This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala recipe is the easiest way to enjoy a delicious Indian classic without much effort. Serve it over a bowl of rice for a super tasty and budget-friendly takeout-style meal.
There's something undeniably comforting and indulgent about a creamy, flavorful bowl of chicken tikka masala. Making it in your Instant Pot just takes the ease and convenience to a whole new level.
If you're anything like me, you adore the rich, aromatic flavors of Indian cuisine but may have been intimidated by the thought of making it from scratch at home.
This recipe comes to the rescue, though. With its tender chicken pieces, luscious tomato sauce, and that perfect hint of spice, this Instant Pot chicken tikka masala will have you ditch your takeout order in no time.
Why you’ll love this Instant Pot chicken tikka masala
- Speedy, flavorful perfection — One of the most amazing things about making Chicken Tikka Masala in your Instant Pot is how quickly it comes together without sacrificing any of the flavors.
- Easy, stress-free meal prep — If you're all about streamlined, fuss-free cooking (and who isn't?), you'll love how the Instant Pot simplifies the entire process of making chicken tikka masala. From sautéing the veggies to browning the meat, it all gets done in one pot.
- Super easy to customize — Whether you prefer a milder heat or a fiery kick, simply adjust the spices to create your ideal version of this classic Indian dish.
Ingredients and substitutions
Olive oil + butter — Sautéing the onions and spices in a mix of olive oil and butter sets up an excellent flavor base for the curry. You can also use ghee (clarified butter) for a more traditional Indian flavor.
Onion — You can use yellow, white, or red onions in this curry.
Garlic and ginger — Freshly minced garlic and ginger give the tikka masala curry an aromatic and bold taste. Use a garlic-ginger paste if you don’t have fresh aromatics on hand.
Chicken — Cut into bite-size pieces for tenderness and flavor. You can substitute with boneless chicken breasts.
Greek yogurt — This adds creaminess and tanginess to the curry. You can substitute it with regular yogurt, sour cream, or a dairy-free alternative like coconut milk or cashew cream.
Fresh cilantro (coriander) — Add some chopped cilantro at the end for a vibrant, fresh finish. If you're not a fan, you can use parsley or a combination of mint and basil.
How to make chicken tikka masala in the Instant Pot
Add the diced onion to the Instant Pot and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until softened and translucent.
Stir well and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to release the flavors of the spices.
Add the chicken to the Instant Pot, stirring well to coat them with the spice mixture. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the chicken is lightly browned on all sides.
Pour in the tomato sauce (passata) and add salt. Stir to combine, ensuring that the chicken is evenly coated with the sauce.
Secure the lid on your Instant Pot and set the pressure release valve to "Sealing." Select the "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" function, and set the cooking time to 7 minutes on high pressure.
Once the cooking time is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes. Turn the pressure release valve to "Venting" to release any remaining pressure.
Open the lid and stir in the Greek yogurt, mixing well to create a creamy, rich sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water or chicken broth to thin it out to your desired consistency.
Adjust the seasoning, adding more salt or chili flakes as needed.
Serve the chicken tikka masala hot, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro, alongside steamed rice, naan bread, or your favorite Indian side dishes.
Leftovers and storage
- This chicken tikka masala makes for an excellent meal prep option, as the flavors only get better after a day or two in the fridge.
- Simply store any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days, and you'll have a tasty, ready-to-reheat meal for those busy weeknights.
- To reheat your dish in the microwave, transfer the desired portion into a microwave-safe container. Cover it loosely with a lid or microwave-safe plastic wrap, and heat on medium power for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even heating.
- This curry freezes well for up to 3 months. Don't hesitate to make a bigger batch and stash some away in the freezer for a future craving or an impromptu dinner party.
Recipe notes and tips
- Serve your chicken tikka masala alongside some fluffy basmati rice or warm, pillowy naan bread to soak up all the deliciousness.
- Feel free to customize the heat level to suit your taste. Dial back on the chili powder or red chili flakes for a milder version, or crank it up with some extra heat if you're a spice lover. Remember, you can always add more heat, but it's harder to take it away, so start with a conservative amount and adjust as needed.
- While this recipe may call for specific protein calls for chicken, don't be afraid to mix things up and make it your own! Beef, pork or even tofu are some fun twists on the classic recipe.
- Substitute the yogurt or cream with coconut milk or cashew cream to achieve that same luscious, creamy texture while keeping it dairy-free and vegan-friendly.
- The recipe was tested in an 8-Quart Instant Pot Duo.
If you liked this Instant Pot chicken tikka masala recipe, you might also like some of my other easy curry recipes:
- Prawn Curry with Coconut Milk
- Easy Mango Chicken Curry
- White Bean Curry Recipe
- Easy Lamb Curry with Coconut Milk
- Peanut Butter Curry
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon (20 g) unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 1 ½ lb (650 g) boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-size pieces
- 2 cups (400 ml) tomato sauce (passata)
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (100 ml) Greek yogurt
- A handful fresh cilantro, chopped
- Turn on your Instant Pot and select the "Sauté" function. Add the olive oil and unsalted butter, allowing them to heat up.
- Add the diced onion to the Instant Pot and sauté for 3-4 minutes or until softened and translucent.
- Add the minced garlic, finely chopped ginger, ground cumin, ground coriander, mild chili powder, ground turmeric, and red chili flakes. Stir well and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to release the flavors of the spices.
- Add the bite-size chicken thigh pieces to the Instant Pot, stirring well to coat them with the spice mixture. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the chicken is lightly browned on all sides.
- Pour in the tomato sauce (passata) and add salt. Stir to combine, ensuring that the chicken is evenly coated with the sauce.
- Secure the lid on your Instant Pot and set the pressure release valve to "Sealing." Select the "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" function, and set the cooking time to 7 minutes on high pressure.
- Once the cooking time is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 5 minutes before carefully turning the pressure release valve to "Venting" to release any remaining pressure.
- Open the lid and stir in the Greek yogurt, mixing well to create a creamy, rich sauce. If the sauce is too thick, add a little water or chicken broth to thin it out to your desired consistency.
- Adjust the seasoning, adding more salt or chili flakes as needed.
- Serve the chicken tikka masala hot, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro, alongside steamed rice, naan bread, or your favorite Indian side dishes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 409Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 217mgSodium: 687mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 7gProtein: 47g
Nutritional information is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator.