This Instant Pot Butter Chicken is one of the EASIEST Instant Pot Indian recipes out there. It’s creamy, delicious and restaurant-quality, made in 30 minutes at home!
What is Butter Chicken?
Butter Chicken, or Murgh Makhani, is a chicken dish that originates from India. This Indian recipe consists mainly of chicken in a mildly spiced tomato cream sauce. It is called Butter Chicken because it is prepared in a makhani (butter) gravy which is made up of butter and cream.
Though most people think you can only enjoy it at an authentic Indian restaurant, it is actually super easy to make at home! The main spice that you need to get the butter chicken flavour is garam masala. You can find this spice blend at most grocery stores in amongst all the other spices, but sometimes you may need to check your local international foods market or go to a larger grocery store with more variety.
Is Butter Chicken the same as Chicken Tikka Masala?
Although Butter Chicken and Chicken Tikka Masala look very similar, they are different dishes.
Butter Chicken has a mild, sweeter gravy while Tikka Masala has a more intense and spicier flavor. It’s also been said that Tikka Masala is not a traditional Indian dish and that it was invented by an Indian chef a couple hundred years ago as a way to suit a European palate. Apparently this curry was purposefully made far less spicy than traditional Indian dishes.
Butter Chicken, on the other hand, is a more traditional dish that you can find served at most Indian restaurants and tends to be the main favourite among most people trying the cuisine for the first time.
Is Butter Chicken a curry?
Yes, butter chicken is a curry dish.
A curry can refer to any of a variety of dishes originating from India. Curries use a combination of spices and herbs and are generally prepared in a smooth sauce.
Curries can contain meat, fish or vegetables or a combination of meat and vegetables. You can actually feel free to serve this particular curry with any type of protein you’d like since the sauce is so versatile!
There are two types of curries in Indian cuisine:
- Dry curries are usually cooked with a small amount of liquid that evaporates, leaving the ingredients coated with the remaining spices.
- Wet curries have a lot of sauce or gravy.
How do I make this recipe healthier?
I know the calorie count may look a bit high for this butter chicken recipe, but at 500 calories per serving, you are actually saving a lot more calories than the traditional dish and this is mainly because the amount of heavy cream used has been cut down significantly.
Less butter has also been used.
If you are looking to cut the calorie count down even more or just make this dish even healthier, you can always cut the cream out altogether and use 1/4 cup sour cream. The sauce is also delicious without any type of cream so even though it won’t be a more traditional version of butter chicken, you can still omit altogether and enjoy.
If you’re looking to add in some more nutritional value, stir in some sliced red pepper and/or chopped baby spinach once everything is done cooking. This way you’ll get some extra veggies in there! You can also serve this butter chicken with brown rice and leave out the naan bread.
Can I freeze Instant Pot Butter Chicken?
Instant Pot Indian recipes like this one will keep well in the refrigerator for 3-5 days. However, if you won’t be using it up during that time, then it is better to freeze the leftovers.
To freeze butter chicken, divide the dish into single servings or family-sized servings. Then, place them into airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. If you are using freezer bags, make sure to flatten the bags so that they take up less space in the freezer.
The cooked chicken can be kept in the freezer for up to 5 months.
Besides freezing leftovers, you can use this recipe for meal prep. Make a batch of Butter Chicken, place it into glass meal prep containers, then freeze it for future meals. I’ve got some equipment listed below that will help you out!
What are the benefits of using an Instant Pot to make Butter Chicken?
The benefits of making Butter Chicken in an Instant Pot:
- It’s quick and easy: Just put all the ingredients into the Instant Pot. In less than 30 minutes, you’ll be enjoying a bowl of delicious and creamy butter chicken.
- Tender chicken: Since the Instant Pot doesn’t lose moisture during cooking, the chicken will turn out tender every time.
- Fuller flavour: The pressure cooking ability of the Instant Pot blends the flavors of Butter Chicken perfectly.
- Less clean up: Since you’re dumping everything into one pot, you don’t have to worry about cleaning a bunch of pots and pans after and you can set it and forget it!
What do I serve with Instant Pot Butter Chicken?
Since butter chicken is a fairly heavy dish, you should keep your accompaniments light. Aside from the Basmati rice recipe included below, some other suggestions to serve with butter chicken include:
- Aloo gobi (a potato and cauliflower dish)
- Roasted vegetables with a sprinkling of garam masala or turmeric
- A side salad
Other Instant Pot Indian recipes to try
If you enjoy this Indian butter chicken Instant Pot recipe, then be sure to check out my other Instant Pot Indian recipes:
Meal prep tools for this recipe
- Grab some glass meal prep bowls if you plan on turning this Butter Chicken into your weekly lunches.
- I get all my free-range chicken from Butcher Box, conveniently delivered to me frozen.
- Use these Ziploc bag holders if you’re marinating the chicken then freezing it
- Freeze this recipe in glass microwave-safe bowls up to 3 months
Instant Pot Butter Chicken
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 yellow onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp minced ginger
- 4 medium-sized chicken breasts, diced into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp garam masala
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 (796mL) can crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- Naan, for serving
- Cilantro, for serving
- 1 cup dry basmati rice
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 pinch salt (optional)
- Add all ingredients for chicken in the order listed to Instant Pot. Place lid on Instant Pot and make sure valve is set to seal.
- Press the pressure cook button and set to high, then cook for 3 minutes. Meanwhile, cook rice in a rice cooker. Instant Pot will take about 10-15 minutes to come to pressure then pressure cook the 3 minutes.
- Do a quick release of the pressure on the Instant Pot by flicking the switch at the top with a spoon. Open the lid when pressure gauge has dropped and the lid opens easily.
- Stir in cream, then serve butter chicken overtop of basmati rice and garnish with cilantro. Serve with naan if desired. Enjoy!
*Nutritional info is for 1/6 of the pot of butter chicken, 1/6 of the rice and 1/2 a piece of naan