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
Pin it on Pinterest!

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
4.8 from 10 votes

Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
14 mins
Total Time
19 mins
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: 6 Servings
Nutrition Facts
Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry
Amount Per Serving (8 oz)
Calories 422 Calories from Fat 252
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 28g 43%
Saturated Fat 15g 75%
Cholesterol 218mg 73%
Sodium 977mg 41%
Potassium 702mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 3g
Protein 31g 62%
Vitamin A 25.8%
Vitamin C 9.5%
Calcium 6.7%
Iron 13.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Recipe Notes

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.

More Indian Favorites

Malabar Chicken

Creamy Saag Paneer

Yakhni Pulao

Easy Naan Recipe

You May Also Like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

20 comments on “Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

  1. Stevenposted December 5, 2018 at 5:52 pm Reply

    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.

  2. Deeposted November 16, 2018 at 12:19 am Reply

    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 

  3. Kelly Kposted November 14, 2018 at 11:15 pm Reply

    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! 

  4. Jessieposted November 6, 2018 at 2:01 am Reply

    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!!

  5. Lisa Michelle Eugeneposted October 28, 2018 at 11:32 pm Reply

    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. 

  6. Kathyposted October 24, 2018 at 9:21 pm Reply

    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. ;-)

  7. Christopher Kenkelposted October 11, 2018 at 11:12 pm Reply

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

    • Sommer Collierposted October 12, 2018 at 3:05 pm Reply

      Hi Christopher,

      You can definitely add some cayenne pepper or small chiles to this curry. If you try it, let me know how it turns out. :)

  8. Stacey Goettposted October 6, 2018 at 11:02 pm Reply

    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?

    • Sommer Collierposted October 12, 2018 at 9:26 pm Reply

      Hi Stacey,

      So glad you enjoyed it! You can definitely add some cayenne pepper if you like. :)

  9. Pingback: Curried Roasted Chickpeas & Quinoa Tabouleh Pita Wraps | The Noshery

  10. Reeveposted August 19, 2018 at 8:23 pm Reply

    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!

    • Sommer Collierposted August 22, 2018 at 9:16 pm Reply

      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?

  11. Pingback: 10 Summer Instant Pot Recipes Under 30 Minutes, That Will Save Your Summer Nights - W Contest

  12. Annickposted July 8, 2018 at 4:37 pm Reply

    Great dish thanks for sharing!

  13. Chrisposted June 28, 2018 at 6:40 pm Reply

    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!

    • Noviaposted August 19, 2018 at 6:08 pm Reply

      I experienced this as well, in addition to a couple of other recipes. Here’s a helpful link:

  14. Erickaposted May 16, 2018 at 7:24 pm Reply

    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!

  15. Pingback: 17 Healthy Ways to Cook Chicken in an Instant Pot | Truly Nutrilicious

  16. Katherine Woodposted April 8, 2018 at 8:33 pm Reply

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