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Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Instant Pot butter chicken is a one-pot dinner that is bursting with authentic flavors that will rival anything you’d order at your favorite Indian restaurant. Making it from scratch at home has never been easier with this 30-minute fragrance-infused recipe!

Butter chicken in the instant pot with spoon.
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Easy Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe

Instant Pot butter chicken is made with tender pieces of beautifully seasoned chicken breasts cooked in an aromatic and rich tomato-based cream sauce filled with authentic spices whose fragrances will leave your mouth watering. It’s so good when served with this homemade naan bread!

It’s a satisfying comfort meal that may sound like something you’d only be able to order on a menu just like my chicken tikka masala but trust me, it’s simple and can be ready and on your table in 30 minutes. Instant Pot orange chicken and chicken taco bowls are two other easy recipes that we love to make in the Instant Pot.

This pressure-cooker butter chicken is seriously one of the most flavorful chicken dishes you’ll ever try and it’s a good thing it makes enough for leftovers because you’ll be wanting to eat it over and over again!

Ingredients You’ll Need

Making butter chicken instant pot recipe is a quick and easy dinner that your family will appreciate! It is rich in flavor, tender and juicy chicken pieces, and easy to make using the instant pot. The pressure cooker will take your chicken to the next level with this recipe!

Mixing heavy cream in cup.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Spices: The spices in this Indian butter chicken recipe are warm earthy spices such as garam masala, ground turmeric, smoked paprika, and cumin. These are widely used in Indian cuisine and are readily available at the grocery store.
  • Butter: Since we are making butter chicken, we will saute the ingredients in butter first.
  • Chicken: I used boneless skinless chicken breasts, but boneless skinless chicken thighs could be used for a richer taste.
  • Vegetables and aromatics: Onion, bell pepper, garlic, and fresh ginger.
  • Liquids: You will need water and heavy whipping cream which add both taste and help bring the Instant Pot to pressure. The higher fat content in the cream is best for a rich sauce.
  • Cornstarch: This helps thicken the sauce.
  • Tomato: You will need one can of diced tomatoes, although tomato puree could be used instead.
  • For serving: Optional but delicious additional unsalted butter, fresh cilantro, and rice.


Most of these spices are what people keep stocked in their pantries anyway or are easily found in your local grocery store. However, if you are looking for some ways to substitute, see below:

  • Cumin and allspice is a great replacement for garam masala. Either that or use any of the individual spices in any combination.
  • Use curry powder instead of turmeric and cumin.
  • Apple cider vinegar can be used in place of cumin as well.
  • You can use chili powder instead of smoked paprika.
  • Add a bit of sugar to the pot. It’s a great way to cut through the acid from the tomatoes and mellow out the dish.
  • Ground ginger can also be added if fresh isn’t available.
  • Cayenne pepper for a bit of extra heat.

How to Make the Best Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Get ready to WOW your family with this butter chicken made in the instant pot! It is quick and easy to make with pantry staple ingredients. It is the perfect chicken dinner that your family is going to be raving about over and over again!

Photos showing step by step how to make Instant Pot butter chicken.
  • Saute: Add the butter to the Instant Pot and turn to the sauté setting. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until the onions turn translucent. Stir in the salt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, paprika, and cumin. Cook an additional minute or until fragrant.
  • Pressure cook: Add tomatoes, water, and chicken. Stir and set the valve to sealing. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes. Natural release for 5 minutes then moves valve to vent to release remaining pressure.
  • Thicken sauce: Whisk cornstarch into heavy cream. Then add the cornstarch slurry back to the chicken and let cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce reaches desired thickness.
  • Serve: Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as needed and stir in cilantro if desired. Serve over rice!

Expert Tips

If you’re brand new and just learning how to use the Instant Pot, this is a great starter recipe! The chicken turns out tender and juicy with so much flavor from the other ingredients. Follow these helpful tips and ideas to make your butter chicken irrestible in every bite!

  • You can use chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts if you prefer.
  • Use tomato sauce or tomato puree, like Passata, instead of diced tomatoes, or use both.
  • Using a cornstarch slurry helps to thicken up the sauce and prevents it from becoming too runny. It’s important to mix the cream and cornstarch outside of the pot first. If you add it directly into the pot you’ll find clumps of cornstarch.
  • If you prefer a smooth sauce, remove the chicken and use an immersion blender to combine the sauce into a creamier smoother texture.
  • For a buttery note, add 2-4 Tbsp of butter at the end.
  • Adjust the spices to suit your taste preferences. Do a little taste test and add any more you’d like.
Butter chicken in the instant pot.

Recipe FAQs

Is butter chicken spicy?

