Chicken Chettinad made in Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker.  Chicken pieces cooked in aromatic chettinad spiced gravy, so delicious and exotic.  You will not want to stop eating!

Chicken Chettinad Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Chicken Chettinad is one of the most flavorful chicken dishes from South Indian cuisine.  It is also one if the most ordered curry in a south Indian restaurant.  After trying it many times, I can say it is the best south Indian meat dish.

Chettinad cuisine is the cuisine from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu state in South India.  Chettinad cuisine is perhaps the most renowned fare in the Tamil Nadu repertoire. It uses a variety of spices and the dishes are made with fresh ground masalas.  The fresh ground spices are what give an exceptional taste to chettinad dishes.

Chettinad Chicken is traditionally eaten with rice, dosa or appam.  But I enjoyed it with naan or roti as well.

How to make Chettinad Chicken in Pressure Cooker? 

Let’s start with getting the ingredients ready.  Don’t be intimidated by the long list.  The list is mainly of whole spices that are dry roasted and ground. All the other steps are pretty similar to any other chicken curry.

I started with adding all the spices that are to be dry roasted together on a plate.  And separately the ginger, garlic and grated coconut to be added to the dry spices.

One thing to point out.  I used dry red kashmiri chili in this curry.  This was cheating, where I included a northern indian chili to this dish.  This chili has the specialty to impart great natural red color, while not adding too much heat. If you like lesser spicy curries, remove the seeds from the chilies.  You can use other types of whole red chilies, but please don’t forget to adjust the quantity based on your taste.

Chicken Chettinad Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Dry roast all the above spices in the pressure cooker, then grind them to a powder or paste. It is okay to add some water while grinding.

Now to the process to make the curry.  This is very similar to other chicken curry recipes. Start with sauteing bay and curry leaves.  Then saute the onions.  Then tomato.  Here is where we add the chettinad magic.  Add in the ground paste.  Add the chicken and saute with the spices for a few minutes.  This will infuse the spices in the chicken.

Then add the water and pressure cook for 5 minutes.

steps to cook chicken Chettinad in the instant pot

A quick release and chicken chettinad is ready.   Ah…look at the wonderful color.  Isn’t it amazing?  I served this curry to some friends for dinner and they were blown away!  The vegetarians were craving chettinad paneer 🙂  I have to try that for my vegetarian husband!

Chicken Chettinad Instant Pot Pressure Cooker 3

Enjoy it with rice or naan.  And don’t forget to let me know how you liked it.  Leave a comment, share it on our facebook page or instagram with #pipingpotcurry.

If you like this recipe, you might like the below chicken recipes made in a pressure cooker:

4.86 from 49 votes

Chettinad Chicken – Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker

Chicken pieces cooked in freshly ground spices, to make a flavorful and aromatic chettinad curry.  
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


Whole Spices


Preparing Chettinad Spice blend:

  • Heat the pressure cooker in SAUTE mode.  Add all the whole spices to be dry roasted. Roast them for about 30 seconds until they impart their aroma.  Add ginger, garlic and grated coconut and saute for another 30 seconds.  
  • Press CANCEL to turn off the pressure cooker.  Transfer all the ingredients in the pressure cooker to a blender.  Grind to a powder or if needed add some water to make a paste. 

Preparing Chettinad Chicken Curry

  • Start the pressure cooker in SAUTE mode and heat oil in it.  Add the bay leaf and curry leaves.  Saute for 30 seconds. 
  • Add the diced onion and saute for about 3 minutes.  
  • Then add the diced tomatoes, ground spices and salt.  Saute for 2 mins. 
  • Add chicken pieces and saute for 3 mins.  This is an important step which infuses the spices in the chicken. 
  • Add water for cooking.  Press CANCEL and close the pressure cooker lid with vent in sealing position. 
  • Change the setting to MANUAL or pressure cook mode on high pressure for 5 minutes.  
  • When the pressure cooker beeps, do a quick pressure release.  
  • Garnish with cilantro and Chicken Chettinad is ready to be served.  


