Isn’t butter chicken just the most wonderful sounding name for a recipe? Today’s Instant Pot Butter Chicken has all of the comforting, soul-satisfying flavor any recipe with the word “butter” in it promises. Unlike other authentic Indian butter chicken recipes you’ve seen, it’s also a butter chicken recipe that’s EASY, healthy, and made with ingredients you can find at any grocery store. I’ve even snuck in a full serving of veggies to make it a true one-pot meal!

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.

I have been smitten with Indian food ever since my post-college roommate and I spent a month traveling India after we graduated, especially the rich, saucy curries like authentic Indian butter chicken (and Chicken Tikka Masala).

I first made this easy spin on an authentic Indian butter chicken recipe to surprise my roomie/former India travel buddy when she came to visit us, it has since become one of my favorite weeknight dinners (especially when paired with Turmeric Rice).

With its simplicity to make, fab flavor, and ability to be enjoyed with one the best Indian foods around (Homemade Naan bread), creamy butter chicken recipe is a perfect choice for casual dinners at home and for when you want to surprise friends with something fresh and different.

If you aren’t familiar with butter chicken ingredients, imagine tender, falling-apart morsels of chicken in a creamy, mildly spiced curry sauce so delicious, you catch yourself running a finger along the edge of the bowl to make sure you don’t miss a drop.

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.

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.

While we were in India, my roomie and I took a cooking class, where I quickly realized that part of the reason Indian food tastes so incredible is that it takes ALL DAY to make.

There are whole spices to toast and grind, sauces to simmer, and bread to bake. The process is fun for an afternoon class while in India but impractical for day-to-day life at home, especially at 6:30 p.m. when the line between eating real food for dinner and eating chips + wine for dinner becomes alarmingly thin.

Enter: the Instant Pot.

(If you are in the market, this is the Instant Pot model I have and used to make this butter chicken recipe, and I love it! No Instant Pot? Check out this Slow Cooker Butter Chicken!)

Instant Pot Butter Chicken with creamy coconut milk sauce. An easy and healthy Instant pot chicken recipe.

How to Make the Best Butter Chicken Recipe (Fast and Easy!)

I’ve been loving making Instant Pot recipes Indian, because the pressure cooker consolidates flavors in a way that mimics the effect of all-day stovetop cooking. This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala and this Instant Pot Lentil Curry have become a favorites of both mine and of many of yours too, so I wanted to explore making more Instant Pot Indian recipes.

I’ve also been loving making Instant Pot recipes with chicken, both Instant Pot chicken breasts and Instant Pot chicken thighs. Because the Instant Pot doesn’t lose moisture during cooking, it means recipes like this Instant Pot Chicken and Rice turn out perfectly tender every time. (More recipes can be found here: 15 Healthy Instant Pot Recipes!)

Looking for a flavorful dish but don’t have an Instant Pot? Try this Jamaican Curry Chicken instead.

One of the best Instant Pot recipes - Instant Pot Butter Chicken with cauliflower.

Whenever I’m creating a recipe, it’s important to me that you can find the ingredients at your neighborhood grocery store. If I can’t easily locate an ingredient near my house in Milwaukee, you won’t see it in one of my blog recipes, with very few exceptions. (The only one that comes to mind in recent memory is the paneer in this Paneer Tikka Masala…which I ended up finding at an Indian grocery store located two miles from my house. WHO KNEW.)

Thus, this Instant Pot Butter Chicken, while perhaps not the most authentic Indian butter chicken recipe in the land, will be one of the easiest butter chicken recipes you’ll find, starting with the ingredients.

What’s in Butter Chicken Sauce?

  • I made this Instant Butter Chicken with coconut milk (look for it in the Asian food section of your grocery store), tomato sauce, and two spice blends, curry powder and garam masala.
  • My grocery store carries both blends, but if you can’t find them, Amazon has several options, and Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods sell them too.

How Can I Make Easy Instant Pot Butter Chicken Healthy?

