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Tender pieces of chicken and veggies swim in a luscious, perfectly spiced sauce in the best Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe. This spin on a treasured Indian dish is EASY, healthy, and made with ingredients you can find at any grocery store!

Instant Pot Butter Chicken. An easy, healthy recipe for the famous Indian butter chicken that anyone can make! Recipe uses easy to find ingredients like coconut milk and tomato, plus cauliflower to make it a true all-in-one meal.

Why You’ll Love This Homemade Butter Chicken Recipe

  • Incredibly Flavorful. Like my Chicken Tikka Masala recipe, this butter chicken recipe is filled with rich, complex flavors that practically beg you to take another bite. If you aren’t familiar with butter chicken, imagine tender, falling-apart morsels of chicken in a creamy, mildly spiced curry sauce so delicious, you catch yourself running a finger along the bottom of the bowl to guarantee you don’t miss a drop.
  • Easy Yet Impressive. With simple, easy-to-find butter chicken ingredients and fab flavor, this creamy butter chicken recipe is a perfect choice for casual dinners at home or when you want to seriously impress your friends. Whether you serve it with something simple (like Instant Pot Brown Rice) or unique (like Turmeric Rice), this easy butter chicken recipe is certain to delight!
  • The Instant Pot is Ideal for Indian Cooking. While I love my Slow Cooker Butter Chicken, and Stovetop Indian Butter Chicken recipe, this Instant Pot recipe takes just one hour and is hands-free. I love making Indian Instant Pot recipes (like Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala and this Instant Pot Lentil Curry) because the pressure cooker consolidates flavors in a way that mimics the effect of all-day stovetop cooking, which makes it accessible for an easy weeknight meal.
Butter chicken ingredients in a pressure cooker

5 Star Review

“I love this recipe. I’ve made it more than a dozen times, and it’s a great go-to. The effort/reward ratio is exceptional.”

— Ray —

How to Make the Best Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe

The Ingredients

  • Chicken. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts become tender, juicy, and flavorful in the sauce. Chicken breasts are packed with lean protein, vitamins, and minerals.

Substitution Tip

I think boneless skinless chicken thighs would also work well for this recipe.

  • Garlic + Onion. Fresh onion and garlic cloves help build flavor from the beginning.
  • Ginger. Fresh ginger is the move here.
  • Spices. A mix of curry powder, garam masala, and chili powder help create the deep flavor of the sauce.
  • Chicken Broth. Helps deglaze the pot and add flavor to the sauce.
  • Tomato Sauce. Tomato is an important flavor component in our butter chicken sauce.
  • Cauliflower. I added cauliflower to the mix to make it half chicken/half veggie. I love how the cauliflower breaks down and absorbs the flavor of the butter sauce. The cauliflower mimics the texture and appearance of the chicken too, so you almost don’t realize you are eating vegetables.
  • Butter. Adds richness and buttery flavor (this is butter chicken after all!).
  • Half-and-Half. To keep the butter chicken calories low, I swapped the commonly used heavy cream for half-and-half. It tastes just as luscious and rich.

Substitution Tip

If you prefer, you can make this Instant Pot butter chicken with coconut milk; use full-fat, not light.

  • Greek Yogurt. Helps thicken the sauce and adds tanginess.

The Directions

  1. Sauté. Cook the onion with the ginger, garlic, and spices. Add the broth.
  2. Add the Tomato Sauce and Cauliflower. Lay the chicken on top, then add the butter pieces.
  3. Pressure Cook. Cook on HIGH for 12 minutes, then let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes (no quick release!).
  4. Cut the Chicken. Stir in the half-and-half and yogurt. ENJOY!
Instant Pot Butter Chicken. One of THE BEST healthy Instant Pot recipes and Instant Pot chicken recipes! Made with coconut milk, cauliflower, and other easy to find ingredients.

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave.
  • To Freeze. Freeze butter chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 

Leftover Ideas

Tuck leftover butter chicken into pita bread for a scrumptious, handheld meal.

An easy butter chicken recipe made in the Instant Pot

What to Serve With Instant Pot Butter Chicken

The best butter chicken recipe served in a bowl with rice and naan

Recipe Tips and Tricks

  • Forgot to Thaw? No worries! You can use frozen chicken and even frozen cauliflower florets for this recipe. Your Instant Pot will just take longer to come to pressure before the cooking time begins.
  • Build Big Flavor. Don’t be tempted to skip those initial sautéeing steps! They’re essential for building deep flavor, especially once you’ve added the spices. Cooking the spices helps make their flavors more pronounced.
  • Choose Your Spice Level. Butter chicken is not spicy in the sense of being “hot;” rather it is fully flavored with layers of Indian spices and ingredients like ginger, tomato, curry, and coconut milk. However, if you enjoy your butter chicken with a kick, feel free to add cayenne pepper to taste.

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

4.67 from 124 votes
The best Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe! The pressure cooker makes authentic Indian butter chicken easy to recreate at home.

Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced (about 1 cup)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic about 4 teaspoons
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4  teaspoon kosher salt
  • Splash of water or low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 (28-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 small cauliflower or 1/2 large head, cut into florets (about 4 1/2 cups)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces (use coconut oil to make dairy free)
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half or full-fat coconut milk, do not use light coconut milk, as it will water down the sauce
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt or non-dairy yogurt to make dairy-free
  • Prepared brown rice or Turmeric Rice, quinoa, or Homemade Naan, for serving
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for serving

Instructions
 

  • Add the coconut oil to the Instant Pot and set to SAUTE. Once hot, add the onion and cook until beginning to soften, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, curry, garam masala, chili powder, and salt. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Turn the Instant Pot to OFF. Add a splash of water or chicken broth and stir, using a sturdy plastic or wooden spoon to scrape loose any browned bits that have stuck. Make sure you remove all of the stuck-on bits so that you don't trigger a burn warning. 
  • Add the tomato sauce and cauliflower florets and stir to combine. Lay the chicken breasts on top, then scatter the butter pieces over the top.
  • Close and seal Instant Pot. Cook on Manual (HIGH) pressure for 12 minutes. Once the time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then vent to immediately release any remaining pressure.
  • Carefully open the lid and transfer the chicken to a cutting board. Cut into bite-sized pieces, then return to the sauce. Stir in the half-and-half or coconut milk. Let cool a few minutes, then stir in the Greek yogurt (do not stir it in immediately or it will curdle). Serve with rice and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a pot on the stovetop over medium-low heat or in the microwave. 
  • TO FREEZE: Freeze butter chicken in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating. 
  • TO MAKE IN THE SLOW COOKER: Use this recipe for Slow Cooker Butter Chicken!

Nutrition

Serving: 1(of 6), about 1 1/2 cups butter chicken and sauce, plus 1/2 cup prepared brown riceCalories: 336kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 38gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 115mgPotassium: 1354mgFiber: 5gSugar: 9gVitamin A: 921IUVitamin C: 50mgCalcium: 100mgIron: 3mg

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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398 Comments

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  1. I made this recipe and your tikki masala recipe. Both burned before reaching pressure. The tikki masala ended up cooked anyways but this one did not. What’s going wrong? I think it’s the tomato sauce, which super consistently burns in my instant pot, but I was willing to try anyways because no one else had issues. Am I doing something wrong? I was really careful to get everything off the bottom both times.

    1. Hi Tracy, I’m sorry this happened! I’ve made this recipe a few times and never had that issue. That said, I’ve heard some of the newer Instant Pots trigger a burn warning more easily than others, especially when using tomato sauce. My advice for avoiding the burn is to make sure you get all the stuck on bits off the bottom of the pot before sealing it and bringing it up to pressure. Also make sure you are using the saute function on normal. The recipe has worked great for me and other readers as written, but I know it’s disappointing to run into problems, so I hope it goes better next time!

    2. It burns for me every. Single. Time. I love the recipe so I just deal with it but truly, I’ve made it probably a dozen times and it doesn’t matter what I do, it burns. It had to be the tomato sauce because I diligently make sure there’s nothing stuck to the bottom every time.

      1. I’m sorry to hear that Karen! Thank you for sticking with the recipe! Did you happen to try and add any water? I’ve read that sometimes that helps with getting the burn notice in some models of the instant pot.

  2. I was planning to do the slow cooker version of this recipe but forgot to thaw my chicken so decided to try the instant pot version instead. This was an incredibly frustrating experience. I followed the recipe and steps exactly and got the burn notice a number of times. I tried scraping the bottom again after the first notice but the following times, the mixture was SO hot that it was bubbling out of the instant pot and making a huge mess. As a last resort I turned my instant pot to the slow cooker mode (which I personally have never found to work well). The chicken eventually cooked through but it was horribly tough (and it was good quality meat). What was supposed to be quick and easy turned out to be frustrating and time consuming. The flavor was fine, I would reduce the ginger in the future and add more salt. I may attempt the original slow cooker method but won’t try this method again.

    1. Hi Dominica! I’m so sorry to hear that you got the burn notice. It seems some pressure cooker models tend to do this versus others. Tt really seems like different Instant Pots have different levels of sensitivity which I believe is what is causing the burn notice. I’ve made it successfully (as have other readers) without any problem. I know it can be disappointing to make a new recipe and not have it turn out.

  3. Delicious! I used frozen breasts which watered down the sauce a bit. If you’re doing this i would suggest doubling the spices/seasonings. Honestly was not expecting something so delicious but i will be making this again.5 stars

  4. This came out great. Not as spicy as I hoped but a great flavor. No burn issue and I added 2 minutes as my chicken was slightly frozen and I used frozen cauliflower. Hubby enjoyed it over turmeric rice. Thanks5 stars

  5. ***Solution for the burn warning***

    Heat up the tomato sauce in a separate pan and pour the hot sauce in right after sauteing the onions and spices.

