Instant Pot Butter Chicken

5 from 10 votes

Instant Pot Butter Chicken is a quick, creamy, and flavorful Indian-inspired dish with tender chicken in a tomato-based sauce. Perfect over white rice!

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Making butter chicken at home has never been easier, thanks to the Instant Pot. This recipe combines chicken thighs with spices and a creamy tomato sauce, all cooked together to create a hearty and flavorful dish. IP butter chicken It’s perfect for anyone looking to quickly put together a fulfilling meal without much hassle. Enjoy your homemade butter chicken with a side of rice or naan.

Butter chicken over rice on a plate and garnished with fresh cilantro.
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Butter chicken, or as it’s traditionally called, murgh makhani, is one of those dishes that is loved all around the globe. In fact, it’s probably the one people order the most when they go to an Indian restaurant. This is my take on it and my go-to when I want to skip the takeout wait! If you liked my stovetop butter chicken, you’re going to love this Instant Pot update.

Why you’ll love this instant pot butter chicken recipe

  • Packed with Flavor. Sometimes quick recipes can skimp on taste, but not here. The Instant Pot helps lock in those aromatic spices, ensuring every bite of this butter chicken tastes just as good as it would from your favorite Indian restaurant.
  • Cook Once, Eat Twice. This butter chicken tastes even better the next day. Make a big batch, and you’ve got tomorrow’s lunch sorted! 
  • Versatile Serving Options. Whether you want to serve it with basmati rice or naan, this dish pairs well with just about anything. Even if you’re going low-carb, you can enjoy it with cauliflower rice or as a stand-alone bowl!
  • Lighter Twist. This instant pot butter chicken recipe uses coconut milk instead of the traditional heavy cream. You still get that lush, creamy texture but with a lighter touch and some healthy fats.

Ingredients to make instant pot butter chicken

Ingredients for recipe: cold water, cornstarch, paprika, garlic cloves, ginger, cumin, onion, salt, turmeric, crushed tomatoes, cilantro, coconut milk, butter, and chicken thighs.
  • Butter: The key to that classic buttery taste. You can use ghee for a more traditional flavor.
  • Onion, Garlic, and Ginger: These form the flavor foundation of the dish. Having them diced and minced beforehand will speed up your cooking time.
  • Chicken Thighs: Boneless and skinless for easy cooking. You can swap in chicken breast if you prefer, but thighs are juicier.
  • Turmeric, Ground Cumin, and Paprika: These bring warmth and depth to the recipe. Keep your spices fresh for the best flavor!
  • Salt and Garam Masala: For that essential seasoning and a hint of authentic Indian flavors. You can find garam masala at Indian specialty stores or the international aisle in some supermarkets.
  • Crushed Tomatoes: These add the tang and body to your sauce. Fresh tomatoes work too, but you’ll need to cook them down.
  • Coconut Milk: Gives you that creamy goodness. You could use regular milk or cream, but coconut milk makes it lighter.
  • Cornstarch and Cold Water: This duo will thicken your sauce nicely. Make a smooth mix with cold water before adding to avoid clumps. For help, check out my post on how to make a slurry.
  • Different spices. If you’re looking to make your butter chicken even more flavorful, consider adding a pinch of cayenne pepper or even some red chili flakes. But remember, a little goes a long way!
  • Heavy cream. Although this is an instant pot butter chicken recipe with coconut milk, you can swap it for heavy cream for a richer, more indulgent dish.
  • DIY garam masala. No garam masala in the cupboard? You can mix up your own. Try 1 part cumin plus ¼ part allspice. Or go wild with any combination of coriander, cumin, black peppercorns, cardamom, cloves, and nutmeg.
  • Sugar. If you like your butter chicken with a hint of sweetness, add a teaspoon or so of sugar. It’ll balance out the spices.
  • Use different types of protein. You can use shrimp, tofu, or even paneer as a chicken substitute. Just keep an eye on the cooking time, especially for quicker-cooking proteins like shrimp.

How to make instant pot butter chicken with coconut milk

  1. Add butter to the InstantPot and set to sauté. Once melted, add onion, garlic, and ginger and cook, stirring often. [Image 1]
  2. Add turmeric, cumin, paprika, and salt and stir to coat the vegetables with spices. Cook until very fragrant. [Image 2]
  3. Add chicken and crushed tomatoes to the pot. [Image 3]
  4. Stir the chicken with the crushed tomatoes, put the lid on with the vent sealed, and set to manual pressure. Let it cook. [Image 4]
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the water into the cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved completely. When you are able to open the lid of the InstantPot, add coconut milk and cornstarch slurry. [Image 5]
  6. Stir until creamy and incorporated. Add cilantro and garam masala. [Image 6]
6 image collage making recipe in an Instant pot: 1- melted butter, onion, garlic, and ginger before sauteing, 2- after cooking to show browned veggies with turmeric, cumin, paprika, and salt added, 3- after combining/cooking with chicken and crushed tomatoes added, 4-after cooking, 5- coconut milk and slurry added, 6- after stirring with garam masala and cilantro on top.

