by Olena

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

by Olena

This Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe with coconut milk makes healthy restaurant quality meal at home, in your electric pressure cooker, in 30 minutes from start to finish.

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 hard to be wow-ed because we can cook. Once you learn how to cook easy healthy dishes (like the ones from haha), your takeout bill drops dramatically. We would rather make $15 butter chicken in Instant Pot and eat it all weekend.

You know what was our Indian restaurant bill last time I felt too tired to cook? $100 because my kids eat like adults now. There is nothing worse than leaving a restaurant thinking you could prepare the same food 5 times cheaper and enjoy $3 glass of wine with it too. So, we cook at home 95% of time.


This Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe with coconut milk makes healthy restaurant quality meal at home, in your electric pressure cooker, in 30 minutes from start to finish.

If you are an Indian cook, you can judge me all you want and tell us, Westerners, we do not cook Indian dishes in true authentic way. I see a difference between my grandma’s Ukrainian borscht, pierogies and cabbage rolls, and their Westernized versions. However, it’s about what you grew up to know, your family’s taste buds and diet preferences.

So, after the foreword and $100 restaurant bill, all of my boys said my crockpot butter chicken is just as good. And that’s the recipe I based this Instant Pot butter chicken on, with a few tests and modifications for an electric pressure cooker. Trust me, Instant Pot does need testing. I don’t think I have ever tested my cooking so much.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe Video 

Instant Pot Butter Chicken Meat Options

  1. Bone in and skin on chicken thighs or drumsticks – These budget-friendly cuts of meat result in richer sauce with meat falling off the bone. To cut back on fat, you can remove skin before cooking.
  2. Cut up whole chicken – If you buy whole fryers in bulk, cut it into pieces and it will cost you less than any other chicken. Trim fat and skin as much as desired.
  3. Boneless chicken breasts or thighs – Works like a charm creating leaner version of butter chicken but expect to pay more. You can either cut meat before cooking or shred afterwards.

Tips for Best Instant Pot Butter Chicken

  1. Use coconut milk (not low fat) from a can (not carton).
  2. Tomato paste is a must.
  3. Whisk cornstarch in water well and pour immediately while mixture literally is still whirlwinding inside the cup.
  4. This is kid friendly version. Want it spicier? Add more curry powder.
  5. Out of all garnishes, cilantro is a must.
  6. Stop being intimidated by your Instant Pot. This is literally “a dump recipe”. At the end you just have to thicken it with water+cornstarch slurry.

Enjoy being healthy and saving yourself $85!


Instant Pot Butter Chicken

5 from 7 reviews

This Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe with coconut milk makes healthy restaurant quality meal at home, in your electric pressure cooker, in 30 minutes from start to finish.

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings


  • 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
  • 3 – 3.5 lbs chicken drumsticks or thighs*
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch
  • Cilantro and green onion, for garnish
  • Brown rice, for serving


  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.


*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.

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9 comments on “Instant Pot Butter Chicken

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

  2. 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.
    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!!!)

  3. 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!!!

  4. 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!!