Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken

I love Indian Food.

The rich and deep flavors of each dish never fail to send me off into some food trance that I never want to escape. So when creating a Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe (which has a very Tikka Masala taste to it, minus the yogurt), I wanted to create one that wouldn’t necessarily send me on a wild goose chase to a speciality market in search of exotic ingredients, but ALSO wouldn’t compromise that unmistakeable flavor.

If you are a lover of Butter Chicken and Indian food in general, you are going to absolutely LOVE this one, kids! Chicken so tender that melts in your mouth…just like BUTTA!

Here’s How I Made It!:

We’ll start off but cutting up some chicken breasts (or thighs) into large chunks…

…and then we’ll finely chop up an onion.

Now to make that wondrous butter chicken seasoning!  Start off with some garam masala…

…some curry powder…

…ground ginger…


…and a bit of cayenne pepper.

Mix them all together nice and good until blended.

Next, let’s add some butter to the Instant Pot and melt it.

And then add in our onions and some garlic…

…and cook for a few minutes.

To that we’ll add in some chicken broth…

…tomato paste…

…coconut milk

…and our spice blend.

Stir everything together well…

..and then add our chicken!

Give it a final whirl of a stir.  Secure the lid and cook on high pressure.

Meanwhile, cook some Jasmine or Basmati rice on the stove according to the package’s directions.

When the chicken is done cooking, with the lid off bring to a simmer.  Add in a cornstarch slurry and stir as the sauce thickens.

Serve it up by adding some of the rice in a bowl…

…and scooping out some of that amazing butter chicken.

…and placing it over the rice!  I’m telling you, even Streisand herself would approve of this one!

Instant Pot Butter Chicken
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Perhaps the most inconic dish in Indian cuisine known to many an American is Butter Chicken. I would also think Barbra Streisand would enjoy this one too.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 42 minutes
Total Time 47 minutes


  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) of salted butter
  • 2 pounds of chicken breasts (or thighs), diced into chunks
  • 1 large Spanish onion, minced (I used a mini food processor and pulsed a few times to achieve but you can just dice it if you wish)
  • 1 tbsp of crushed garlic
  • 1 cup of chicken broth (I used 1 tsp Chicken Better Than Bouillon + 1 cup of water)
  • 14 oz can of coconut milk
  • 6 oz can of tomato paste
  • 2 tsp of garam masala (you can get this spice at most markets that have an international aisle)
  • 2 tsp of curry powder
  • 1 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (this ingredient will determine the dish’s spice level – you can leave it if you don’t want it spicy OR add more if you want it super spicy)
  • 2 tbsp corn starch + 2 tbsp water to make a slurry
  • Salt and additional curry powder to taste
  • Jasmine or Basmati rice
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. On the Instant Pot, hit “Sauté” and “Adjust” so it’s on “Normal” and wait until it reads “Hot”
  2. Place the stick of butter into the pot and let it melt until it becomes foamy/bubbly
  3. Add in onions and garlic and cook until translucency occurs, stirring often – about 5 minutes
  4. Add the chicken broth, can of tomato paste and can of coconut milk, in that order. Mix thoroughly so that the tomato paste and coconut milk is totally blended in
  5. Add the Curry Powder, Ground Cumin, Ginger, Cayenne Pepper, Garam Masala, and salt to taste
  6. Add the chunks of chicken to the pot and cover with sauce. Give it a good final stir
  7. Secure lid. Press “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” High Pressure for 15 minutes
  8. Once finished let sit in pot for 10 minutes with a natural release. Quick release for the remainder of the time. Begin the rice on the stove according to its instructions
  9. Turn pot back on to “Sauté” and “Adjust” to “More” and bring to a bubble
  10. Mix the cornstarch and water together and then add to the pot and stir very well. Let pot boil until sauce is thickened – about 2 minutes
  11.  Press “Keep Warm” and let it stay that way for about 10 minutes so the sauce thickens a little and the flavors come together even more! (It does this when it cools a little)
  12. Serve over a bed rice. Garnish with fresh cut cilantro if desired
  13. Enjoy!

