Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken basked in a rich and creamy tomato sauce loaded with sweet and savory spices, it’s no wonder that Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the most sought-after meals on any Indian restaurant’s menu. And I always vowed to make my own version of it so that it not only tastes just as astounding as my favorite Indian joint, but also done easily and accessibly. Well folks, dreams do come true. I present to you an Instant Pot Tikka Masala so outrageous and authentic-tasting (with my own spin on it of course), that it just may be devoured in one sitting. Here’s How I Made It! (scroll to the bottom for the fully-written recipe): 

Like nearly every savor dish, it starts with an onion… 

…diced up. 

Then take some boneless, skinless chicken thighs (yes, you can use breasts instead)… 

…and slice them into bite-sized pieces. 

Now add some olive oil to the Instant Pot and give it some heat. 

Once the oil’s heated… 

…add the onion… 

…and chicken. 

Sauté until the chicken is pinkish-white in color (it should not be fully cooked at this stage). 

Add in some garlic and ginger… 

…and sauté for another moment. 

Now we need to add some unsweented coconut milk to the mix. 

But make sure it’s a thin, watery consistency. NOT thick and lumpy. This will ensure the pot comes to pressure properly. 

And now let’s spice it up with some garam masala (a classic Indiana blend spice – Rani is my fave brand), seasoned salt, cumin and turmeric. 

Stir until combined. 

Lastly, add in some cilantro (if you don’t like it, leave it out)… 

…and a bay leaf. 

Give it a final stir, secure the lid and cook at high pressure. 

When done, remove the bay leaf and discard. 

Now to give it that tomatoey-creamy finish! Add in both a can of tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes… 

…and some Greek yogurt. 

If you want to make this Tikka Masala stand apart from the rest, it’s time to get a little unconventional. TOTALLY OPTIONAL, but achieve this by adding in a package of Boursin or any spreadable herb cheese. 

And we’ll finish it off with another blast of the garam masala, seasoned salt, cumin and turmeric. The reason we add some before pressure cooking and some after is all for the flavor potency as adding spices after keeps them lingering on the tongue more intensely. 

If you want it spicy, add in some cayenne pepper (but you don’t need to!) 

Stir until combined… 

…and then finish it off with a touch of sweet with some pure maple syrup. 

Give it a final stir and look at that pot of beautiful and aromatic genius! 

Serve it over some rice and with some naan (a delicious Indian flatbread). 

Show off your masterpiece… 

…try it out… 

…and that’s it! Foodie nirvana, achieved! Easy and the REAL DEAL!

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Yield: 6

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken basked in a rich and creamy tomato sauce loaded with sweet and savory spices, it’s no wonder that Chicken Tikka Masala is one of the most sought-after meals on any Indian restaurant’s menu.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 minutes
Additional Time 5 minutes
Total Time 16 minutes


  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) refined coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, sliced into bite-size pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, crushed or minced
  • 1 (13-14 ounce) can unsweetened coconut milk (it must be thin like water and not thick and lumpy) or unsweetened almond or cashew milk
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala (an Indian spice blend that can be found in many markets or easily online)
  • 3 teaspoons seasoned salt, divided
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric, divided
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup 2% Greek yogurt
  • 5.2-ounce package of Boursin (or any spreadable herb cheese, any flavor – optional for extra creaminess)
  • 1 (14-15 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (14-15 ounce) can crushed or diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional, for spice)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, plus more for topping (optional)


  1. Add the oil to the Instant Pot and hit Sauté and Adjust so it’s on the More or High setting. After 3 minutes of heating, add the chicken and onion and sauté for 3-5 minutes, until the chicken is pinkish-white in color and the onion is slightly softened. Add the garlic and ginger sauté for 1 minute longer.
  2. Add the coconut milk, 1 tablespoon of the garam masala, 1 teaspoon of the seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, 1 teaspoon of the turmeric, cilantro (if using) and bay leaf. Mix until well-combined.
  3. Secure the lid, move the valve to the sealing position, hit Keep Warm/Cancel and then hit the Manual or Pressure Cook button at High Pressure for 6 minutes. Quick release when done and remove the bay leaf.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, crushed tomatoes, yogurt, Boursin (if using), maple syrup, remaining 1 tablespoon of the garam masala, 2 teaspoons of the seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon of the cumin, 1 teaspoon of the turmeric and cayenne pepper (if using). Stir until well combined and let rest for 5 minutes until it thickens slightly and comes together.
  5. Serve over Cilantro Lime Rice topped with additional cilantro, if desired.

