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Instant Pot Butter Chicken; skip the delivery

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Butter Chicken, the exceedingly popular and most well known Indian food dish is well suited to cooking in the Instant Pot, and the results are outstanding.  Skip the Delivery, make this Instant Pot Butter Chicken at home today and have leftovers for lunch this week!

A simple yogurt marinade, some aromatic spices like Garam Masala, toasted Cumin and Ginger combine with BUTTER and cream to complete this luxurious dish.  Using the Instant Pot allows you to make this in a hurry without sacrificing the depth of flavour that normally comes from low and slow simmering.


Butter chicken with naan
Butter Chicken

Learning to Love food

I’ve been eating and enjoying Indian cuisine since I was a very young child, my father was a huge fan, eating ridiculously spicy curries, that to this day I couldn’t eat.     Luckily for me, I was introduced to much milder and flavourful dishes like Chicken Korma,  Chicken Tikka, and of course Butter Chicken.

Now there was ONE time where I accidentally got my Dad’s Rogan Josh, made to his specification of exceptionally spicy, and literally my mouth was on fire after just two bites.  We were pretty confused as I had ordered a very mild Chicken Korma which should have been sweet and not spicy at all.   Thankfully we figured out pretty quickly that I had the wrong dish, I ate some naan with raita,  my lips stopped burning and the rest of the meal was a success.

My  little secret

I’ll let you in on a secret of mine;  I like the sauce of the butter chicken so much I often just eat it with Rice Pilau and Naan, honestly the sauce is MAGIC!   There should be a butter chicken SOUP!  When you make this Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe you will notice that there is a large amount of sauce compared to chicken, this is not accidental, and I guarantee you will see why once you taste it.

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Chopped ginger, salt, cumin, paprika, salt and Garam Masala
Place all seasoning in a bowl

Don’t let the long list of ingredients stop you from making this Instant Pot Butter Chicken.   It is not difficult once all the spices are prepped and ready to go,  and the Instant Pot does the rest of the work for you.

This dish benefits from planning ahead if you have the time.  Marinate the chicken or shrimp for up to 24 hours allowing the marinade to really work it’s way into the chicken.   Additionally, the yogurt acts as a tenderizer, resulting in super moist pieces of chicken.  Prep everything ahead of time on Sunday night for a delicious easy to throw together dinner on Monday after work.


Peel shrimp, greek qyogurt and tandoori seasoning in a glass bowl
Marinate Chicken or Shrimp in Yogurt and Tandoori seasoning.


Sauteeing the marinated chicken and spices in an instant pot
Saute the marinated chicken and spices

Instant Pot Magic

One of my favourite features of the Instant Pot is the ability to saute; getting the additional flavour from the searing of the chicken and spices without having to dirty another dish is a win.  After only  5 minutes on High pressure, and a 10 minute natural pressure release, the sauce is flavourful, the chicken is super tender, and it just needs a few minutes to thicken before adding in the heavy cream.   Don’t skip the natural pressure release, the additional cooking time, and slow release ensures that they chicken in moist and juicy. The heavy cream adds richness, sweetness and thickens the sauce  a little as well. Half and Half can be substituted if you must, however the end result will not be as good.


Butter chicken cooked but no cream added
Butter Chicken almost ready.



Cream added into the Butter Chicken Sauce
Cream added into the Butter Chicken Sauce


Butter Chicken in a dish with naan in the background
Rich & Creamy Butter Chicken


And that’s it, dinner is ready!  Your house smells delicious, you have leftovers for lunches for the week and you  used one, just one pot!   Oh yes, this makes me happy!

If you enjoy cooking International cuisines at home, want to reduce your dining out budget, or just want to try another great Instant Pot dish,  I think you’ll enjoy my Instant Pot Orange Chicken which was my first in the Skip the Delivery Series!




Butter Chicken in a dish with naan in the background

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Servings 12 cups


  • 5 boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into pieces
  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp Tandoori paste or seasoning
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 red or green chili peppers seeded and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger root peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons ground roasted cumin seeds roast on the stovetop in a small pan
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed minced cilantro


Marinate the chicken

  • Cut the chicken thighs and breasts into 2 inch pieces and place in a large mixing bowl, add yogurt, lemon, and Tandoori seasoning.  Mix well to coat and set aside to allow to marinate for at least 30 minutes,  4 hours or overnight is better.

Make the sauce

  • In a blender puree canned diced tomatoes (with juice), fresh ginger, and chili peppers. Set aside.
  • While chicken marinates, in a small bowl combine Garam Masala, Cumin Seeds, Sea Salt, and Paprika.  Set aside.
  • Add Ghee or butter to Instant pot, set to saute on medium.  When butter is melted and foam begins to subside, add the chicken pieces, a few at a time, and saute until nicely browned.  Remove them with a slotted spoon into a bowl and set aside.
  •  Once all the chicken is cooked, return to the Instant Pot, including all the juices,  add in the spice mixture and stir until fragrant about 2-3 minutes. Pour in the tomato mixture, stir the chicken to coat the pieces. Cover and lock lid in place.  Select High Pressure and 5 minutes cook time. When timer beeps, turn off and use a natural pressure release for 10 minutes then quick pressure release  any remaining pressure.
  • Remove lid, and set to saute on medium.   Stir in cream and let simmer until thickened.  Just before serving stir in chopped cilantro and check for seasoning.  Adjust salt to taste.
  • Serve with Pilau Rice and Naan.


I also like to make this dish with shrimp, check out my instructions for Shrimp Mahkni!


Serving: 6g
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!



By on November 25th, 2018
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Lara Brooks

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