A Spicy Perspective

Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

Vibrant Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry RecipeVibrant tantalizing Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry made in minutes!

Silky Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry Recipe
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Butter. Chicken. Were there ever two words more perfect together?

Although I can think of a lot of names to better describe this classic Indian favorite, Butter Chicken is definitely the most tantalizing title.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry Recipe

We love making Indian curries at home. The bold spices and vibrant colors are such a great way to liven up a mundane mid-week meal.

However, many traditional curries take hours to make. The layers of ingredients must be meticulously added at different times to create the depth of flavor we associate with Indian cuisine.

Because of this, our “quickie” Indian curries often taste better the next day after they have had time to rest and mingle.

Making Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

This Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry is an exception to the rule.

Using the “Pressure Cook” setting on the Instant Pot allow you to pack in hours of slow-cooked flavor in minutes!

You get all the complexity of restaurant-made Butter Chicken, in a speedy recipe you can make in a pinch. You’ve got to love that.

How to Make Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

How To Make Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

Sauté onions, garlic, and ginger in butter, in the Instant Pot. Add in curry powder, garam masala, and smoked paprika.

In traditional Butter Chicken recipes you usually find a long long list of Indian spices. However, all of these spices are found in most curry powder and garam masala spice blends.

How To: Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

Once the spices and onions have cooked down, add in chopped chicken thighs and canned tomato sauce.

Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and pressure cook for 7 minutes.

Then stir in heavy cream to create the rich silky Butter Chicken sauce we all know and love!

Must-Make Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

I know what’s coming next… Someone is going to ask me if this Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry can be made dairy free.

In short, no.

However, the honest answer is yes and no.

Easy Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

You can make this exact recipe substituting coconut oil or non-dairy butter spread for the butter, and thick canned coconut milk for the heavy cream.

It will still taste delicious and will convert this recipe to not only a gluten free meal, but a dairy free and gluten free meal.

Zesty Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

Yet, is it really Butter Chicken without butter?

It’s not even Chicken Tikka Masala, a similar British-Indian fusion dish, without a little dairy.

When you take out the dairy and add coconut milk, what you end up with is more of a Goan-style curry. So technically, you should rename it. Just saying.

Best Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

Butter lovers unite!

Our Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry is going to rock your dinner table tonight.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry Recipe
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4.87 from 74 votes
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Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 19 minutes
Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry Recipe - An easy pressure cooker Indian recipe made in a hurry. Classic butter chicken is an all-time favorite and this recipe does not disappoint!
Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter, or ghee
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 8-10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 15 ounces tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  • Place the butter, chopped onions, garlic, ginger, and all spices in the Instant Pot. Set on Sauté for 5 minutes. Stir to make sure the ingredients don't burn. Once the onions are soft, turn off.
  • Add the chopped chicken thighs and canned tomato sauce. Lock the lid into place and turn the Instant Pot on Pressure Cook High for 7 minutes. Once finished, turn the Instant Pot Off, then perform a Quick Release to release the steam pressure. Once the valve button drops, unlock the lid and remove.
  • Stir in the heavy cream. Set the Instant Pot on Sauté again and simmer for 2 minutes to thicken the sauce. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve with basmati rice.

Notes

Don't have an Instant Pot? You can make this recipe in the slow cooker! Follow step 1 on the stove top, then transfer the onions and spices to a slow cooker. Add the tomato sauce and chopped chicken. Cover and slow cook for 6-8 hours on low. Then stir in the cream and serve.
Burn Notice: Some Instant Pot users have reported they get a "burn notice" with this recipe. Although I have not experienced this personally, different models of IPs vary a little in the cooking process. If your IP is prone to flash the burn notice, add 1 cup water to this recipe.

Nutrition

Serving: 8ounces, Calories: 317kcal, Carbohydrates: 6g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Cholesterol: 163mg, Sodium: 733mg, Potassium: 527mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 970IU, Vitamin C: 5.9mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 1.8mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Author: Sommer Collier

Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!

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72 comments on “Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry”

  1. Yummmm!!! I did get the burn notice but I just used my plastic spatula to scrape off the bottom + some olive oil and it ended up cooking just fine! 

  2. Does using coconut milk instead of heavy cream make it taste different??

  3. Nothing I like more than being critical, but not this time! Possibly the best thing I’ve ever cooked. I mean it. Of course I subbed full fat coconut milk for the heavy cream, and threw the entire contents in because I didn’t want leftovers. And I used garlic-ginger paste. But as much as the sauce was the star, equal billing goes to the chicken thigh bites. I cooked it for 8 minutes. 9 might not have hurt, because I used more chicken than called for too.

