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No need to visit your local Indian restaurant to cure your curry cravings! Tender, juicy chicken swims in a thick, rich, and creamy curry sauce that is well balanced. This Instant Pot Butter Chicken gets those authentic flavors just right for a medley of spice and richness that’s as real as it gets. {Gluten-Free}

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

4.86 from 7 votes
No need to visit your local Indian restaurant to cure your curry cravings! Tender, juicy chicken swims in a thick, rich, and creamy curry sauce that is well balanced. This Instant Pot Butter Chicken gets those authentic flavors just right for a medley of spice and richness that’s as real as it gets.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
Marinating time plus adding and releasing pressure time: 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 50 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: instant pot
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Maggie Zhu

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs (900 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon butter (Optional)

Marinade

  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 lemon , juiced
  • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika , smoked
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Curry mix

  • 1 tablespoon Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (Optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Instant Pot

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter , divided
  • 1 onion , minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger , grated
  • 4 cloves garlic , grated
  • 1/2 lemon , juiced
  • 1 cup tomato puree (or canned tomato sauce) (*Footnote 1)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Chopped cilantro , for garnish (Optional)

Instructions

Marinade chicken

  • Cut the chicken into 2” (5 cm) chunks, trimming the excess fat and discarding it as you do, and place the chicken pieces into a large bowl.
  • Add all the marinade ingredients into the bowl with the chicken. Mix until everything is evenly coated. Cover the bowl and marinate at least half an hour at room temperature, or up to overnight in the fridge.

Cook

  • Combine the curry mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  • (Optional) Heat the 1 extra tablespoon of butter in a large nonstick pan over high heat until the butter melts. Add the chicken into the pan in a single layer (you might need to cook it in two batches). Cook it until the bottom browns, 2 minutes or so. Flip to brown the other side, then transfer the chicken onto a big plate. (* Footnote 2)
  • Turn the Instant Pot to the saute function and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once melted, add the onion, ginger, and garlic. Saute until it starts to brown, around 3 minutes.
  • Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and allow it to melt. Add the curry spices and salt. Cook until fragrant, another minute.
  • Deglaze the pot with the lemon juice, being careful to scrape up everything from the pot. If there is caramelization left on the bottom of the pot it may burn during the cooking process.
  • Add the tomato puree and sugar. Stir everything together. Cook the tomato mixture down, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • Turn off the saute function and add the heavy cream. Mix until the curry base is a uniform orange color.
  • Add the chicken to the Instant Pot and seal the lid. Make sure the valve on the lid is pointed to lock. Set to “Manual” and “High pressure”. For browned chicken, set the timer for 5 minutes. For unbrowned chicken, set the timer for 10 minutes.
  • Once the cooking is finished, let the Instant Pot release naturally for at least 10 minutes before using the fast release.
  • Spoon the hot chicken curry over steamed rice, garnish with cilantro if using, and serve as a main dish.
  • Store the leftovers in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Notes

  1. Tomato puree is unseasoned and unsalted, while canned tomato sauce is slightly seasoned. I prefer tomato puree, but you can use canned tomato sauce as well.
  2. Browning the chicken before adding it to the curry adds an extra layer of flavor and seals the moisture into the chicken, leading to a thicker curry at the end of the recipe. This recipe still works great without browning. Your curry will just be a bit looser. Avoid browning the meat in the Instant Pot - this can increase the likelihood of burning the bottom and doesn't brown the meat evenly, so I don’t recommend it.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving, Calories: 360kcal, Carbohydrates: 8.3g, Protein: 35.5g, Fat: 20.3g, Saturated Fat: 9.7g, Cholesterol: 137mg, Sodium: 743mg, Potassium: 511mg, Fiber: 1.3g, Sugar: 4.3g, Calcium: 60mg, Iron: 3mg