Welcome to my instant pot chicken tikka masala recipe. Restaurant quality and ready in less than half the time of traditional cooking.
Succulent marinated chicken in a tasty sauce and a perfect blend of natural spices. Pot in pot rice makes this recipe the perfect, easy one-pot meal. Tikka masala is one of my families all-time most requested curry recipes.
What is chicken tikka masala?
Traditionally chicken tikka masala would be boneless chunks of chicken marinated in yoghurt and spices. This would then be roasted in a clay oven and served with a rich creamy sauce.
I have tried to keep to this formula, however modified for the instant pot.
Chicken tikka masala has many similarities with butter chicken, both in appearance and the method used to make it.
How to make instant pot chicken tikka masala
Add all of the marinade ingredients together and mix together with the diced chicken. Cover and leave in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (I usually try to leave it overnight). If you are going to do pot in pot rice, rinse your rice in a sieve just before starting to cook. Leave it under running cold tap until the water comes out almost clear. Set the rice aside and then put the pot on saute.
Now add whichever oil you are using (I used ghee, but have also made this with coconut oil - other vegetable oils will also work well). Now add the onions and fry until softened (around 5 minutes). Add the garlic followed by the remaining spices. Season to taste and then add the chicken and all of the marinade (the smell at this point will be amazing!). Cook for around 3 minutes and then add the grated carrot, tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and coconut milk. Stir everything together.
If doing pot in pot rice, add a trivet which sits above the curry and add the rice in a suitable bowl with boiling water. Put the lid on the instant pot and set on high pressure for 7 minutes. when the time is up, leave under pressure for another 9 minutes and then do a quick release. When the pin drops remove the lid followed by the perfectly cooked rice and the trivet. Stir the curry together and serve with a garnish of coriander (cilantro) if desired.
What are the ingredients for instant pot chicken tikka masala?
My instant pot chicken tikka masala recipe contains the following ingredients:
- Garam masala
- Smoked paprika
- Chili powder
- Salt ( I used pink Himalayan sea salt)
- Lemon juice
- Plain yoghurt (I used full-fat Greek yoghurt)
- Garlic (fresh)
- Ginger (fresh)
- Chicken breast (thigh is also good in this recipe)
- Basmati rice (any long grain rice will also be good)
- Ghee (I've also used coconut oil which was just as good).
- More garlic!
- Ground cumin
- Tinned tomatoes
- Tomato puree
- Coconut milk
- Coriander (cilantro)
I know it looks like a big list, but the recipe really is easy and most of the spices will be things you have in your store cupboard.
What to serve with instant pot tikka masala
I served my tikka masala with a garnish of coriander and a side serving of cabbage and Indian snacks (samosas and bhajis). You could also serve with naan bread or chapatis.
Is instant pot tikka masala healthy?
My tikka masala is made using all-natural ingredients and has no added sugars. It contains most of the required daily nutrients and in my opinion, is a healthy meal option.
Are there any substitutions I can do if I don't have all the ingredients?
My tikka masala is a fairly flexible recipe and you can try any of the following changes.
- You don't need to use ghee for the oil although it is the most authentic choice. I have made the meal successfully with coconut oil and additionally, I'm sure sunflower oil, groundnut oil, olive oil or even butter would work well.
- Sweet paprika would work instead of smoked paprika.
- I made the tikka masala fairly mild (mostly because my children prefer it that way), but you could use hot chili powder instead of mild if you prefer it spicier.
- Chicken breast was used in this recipe, but I have also made it with boneless, skinless thighs and they worked well (thigh meat is even tastier than breast in my opinion. You could also use turkey or even lamb for another variation.
- If you don't have coconut milk, double cream (heavy cream) or even half and half will work well.
Is instant pot chicken tikka masala keto-friendly?
Yes, my tikka masala is keto-friendly, however you won't be able to serve with rice or the Indian snacks as they are heavy in carbohydrates.
My recommendation would be to serve with cauliflower rice and a leafy green vegetable.
Is it possible to scale the recipe up or down?
Yes, it would be fine to half the recipe in any of the instant pots. You could double the recipe with any of the pots 6l (6qt) and above. In either case, all timings would remain the same.
Instant pot chicken tikka masala
- 1 tbsp Garam masala
- 2 tsp Smoked paprika
- 1 tsp Chilli powder I used mild, but hot would work well.
- 1 tsp Salt
- 3 tbsp Lemon juice (freshly squeezed) About half a lemon.
- 200 ml Plain yoghurt I used full-fat Greek yoghurt, but low fat or most plain yoghurt should be good.
- 5 cloves Garlic Minced or finely chopped.
- 2 tsp Ginger Minced or finely chopped.
- 912 g Chicken breast (diced) Thigh would be fine - just add 2 minutes to the cooking time.
- 454 g Basmati rice (rinsed and drained) Any long-grain white rice will work.
- 3 tbsp Ghee Vegetable oil or butter would also be OK.
- 2 Large Onions Roughly chopped
- 5 Cloves Garlic Roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp Garam Masala
- 1 tbsp Ground coriander
- 1 tsp Turmeric
- 1 tsp Chilli powder I used mild, but hot would work well.
- 1 tsp Ground cumin
- to taste Salt and pepper
- 2 Medium Carrots (Grated)
- 400 ml Tinned tomatoes
- 3 tbsp Tomato puree
- 400 ml Coconut milk I used full fat, but reduced would be OK. Double (heavy) cream could also be used (200ml - 1 cup).
- 1 Bunch Fresh coriander (cilantro) Chopped to garnish.
- Add all the marinade ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly with the chicken. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour (overnight would work even better).
- When you are ready to begin, rinse the rice in a sieve until water comes out nearly clear (around 2 minutes). Set aside.
- Set the instant pot to saute and add the coconut oil. Once melted add the onion and fry until softened (around 5 minutes). Add the garlic and fry for a further 1 minute.
- Add all of the spices and fry for 1 more minute (the smell should be amazing!).
- Add the marinated chicken and all of the marinade to the instant pot and saute for around 3 minutes.
- Add all the remaining ingredients except the coriander. Stir well to combine.
- If doing pot in pot rice, add a tall trivet to the instant pot and add the rice to a suitable container with 650ml of boiling water. Put the rice on the trivet.
- Put the lid on the instant pot. Set on high pressure for 7 minutes.
- Leave under pressure for 9 more minutes. Release any remaining pressure and when the pin drops, remove the lid.
- Remove the rice and the trivet and stir the tikka masala together.
- Serve over rice or naan bread garnished with the coriander (cilantro).
I made mine using an 8l (8qt) instant pot and I have also made it in the 6l (6qt) pot. I haven’t made it in the 3l (3qt) pot, but I’m sure it would work well with half of the ingredients and the same timings. It would probably be better not to try pot in pot rice in the 3l pot as there won't be sufficient room.
Leftovers will keep well for up to 5 days in the fridge provided they are heated up correctly. You can also freeze them successfully for up to 6 months. In fact, leftovers will almost certainly taste better than when the curry is fresh as the flavours have more time to develop.
For some interesting information about the history of chicken tikka masala, please click here.
If you have enjoyed my recipe for instant pot chicken tikka masala, please take a look at some of my other great curry recipes:
- Easy instant pot butter chicken
- Instant pot lamb rogan josh
- Instant pot keema
- Instant pot chicken biryani
- Instant pot chicken korma recipe
If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please leave them in the box below and I would be delighted to help.