Traditionally it’s meant to be heavier on the spices in terms of flavor, but not spicy in terms of heat. If it’s the heat you want, you can adjust it to your tastes like adding in some cayenne pepper or chili powder, however, if it’s a flavor you want, this one has it all! It’s a delicious kid-friendly meal.

How can I make a lighter version?

Although this healthy butter chicken isn’t overly filling, it’s quite creamy. If you want to replace the heavy cream you can use half and half or coconut milk (from a can, not a carton) instead.

Can I use frozen chicken breast?

You can! Sometimes it’s easier to cut frozen or not quite thawed chicken breast into cubes. You’ll just need to tack on a few extra minutes onto the cooking time to be sure it gets cooked through. As well, the frozen chicken will produce a little extra water so keep that in mind when you’re adjusting any seasoning.

Can I double the recipe?

As long as your pot is big enough (either a 6-quart or 8-quart pot) you definitely can. It’s a great way to serve a crowd!

How to make butter chicken dairy free?

Using full-fat coconut milk and avocado or olive oil instead of butter is all you need to make this a completely dairy-free and gluten-free dish!

Butter chicken and rice in bowl.

What to Serve with Butter Chicken

Make this perfect instant pot butter chicken a complete meal with just the right side dishes! There are several options to choose from that blend together well and add even more flavor. The possibilities are endless!

  • Homemade naan bread is great to soak up all the flavorful sauce!
  • White rice, basmati rice, and jasmine rice are the most traditional way to serve this dish. I love to cook rice in the Instant Pot, too!
  • Brown rice adds an extra boost of fiber and nutrition!
  • Quinoa is a super grain that adds a boost of plant-based protein.
  • Riced cauliflower is a great option for those wanting to boost their vegetable intake.
  • Coconut rice is great for an extra flavor boost!
  • Roti is a round flatbread and is similar to naan but unleavened.
Butter chicken and rice in bowl.

Storing & Reheating Leftovers

This butter chicken in the instant pot is the perfect make-ahead and freezer meal to have in the refrigerator or freezer! It is the best dinner for leftovers and warms up in a breeze!

  • Refrigerator: To store leftovers, keep them covered in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You might notice the sauce thickens as it sits.
  • Reheat: Reheat leftovers on the stovetop over medium heat and add a splash of water if needed to thin out the sauce.
  • Freezer: Butter chicken can be kept frozen for up to 3 months! What a great way to plan ahead and do some batch cooking for down the road. Thaw in the fridge overnight, reheat, and enjoy all over again.

More Instant Pot favorites include this chicken and rice, Instant Pot meatballs and meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

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butter chicken in the instant pot

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

5 from 8 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
Instant Pot butter chicken is a one-pot dinner that is bursting with authentic flavors that will rival anything you'd order at your favorite Indian restaurant. Making it from scratch at home has never been easier with this 30-minute fragrance-infused recipe!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6




  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 1 small red bell pepper , diced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic , about 4 cloves
  • 2 teaspoon grated ginger , or 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger


  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric , could also use sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin , or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 14 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts , cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 Tablespoon corn starch

For serving: cooked rice, chopped cilantro


    • Add the butter to the Instant Pot and turn to the sauté setting. Add the onion and bell pepper. Cook for a for about 3 minutes, or until the onions turn translucent. Stir in the salt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, turmeric, paprika and cumin. Cook an additional minute or until fragrant.
    • Dump in the tomatoes, water and chicken. Stir together and close the lid and seal the valve.
    • Turn on manual high pressure and set to cook for 10 minutes. It will take about 5-10 minutes to build pressure. When finished cooking, do a natural release for about 5 minutes. Use oven mits to turn the knob. Once it stops steaming, remove lid.
    • Turn the Instant Pot back to sauté. Whisk the corn starch into the heavy cream. If there's still a lot of liquid you could dump about 1/4 cup out before hand. Then add the corn starch slurry back to the chicken and let cook an additional 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce reaches desired thickness. It will thicken as it stands. Taste and salt and pepper if desired. Stir in fresh cilantro.
    • Serve over rice. Top with fresh cilantro.


    Sauce: If you’d like to have a smooth sauce, remove chicken and use an immersion blender to blend the sauce. For a buttery flavor, add an addition 2-4 Tablespoons of butter in with the cream. You can also add in additional spices to taste. 
    For a lighter version: Use half and half or coconut milk in place of cream. 
    Storage: Store leftover in a covered container in the refrigerator up to 3 days. 


    Calories: 358kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 144mg | Sodium: 728mg | Potassium: 881mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1502IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 60mg | Iron: 2mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Main Dish
    Cuisine: Indian

    Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!

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