This Instant Pot butter chicken is the creamiest, easiest curry you’ll ever try! Tender pieces of chicken in a luscious spicy sauce make this a restaurant-quality Indian butter chicken that you can have on the table in 30 minutes!
Want to Save This Recipe?
Enter your email and I'll send it straight to your inbox. Plus, get great new recipes from me every week!
Butter chicken is one of those recipes that's always a crowd-pleaser. It's got that rich, comforting taste that makes it a go-to for a family dinner or when you simply crave some takeaway but want to make it healthier.
The taste is indeed amazing, but still, the recipe is surprisingly straightforward with an Instant Pot. Pressure cooking takes away a lot of the fuss and makes it doable even on those nights when you're pressed for time.
And the best part? You can adjust the spices to suit your taste, making it perfect for everyone at the table.
The heart of this dish is definitely the sauce. It's creamy, it's flavorful, and it pairs so well with just about anything.
Whether you spoon it over some rice (I opted for black rice here) or dip some naan into it, butter chicken is one of those meals that feels a bit special without being overly complicated.
Why you’ll love this Instant Pot butter chicken curry
- Super flavorful — Those spices and garlic-ginger combo? Total game-changers for taste.
- Creamy goodness: That smooth, creamy sauce is just pure comfort in a bowl.
- Pressure cooking wonder — Just toss it all in, set it, and forget it. The Instant Pot does the heavy lifting, making this a breeze to whip up.
Butter — Opt for unsalted to better manage the overall saltiness. If you only have salted butter, just adjust the added salt accordingly. For a dairy-free option, you can use coconut oil.
Garlic + ginger — Freshly crushed garlic and minced ginger will give you the best flavor. If you’re short on time or don’t have fresh, jarred minced versions are fine too.
Tomato paste — This adds depth and richness to the sauce. I like to cook it for a couple of minutes before adding other ingredients for extra richness.
Boneless chicken thighs — Skinless chicken thighs are flavorful and tend to be juicier than breast meat but feel free to use chicken breast if that’s what you have.
Brown sugar — This is optional, but I like to add it to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
Half and half (single cream) — This adds creaminess. For a richer sauce, heavy cream is perfect. If you’re looking for a non-dairy version, coconut milk is a great alternative.
How to make butter chicken in the Instant Pot
Set your Instant Pot to 'Sauté' mode and let it heat up.
Add the unsalted butter to the pot. Once melted, add the crushed garlic cloves and minced fresh ginger. Sauté for about a minute until fragrant.
Add the tomato paste and stir it into the spice mixture, cooking for about two minutes.
Place the cubed boneless chicken thighs into the pot. Stir well to coat the chicken evenly with the spice and tomato mixture.
Secure the lid of your Instant Pot, set the valve to 'Sealing', and cook on 'High Pressure' for 7 minutes.
Once the cooking time is up, do a quick release.
Switch the Instant Pot back to 'Sauté' mode. Stir in the half and half (single cream), letting the sauce simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Finally, add the chopped fresh cilantro.
Serve the curry with steamed rice or warm naan bread.
Leftovers and storage
- Keep leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. The flavors get even better with time!
- Gently reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop. If it’s too thick, just add a splash of water or chicken broth.
- Freeze the curry in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating. It’s a great make-ahead meal!
Tips for making the best butter chicken
- If you have time, marinate the chicken in a mix of yogurt and some of the spices for a few hours before cooking to deepen the flavors.
- For added depth, brown the chicken pieces slightly in the Instant Pot before adding the sauce ingredients.
- If you want a lighter version, use low-fat cream or even Greek yogurt instead of half and half.
- Butter chicken pairs wonderfully with basmati rice or warm naan bread for soaking up the sauce.
- This recipe is perfect for meal prep. Divide it into portions and refrigerate or freeze. It reheats beautifully, making it a convenient and delicious option for busy days.
If you liked this Instant Pot butter chicken recipe, you might also like some of my other easy Instant Pot recipes:
- Instant Pot Sausage Pasta
- Instant Pot Creamy Chicken Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken and Rice Soup
- Instant Pot Chicken Gnocchi Soup
- 3.5 ounces (100 g) unsalted butter
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 lb (900 g) boneless chicken thighs, cut into cubes
- 1 ¾ (400 ml) cups tomato sauce (passata)
- ½ teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 cup (240 ml) half and half (single cream)
- A handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
- Set your Instant Pot to 'Sauté' mode and let it heat up.
- Add the unsalted butter to the pot. Once melted, add the crushed garlic cloves and minced fresh ginger. Sauté for about a minute until fragrant.
- Stir in the garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, cayenne pepper, turmeric, and salt and cook for another minute.
- Add the tomato paste and stir it into the spice mixture, cooking for about two minutes.
- Place the cubed boneless chicken thighs into the pot. Stir well to coat the chicken evenly with the spice and tomato mixture.
- Add the tomato sauce (passata) and brown sugar to the pot. Stir everything together, ensuring the chicken is well-coated and submerged in the sauce.
- Secure the lid of your Instant Pot, set the valve to 'Sealing', and cook on 'High Pressure' for 7 minutes.
- Once the cooking time is up, do a quick release.
- Switch the Instant Pot back to 'Sauté' mode. Stir in the half and half (single cream), letting the sauce simmer for a few minutes to thicken. Finally, add the chopped fresh cilantro.
- Serve the curry with steamed rice or warm naan breads.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 450Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 234mgSodium: 818mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 40g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.