Last updated on November 11th, 2018 at 07:05 pm
This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala is one hundred percent made from scratch, super flavorful, tender chicken, delicious curry and always a family favorite!
The Instant Pot prevails again with this incredible chicken tikka masala. Who knew that it could be this easy to make chicken tikka masala right in your home and in your beloved Instant Pot. I did, because once again I’m showing you another popular favorite and how easy it is to make.
The question you must be burning to ask me is whether or not you could truly have restaurant quality chicken tikka masala made at home. Of course you can. Don’t let Indian food scare you from trying to make it yourself. It really is not difficult to make at all. You just need a few good spices that are commonly used in Indian cuisine, and your Instant Pot.
But what is chicken tikka masala? It’s chunks of marinated chicken that’s been roasted or cooked in a tandoor oven, and finished in a spiced curry sauce. If you haven’t had this before, it’s a must, a truly delicious flavor-bomb and popular Indian dish.
CAN I DO THIS WITHOUT AN INSTANT POT:
That is probably the most popular question I get on any Instant Pot recipe and the answer is simply YES, of course. The Instant Pot is simply our skillet or whatever pot you choose to use, and it just helps us in cooking the chicken faster and under high pressure.
When the chicken is cooked under high pressure, the flavors become more intense and the chicken gets thoroughly infused with all the spices used. But you can always replace the Instant Pot with whatever you have, such as a skillet or Dutch oven. If that is the case, I would strongly recommend charring the chicken first as mentioned in the TIPS below.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA:
I prefer to serve this over steamed rice, my favorite being Basmati or jasmine rice, but any long grain rice would do. I also love to serve this with my fresh homemade naan or roti. Recipe for roti will be coming soon.
TIPS FOR MAKING THE PERFECT INSTANT POT CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA:
- Boneless skinless chicken breast is the most popular choice when making chicken tikka masala, but whenever I specify chicken breast or chicken thighs, I always get asked can I use chicken thighs instead or chicken breast instead. The answer is YES. Personally I prefer the thighs because it’s a juicier more flavorful meat but I wanted to show you in this recipe that both cuts of meat work, either separately or together.
- A true chicken tikka masala has the yogurt marinated chicken cooked in a wood or charcoal fired tandoor until the meat is thoroughly charred. Since we’re doing this in the Instant Pot we’re skipping that part, however keep in mind that you can still do that. To achieve that char flavor, you could use your grill and really grill the meat until it’s charred if not almost black, which should happen fairly quickly because of the yogurt marinade.
- Another common characteristic of chicken tikka masala is the marinade. The chicken is marinated in a yogurt and spice marinade anywhere from 30 minutes to 48 hours. The marinade needs that lemon juice and yogurt to tenderize the meat, plus copious amounts of ginger and garlic for additional flavor.
- The last but not least element of a good chicken tikka masala is of course the sauce, which for me, is my favorite part. The base of any chicken tikka masala is the ginger, onion and garlic which are a must. Tomatoes are then added for color and flavor and finally all our delicious spices. Probably any recipe you find online will have its own spice blend but popular spices found in a chicken tikka masala are turmeric, chili powder and coriander.
Looking for more delicious meals made in your Instant Pot? Check these out:
- Instant Pot Buter Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Shawarma
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Instant Pot Beef Stroganoff
If you try this recipe, please let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and tag a photo #jocooks on Instagram so we can see it. I always love to see what you guys come up with!
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
- 2 lb chicken skinless and boneless, I used both chicken breast and thighs
- 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt I used Greek
- 3 tbsp lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 large onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tbsp ginger minced
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp coriander ground
- 2 tsp cumin ground
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 14 oz fire roasted tomatoes or regular diced tomatoes
- 2 cups tomato sauce or passata
- 1 1/2 cups half and half
- 1 tsp salt or to taste
- 2 tbsp butter unsalted
- 3 tbsp cilantro fresh, chopped for garnish
- Combine all the chicken tikka ingredients together in a large bowl and mix thoroughly so that each piece of chicken is fully coated in the yogurt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to 48 hours.
- Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting. (See your manufacturer's guide for detailed instructions on how to use your instant pot.)
- Add the vegetable oil, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin, and chili powder. Stir and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion softens.
- Add the fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce and stir. Add the chicken to the Instant Pot, including all the yogurt marinade and stir.
- Close the lid (follow the manufacturer's guide for instructions on how to close the instant pot lid). Set the Instant Pot to the Poultry setting and set the timer to 5 minutes.
- Once the Instant Pot cycle is complete, wait until the natural release cycle is complete, should take about 10 minutes. Follow the manufacturer's guide for quick release, if in a rush. Carefully unlock and remove the lid from the instant pot.
- Add the half and half, salt and butter and give it a good stir. The butter is added to smooth the sauce.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve warm over cooked rice with naan or roti.
Watch How To Make It
- What is an Instant Pot: An Instant Pot is a multi-cooker, it's like seven different appliances all in one! It does the job of a slow cooker, pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, etc. I strongly recommend reading the manufacturer's guide for instructions on how to use your Instant Pot before attempting this recipe.
- Note: The Instant Pot will default to 30 minutes when set on Poultry, use the down arrow to change to 5 minutes.
- Half and half can be found near the milk and cream in the dairy section of your local grocery store. Half and half is a blend of equal parts whole milk and light cream. It averages 10 to 12% of fat.
- I used both skinless boneless chicken thighs and breasts, so both can be used with the same cooking time.
- Nutrition: Nutritional information does not include rice or roti. Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.