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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4.83 from 28 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: 8
Nutrition Facts
Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry
Amount Per Serving (8 ounces)
Calories 317 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 32%
Saturated Fat 11g 55%
Cholesterol 163mg 54%
Sodium 733mg 31%
Potassium 527mg 15%
Total Carbohydrates 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 2g
Protein 23g 46%
Vitamin A 19.4%
Vitamin C 7.1%
Calcium 5%
Iron 9.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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

  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

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.

More Indian Favorites

Malabar Chicken

Creamy Saag Paneer

Yakhni Pulao

Easy Naan Recipe

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47 comments on “Perfect Instant Pot Butter Chicken Curry

  1. M. E. P.posted April 17, 2019 at 10:33 am Reply

    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.  

    • M. E. P.posted April 17, 2019 at 10:49 am Reply

      CORRECTION: I put it on “LESS” not low pressure. I am assuming that means a lower temp. 

  2. Deana Spencerposted April 7, 2019 at 3:35 pm Reply

    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.

  3. Angieposted April 1, 2019 at 3:43 pm Reply

    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!!

  4. Angelaposted March 26, 2019 at 11:46 pm Reply

    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. 

  5. Ericaposted March 19, 2019 at 1:06 am Reply

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

  6. Aimeeposted March 18, 2019 at 6:01 pm Reply

    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!

    • Jan Smith Boyleposted March 29, 2019 at 7:37 pm Reply

      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.

  7. Wesley Cliftonposted March 11, 2019 at 10:30 pm Reply

    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.

  8. Carlposted March 3, 2019 at 6:13 pm Reply

    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.

  9. Lyle Rubinposted February 28, 2019 at 9:36 pm Reply

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

    • Sommer Collierposted March 7, 2019 at 3:55 pm Reply

      Hi Lyle,

      Thick canned coconut would be a good option. I would use unsweetened.

  10. HAZEL SAITOposted February 23, 2019 at 8:16 pm Reply

    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!!!

  11. Reaposted February 21, 2019 at 10:46 pm Reply

    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.

  12. Keithposted February 20, 2019 at 7:57 pm Reply

    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.

    • Sommer Collierposted February 20, 2019 at 9:23 pm Reply

      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. :)

  13. Jenileeposted February 18, 2019 at 2:07 pm Reply

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

  14. Deborahposted January 14, 2019 at 7:33 pm Reply

    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!

    • Michelle Nollposted January 27, 2019 at 12:08 pm Reply

      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.

  15. Kateposted January 13, 2019 at 12:59 pm Reply

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

  16. Amy Yorkposted December 29, 2018 at 9:31 pm Reply

    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.  

  17. Christinaposted December 27, 2018 at 11:03 pm Reply

    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?

  18. JSGposted December 21, 2018 at 10:54 am Reply

    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!

  19. 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.

    • Lariposted January 5, 2019 at 4:00 pm Reply

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

    • BigBposted February 17, 2019 at 6:29 pm Reply

      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.

  20. 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 

  21. 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! 

  22. 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!!

  23. 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. 

  24. 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. ;-)

  25. 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. :)

  26. 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. :)

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  28. 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!
    ~Reeve

    • 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?

    • Jan Smith Boyleposted March 29, 2019 at 7:29 pm Reply

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

    Great dish thanks for sharing!

  31. 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: https://www.paintthekitchenred.com/instant-pot-burn-message/

  32. 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!

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

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