  4. Butter chicken is one of my SO’s favorite foods, and I surprised him with this one night and he thought it was SO GOOD. The flavors are perfect and they get even better when eaten as leftovers! So easy and so delicious! He has requested this as his birthday meal :) 

  5. Has anyone doubled this recipe successfully??

  6. I made this butter curry chicken it took me 10 minutes prep time and seven minutes to cook in the Insta pot pressure cooker best butter curry chicken I’ve ever had thank you so much for the recipe.   I even cut the recipe in half and made serving size for two .  I substituted coconut milk for the cream very delicious 🤗😘🤗

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  8. So good! I added to diced red bell peppers in with the onions –
    Will be making this again soon!

  9. Thank you so much for this recipe! It was so easy and super delicious! I didn’t have ginger and used half and half instead of cream and it was still terrific. Next time I’ll be sure to have all the ingredients on hand.

  10. Wow Sommer this recipe is AMAZING. Butter chicken is my S.O.’s favorite food, and when I presented this to him for dinner he was blown away. He said, “this is the best thing I’ve eaten in… a month. At least.” and said “It wins all my awards” . The chicken was so tender and the flavor was so full and smooth. We LOVED it! 

  11. Amazing! Nailed it on my first try. Thank you for such a simple recipe! I had to make my own masala. I didn’t cut up my thighs and doubled cooking time. Used tomato sauce and half can of water. All our friends raved about how good it was. Very authentic. 

  12. My 1st PERFECT butter chicken curry!!! I love it, and I have tried several recipes before this one….this one is the BEST ever! Like in a high end Indian restaurant! I did add finely chopped mushrooms (by an electric chopper) as I had them in the fridge. You cannot tell that they are in there but it turned out to be perfect!! THANK YOU for the delicious curry!!

  13. This recipe is my jam, absolutely love it. I’ve noticed the 6qt pot cooks it without burning so I add chicken stock and a bit of oil to avoid burning in the 8qt model. I also add more veggies and mushrooms and hot peppers in after it’s done pressure cooking. So delicious.

  14. FIVE stars for authentic, delicious flavor!!

    My sauce didn’t really thicken though so it was a bit like a soup, but served over basmati rice it was fine.

  15. I am eager to make this but 8 servings is a bit much for just me! What modifications would I have to make if I want to cut the recipe in half?

    • You can just freeze the rest:) I do that sometimes with my favorite indian dishes as my family don’t eat them, it’s just me and my son so I always have plenty left. When I defrost they are still delicious and ready to go…

    • Hi Brenna,

      According to the IP website, you can half recipes without making any extra adjustments on ingredients or cook time. However, I have not tried it yet with this recipe. Let me know how it turns out if you give it a go!

  16. My husband and I just got the instapot and made this for our first dinner. Didn’t change a thing and it was awesome. Thanks for sharing :)

  17. I did get the burn notice so I dumped it into a bowl and cleaned and dried my pot. Then I put it all back in and instead of adding more liquid I pushed the “Pressure Cook” button until it said “low” and cooked it for a longer time (I did 20 minutes but it was already hot from the first attempt). When I opened the lid after a 15 minute natural release it was boiling hot and the chicken and vegetables were perfect.  I need to read more about the Pressure Cook settings because I am wondering if normal may be too hot for certain recipes but I also want to make sure I cook meat at the proper temp.  

  18. I made this last week for my husband and house guests. EVERYONE went back for seconds and it was such a success I was asked to make it again, less than one week after I made the first batch! This is wonderfully easy and really really good. The only change I made was I had no tomato sauce so I diluted some tomato paste. I´m going to make at least 3 more batches and freeze them for when guests pop in unexpectedly (happens all the time). I served mine with basmati jeera rice and some sauteed spring vegetables.

  19. Absolutely delicious comfort food! I did not get the burn error that some have mentioned and I even halved my recipe. I served mine over basmati rice, like recommended and then I had the leftovers over a spring salad mix for lunch the next day! This will definitely be a regular at my house, thank you!!