  • In my usual style, this is also an healthy Instant pot recipe!
  • I added cauliflower to the mix to make it half chicken/half veggie. I love the way the cauliflower breaks down and absorbs the butter sauce’s flavor. The cauliflower mimics the texture and appearance of the chicken too, so you almost don’t realize you are eating vegetables.

Can I Use Frozen Chicken?

  • Yes! You can use frozen chicken and even frozen cauliflower florets. Your Instant Pot will take longer to come to pressure before the cooking time begins, but the dish will still be delicious.

Recipe Adaptations

  • Can I Make this a Vegetarian Instant Pot Recipe or a Vegan Instant Pot Recipe? Yes! You can try omitting the chicken and using all cauliflower, try this Tofu Tikka Masala, or explore some of my other vegetarian Instant Pot recipes, such as this healthy Instant Pot Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. To make vegan, use full fat coconut milk in place of the half and half, a vegan buttery substitute for the butter, and an unsweetened coconut milk-based yogurt in place of the Greek yogurt.
  • Can I Make this Slow Cooker Butter Chicken Instead? Yes! Check out my recipe for Slow Cooker Butter Chicken.
  • Can I Make this Butter Chicken on the Stovetop? Yes! I have not yet tested this but think this recipe could be made in a Dutch oven using the following steps. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it goes.
    • Cut the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium high. Sauté until golden on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add additional 1 tablespoon olive oil. Sauté the onions and spices until the onion is softened. Stir in the tomato sauce, cauliflower, and sautéed chicken. Bring the sauce to a gentle simmer. Partially cover the pot then let cook, keeping the sauce at a gentle simmer, until the chicken is cooked through and the cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the half and half. Let cool a few minutes, then stir in the Greek yogurt as directed.
One of the best healthy Instant Pot recipes. Indian Instant Pot Butter Chicken. Made with coconut milk, cauliflower, and other easy ingredients.

I hope this Instant Pot Butter Chicken inspires some fresh flavors and brings a taste of adventure to your kitchen. Even if you’ve never cooked (or eaten!) Indian food, I think you’ll be surprised and refreshed by the way something as simple trying a new recipe can transport you from the comfort of your own table.

Recommended Tools to Make Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

4.76 from 113 votes
Instant Pot Butter Chicken. An easy, healthy recipe for Indian butter chicken made with easy to find ingredients. Delicious and not too spicy!

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 1 hr

Servings: 6 servings


  • 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


  • 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 or 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.


  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Reheat leftovers gently on the stovetop or in the microwave.
  • To make in the slow cooker, use this recipe for Slow Cooker Butter Chicken!


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 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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    1. Hi Lori! While I haven’t tried it diced, others have and have had great success! If you give it a try, let me know! Thank you!

    2. A major staple for weekend dinners in my house! I personally can’t handle spice and this is the right amount for me lol. Also I do dice the chicken breast beforehand and cut the cook time in half and have had great success doing that!5 stars

  1. Super easy to make, and loved by the family! The Greek yogurt added a creaminess that was surprising! Next time I think I will add a few extra pieces of chicken because there was so much sauce! This is a winner in our book!5 stars

  2. This has become one of our favorite dinners. My husband requests this more than anything else I think, and he’s a chef! So simple yet so flavorful. The only problem I have is I get a burn food notice every single time. I’m very careful to scrap all the stuff off the bottom after sautéing, too.5 stars

  3. Made this tonight for the first time. Of note, I am no instapot professional! But I followed the recipe exactly and it was delicious and very easy to prepare! My husband must have said mmmm ten times. I’m going to try to add carrots next time, just because I love them. We ate this over additional cauliflower for a low-carb dinner. I will be making this often!5 stars

  4. I just made this today! First I somehow forgot the butter? haha and then I put the greek yogurt in I think too quickly! But the flavor was so great that it was all good! Will make again and actually follow directions to a T :)5 stars

