Butter chicken or murgh makhani is one of the most popular Indian chicken curries all over the world. It is the dish everyone orders when in an Indian restaurant. Instant Pot Butter Chicken is a flavorful dish with chicken cooked in a mildly spiced curry sauce or gravy. This is a restaurant-style recipe where you indulge with lots of butter and cream. This butter chicken is such a breeze to make in the Instant Pot.

Pressure Cooker Instant Pot Butter Chicken

I have shared a Paneer Butter Masala before, which is the exact same sauce made with onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, and lots of aromatic spices. I just replaced the paneer and added chicken while cooking the sauce.

I add cashews and top with cream to thicken the gravy. Many recipes for butter chicken skip onions. However, I find that to be too tangy for my taste. Give this a try, and I am sure you will love this butter chicken. My daughter is a very picky eater but loves this sauce with chicken or paneer, so I can attest that it is kid-friendly.

There is another popular Indian Chicken CurryChicken Tikka Masala.  For tikka masala, you marinate the chicken and grill the marinated chicken (called chicken tikka) before adding it to the gravy. Here is Salmon Tikka Masala recipe for the instant pot.

How to make Instant Pot Butter Chicken? – A different preparation 

Pressure Cooker Instant Pot Butter Chicken

The preparation for this Butter Chicken is very different than the usual onion-tomato gravy. Usually, to make gravy, we first sauté onions and then sauté tomatoes. However, this one is done in a completely different way.

Add all the ingredients, except cream and honey, to the instant pot. Place the chicken on top of the ingredients and pressure cook for 8 minutes.  You don’t need to finely chop the onions and tomatoes as we are going to blend them later.  

This is also the reason I suggest adding whole spices in a pouch made from thin cheesecloth or a spice bag.  This helps to get the flavor, but you can also remove it before blending.

Once the pressure cooking is done, remove the cooked chicken and cut it into pieces. Blend the cooked ingredients using an immersion blender or a regular blender.  I used my immersion blender, which I could use directly in the pot.

If using a regular blender, you would have to pour the contents into the blender and may need to let them cool before blending. Then pour them back into the instant pot after blending.  The sauce is now ready. Stir in the cream, honey, and chicken pieces. Garnish with lovely cilantro, and enjoy it!

Butter Chicken Instant Pot Pressure Cooker - Close up with butter chicken in a fork

Isn’t it a lovely color?  And the easiest dish to prepare? This is my go-to dish when I have not done much preparation…and oh, perfect to serve if you have guests coming over. Here you can find 20 easy sides to serve with butter chicken.

Love this gravy?  Make it a dip with naan and serve it as an appetizer. This used to be a complimentary appetizer served at an Indian restaurant I frequently visited in Chicago.

You can also do vegetarian Indian variations with this gravy – Paneer Butter Masala, Butter Tofu, Matar Paneer, or add Roasted Cauliflower. If you like to meal prep, make a big batch of this sauce and freeze it for later.

Check out other Instant Pot Indian Curry Recipes you might enjoy:

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4.84 from 49 votes

Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe

A creamy and delicious Butter chicken or Murgh Makhani made in the Instant Pot. Chicken cooked in a mildly spiced tomato gravy with aromatic ginger, garlic and spices. 
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 5

Ingredients 

  • 1.5 lb Chicken, thighs
  • 2 tablespoon Butter, (replace with oil for dairy free)
  • 1 Green chili pepper, (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds (Jeera)
  • 1/2 Onion, large, cut in large pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon Garlic, minced
  • 4 Tomato, cut in large pieces
  • 1/4 cup Cashews
  • 2 tablespoon Dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasoori Methi)
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1/4 cup Cream, heavy whipping or coconut cream
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • Cilantro, to garnish

