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This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala is one hundred percent made from scratch. Super flavorful with tender chicken and delicious curry – this recipe is always a family favorite!
Easy Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
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.
I love this recipe because it is just so quick to make. It’s my go to after a long day when I don’t want to work too hard over the stove but still want something tasty.
What Is Chicken Tikka Masala?
This Indian restaurant favorite is so simple, just cut up chicken cooked in a spiced curry. The curry is super simple to make with just a handful of ingredients. 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.
- Chicken – Boneless skinless breast and/ or thighs.
- Yogurt – I used Greek but any kind of plain yogurt will work. Just be sure it’s plain.
- Lemon juice – We need some brightness and acidity in this dish, so be sure to use fresh.
- Garam masala – The key spice blend for this recipe, sold in the spice aisle of most grocery stores, or you can make your own using my recipe here.
- Aromatics – Fresh ginger and garlic.
- Salt – Don’t forget the salt! We want this dish to have lots of flavor.
- Oil – Use a light flavorless oil like Canola.
- Aromatics – Onion, garlic, and ginger.
- Spices – Garam masala, turmeric, ground coriander, ground cumin, and chili powder.
- Diced tomatoes – I like the extra flavor that fire roasted canned tomatoes gives to this dish, but regular diced will also work.
- Tomato sauce – Or passata. You can also blend diced or whole tomatoes until smooth.
- Cream – I used half and half but feel free to use whichever cream you like for a richer or lighter dish.
- Butter – Unsalted as we want to control our sodium content.
- Salt – Don’t forget to season each layer of this dish!
Prepare And Marinate The Chicken Tikka
First, you’ll need to pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towels, then cut it into 1 inch pieces. Place them in a bowl along with all the other chicken tikka ingredients. Gently toss well until combined, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes up to 48 hours.
Cook The Onion With Spices
After you chicken is all nice and marinated, it’s time to start making our curry sauce. First, you’ll need to turn the Instant Pot to the Sauté setting. Add the vegetable oil, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin and chili powder to the Instant Pot. Stir well, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion softens.
Make The Curry Sauce
Next, you’ll need to add in the fire roasted tomatoes along with the tomato sauce and stir well.
Add The Chicken To The Instant Pot And Cook
Next, you’ll need to add the marinated chicken to the instant pot and stir it in well. Close the lid and set the valve to the “Sealing” setting. Cook the chicken tikka masala for 5 minutes on Manual mode (high pressure).
Finish The Chicken Tikka Masala
Once the Instant Pot cycle is complete, you will want to wait until the natural release cycle is also complete. This could take anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. Once all the pressure has released, carefully open the lid. Add the salt, butter and cream to the chicken tikka masala and give it a good stir.
I Don’t Have An Instant Pot, Can I Still Make This?
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. you can always replace the Instant Pot with whatever you have.
You can make this right on the stove in a dutch oven or large skillet. Follow the instructions above and once the sauce is incorporated allow it to simmer for 20 minutes before incorporating the chicken and allow it to cook for a further 10 minutes.
Throw the ingredients (save for the cream and lemon juice) in your slow cooker and cook on low for 6 – 8 hours. In the final 30 minutes add the remaining ingredients.
You can store this chicken tikka masala recipe in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container. It freezes well as well, for up to 3 months. Be sure to thaw it completely before reheating on the stove.
The Instant Pot I Used
Instant Pot 6qt Duo Pressure Cooker
- 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 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.
- If garam masala isn’t available you can simply make your own using my recipe here for garam masala.
More Pressure Cooker Recipes To Try
- Butter Chicken
- Chicken Shawarma
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Beef Stroganoff
- Swedish Meatballs
- Mongolian Beef
- Zuppa Toscana
- Cashew Chicken
- 2 pounds chicken (skinless and boneless, I used both chicken breast and thighs, cut into cubes)
- 1½ cups plain yogurt (I used Greek)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 tablespoon ginger (minced)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large onions (chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (minced)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons coriander (ground)
- 2 teaspoons cumin (ground)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 14 ounces fire roasted tomatoes (or regular diced tomatoes)
- 2 cups tomato sauce (or passata )
- ½ to 1 cup half and half
- 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 2 tablespoons butter (unsalted)
- 3 tablespoons 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 Manual 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chicken: I used both skinless boneless chicken thighs and breasts, so both can be used with the same cooking time.
- Storage: You can store this chicken tikka masala recipe in the fridge for up to 4 days in an airtight container. It freezes well as well, for up to 3 months. Be sure to thaw it completely before reheating on the stove.
- 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.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.