  20. WOW! I made this tonight for lunches at work…it is delicious! I had to tweak it as I’m allergic to tomatoes so I didn’t put any tomato sauce. I did everything else but at the end, I love spicy, so I added a dash of ground scorpion pepper and WOW! I am more certain it’ll taste even better tomorrow at work after the flavors sit. Thank you for this wonderful recipe! Oh, also, I added a cup of water since I had no liquid (tomatoe sauce) and I did not get the “burn” like others. 

  21. Absolutely love but get the “burn” message every time I make this, tips on avoiding this annoying error?

  22. Making this recipe for the 5th time tonight! It is always a favorite. I do add a can of coconut milk with the chicken and tomato sauce step, stir it all together and then let it pressure cook. I do add the cup of water and it doesn’t take away from the delicious flavor at all. Served over some jasmine rice, YUM! Thank you for making this wonderful recipe!

    • I made the recipe without halving in the duo mini. Just delicious! I used a whole 15 oz can of diced tomatoes plus half a can of tomato sauce plus a little extra water. I didnt have smoked paprika so i used chipotle pepper flakes.

  23. This is absolutely a keeper! The best IP Butter Chicken recipe I’ve tried. After sauteing the onion & garlic on the stove, I cooked it with the rice in a stacking PIP- delicious and a time saver. I added 2 cups of water to the big outer pot.

  24. I JUST finished my second serving of this and had to comment. It was amazing! I deglazed with some stock after cooking the onions, put the chicken then tomato sauce and did not stir. No burn warning. Besides adding lots of cayenne during the final simmer, followed the recipe. I just started using my IP, and this is definitely on the “make again” list.

  25. Is there a dairy free alternative I can use instead of cream? Thank you! Eager to give this recipe a try

  26. Instant Pot Butter Chicken…… LOVE it. I exchanged the tomato sauce for diced tomatoes to reduce salt, then thickened with a touch of corn flour! I also got a burn notice when using tomato sauce. Not happened since I changed to diced tomatoes . One recipe wasn’t enough so I doubled in a 6 qrt without a problem and only added 2 mins to cooking time. Thank you I will never order in restaurant again, this one is better!!!

  27. So this is the very first time that I have ever written a comment about a recipe…….  This Butter Chicken is beyond delicious.  We like our curry a bit on the hotter side, so I added a couple of tablespoons of Nando’s peri peri sauce.  My husband almost licked his bowl….lol.  We are both on Keto diets and this recipe fits perfectly for us with some cauliflower rice.  Thanks so much for sharing.

  28. This is a delicious recipe, but if one is going to try it, I recommend filling at least half the can that contained tomato sauce with water and stirring it in. This recipe brings up the burn error without fail if I don’t add additional water.

    • Hi Keith,

      Thanks for reporting back! I have not personally experienced a burn notice with this recipe, but I do know all Instant Pot models vary a bit. Thanks for offer a suggestion to fix the issue. :)

  29. This came out PERFECT!  I’m not ordering out anymore because this was just like our local restaurant, and so easy! 

  30. This was so tasty and delicious. I did add water after sauteeing my vegs to make them less likely to burn. Topped with chunked up chicken breast tenders and poured over the tomato sauce. My picky teenager had 2 servings with basmati rice!! Yummy!

    • I should have read your comment prior to making. I got the “burn notice” on my instant pot well into pressure cooking. Had to remove and stovetop cook the rest of the way. Will add spices into the sauce and add half can full of water next time. Great recipe though. Love the flavors.

  31. Can this be doubled in an eight-quart Instant Pot?

  32. My whole family loved this!  I used the tomato sauce to deglaze the bottom of the pot before I set the pressure cook. I had no problem with burning.  I will definitely make this recipe again.  I’ve already shared it with family and friends on Facebook.  

  33. We tried the butter chicken tonight in our new InstantPot but it seemed like it was missing something. Turmeric possibly and/or Cayenne Pepper?

    Any thoughts?

  34. My entire life I’ve always been disappointed with curry recipes because they never end up tasting like the real deal that you get at an Indian restaurant… until now. This is an amazing recipe. My boyfriend was so impressed… I upped the recipe by half and still it was gone in less than 24 hours between just the two of us.
    A few notes – so I used about 3 lbs of chicken and upped the spices, onions, garlic, ginger x 1/2. I used 16 oz. of canned tomatoes. I also suggest adding extra salt. As the instant pot was heating up I did get the burn notice as so many others have gotten. This happened twice… the first time I opened the lid and gave everything a good stir, scraping up the bottom of the pan and added a little bit of chicken stock. A few minutes later I got another burn notice… this time I opened the lid and added about a tablespoon of butter making sure to rub it around the bottom of the pan as it’s melting. Voila. No more burn notice.
    When I first opened the pot after it was all done pressure cooking I felt a bit disappointed, but the magic happened when I stirred in the heavy cream. Wow… just like that it became heavenly. I’ll be making this again, and soon…. as in tomorrow night. hahaha. Thank you for the recipe!

