Make restaurant-quality butter chicken from “The Butter Chicken Lady” at home in under 30 minutes! Join the thousands who have made this very popular Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe–which also happens to be a great keto chicken recipe.
Instant Pot Butter Chicken
I hate when people praise their own cooking and recipes–but I’m going to break my own rule because this Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe is the bomb. This is my most popular recipe ever. Try it for yourself and you’ll see why!
This butter chicken recipe is super easy. You probably have all the ingredients at home already with one exception, which is the garam masala. But that’s okay because I will show you how easy it is to make it! Just click on this link for garam masala, and you will have the best, easiest, and tastiest garam masala recipe EVER. I mean, EVER.
Why is this the Best Butter Chicken Recipe?
Yes there are a lot of butter chicken recipes out there. Yes, there are many other types of Indian Chicken curry recipes out there. But honestly? This one is easy, authentic, creamy, spicy, and delicious.
So here’s the story with this Indian Butter chicken that I made in my pressure cooker. It took me three tries. Everyone around me has had to taste all the iterations. This is the one. #trustUrvashi
It’s easy. It’s authentic tasting. It’s loved by literally hundreds of thousands of people who have made it. It’s been featured in a ton of press articles.
It’s the reason I am known as “The Butter Chicken Lady”.
Authentic Tasting Butter Chicken
I’ve seen so many Indian Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipes that have no butter, no cream but that call for cornstarch, onions (heresy, y’all, no onions in butter chicken for the love of all that’s good) and coconut milk instead of cream, so I’ve decided it’s time to fix that.
I also can’t be bothered with recipes with multiple steps and marinating the chicken two different ways etc. Additionally, the thing that takes the longest in Indian cooking is making the sauce anyway.
So what if there was a recipe where you cooked once and were able to save half the sauce for later?
I didn’t start out planning this but no matter how I made it, I had lots of very tasty sauce–too much sauce. So I decided to go with it.
Did you know that there is a vegetarian version of my renown butter chicken recipe? My Vegetarian Butter Chicken with Soy Curls recipe gives you all the flavor of the original in one delicious vegetarian dish!
How To Make Instant Pot Butter Chicken |Pressure Cooker Chicken Makhani
Here’s what’s going to happen. You’ll cook the tomatoes along with spices and aromatics with the chicken on top, infusing its flavors into the sauce.
- Place tomatoes and all spices in the bottom of the Instant Pot.
2. Add in Chicken Thighs. You do not need to add any water. The chicken and tomatoes alone will release a lot of water. If you have an 8-quart pressure cooker, you may want to double the ingredients or add in 1/4 cup of water just to be cautious.
3. This step is entirely optional–but very nifty. If you’d like to make rice, or mashed cauliflower, you can cook them at the same time as the chicken.
Place a metal trivet on top of the sauce. Then, you can use a small container with rice or with frozen riced cauliflower to go on top of it.
This is called Pot-in-Pot Cooking and I have a video here that will tell you all you need to know about how to do Pot in pot cooking.
4. If you’re cooking rice, add rice to a small container. Measure out water and put that into the rice container. If you’re using frozen riced cauliflower, you do not need to add water. The steam and heat alone will be enough to cook the cauliflower.
5. Cook for 10 mins on high pressure. Allow it to release pressure naturally for an additional 10 minutes.
6. Once you open the Instant Pot, the rice will be cooked to perfection. For mashed cauliflower, you can add butter, salt, and pepper and mash it in.
If you prefer a cauliflower and cheese dish with this, which, while not traditionally Indian AT ALL, is actually very good, check out this Instant Pot Cauliflower and Cheese Recipe.
7. At this point, you want to remove the chicken and set it aside. You will be adding things and blending the sauce–and you don’t want blended chicken in your Butter Chicken 🙂
8. Now, you will add butter, cream, and 1 additional teaspoon of garam masala.
You are doing this after the sauce has cooked because pressure cooking causes butter and cream to separate into a greasy mess. Adding it afterward allows the fat to emulsify properly into the sauce, resulting in utter deliciousness.
