Instant Pot Butter Chicken


Butter chicken is one of the most popular Indian recipes worldwide besides curry. Delicious and tender chicken pieces coated in a creamy and aromatic sauce is something you must try.

This Instant Pot Butter Chicken is delicious, satisfying, and flavorful. The recipe is incredibly quick and easy to make. Butter adds big flavor and gives this chicken dish a creamy, luxurious texture.

Thanks to your pressure cooker, you will enjoy making this dish even more – it’s so easy and fast in the comfort of your home.

Origins of Butter Chicken

Butter chicken is a recipe that originates from Northern India. The chicken is prepared in a buttery gravy with the addition of heavy cream, which gives a silky and smooth texture.

You can use real butter or clarified butter, known as ghee. Ghee is commonly used in Indian cooking and is lactose free since the milk solids are removed in the clarifying process! It has a slightly nutty taste and is less creamy tasting compared to butter.

Adding heavy cream in the last step of cooking will provide richness and give your sauce the most amazing creaminess. The chicken has a bold and intensive flavor and is a true representative of Indian cuisine.

Tips for Success: Blooming Spices

One of the steps in this recipe is cooking the spices and aromatics in butter on sauté mode. Don’t skip this step! This step is known as “blooming” the spices and is essential to releasing the aromatic compounds and deepening the flavors of the spices.

What Type of Chicken Should I Use?

For this recipe, I went with skinless and boneless chicken thighs. I find these the most succulent. Still, if you have other pieces like chicken breasts, you can use them as well. Just make sure your chicken cubes are the same size, to ensure they are all cooked well.

Why Do You Add the Heavy Cream Last?

Heavy cream and other dairy items like milk are likely to curdle when cooked in the Instant Pot. For this reason, this recipe and many others call for heavy cream to be added at the end of the recipe, stirring in after pressure cooking.

The residual heat will warm up the cream enough but not too much so that it would be at risk of curdling.

Should I Blend the Sauce?

Butter chicken sauce is usually silky smooth. If you want a completely smooth texture, you can remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and use an immersion blender to blend the rest of the sauce, then add the chicken back in to coat.

Even without blending, this sauce is still pretty smooth thanks to the use of tomato sauce rather than diced tomatoes. The only small chunks in the sauce will be from the onion, so chopping the onion very finely will help with the smooth texture if you choose not to blend the sauce.

How to serve

This dish is traditionally served over long-grain white rice and served with delicious Naan bread to soak up all the extra sauce.

However, this chicken pairs amazing with almost anything– brown rice, quinoa, mashed potatoes, or even cauliflower rice.

I like to garnish this Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe with fresh parsley or cilantro leaves for added color and freshness.

How to make butter chicken

Gather your ingredients

Cook onion and spices in Instant pot on Saute.

Add chicken and tomato sauce.

Lock lid into place and cook on High pressure for 7 minutes. Once the cooking cycle is done, perform a quick pressure release.

Add heavy cream.

Simmer the sauce for 2 minutes. Serve butter chicken warm.

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Instant Pot Butter Chicken
4.7 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: Butter Chicken, heavy cream, smoked paprika
Prep Time: 6 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6
  • 2 lb boneless skinless chicken cubed
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 2 tsp garlic powder minced
  • 2 tbsp ginger fresh and grated
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp salt and pepp
  • cilantro chopped for garnish (optional)
  • Turn on the instant pot and select sauté.
  • Add in butter, onions, ginger, garlic, all spices and sauté for 5 minutes, stir well so they don’t burn.
  • Add chicken cubes and tomato sauce.
  • Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 7 minutes.
  • When cooking tine ends, do a quick pressure release.
  • Open the lid, add heavy cream and stir well.
  • Press "saute" and saute for 2 minutes until the sauce thickened.
  • Sprinkle cilantro and serve.
Calories: 362kcal Carbohydrates: 11g Protein: 35g Fat: 19g Saturated Fat: 10g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 6g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 152mg Sodium: 1185mg Potassium: 1047mg Fiber: 3g Sugar: 6g Vitamin A: 1269IU Vitamin C: 12mg Calcium: 71mg Iron: 2mg

Instant Pot Butter Chicken for dinner

This recipe is part of our 1001 Instant Pot recipes project, a huge collection of free, easy and delicious recipes.

8 thoughts on “Instant Pot Butter Chicken

    1. You can, but it will be a bit of a different flavor. Better to make your own spice blend with cinnamon, cumin, coriander, pepper, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom…

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