020. Please follow written recipe.

      Nutrition

      Serving: 2cups | Calories: 435kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 107mg | Sodium: 532mg | Potassium: 803mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 307IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 2mg
      Join today and start saving your favorite recipes

      Recipes and images are a copyright of ifoodreal.com. It is against the law to republish recipes anywhere including social media, print and all world wide web. Nutritional info is provided for informational purposes only and to the best knowledge.

      Did you try this recipe?

      I would like to see!

      Follow @ifoodreal on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #ifoodreal. Show me what you are making!

      olena osipov in the studio

      Hello and welcome to iFOODreal.

      My name is Olena Osipov. I'm a mom to 2 boys and a wife to Alex. And this is our healthy family recipes blog. I grew up in Ukraine on real food. As an adult, I tried many diets without results. Now for over 10 years, I cook quick and easy healthy meals for my family. I can help you with “What’s for dinner?” too.

      What You Will Find Here

      Healthy family recipes with simple ingredients. Many are inspired by my Ukrainian heritage. I share mostly dinner recipes because it just never ends... I’m obsessed with healthy freezer meals. And more than in love with my Instant Pot.

      A Little More About Me

      Originally from Ukraine, I now reside on magic Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada with my family. I started this blog in 2012 when I ended up at home with 2 small kids unemployed and a wee bit chubby.

      93 comments on “Instant Pot Butter Chicken

      Our “happiness” software deletes rude comments without publishing, so we can keep on happily cooking delicious recipes for you. Please see our full comment policy:).

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

      Recipe Rating




      This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

      1. The video shows you adding water first. None of the written instructions have you adding water at the beginning. Do you need water at the beginning? and if so, how much?

        1. I just updated this recipe last week after re-testing the recipe but new video is coming Dec 1. I can’t remove old video, long story, but I will add it in notes. No water needed, just follow the written recipe please. Enjoy!

      2. 5 stars
        I made this tonight and it was fabulous. Perfect flavor and right amount of spice. Will be on rotation in my house. Served with brown rice and green beans. Delicious.

      3. 5 stars
        I just got my new Instant Pot and was keen to try it out. While I waited for delivery I came across your recipes and youtube channel and I felt well prepared to get started once it arrived. This was a great recipe to start with and I served with saffron rice also made in the pot. No complaints from two hungry fussy kids and husband. Winning! I also added some hidden vegies ?Thanks so much for your great instant pot resources and I hope to try many more!

      4. 5 stars
        Made this last night and the house smelled amazing. We all enjoyed it, thanks Olena. I don’t have an Instant Pot, it’s a different brand and came with hopeless instructions but I’m finally getting my head around it and have made quite a few successful meals.

      5. 5 stars
        The recipe was easy and very tasty. It is definitely a do-over! I used boneless chicken thighs and used two forks to slightly shred the chicken before adding the cornstarch. I would like this dish to be more spicy the next time I prepare. Can you provide a guide as to how much additional curry I should add?

      6. Hi Olena – Thank you so much for your recipes & videos. I really enjoy them. Would you tell me the time required for Butter Chicken in a crockpot? Is this possible? Much thanks!
        Stay Happy :0)
        Cyndi

      7. 5 stars
        This is the best recipe for curry (butter chicken) I have made in the instant pot and it so easy and healthy! I made it with skinless boneless chicken thighs cut into strips. Thank you so much.

      8. 5 stars
        I can’t believe how delicious this was, especially considering how easy it was to make! Bonus: lighter/healthier than traditional butter chicken because it doesn’t contain a load of oil/butter. I made it using boneless skinless chicken thighs and cooked for 10 mins. New recipe for regular rotation!

      9. 5 stars
        Making this for the second time as we speak- and it already smells amazing!!
        This recipe has very quickly become a favourite of mine and my family’s ???

        Thank you!