  35. Re: the burned pot issue. The reason is because there is not enough liquid in this recipe. The “Butter Chicken Lady” recipe for this is the most famous version, explains in a video the main reasons for Instant Pots burning food. #1 reason is lack of liquid. In her recipe, she uses a 15-ounce can of *diced” tomatoes and she adds the tomatoes *undrained* so there is quite a bit of water added to the pot, which provides the necessary steam to cook the food and prevents burning. The recipe on this site uses tomato sauce, which is so thick it could lead to burning. Try it with diced tomatoes instead. Also, heavy cream is *not” essential here. I always use coconut milk or coconut cream. You could also use Greek yogurt.

    • Thanks for the coconut tip! I came to the comments to see specifically if I could swap the cream for coconut milk.

    • I also got the burn, but it was cooked “enough” at that point that I just kept following the recipe. I didn’t have enough tomato paste, so I used tomato sauce. It was fine. Also, no heavy cream. I used Greek yogurt and sour cream. Very, very tasty recipe.

  36. This was my very first instant pot recipe, and the most delicious curry I have ever made. Had to use coconut milk because had no cream, but seriously amazing! Thank you 

  37. I’ve actually made this 4 or 5 times now since we like it so much. The only trick I’ve found to keep from getting the burn notice is to NOT stir everything together when you add the chicken and tomato sauce. Just leave it layered and lock the lid. It is a little strange because I think this is the minimum amount of liquid you can get by with, but I’ve never had a problem doing it this way.  Also make sure none of the onions burned onto the bottom when sautéing.  Thanks for the recipe! 

  38. Really yummy! I did have some issues with this not coming to pressure and burning the bottom of my pot twice. I had to open the lid, stir, and add water. I would suggest adding water or broth to anyone trying this, as I think tomato sauce is a little too thick. Either way, the flavor was great and I’d make it again! As others suggested, I added a chopped pepper (serrano) for spice. So yummy!!

  39. Made this in the instant pot with non-dairy butter spread and coconut milk.  Served on cilantro rice. Tastes fantastic!  Will definitely be making again. 

  40. We LOVED this! Was hoping it would taste like our favorite Indian food, chicken tikka masala, and it was all that and better! We like spicy so after reading reviews I added some ground cayenne pepper (3/4 t.) and 1/2 a chopped jalapeno with seeds. Can’t. Stop. Eating. This. Deliciousness. I served it with rice, should have made more rice! This will become my go-to dish for company. Fast and easy. Made more ‘attractive’ by the cilantro. ;-)

  41. This was very good. But I would like it a bit more spicy. Any suggestions on how to do that

  42. First time making Butter Chicken – ever! Turned out great! My daughters only comment is she’d like it hotter. More ginger? Or add in some pepper flakes?

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  44. Hello! I’m making this this week as my first recipe in my instant pot. Quick question though. I have the the “Duo Mini”…do you know if i should only make half the recipe? Or change anything else? Thanks so much!
    ~Reeve

    • Hi Reeve,

      Sorry, I haven’t tried making it in that pot, so I can’t really say. Have you had to half recipes for it in the past?

    • I made the recipe without halving in the duo mini. Just delicious! I used a whole 15 oz can of diced tomatoes plus half a can of tomato sauce plus a little extra water. I didnt have smoked paprika so i used chipotle pepper flakes.

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  46. Great dish thanks for sharing!

  47. I really like this recipe but every time I’ve made it, I get the “burn” error and have to scrape the bottom of the pot partway through and restart it. Would love some advice or tricks to prevent this. Otherwise, it is delicious and a family favorite!

    • I experienced this as well, in addition to a couple of other recipes. Here’s a helpful link: https://www.paintthekitchenred.com/instant-pot-burn-message/

  48. Made this delicious recipe tonight for dinner.  It was a hit.  I can’t use heavy cream so I upped the sauce.  Thanks for a great recipe & I can’t wait to try your others!

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  50. Super delicious!! I added a tad more salt. Served with basmati cooked with cumin