The additional teaspoon of garam masala is to add fragrance to the dish before serving.
9. If you are serving the butter chicken with mashed cauliflower instead of rice, roughly mash the cauliflower with butter, salt and pepper.
10. Once it’s cooked and you’ve purÃ©ed and finished the sauce, you’ll TAKE OUT half the sauce and save it.
Only then will you put the chicken back. This means you now have the lovely buttery tomato-ey sauce ready for the next time you have chicken left over.
And there you are. Authentic Indian Butter Chicken in your Instant pot or Pressure cooker. Eat up!
Is Butter Chicken Truly Authentically Indian?
Actually it is. The story goes that the owner of Moti Mahal restaurant in Delhi started it as a way to use up leftover tandoori chicken from the restaurant. (I digress, but here’s an excellent Tandoori Chicken recipe).
I will say however, that it is more popular outside of India than it is in India. It’s also more of a North Indian dish than something that is widely eaten in South India.
My mother was Punjabi, and since the butter chicken is a Punjabi dish, I grew up eating it.
But the way I make this Indian butter chicken in my pressure cooker is ENTIRELY different from how others have made it.
This may be why you will see so many references in the press to my butter chicken recipe.
Okay now, hundreds of thousands of people have made this Instant pot Butter Chicken Recipe. Many of them insist that there is never any butter chicken sauce left.
You know why?? Because they drink it like soup, that’s why. And yes, it is exactly that tasty. Trust me guys, this Instant Pot butter chicken with it’s perfect garam masala, the yummy tomatoes, the perfect creamy, saucy, spicy blend? This is the butter chicken recipe you will reach for again and again.
Tips & Tricks for Making the Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe:
- Do not re-pressure cook the butter and cream filled sauce for a second time as it gets thin and unappetizing. Cook the chicken when you first make the sauce, save half the tomato sauce frozen, and when you’re ready, add cooked chicken, or paneer, and heat it through in a skillet. Instant dinner!
- For this recipe, the garam masala is very, very important. Unlike other recipes, I didn’t use whole spices because I’ve learned that not everyone has whole cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and green cardamom lying around. So we’ll use garam masala instead, and I must urge you to make this homemade garam masala recipe! It makes a HUGE difference.
- You’ll note there’s no added water in this recipe. Between the tomatoes and the chicken, there’s more than enough to create pressure in this recipe. Any more water and it’s going to taste insipid.
- Let the sauce cool just a little before adding the butter and the cream. Adding it to the boiling sauce will make your sauce very thin. If that happens, just put it in the fridge for a little and let it thicken up. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Have More Questions About My Butter Chicken Recipe?
I’ve created a handy-dandy FAQs of Butter Chicken post here, to answer all the questions that get posted about this dish. Please read this before contacting me, because although I love hearing from you, I’ve answered most of the questions you will have here.
What Else Can I Serve with the Butter Chicken?
To make this Butter Chicken a complete meal, you can serve with another vegetable such as saag paneer, eggplant bharta, or aloo gobi for example, and combine with either naan or basmati pilau. My favorite accompaniment is often Cucumber Peanut Slaw.
Other Butter Chicken Variations and Recipes
- If you prefer vegetarian dishes, check out my Vegetarian Butter Chicken with Soy Curls. It gives you all the flavors of my famous butter chicken recipe in a flavorful vegetarian dish!
- And if (and that’s a big if) you happen to have any butter chicken left over you can use it to make this delicious Butter Chicken Pizza recipe!
This Instant Pot Butter chicken recipe is where I get my namesake, The Butter Chicken Lady. I’m sure you’ll love it just as much as the hundreds of thousands of people who have already made it!
Other Classic Pressure Cooker Indian Curry Recipes
- Chicken korma is creamy and just slightly spicy.