        Kate

      10. 5 stars
        Made Butter Chicken with mashed sweet potatoes and asparagus tonight. OMG it was to die for!!! If you haven’t tried it yet you are missing a real treat!!!

      11. 5 stars
        I’m not usually a big fan of Indian food, but made this the other night and it’s delicious! I’ll definitely be making it again!

      12. 5 stars
        Made this recipe twice and it was delicious both times. I just use chicken I have on hand… first time was with bone-in chicken breasts, just cooked it right and and then de-boned after. Second time with boneless thighs. The dark meat was better, just more tender. But such a great dish both times. One of my favorites!!

      13. Hi! Thank you for the recipe, I cannot wait to try it. I am thinking of preparing to go back to work when my mat leave ends in a few months. Ideally I would like to batch-prepare freezer to IP meals every couple weeks. A couple questions:

        1) When you say leave out “all water” from your freezer meal does this include coconut milk? Just add it when you start cooking?
        2) “add ingredients in the exact order” should I reverse the order when Im adding them to my freezer bag/container since i will be dumping it out upside down?
        Lastly, please let me know of any freezer to IP recipes you think I should try for a family of young toddler 🙂

        Thank you!!

        1. Hi Amelia. 1. Yes, just water. There is no need to freeze water – just add before cooking. 2. Yes, that would be the best. I just didn’t think of it at that time. If you don’t, you can just turn around the frozen blog in the pot. A bit messy but works.

          Here is have 10 healthy freezer meals. 😉

      14. I’m stocking up my freezer with freezer meals before baby comes, but I’m finding your Instant Pot instructions hard to understand… (maybe it’s because I’ve not used my Instant Pot yet..)

      15. 5 stars
        We made this for Thanksgiving this year as the fist recipe in our Instapot. The flavor was fantastic! We enjoyed it. My question is this. We used boneless, skinless chicken thighs,left whole, and the totally fell apart. We followed the directions from your recipe. Being new to the Instapot, is this supposed to happen? Would bone in thighs stay together? Thanks Diane

        1. You know, it is one of my first IP recipes I ever created. Now with more experience, I would cook boneless chicken thighs for 10 minutes and they should hold better. They honestly don’t need 20 mins. I might re-do this recipe.:) Glad you enjoyed it overall.

      16. The recipe says 3-3.5lbs of chicken drumsticks. If I substitute them for boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), what quantity should I pick up? This looks delicious but I’m new to cooking and I’d rather skip anything with bones or skin! Also, is it okay to substitute the garlic cloves and ginger root for already minced ingredients?

      17. 5 stars
        This is hands-down the best chicken meal I’ve ever made. I’m not a horrible cook by any means, maybe just uninspired. I’ve gotten rave reviews for this dish, even from people who claim not to like Indian dishes.

        I use boneless skinless chicken thighs that I further trim of skin. I found that it pulls apart in a more yummy way than chicken breast.

        And when I say this is EASY to make, I mean it!

      18. Preparing for this recipe to deliver to a family with a newborn…and while I’m at it, for my family as well! 😉 Thus I would like to double the recipe. For this recipe, should the water be doubled (to 4 cups)? Or should it remain the same to avoid it becoming to watery? I know that some recipes made in the Instant Pot should still double the fluid if doubling the recipe, but not all. Thank you for your recipe and help.

        1. Yes, you have the right thinking. DOuble everything but not the water. There will be enough liquid. Especially if you are using bone in chicken. If you are using boneless and skinless breasts maybe add 1/2 cup just in case.
          Is the mom breastfeeding? I remember spicy food doesn’t go well with breastfeeding in some cases. Just sharing… Maybe chicken and potatoes or spaghetti or lasagna?

      19. 5 stars
        Hi Olena!! I am really enjoying your site and thank you for all the effort you have put into it for those of us who want to eat healthy. I have started recently to change my life and my health and am thankful that this site shows real food can be delicious! I want to make this butter chicken and was wondering if you had ever tried freezing it after it was cooked. I would like to portion it out; otherwise it will take me a very long time to eat it all 🙂 Thanks again!

