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
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Chicken Chettinad is one of the most flavorful chicken dishes from South Indian cuisine.  It is also one of the most ordered curries 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 mainly consists of whole spices that are dry-roasted and ground. All the other steps are pretty similar to any other chicken curry.

I started by adding all the spices that were to be dry-roasted together on a plate.  Separately, the ginger, garlic, and grated coconut are to be added to the dry spices.

One thing to point out.  I used dry red Kashmiri chili in this curry. This chili has the specialty of imparting a great natural red color while not adding too much heat. If you like less 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 of making 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:

4.84 from 50 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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  1. Before I make this I have a question. In the recipe directions for the spice blend, it says, “Grind to a powder or if needed add some water to make a paste.” How do I know if it’s “needed”? Do I want a powder or a paste?

    1. Hi Lexie – Great question. I usually grind to a powder. However if you are not able to grind to a fine powder due to the blender you are using (maybe it is bigger or not as powerful), then it is okay to add water to make a smooth paste. Either way works as it is going to get mixed in thee curry. Hope you enjoy it!

  2. That was an absolutely delicious recipe (my third from Piping Pot Curry so far)! I’m fortunate to have a wonderful Indian market about 2 miles from my house, and got all the ingredients there.

    But I had a question: I dutifully ground all the whole spices in a little spice grinder I have, but there was such a large volume of spices compared to the other ingredients, that even though I did deglaze with water as the recipe called for, I still had some sticking of ingredients and ultimately got the “burn” warning from the Instant Pot. So what I’m wondering is, instead of doing all the grinding of whole spices next time, can I put them in a spice pouch instead? And if so, do I need to increase the quantity of some of the whole spices?

    Oh, one other question: instead of chopping up tomatoes, is it possible instead to substitute some tomato puree, and if so, how much? I love the recipe, but would love to make it a bit more easily!


    1. Hi Donald – I know we discussed over email, but I wanted to share here for others reading the comments. The spice pouch is usually for whole spices. However, in this curry, it is best to grind the spices. If the curry sauce was not too thin for your taste, it would be totally fine to add some extra liquid before cooking. Typically chicken releases a lot of liquid when cooked, and that adds to the liquid in the pot. However, newer instant pots are also more sensitive to burn which is an added reason for the issue.

      You can surely use canned tomato puree. I would use about 1/2 cup tomato puree. I would suggest adding the tomato puree on the top after adding all the other ingredients before pressure cooking. Sometimes thick tomatoes puree can also cause a burn.

      This curry will also cook wonderfully on a stovetop pan. The same method would work. You will just have to cover and cook the chicken until it is cooked through, which usually takes about 15 minutes.

      I am so glad that you enjoyed the taste of the curry and would like to make it again.

  3. Just made the chicken chettinad, smells delicious. I have a whole packet of the curry leaves leftover, what can I do with them.


  4. We are looking forward to making a vegetarian version of this. What suggestion would you have to trade out the chicken? Would garbanzo beans be an option? Also, can the spice blend be made 2-3 days in advance and stored in an air right container in fridge? Many tanks!

    1. Hi Sarah – Absolutely, you can make the spice blend in advance. Lightly sautéed paneer or tofu could be great options. You can also add roasted cauliflower or a can of garbanzo beans to this curry. Hope you enjoy it!

  5. The onions and spices need to cook WAY longer than the 2-3 minutes that your recipe recommends. I tried following the recipe very carefully, and there whole whole chunks of onions and spices floating in the final version, very gritty. That should never happen with any Indian food. Recipe needs adjustment.

    1. Hi Farah – Indian food is so diverse and versatile. In some curries, onions added as chunks and some they are blended. And of course, there is personal preference. In my experience, when onions are pressure cooked, they completely soften and mix with the food. I dice the onions finely, and then only sauté them for 2-3 minutes. Then after opening the pot, you can mix the curry well with a ladle and the onions mix completely. Of course, you can sauté the onions for longer and that would work great in this recipe too. You can also blend the onions after sautéing if you prefer to have a smooth curry. Thank you for sharing back your feedback.

  6. Took me 8 minutes to cook the chicken. but the recipe turned out to be very delicious~! Thanks

  7. Delicious! I followed your recipe exactly, down to the fresh curry leaves (which I finally found at a specialty India Grocer store in downtown Boulder). Thank you again for sharing your wonderful creations!

  8. This was super delicious!! I’m curious if you use black poppy seeds or white poppy seeds? Ours turned out great with the white poppy seeds but I’m not sure if those are the best ones to use.

    Thanks for the fantastic recipe! 🙂 Can’t wait to make it again!

    1. Hi Charlotte – I used white poppy seeds, so you got it right. So happy to hear you enjoyed the Chicken Chettinad!

  9. I am new to Indian cooking and would like to make this for the first time tonight. I don’t know if the dried chillies I have are Kashmiri chillies or not. The package just says “Whole Chillies” (Swad brand) and the ingredients are “red chillies whole.” Are these OK to use in this recipe? I like spicy, but don’t want to use too much. If these are not the correct chillies, but I can still use them, how many would you suggest using? I can’t wait to try this, Thank you!

    1. Hey Vicky – If the package does not say kashmiri chili’s, then they are definitely another variety and can be spicier. I would say half the quantity. I hope you enjoy the curry 🙂