    The tomato sauce is burning when the pot tries to bring it up from room temp to boiling. It is definitely worth the hassle as this is a delicious meal!

    1. Hi Lisa! I’m sorry to hear you are getting a burn warning, unfortunately this seems to be the design of some of the models Instant Pot and not the recipe.

  6. Hi, I may have gotten the recipe wrong, when you write tomato sauce do you mean canned tomatoes or tomato ketchup? I added canned and it didn’t get the flavour I was expecting?

    Thanks.4 stars

    1. Hi Jesse! In the US, it will be listed as tomato sauce. Popular brands are Hunt’s, Rao’s and many more. Every grocery store tends to have their own brand of tomato sauce. If you are in Europe or other places it might be listed as tomato passata. Hope this helps!

  7. You have got to do something about the ADs forcing the page to jump everywhere while people are trying to read the recipe. This website sucks.

    1. I’m truly sorry for any inconvenience the ads caused you, Hailey! I will certainly keep paying close attention to the number of ads and how they load, as I never want them to hinder your ability to view the recipe or the blog post. I do truly appreciate your feedback and apologize again for the inconvenience! Also, there is a quick and convenient “jump to recipe” button that will help you get to the recipe faster and a print button to have the recipe quickly at your fingertips. Hope this helps!

    1. I’m sorry to hear you had problems with the recipe, Sid! Unfortunately it seems that some instant pot models cause this to happen, mine does not so I haven’t had this issue. It has worked well for myself (and others) and I wished it would have been a hit for you too.

  8. I don’t have an instant pot but used my pressure cooker. Only thing I found is I had to put the sauce in a blender after removing the chicken and then return both to pot and add the coconut milk, yogurt

    1. Hi Yasir! Thanks for the feedback! The instant pot is just an electric pressure cooker so for the most part it should work the same.

  9. This was the FIRST Indian dish that didn’t leave me unsatisfied. I did warm up my tomato sauce to boiling before putting in the instapot and I didn’t get a burn notice! It was delicious and Sooooooo easy! Thank you!5 stars

  10. I just made this. Love it! I made a mistake on the measurement of the chili powder–I used 1 Tablespoon instead of a teaspoon, but it tasted fine. I added a can of drained cannelleni to stretch the protein content and to get more fiber. I didn’t have tomato sauce, so I used chicken broth with tomato paste (about 2/3 of a 6 oz. can). I need to watch my carbs, so I ate it as a soup. I used a full carton of broth–32 oz. No problem with sticking or with burning. I will make it again! Thanks for the recipe!5 stars

  11. I also didn’t read the recipe carefully bc it indicated a 28oz can of ‘tomato sauce’ vs. a jar of marinara, etc. and also got the burn notice (mostly ignored and scraped) which was ok, but honestly the chicken was too acidic maybe because I used whole San Marzano tomatoes.

    I added less than a teaspoon of brown sugar, some Better Than Chicken concentrated broth and more heavy cream, and that salvaged the whole thing to a ‘meh’ from the family. I am bummed that I wasted really nice pastured chicken thighs on this recipe. It also didn’t seem to be necessarily much lower in fat after I added the additional heavy cream.

    I also didn’t add the cauliflower, but I would imagine that would make the recipe even waterier. Overall, instructions could have been much clearer; would skip this version of butter chicken.

    1. I’m sorry to hear that Sunny. Any changes to the original recipe can result in the flavor being altered based on how we tested it. Also which part of the recipe needs to be clearer? Hope you can try it as written, it really is delicious and a favorite for myself (and others).

  12. This is delish!! I prepared the cauliflower separately and served my butter chicken over the cauliflower. My husband had his over rice with naan bread. I didn’t add greek yogurt. Yum! This is a keeper and easy.5 stars

  13. I should have read the comments first. Burns every time, instant pot does not seal and come to pressure. I removed the ingredients twice, deglazed the pan, and tried again to no avail. It’s clearly because of the tomato sauce-only approach. I’ve made instant pot butter chicken recipes before with no issue. I have the Instant Pot IP Luxe-60 v3, which I imagine to be far and away the most ubiquitous model in circulation as it was the only model sold by Walmart for years. Very disappointing to toss the ingredients and pivot to take-out tonight.

    1. Hi Shin, I’m sorry to hear you are having trouble with the recipe. If the instant pot doesn’t seal or come to pressure that sounds like there might be an issue with the plastic seal for your pot. Also for that particular model when you are using the saute function you want to make sure it’s set to low or normal and not high. Hope this helps!

  14. The sauce had way too much tomato flavor – not at all like butter chicken I have had before. I also got a burn warning twice, even though I scrapped the bottom clean. Very frustrating.1 star

    1. I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with the recipe, Kelci. The amounts, flavorings and timing have worked well for myself (and others) so I wished it would have been a hit for you too! I know it can be so disappointing to try a new recipe and it does not turn out for you.

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