Jeffrey's Tips

If you’d rather use cream in place of the Greek yogurt, have at it. Same amount.

As mentioned, the Boursin (or any spreadable herb cheese) is completely optional and definitely unconventional. It just adds a final surge of creamy flavor and sets this Tikka Masala apart from the rest.

Reader Interactions


  1. Judy Nygard

    Your new website is awesome and I love how the print option is so much better. I also love your new cookbook and have made many recipes from it. I love tikka masala so am anxious to try this recipe.

  2. SRaines

    This recipe is wonderfully delicious!! Quick, easy, and perfect flavors. The boursin really adds a great dimension to it, highly recommend 🙂

  3. Melissa

    This was fantastic! I love your recipes, Jeffrey! I have tried a lot of your recipes, and they have all been excellent and easy! Thanks so much! Cant wait for the new cookbook!

  4. Joan

    Hi Jeff,
    I recently found your amazing website after reading a customer review of your cookbook. I’m anxious to try some of the great looking recipes. I’m a novice to the instant pot and am wondering
    if I subbed the thicker coconut milk, would it give a thicker sauce, or should I use cornstarch or potato flour? I think I would prefer a slightly thicker sauce than what appears on your video.

  5. Jake

    This recipe is awesome. I am wondering, however, what is considered one serving? ½ a cup, 1 cup? Also what is the nutrition info for a single serving. Thanks!

  6. Tami K

    This recipe is spot on. I was a little hesitant with the Cayenne pepper but it worked out just fine. My adult children who live in Seattle and frequently eat Indian food, said this dish is spot on.

  7. Kristina

    This was a hit for the whole family (including our 18 month old & 3 year old). I served it with Coconut Ginger Rice. I think next time I might add cashews to give it a crunch.

  8. Jan

    Recipe was delicious but the BURN alert appeared in the window instead of starting the 6 min. Checked my cooker, added the can of tomato sauce and restarted, only to have BURN reappear. Transferred to heavy pot to finish. Followed instructions, mystified.

  9. Abby

    I’ve made this several times but never commented. This recipe is AMAZING! I serve it in a bowl with white rice which I had made earlier ( make pressure cooker rice, when cooked put three cups in a quart bags and freeze. To use poke tiny holes with a fork in the bag and microwave for 3 minutes)
    This way you always have rice in hand.
    Such a delicious meal. Thanks so very much!

  10. Karen Briski

    Absolutely delicious. I have enough sauce leftover to make something else. May drain the tomatoes, cut down the amount of coconut milk and tomato sauce to get a thicker sauce next time. A bit hesitant to do so because I don’t want to mess with the fabulous flavor.

  11. Leah

    If you add the tomatoes on top and do not stir, the burn notice is less likely to happen.
    Also to change things up, use an immersion blender to blend sauce after cooking. It thickens nicely.

  12. Heather M.

    This was a winner! I’ll be adding this to my regular rotation. I served it over brown rice…you need something to soak up this delicious sauce!

  13. Karen Reddoch

    Jeffrey tried this recipe last night and it was absolutely delicious! Your recipes always have such great flavor. Thx for making me look like I know what I’m doing..:)

  14. SB

    I’m just discovering your site now in 2023. Up until now I felt like I ruined everything I did in the instant pot. The first recipe I tried of yours was the oxtail. I nailed it. The family went bonkers for it. Your instructions are clear and you answer my questions before I ask them. Tonight I’m trying this recipe. You are a great teacher.

  15. Susan

    Just made this for the first time. It is a knockout! The authentic flavor is there and then some! Absolutely amazing and delicious! Thank you!

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