by Olena

Instant Pot Butter Chicken (Video)

by Olena

5 from 38 reviews

Instant Pot Butter Chicken is such an easy healthy 30 minute 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 with coconut milk makes healthy homemade Indian restaurant quality meal in pressure cooker in 30 minutes.

Chicken comes out tender, sauce tastes authentic and flavorful served over freshly cooked rice and sprinkled with cilantro and green onion. Delicious!

Pressure Cooker Butter Chicken

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 You Will Need

  • Any chicken pieces work: chicken thighs, breasts or drumsticks with bone in or boneless. Meat with bone releases more juices, so you might need more cornstarch. Frozen chicken is ok too – same cooking time.
  • Can of coconut milk: Use canned organic full fat (no low fat) coconut milk. My favourite brand is Thai Kitchen – the best consistency and no preservatives. When choosing coconut milk look for coconut milk, water and guar gum at maximum on the ingredients list.
  • Tomato paste adds colour and flavor.
  • Cornstarch thickens the sauce. Substitute with flour or arrowroot powder.
  • Fresh garlic and ginger: I would not recommend to use dried ginger as flavor is not even close. To never run out of ginger, you can peel, chop and freeze it. Then pull out as much as you need.
  • Spices: yellow curry powder, garam masala and chili powder. This butter chicken is kid friendly but if you want it spicier, add more curry powder. You can substitute garam masala with 1 part cumin + 1/4 part allspice. Or any combination of coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg.

best canned coconut milk for instant pot butter chicken

How Make Instant Pot Butter Chicken

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.

  • Add ingredients in exact order listed in the recipe starting with water, onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, salt, pepper, coconut milk, tomato paste, maple syrup and chicken. This is the best way to ensure you will not get Burn.
  • Cook on High Pressure for 20 minutes and then do Natural Release or Quick Release to let out built up pressure. It really doesn’t matter with this recipe.
  • To thicken the sauce press Sauté. In a small bowl, whisk cold (!) water and cornstarch with a fork, then add to the pot and cook until sauce has thickened, stirring a few times. Takes couple minutes. Cold water is important to prevent cornstarch from lumping.

Butter chicken freezer meal

How to Make a Freezer Meal, Store and Reheat

Freezer meal – Assemble ingredients minus all water and cornstarch in the order listed in the recipe and freeze uncooked in gallon size Ziploc bag. When ready to cook, cook from frozen following recipe’s instructions + 2 cups water increasing time to 30 minutes. After follow whisk 1/4 cup water with 3 tbsp cornstarch and Saute until thickened.

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

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!

Freeze cooked butter chicken leftovers for up to 3 months. Then thaw in the fridge overnight or on a counter for 6 hours.

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

More Instant Pot Recipes

Did you know we have entire Youtube channel dedicated to healthy Instant Pot recipes and tips? Make sure to subscribe and hit the Bell icon not to miss new videos.

Print

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

5 from 38 reviews

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

  • Author: Olena of ifoodreal.com
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inch ginger root, minced
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 14 oz can coconut milk, full fat
  • 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 33.5 lbs chicken drumsticks or thighs*
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • Cilantro and green onion, for garnish
  • Brown rice, for serving

Instructions

  1. In Instant Pot, add ingredients in exact order as listed above: water, onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder, garam masala, chili powder, salt, pepper, coconut milk, tomato paste, maple syrup and chicken.
  2. Close the lid, set pressure vent to Sealing and press Pressure Cooking on High for 20 minutes. Display will say ON, Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to come to pressure, you will see a bit of steam coming out from a valve, then float valve will rise and countdown will begin.
  3. After 20 minutes, Instant Pot will beep, display will say OFF and now it needs to bring pressure down before you can open it, which will be indicated by a dropped down float valve. You can let it do it on its own which will take about 20 minutes – Natural Release. OR you can do Quick Release by turning pressure valve to Venting position, which takes 2-3 minutes. I recommend doing so outside to avoid the mess and smell.
  4. Open the lid and press Sauté (cancel Keep Warm if it’s on). In a small bowl, whisk water and cornstarch with a fork, pour over chicken and stir gently. Cook for a few minutes until sauce has thickened a bit. Serve with brown rice, garnished with cilantro and green onions.

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.

Freezer Meal: Assemble ingredients minus all water and cornstarch in the order listed above and freeze uncooked in gallon size Ziploc bag. When ready to cook, cook from frozen following recipe’s instructions + 2 cups water increasing time to 30 minutes. After follow Step 4.

Notes

*You can use boneless chicken breasts or thighs as well. Cooking time will be 15 minutes.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.

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.

87 comments on “Instant Pot Butter Chicken (Video)

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  1. 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!

  2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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

  8. 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!!!

  9. 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!

  10. 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!!

  11. 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. 😉

  12. 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..)

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. I made the recipe exactly as described and it was AMAZING! Olena, I love everything I have tried from you <3

  16. 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!

  17. 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?

  18. 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!

  19. 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.

  20. 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).

  21. 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.:)

  22. 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!

  23. 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!

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

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

  27. 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!!!)

  28. 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!!!

  29. 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!!

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