Jeffrey's Tips

This is going to make a LOT of that DELICIOUS sauce, so feel free to double the chicken if you’d like!

Serve over a delicious Jasmine or Basmati rice to really set this one over the edge!

Reader Interactions


  1. Liz

    Hi Jeffery I made your butter chicken tonight, it was felicitous, I did exactly what you said git everything chopped, mixed , etc and it was easy to do. The flavour was really good and your instructions easy to follow. Thank you Liz

  2. Charmaigne

    Okay, Jeffery. I will admit, I was somewhat sceptical of a butter chicken recipe from a “nice, Jewish boy from Long Island” (direct quote from your page, just to be clear) that is prepared in an Instant Pot. You see, I live in a city in Canada that has a diverse South Asian population, a plethora of Indian cuisine restaurants that have butter chicken as a specialty, and we have butter chicken at least once a week. But, I was intrigued and thought I’d give your version a whirl. I followed your instructions, and, well, the butter chicken was absolutely OUTSTANDING! Thank you so much!

  3. Lynne Bates

    Awesome recipe, Thank you big time!! It made enough sauce for me to freeze for those emergency nights when noone wants to cook.

  4. Jenna Martell

    I don’t know why, but I’ve been putting off trying to make butter chicken at home. I wouldn’t even buy a jar of sauce. I thought no way would it be as good as I get in restaurants. Boy, was I wrong! Made this recipe tonight, followed it exactly except no cayenne pepper as I have 3 boys who don’t like spice. Served it with basmati rice and naan bread. Absolutely perfect! So excited for leftovers!! Thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  5. Abby

    Made this last night and used 3lbs of chicken breasts. So delicious. I prepped everything ahead of time so I could enjoy a cocktail while while the butter chicken was cooking. Thanks so much for all your wonderful recipes. I’m need to order your new lighter book soon.

  6. Karen Johnson

    I love all of your recipes and this buttah chicken(lol) was to die for. I can’t believe at my age I’ve never had it. I was mad at myself because I thought I had ginger but was out! I also used a whole tsp of cayenne because we like spicy. You continue to rock with your awesome recipes and a I thank you for expanding my horizons.

  7. Valerie

    Hi Jeffrey, I am Valerie “Anything but Indian Food” Kelly and I made this butter chicken recipe last night for a dinner party and it was absolutely the most delicious food I have ever had. I have tried and was never a fan of Indian food… until now! Thank you for sharing this super easy, super delicious recipe with us. I am a NYer too and I love your style and your passion for good food.

  8. Deborah Passmore

    Made this recipe last night… it was delicious. It was better than what we get in and our Himalayan restaurant. Only problem was that I got the BURN notice on my instant pot. Everything was mixed really well… nothing on the bottom when I put it on pressure cook… and then it happened.
    Ended up finishing on the stove. I would make it again but this time not in the pressure cooker.

    • Nicole R

      happened to me too, i dreaded opening because it took so long to come to pressure i thought it would never finish if i messed with it BUT i ended up opening it giving it a good stir added 1/2 cup water and put it back on pressure it actually came to pressure much faster and it came out tasting even better! letting you know just in case youre like me and didnt want to start the whole process over.

  9. Annie

    This has been on of my favorite recipes for YEARS. My MIL is meat free, so you have a suggestion for using veggies or paneer?

  10. Kris

    I have tried a few different instant pot butter chicken recipes. This one is now my “go to”. I followed the recipe but for some reason got the burn notice. Not to worry, I knew enough to know chicken would likely be cooked by then so released pressure . Sure enough just chicken was cooked tender so finished the slurry step and dug in. Was absolutely DELICIOUS perfect spiced warm yumminess! Yep this one is the one I will return to.

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