This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala is a delicious Indian-inspired one pot dinner idea that is ready in 30 minutes or less! Serve with some basmati rice and fresh cilantro and you’ve got dinner on the table fast!
This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala is the closest thing you’re going to get to takeout, and it doesn’t take a lot of work to make either!
I’m obsessed with Indian food, but I used to think it was so difficult to make at home and required all these different spices that I couldn’t find at the store.
Well, I’m here to debunk any potential fears by telling you that you should already have most of these ingredients on hand at home, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find this recipe lightened up compared to traditional versions because it uses sour cream instead of heavy cream, and you don’t need to do any special marinating ahead of time!
How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala
Okay, first up, you should probably be aware that chicken tikka masala is NOT even Indian food! I know, shocking right? Rumour has it that it originated somewhere in the UK as a means to bring down the heat of traditional Indian food and make it more palatable for white folks to enjoy LOL. In other words, us white people just couldn’t handle the heat so it became sort of a hybrid curry and not a traditional Indian dish (unlike this curried lentil dal).
But you will probably recognize it as very similar to butter chicken, and it’s a hearty dish that is perfect for just about any time of year.
All you need are some crushed tomatoes, sour cream, ginger, garlic, onions and a blend of spices to make the sauce. I used turmeric, garam masala, cumin and cayenne pepper as a basic spice mix to try and keep things simple, though I’ve seen more “uncommon” spices such as cardamom and coriander also being used.
You can actually use cardamom in place of the garam masala if that’s all you have on hand – the spices are very similar to each other and give you that kick you’re used to tasting in traditional Indian curries. Those really are the secret spices here. You should be able to find them in the ethnic/spice isles of your local grocery stores or at specialty food markets. You could also try bulk food stores!
I do suggest using garam masala here just because I personally find it’s more common in the bigger grocery stores and it’s a versatile spice that you can use for other curries and recipes so if you are going to pick one, go with that.
And if you absolutely CAN’T find garam masala in your local grocery store, add some dried ginger and a pinch of cinnamon to your Instant Pot – it’s a quick fix that will still give you a great taste!
You will basically dump all your ingredients into the Instant Pot with the exception of the rice, cilantro and sour cream then pressure cook for 3 minutes.
I promise you the chicken will get cooked in this time since it’s cut up into small pieces, and while the chicken is cooking you can get the rice going in your rice cooker or on the stove, and chop up your cilantro.
You want to stir the sour cream in after the fact to get that extra layer of creaminess – it’s lighter on calories than heavy cream that is traditionally used in tikka masala, and it still gets you the colour you traditionally associate with this recipe while maintaining all the flavour too!
You can also add in some extra veggies once everything has been pressure cooked – I like to stir in some spinach or finely chopped red peppers afterward to pack an extra nutritional punch. You can also serve this Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with some naan bread or change up the rice for quinoa. It’s up to you!
Will you be making this Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala?
If you’re looking for another tasty Instant Pot comfort food option, this Instant Pot Beef Barley Soup is the bomb – check it out!
- Pack up your leftovers in these square glass meal prep bowls – they’re safe for microwaving!
- If you’re looking to stock your freezer with free-range chicken, then check out Butcher Box – they’re an awesome way to cut down on shopping time!
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- l lb chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp gingerroot, minced
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 1 (796mL) can crushed tomatoes
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 cups cooked basmati or jasmine rice (usually about 1 cup dry rice and 2 cups water - check package directions)
- Add olive oil, onions, chicken, garlic, ginger, spices, chicken broth and crushed tomatoes to Instant Pot in that order. Cook on high pressure for 3 minutes and then do a quick release of the pressure. Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to come to pressure then the 3 min to pressure cook. Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions.
- Once you do the quick release, remove lid when safe to do so and stir in sour cream. Serve in bowls along with rice and top with cilantro. Enjoy!