        1. Hi Kimberly! So happy to hear you are enjoying my recipes! Yes, this butter chicken freezes just fine.
          Please don’t be shy to leave me a comment with a star review once you make any recipe. Have a great week!

      20. 5 stars
        I’ve made Butter Chicken before, but it’s been a few years as it’s normally too rich and required too many ingredients that I didn’t have in my cupboard.

        This recipe was the very best buter chicken I’ve ever had, including from restaurants. I made it for my family and for a meal exchange I recently participated in. Everyone loved it as much as I did.

        All I needed to buy was the curry and Garam Masala, both were about $1.50 at the Indian grocery store. The recipe was so easy to follow and I’m telling you, don’t change a thing as it’s perfect as written.

        I love this blog, thank you Olena! I will be trying many more of your healthy, easy to prepare meals.

      21. 5 stars
        This recipe gets an A+++++++! It is my new favorite recipe from Olena. I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs and it came out fork-tender perfect. Very easy and on the table in 30 minutes (I batch cooked brown rice to use throughout the week).

      22. 5 stars
        This was SO GOOD! Absolutely delicious! It totally hit the spot for me tonight, and it was so easy to throw together. 15 min was perfect for chicken breasts. Thanks for another great recipe!!

        1. Hi Katherine! Right??? I could not believe myself what an amazing Instant Pot butter chicken I made myself and how easy it was because I’m not even Indian. So easy! So happy you enjoyed.:)

      23. 5 stars
        Delicious! My husband is Indian and loved it as well (as did my 4-year old daughter who is a very picky eater). Super-easy to make (this was my first Instant Pot recipe), and turned out very flavorful, just the right amount of spice. The meat was perfectly tender, falling off of the bone. This will be one of my go-to dishes!

        1. Oh my goodness, Michelle. How awesome! I tried butter chicken at local restaurants and hands down I always come back to my Instant Pot butter chicken and think next time I will go out for sushi. It’s just so easy to make it tasty at home. Enjoy your IP! I LOVE mine!

      24. 5 stars
        Olena, I made this dish yesterday, and you know what – my husband is Indian, and I wondered what he will say :)….. AND…. he loved it! 🙂 Thanks!

      25. 5 stars
        I did not know that you could put maple syrup in Indian food! I tried it and it was delicious. This is so easy, healthy and exciting. Thank you for this recipe.

      26. 5 stars
        Found this recipe while looking for an Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe. This was sooo good. Perfectly spicy and saucy. Will make this one over and over again, I’m sure.

      27. 5 stars
        Butter Chicken is one of my favorite recipes. I like that it’s from scratch and super easy to throw together.

      28. 5 stars
        This was my first attempt at making anything Indian from scratch and not using a sauce from a bottle full of preservatives and other crap.
        IT WAS DELICIOUS!
        My 17yo son nearly licked a hole through his plate and had THREE helpings.
        Next time, for my personal taste I plan on doubling the spice.. but start with it as is and adjust to your own liking! You will not be disappointed it was SOOOOO quick and easy (as is everything Instant Pot!!!)

      29. 5 stars
        This was my first official instapot recipe and I couldn’t have been happier! It was so easy and so full of flavor. We paired it with roasted veggies and a spinach salad for dinner! Another hit, thanks Olena!!!

      30. 5 stars
        This is absolutely DELICIOUS.
        Will be a new staple in our house, so quick & easy!!! I used a whole cut up chicken (skinned) it came out perfectly. Might have to do 2 batches next time though, it sure didn’t last long!! Highly recommend to anyone!!

      The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease. You assume full responsibility and liability for your own actions.

      This page may contain affiliate links. ifoodrealcom.bigscoots-staging.com is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. If you make a purchase, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. It helps keep iFOODreal recipes free. Thanks for your support!