Spices

Whole Spices

Instructions 

  • Make a spice pouch by adding the whole spices to a cheesecloth. Tie it such that the spices cannot come out of it.
  • Except chicken, cream, honey and cilantro, add all ingredients and spice pouch to the Instant Pot including the spices. Place chicken thighs on top of the ingredients. Close lid with vent in sealing position.
  • Set the instant pot to manual or pressure cook mode for 8 minutes. After the instant pot beeps, do a 10 minute natural pressure release. This means let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then manually release the pressure. 
  • Remove the spice pouch and chicken carefully. Blend the contents in the instant pot with an immersion blender or regular blender to a smooth paste. If using regular blender, you may need to cool the ingredients before blending. Get the contents back to the instant pot.
  • Add the cream and honey. Stir into the sauce.
  • Cut chicken to smaller pieces and add back to the sauce. Stir them into the sauce.    
  • Butter Chicken is ready to be served. Garnish with cilantro.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • The sauce thickens as it cools, and taste even better the next day. If you want a more reddish color sauce, you can reduce tomatoes and add some tomato paste. 
  • This sauce freezes well. Skip adding the chicken and keep this sauce handy to prepare this or other curries.
  • VariationsButter Paneer / Matar Paneer / Mushroom Matar / Roasted Cauliflower – You can also add different veggies to this sauce and make delicious curries. All of the veggies can be added after making the sauce. Simmer for 3-4 minutes on saute mode to cook the veggies. 
  • Love this gravy?  Make it a dip with naan and serve it as an appetizer.
  • Vegan Variation: To make this curry vegan, replace cream with coconut cream, butter with oil and chicken with tofu or vegetables (add them after making the sauce). 
  • Make it a meal: Cook white basmati rice pot-in-pot (PIP) when pressure cooking the curry. Check measurements here.
  • This recipe has been updated to make it even easier to make in the Pressure Cooker. 

Nutrition

Calories: 369kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 17gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 117mgSodium: 627mgPotassium: 520mgFiber: 2gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 1365IUVitamin C: 17.4mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 2mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: North Indian
Diet: Gluten-free
Tried this recipe?Mention @pipingpotcurry or tag #pipingpotcurry!

About Meeta

I strongly believe that each one of us has a chef inside us, we just need to explore the ingredients and create great food. My passion is to share easy, healthy, and wholesome recipes made using Instant Pot & Air Fryer, that are well tested, so you can cook with confidence.

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58 Comments

  1. I made this recipe two nights ago, without changing a thing, and it was amazing! Flavourful (Canadian spelling) and delicious. My whole family loved it. Thank you so much, Meeta, for your recipes. I have made others as well over the past year but I don’t always remember to comment.

  2. I made the butter paneer version, and it was amazing! I wondered as I making it if I was supposed to take the cardamom seeds out of the pods, or do you keep them in the pods?

  3. Thanks so much for this recipe! Is has been on my weekly rotation for many years now! Husband loves it and so do I.

    1. Hi Alex – You’re welcome! I’m thrilled to hear that the recipe has become a staple in your weekly rotation and that both you and your husband love it. Enjoy your meals! 🍽️

  4. My family and I LOVED this recipe!! I couldn’t find dried fenugreek at my local grocery, so I threw in kefir lime leaves for a Thai twist. I also did not have cardamom whole (I only had Ground) so I simply googled how much ground cardamom = 1 whole and it gave me an amount to add, I added a little less than what it said for the ratio, because the whole cardamom was supposed to soak in the cheese cloth sachet to be more of an essence rather than an immersion. Anyways, even with the little changes I thought it was absolutely amazing!!!! I made a double batch and I’m going to share some with a new mom who just had a baby, to help her out! I’m excited, I know she will love it 😍

    1. Hi Jenn – That’s wonderful to hear! Sharing with a new mom is such a kind gesture. I’m sure she’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness, and I hope she enjoys it as much as your family did! 😍

  5. This was so good and so easy! My mom was very hesitant to try Indian food but she enjoyed this dish! I was thinking next time I might add cauliflower before the pressure cook and see if the immersion blender would break it down. I’m always trying to find ways to add more veggies to the recipes I make.

    1. Hi Liz – Glad you and your mom enjoyed the butter chicken. Sure, you can cook cauliflower when pressure cooking and puree it with the sauce. You could also add roasted cauliflower to the curry after pressure cooking.

  6. I absolutely love this recipe and have made it several times. I’d love to make it for a friend, but she is allergic to tree nuts (so no cashews😕). Any suggestions for substitutes? Thank you!!