  5. This is an awesome recipe! I love the sneaky inclusion of the cauliflower – a great way to
    Get some veggies. My husband isn’t the biggest fan of cauliflower but the flavors were so present he couldn’t even tell it was in there!5 stars

  6. This was DELICIOUS and versatile!! My husband who hates cauliflower had thirds. I used leftover turkey instead of chicken, but could use chickpeas to make vegetarian. I used the coconut milk suggested instead of half and half because I had it on hand. I tested this in a ditch oven because I was using the IP to make the rice. Worked great, took 35 minutes to braise the cauliflower. Will definitely be putting this in the rotation5 stars

  7. This recipe is amazing. First of all, I love my instant pot & how there’s usually less cleanup. I love how this recipe incorporates cauliflower & I can sneak in those veggies with the kids. Everytime I make this, the family eats it up with zero complaints and goes back for seconds. I’ve made it for neighbors and they love it. It makes enough to share and leftovers for next day’s lunch. It’s on our permanent dinner rotation.5 stars

  8. I have almost made butter chicken so many times but I wasn’t sure if my family would like it. I had never tried it and I was scared of the flavor. IT WAS AMAZING!!!!!
    I can’t even believe how delicious it was and I make taco chicken on a weekly basis but this was just as easy and only needed a few other ingredients on hand. Can’t wait to have it again, and next time do a chicken breast/chicken thigh mixture .5 stars

    1. Hi Beverley, they are actually two different spices. Cayenne powder is hotter than chili powder, and this recipe calls for chili powder. Hope this helps!

  9. I tried butter chicken for the first time in a restaurant and loved it. Saw your recipe and had to try. I made it in my instapot and served with brown rice It’s fabulous! Very flavorful!! Will make it again for sure. Winner!!5 stars

  10. I wanted to love this recipe since there were so many positive comments. However I followed the recipe EXACTLY and made 1000% sure that there were absolutely no brown bits stuck to the bottom… But the “food burn” trigger kept going off. I tried to remove the food, scrape the bottom clean, and put the food back in, only to have the burn food warning go off again. I tried this 3 times. Super frustrating :(

    1. Hi Nikki, I can imagine that it is frustrating, but I don’t believe this is a reflection of the recipe because it does not happen to everyone. I think this is reflection of the model of instant pot that is being used.

  11. 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.

    I also change it up with a combo of fish, shrimp, and scallops instead of chicken, although I usually omit the cauliflower with this version. It lends itself really well to this and is especially good over brown rice.

    If you like things spicy, don’t be afraid to dial those up a bit (I do more than just a bit). I also usually add cumin, turmeric, and cayenne.5 stars

  12. I’m going to try making this soon, but I was wondering: does the estimated nutrition info include the brown rice you say to serve it with, or is it just the chicken? The way it’s phrased isn’t completely clear. Thanks!

  13. I should have known by the comment “I can’t handle spice but I liked this” that this wouldn’t be my favorite, as I like intensely flavored food. I thought this was sooo tomato sauce forward that it was more reminiscent of Italian pasta sauce than Indian food. I ended up adding the full can of coconut milk after, and adding double the spices, but alas it was still too tomatoey and acidic in my opinion, not rich and creamy like butter chicken I’m used to. Prior to my additions, I followed it exactly and it also turned out looking way more red than the photo. I think it has potential though., and is a good recipe for adjusting to your personal tastes. Next time I would cut the tomato sauce in half, double the seasonings and add coriander and turmeric into the mix, and triple the milk. I would definitely use full dairy instead of coconut milk to make it more velvety. The method was great. Extremely easy, and the texture of the chicken came out perfect.

    1. I’m sorry this recipe wasn’t to your tastes, Al. I (and many other readers) have truly enjoyed it, so I wish you would’ve too!

  14. I have made it this evening and it was delicious. My question is: ” why the tomato sauce?
    Thank you Erin, looking forward to trying out your many delicious recipes.5 stars

    1. Hi Pascale! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review! We’ve tested the recipe out with tomato sauce and really enjoyed the end product!

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