Instant pot chicken tikka masala is a flavorful Indian-style dinner with plenty of sauce. This recipe has a simple preparation and a short ingredient list. Plus, no marinating is required!
Making chicken tikka masala in a pressure cooker is easy which makes it the perfect dinner for cooks of all levels.
Special diet information
What does this Indian style chicken recipe include?
Dairy: YES (natural yogurt)
Refined sugar: NO
With nuts and gluten, always check the labels of the ingredients you are going to use to see if they were produced in a factory that does not handle those.
How to make chicken tikka masala in instant pot
First, sauté onion in the pot. This will take about 3 minutes. Then, add chicken chunks that you have seasoned with half of the salt and cook until browned. Add spices and mix everything well, cook about a minute.
Next, add coconut milk and pureed tomatoes. Mix well and cover with a lid.
Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes, then wait until the pressure drops naturally.
Add yogurt and press sauté again. Thicken the sauce with cornstarch slurry (water + cornstarch + 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce) and cook until it thickens, about a minute or 2.
Finally, stir in fresh cilantro.
Rice – long grain rice of any kind is the best option (like Thai, Basmati or Jasmin)
Naan bread – either store-bought or homemade.
Sweet potato flatbread – another delicious side to any Indian style chicken dinner and our readers favorite (only 2 ingredients).
A combination of rice and bread is also delicious. I also like to top it with fresh cilantro.
Indian spices – Garam masala is a special Indian spice blend. If you can’t find it in your local store, you can make your own blend from scratch.
Chicken tikka masala frequently asked questions:
I don’t recommend doing so for this tikka masala recipe. Let the pressure drop naturally for extra tender pieces of meat. Also, meat continues cooking even after the time is up which means if you happen to cut chicken into larger chunks, they will be cooked through.
Chicken thighs are a possible alternative.
You can, but you don’t need to. It will depend on the number of people.
You can increase the amount of chicken breasts up to almost 2 pounds without having to increase all the ingredients as there should still be enough sauce in the pot for everyone. However, you would need to add extra salt.
Or, add a slightly more pureed tomatoes and (or) yogurt at the end to increase the quantity of sauce. Then, thicken to your liking.
If you decide to double the recipe, cooking time stays the same.
More instant pot chicken recipes you might like to try:
- Instant Pot Honey Mustard Chicken
- Instant Pot Chicken Risotto – one of our readers most favorite pressure cooker recipes.
- Instant Pot Chicken Piccata
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
- 1 tablespoon olive oil see note 1
- 1 onion , medium , minced (about 3/4 cup finely minced)
- 2 chicken breasts , large, boneless, skinless (21-ounces/650-grams), cut into chunks, see note 3
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon fresh ginger , grated, see note 4
- 1½ tablespoons garam masala
- 1 can coconut milk , see note 2 (14-ounce/400-milliliters)
- ½ can pureed tomatoes , see note 5
- ½ cup natural yogurt , see note 6 (120 milliliters)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch , to thicken the sauce
- fresh cilantro , to taste
- Turn on instant pot. Press “SAUTE” and pour oil in. Add onion and saute until translucent, about 3 minutes.
- Season chicken chunks with half of the salt and add them to the pot. Brown, for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
- Add the rest of salt, turmeric, ginger and garam masala and cook for about a minute, stirring from time to time. Turn off the saute function by pressing “CANCEL”.
- Pour in coconut milk and pureed tomatoes. Stir well. Cover with a lid and lock it into its position. Turn the steam releasing valve to “SEALING” and press “PRESSURE COOK” (or MANUAL) and adjust timer to 3 minutes (high pressure).
- When the time is up, wait until the pressure drops naturally (the pin will drop down) before you open the lid.
- Press “SAUTE” and stir in yogurt and chopped cilantro.
- To thicken the sauce, make a cornstarch slurry by mixing cornstarch with 4 tablespoons of water and 2-3 tablespoons of the sauce. Pour this in and stir until thickened, about 1-2 minutes.
- Turn the pot off and serve with rice, naan bread or flatbread.
- If you don’t have olive oil, use vegetable or sunflower oil.
- Coconut milk cannot be substituted with cream of coconut (this one contains a ton of sugar as it is meant for desserts). Coconut milk drink will also not work. If your coconut milk has separated (liquid at the bottom and solid on the top of the can), simply mix it before you add it to the pot. This is a sign of a good quality coconut milk.
- Chicken – it is important to use fresh chicken as the cooking time is only 3 minutes. Frozen chicken breast must be thawed completely before you use them. Chicken thighs will work great as a substitute for chicken breasts.
- Instead of 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (about ½ thumb-size), 1 teaspoon of ground ginger will also work great.
- Pureed tomatoes can be substituted with tomato passata (which is pretty much the same thing- but mostly seedless).
- Natural yogurt can be substituted with unsweetened plain Greek yogurt. Sour cream should also work here.
- This recipe was developed for a 6-quart/6-liter instant pot pressure cooker.
- The overall cooking time does not include time the pot needs to come to pressure (10 minutes) nor time the pot needs to release its pressure naturally (about 15-20 minutes).
- This chicken tikka masala can be stored in the fridge (airtight container) for up to 3 days.
- For more information about serving ideas, FAQs and more, please read the full post above this recipe card.