Tips for making the best instant pot butter chicken

  1. Don’t add coconut milk too early. Make sure you follow the steps and add the coconut milk after the pressure cooking is done. Adding it earlier can affect the texture and flavor of the final dish.
  2. Feel free to use frozen chicken. If you forgot to thaw your chicken, no worries! You can use frozen chicken thighs. Just make sure you separate them, so they’re not in one big clump, and maybe add a few extra minutes to the cooking time.
  3. Natural release is your friend. Resist the urge to quick-release the pressure as soon as the timer goes off. Let it naturally release for about 10 minutes. It keeps the chicken tender and locks in the flavor for the best instant pot butter chicken!
  4. Stir often. When sautéing your onion, garlic, and ginger, be sure to stir regularly. This helps to prevent sticking and ensures the spices coat everything evenly, making for a richer flavor.
Instant pot butter chicken in the pot being lifted up with a ladle and garnished with fresh cilantro.

What to serve with pressure cooker butter chicken

How to store & reheat butter chicken

Just pop the leftover chicken into an airtight container and slide it into the fridge. This helps keep the flavors intact and prevents the chicken from drying out.

To reheat your butter chicken. Pour it into a pan and warm it up over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If it’s gotten too thick in the fridge, you can always add a splash of coconut milk or water to loosen it up. Also, you can place it in a microwave-safe dish and reheat it for about 2-3 minutes.

How long will butter chicken last in the fridge?

Your pressure cooker butter chicken will stay delicious for up to 3-4 days in the fridge. Just make sure it’s properly stored in an airtight container.

Can i freeze butter chicken?

Yes, you can freeze it! Portion it out into freezer-safe bags or containers, squeezing out as much air as possible to avoid freezer burn, and place them in the fridge. It should stay fresh and tasty for up to 2 months. Remember to thaw it in the fridge overnight before you plan to reheat and serve.

Frequently asked questions

What’s the difference between Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala?

Both dishes are creamy and spiced, but they’re not the same. Butter chicken is generally milder and has a rich, buttery tomato-based sauce. Chicken Tikka Masala is usually made with yogurt marinated chicken, it packs more heat, and has a more complex flavor profile.

Can I make this dish dairy-free?

Yes! If you’re looking to go dairy-free, you can swap out the butter for a plant-based alternative like coconut oil or olive oil. The coconut milk is already a dairy-free option, so you’re good there!

Why is my sauce too thin? How can I thicken it?

If your sauce turns out too runny, you can either simmer it for a bit longer to reduce the liquid or make a little more cornstarch slurry (cornstarch + cold water) and stir it in until you get the thickness you like.

Spoon lifting up a bite of butter chicken over rice.

This instant pot butter chicken with coconut milk is perfect for busy weeknights, giving you that creamy, dreamy, restaurant-quality butter chicken in way less time! Plus, it’s got all those amazing spices that make your kitchen smell so good. So next time you’re craving some Indian food, just grab your Instant Pot and get cooking—you won’t regret it!

More Instant pot recipes:

If you try this feel good Instant Pot Butter Chicken recipe or any other recipe on Feel Good Foodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below! It helps others who are thinking of making the recipe. We would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots, share it on Instagram so we can repost on Stories!

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Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Instant Pot Butter Chicken is a quick, creamy, and flavorful Indian-inspired dish with tender chicken in a tomato-based sauce. Perfect over white rice!
5 from 10 votes
Servings 6 servings
Course Dinner, Entree
Calories 349
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Pressure release 10 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
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  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • 1 cup canned coconut milk
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala


  • Add butter to the InstantPot and set to sauté. Once melted, add onion, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes. Add turmeric, cumin, paprika and salt and stir to coat the vegetables with spices. Cook for about 1 minute, or until very fragrant.
  • Add chicken and crushed tomatoes to the pot. Hit ‘cancel’ then add the lid with the vent set in the ‘sealed’ position. Set to manual pressure for 10 minutes. When the cooking time is up, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then release any remaining pressure manually by opening the vent.
  • In a small bowl, gradually whisk the water into the cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved completely and the mixture is smooth.
  • When you are able to open the lid, add coconut milk and slurry and stir until creamy and incorporated. Add cilantro and garam masala and serve.


Nutrition label is for butter chicken recipe only and does not include rice.


Calories: 349kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 21g, Saturated Fat: 14g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 0.3g, Cholesterol: 93mg, Sodium: 569mg, Potassium: 980mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 766IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 72mg, Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine Indian
Course: Dinner, Entree
5 from 10 votes (9 ratings without comment)

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  1. Louisa says:

    My family is obsessed with your butter chicken. So easy and absolutely delicious 🤤 Our new favorite. Definitely will be on our meal rotation.

    1. Yumna says:

      Yay, so glad everyone likes it! Such a cozy dinner recipe.

  2. Christine says:

    Do you have a crockpot version? Thanks!

    1. Yumna J. says:

      Hi Christine, great question, no I do not have a slow cooker version. I don’t use one at home so I actually don’t have any slow cooker recipes on my site.