Instant Pot Butter Chicken

This dish is beloved for a reason -- it's warm, comforting and flavorful. And since there's no need to marinate the chicken first, it's perfect for a last-minute dinner.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 45 min (includes resting time)
  • Active: 35 min
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
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1 stick (8 tablespoons) cultured or unsalted butter

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

4 teaspoons fenugreek leaves 

4 teaspoons fenugreek seeds

4 teaspoons garam masala

6 cloves garlic, chopped

5 green cardamom pods

1 large onion, sliced

1 serrano chile, stemmed and split lengthwise

One 3-inch cinnamon stick

Kosher salt

1/4 cup tomato paste

One 28-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/2 cup heavy cream

Chopped fresh cilantro, steamed basmati rice and naan, for serving 


Special equipment:
a 6- or 8-quart Instant Pot® multi-cooker
  1. Set a 6-quart Instant Pot® to high saute and melt 4 tablespoons of the butter (see Cook's Note). Add the ginger, fenugreek leaves, fenugreek seeds, garam masala, garlic, cardamom, onion, serrano, cinnamon stick and 1 tablespoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are tender and beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pot so that it doesn't burn, until it turns a brick red. Deglaze with 3 cups water and stir to combine. Add the tomatoes and layer the chicken on top.
  2. Follow the manufacturer's guide for locking the lid and preparing to cook. Set to pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
  3. After the pressure-cook cycle is complete, follow the manufacturer's guide for quick release and wait until the quick-release cycle is complete. Being careful of any remaining steam, unlock and remove the lid. 
  4. Remove the cinnamon stick and discard. Transfer the chicken to a plate, cover loosely with foil and set aside until ready to serve. 
  5. Set the pot to high saute and continue to cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn off the pot and puree the sauce with an immersion blender. (Or transfer to a blender, let cool a few minutes and puree until completely smooth.) Add the cream and remaining 4 tablespoons butter and continue to blend until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy and no streaks of cream remain. 
  6. Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces and stir into the sauce. Let sit until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve the chicken and sauce topped with cilantro over steamed basmati rice and naan alongside.

Cook’s Note

Settings may vary on your Instant Pot® depending on the model. Please refer to the manufacturer's guide.

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