- Chicken Tikka Masala, or Britain’s national dish 🙂
- Chicken Vindaloo for the win! Make it at home and control how spicy it can get.
- Classic south Indian curry with coconut milk and tamarind. Super popular on the blog.
- Lamb Rogan Josh is so easy you’ll wonder why you haven’t made it before.
- Basic Chicken Curry that you can make on a weeknight.
- Chicken Jalfrezi in an air fryer, not pressure cooker, but delicious.
- And then I have a whole section on Biryanis, because I <3 Biryani
â˜… Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! Just click on the stars in the recipe card to rate.
- 1 14- ounce Canned Tomatoes
- 5-6 cloves Garlic
- 1-2 teaspoons minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon Turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoons Cayenne
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
- 1 pound Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs (or use breast, bone-in, or whatever works for you. If frozen, add 1-2 minutes to total time)
- To finish
- 4 ounces butter cut into cubes (use coconut oil if dairy free)
- 4 ounces heavy cream (use full-fat coconut milk if dairy free)
- 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
- 1/4-1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Instant Pot instructions
- Place all ingredients into an Instant Pot in the order listed, EXCEPT for the butter, cream and 1 teaspoon of the garam masala, mixing the sauce well before you place the chicken on top of the sauce. If it’s frozen, push it into the sauce a bit so it defrosts better
- Close the cooker and set for 10 mins on high, and let it release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. After that, release all remaining pressure.
- Open up the pot and remove the chicken carefully and set aside
- Blend together all the ingredients, preferably using an immersion blender
- Add the cut up butter, cream, cilantro, and garam masala and stir until well incorporated.
- It’s best to let the sauce cool just a little before adding the butter and the cream. Adding it into the boiling sauce will make your sauce very thin. If that happens, just put it in the fridge for a little and let it thicken up. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon
- Take out half the sauce and freeze for later or store in the fridge for 2-3 days
- Add the chicken back in and heat through. Break it up into smaller pieces if you need but don’t shred it.
- Serve over rice, or zucchini noodles
Using leftover sauce
- Use leftover cooked chicken and mix in with the gently heated sauce, let it simmer for a few for the flavors to meld together and there you go. Add some fresh cilantro on top.
- You could also use this for Paneer Makhani. Defrost a cup of peas and 1 cup of paneer and mix gently into the heated sauce and let it simmer for a few for the flavors to meld together and there you go.
- If you use a stand blender, be very careful with the hot sauce and be sure to leave the inside lid open to vent.
- Yes, I know the recipe doesn’t call for additional liquid. The chicken and tomatoes release a LOT of liquid. Unless you do something wrong, it will not burn.Â
- Do not re-pressure cook the butter and cream filled sauce for a second time as it gets thin and unappetizing. Cook the chicken when you first make the sauce, save half the tomato sauce frozen, and when youâ€™re ready, add cooked chicken, or paneer, and heat it through in a skillet. Instant dinner!
- For this recipe, theÂ garam masalaÂ is very, very, important. Unlike other recipes, I didnâ€™t use whole spices because Iâ€™ve learned that not everyone has whole cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, and green cardamom lying around. So weâ€™ll useÂ garam masalaÂ instead and I must urge you to make thisÂ homemade garam masala recipe! It makes a HUGE difference.
- Youâ€™ll note thereâ€™s no added water in this recipe. Between the tomatoes and the chicken, thereâ€™s more than enough to create pressure in this recipe. Any more water and itâ€™s going to taste insipid.
- Let the sauce cool just a little before adding theÂ butter and the cream. Adding it to the boiling sauce will make your sauce very thin. If that happens, just put it in the fridge for a little and let it thicken up. It should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Don’t forget to check out my Instant Pot Fast & Easy Cookbook!
This book is full of all kinds of boldly flavored and internationally-themed recipes—Mexican, Thai, Moroccan, and more—with Instant Pot Fast & Easy, fully authorized by Instant Pot. Just like you have come to expect, my recipes will work perfectly every time, and of course, taste great too.