  • I used Kashmiri red chili in this curry.  You can use what you have in store, but do adjust the quanity to your taste.
  • Cut the chicken pieces small, about 1-1.5 inch.  If using larger pieces, increase the pressure cooking time by 2-3 minutes.
  • I used chicken thighs for this curry, you can use chicken breasts too. If using bone-in chicken, increase the cooking time to 10 minutes. 


Serving: 267gCalories: 258kcalCarbohydrates: 14.25gProtein: 25.72gFat: 11.48gSaturated Fat: 4.463gTrans Fat: 0.018gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 677mgPotassium: 618mgFiber: 3.4gSugar: 3.52gVitamin A: 2450IUVitamin C: 15.7mgCalcium: 90mgIron: 2.7mg

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: South Indian
Diet: Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Low Carb, Paleo
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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Recipe Rating


  1. Did you really mean 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds? Maybe I didn’t grind it well enough but seemed like it was poopy seeds overload lol.
    Great flavor. Also what makes the deep brown color? My color didn’t look like your pictures. Thanks for the recipe.

    1. Hello Maggie – The authentic recipe does include 1 tablespoon for poppy seeds, but you are right I do grind them very fine (paste works too). Please do adjust to taste. Sautéing the onions and the spices is what gives the color to the curry. Hope you try it again 🙂

    1. Hey Divya – I don’t have any vegetarian Chettinad recipes yet. My husband is a vegetarian and is asking for one too. It is definitely on my list!

  2. Very nice recipe. I’ve tried it a few times and it’s been amazing every time. And the house smells great with all those spices 😉

    1. So glad to hear that you enjoyed the chicken Chettinad. I love the freshly ground spices in this dish as well. Thank you for sharing back your review!

    1. Hey Shubhdha – Coconut milk would be a good addition, however the flavor profile will be very different. I get frozen shredded coconut or dry coconut from the indian grocery store, which works well in this recipe too. Hope you enjoy it!

    1. Hey Neha – For chicken tenderloins, I believe just 3 minutes under pressure might be enough. Hope you enjoy the curry!

  3. The recipe states to sauté the bay leaf and curry leaves but there are no curry leaves in the ingredient list.
    Please help.
    Thank you.

    1. Hey Terry – I used 5 curry leaves, they are mentioned in ingredients just below bay leaves. I hope you enjoy the curry 🙂

  4. This was amazing ! I used a can of tomatoes instead of fresh, and I used 6 thighs on the bone. For anyone wondering I cooked it on high pressure for 12 minutes and everything was cooked perfectly!
    Thank you for sharing this recipe

  5. I just tried your recipe and it was absolutely delicious! Since I used larger pieces and bone-in, I cooked it a bit longer on the poultry setting. It came out great! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  6. Awesome Chettinad chicken recipe with incredible flavors. I just made this for the first time and love it (also my first time cooking with curry leaves, Kashmiri chiles, and grated coconut).

    The next time I make it (oh, yes, I will make this again), I’ll saute and grind the whole spices separately from the ginger/garlic/coconut. Neither my blender nor food processor were up to grinding everything together to a fine enough level, and I think grinding the spices separately in a spice grinder will break things down even better. While my first attempt of this dish resulted in a slightly more chunky consistency (esp. the cinnamon bark), it’s still super delicious.

    Thank you!

    1. Thanks Mark. So glad you enjoyed this chettinad curry. We were blown away with the flavors too. Great idea to grind dry and wet ingredients separately to get a smoother consistency.

    1. Hey Ravi – Great question. In this chettinad chicken, I only added the freshly ground spices and salt. I did not add any turmeric and we certainly did not miss it. However it will not change the taste much even if you add turmeric. Hope you enjoy it!

      1. Great recipe, will try this today. One question though, Is that fennel seeds I see on the plate in the picture? I don’t see fennel seeds under “whole spices” though.

      2. Hey Rachel – You are right, I missed adding fennel seeds in the recipe card. Thanks for catching it. I updated the recipe now.