Mom’s authentic Chicken Curry recipe made in Instant Pot or Pressure Cooker.  This chicken curry instant pot recipe is made in a simple onion-tomato gravy with the aroma of whole spices. This is the best Chicken Curry you will ever have!

Chicken Curry Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Final
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I wanted to recreate my mom’s chicken curry in the instant pot and tried it multiple times.  But I was not getting the exact favor that comes when she cooks the curry….something was missing!  But guess what, mom is visiting and shared her secret tips for the chicken curry.

Watch How to Make Mom’s Chicken Curry

Mom’s Chicken Curry Tips

  1. Sauté the onions for longer, about 4 mins until the oil starts separating .
  2. Add the tomatoes and sauté the onion-tomato mixture for longer, again about 4 mins until the oil separates.
  3. Add the chicken and cook it on sauté for 2-3 mins, before you pressure cook.

You get the idea, basically sauté the ingredients perfectly, to get the perfect chicken curry.  Another great thing about this curry is, there is no marination required.  So no pre-prep for this recipe.

Step-by-step Chicken Curry Instant Pot Instructions

Start with getting the main ingredients ready.

  • The whole spices in one bowl.  If you want to make this recipe simpler, you can skip the whole spices.  What you lose with that is the aroma, but trust me, it will still be as flavorful.
  • The ground spices in one bowl.
  • Chicken cut into pieces.  I used boneless chicken breasts in this recipe, but mom says bone-in chicken tastes even better.  This is next to try, but I do like the convenience of boneless chicken.
Instant Pot Chicken Curry Ingredients

Now we are ready to start cooking!  Start the instant pot in Sauté mode, and heat ghee or oil in it.  I prefer ghee to get the richer taste, especially homemade ghee in the instant pot.  Add the whole spices and sauté for 30 seconds to get the aroma.   Add the green chili, onions, ginger and garlic to the pot.  Sauté for about 4 minutes until the onions turn brown and the oil separates.  Now add the tomatoes and ground spices.  Sauté for another 4 minutes until oil separates.  Remember mom’s tips, this sautéing of onions and tomatoes is what gives a great taste to the chicken curry.   Keep stirring at about 1-2 minute interval, so the onions and tomato don’t get stuck to the bottom of the pot.

Chicken Curry Pressure Cooker Instant Pot Steps 1

Let’s add the chicken pieces to the pot.  Stir it well, so the chicken is coated with the onion-tomato masala.  Sauté the chicken for a couple of minutes.  Now add  water to the pot and deglaze well.  The trick is to add less water, as the chicken also releases water.

Chicken Curry Pressure Cooker Instant Pot Steps

Change the instant pot setting to pressure cook mode and cook for 5 minutes on high pressure.  Quick release the pressure, as we don’t want to overcook the chicken.  Stir in the lemon juice and garnish with cilantro.

Chicken Curry Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Cooked

Look at the end result, doesn’t it look appetizing?  I had this chicken curry for three meals at a stretch, first with roti (Indian flatbread), then with rice and finally with naan.

Instant Pot Chicken Curry

Don’t have an instant pot or pressure cooker, use the same steps to cook chicken curry in a pan.  After adding chicken to the pan, cover pan with a lid and cook for about 15 minutes.  Stir every 3-4 minutes, so the chicken does not stick to the pan.  You would need to double the amount of water (1 cup) when cooking in a pan.

Try this Chicken Curry instant pot recipe and let me know how you like it.  

Want to find other easy Instant Pot Indian Recipes? Here are 23 Best Instant Pot Indian Recipes for you to try!

4.88 from 542 votes

Mom’s Chicken Curry – Instant Pot Pressure Cooker

Mom’s authentic Chicken Curry made in a simple onion-tomato gravy with the aroma of whole spices.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pound Chicken, boneless, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoon Ghee or Oil
  • 1 Green Chili Pepper, small, chopped (optional)
  • 1 inch Ginger, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves Garlic , finely chopped
  • 1 Onion, medium sized, finely chopped
  • 2 Tomato, medium sized, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Water
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Cilantro, to garnish



  • Cut the boneless chicken into small pieces, about 1-2 inch in size.
  • Heat the instant pot in Sauté mode and add oil to it. Add the whole spices and sauté for 30 seconds to get the aroma.
  • Add the chopped green chili, onions, ginger and garlic to the pot and sauté for 4 minutes until they turn golden brown. Keep stirring at regular intervals.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and spices. Sauté for another 4 minutes, while stirring at regular intervals.
  • Add the chicken and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Do not skip this step, as it adds lots of flavor to the curry.
  • Then add the water and stir it with the chicken. Deglaze and scrape off anything stuck to the bottom of the pot. 
  • Change the instant pot setting to manual/pressure cook mode on high for 5 minutes.
  • When the instant pot beeps, quick release the pressure manually. Stir in the lemon juice.
  • Garnish with cilantro and chicken curry is ready to serve.



Whole Spices: If you want to simplify this recipe, skip the whole spices in this recipe.
Chicken: If using bigger pieces of chicken or bone-in chicken, increase the pressure cooking time to 7 minutes. I used chicken breasts when making this curry, but chicken thighs work great and are juicier. 
Green Chili Pepper: I typically use Thai or Birdeye Chili Pepper for this recipes. Don’t forget to adjust to your taste. 
Adjust Spice: To make this less spicy, you can skip the green chili. Also adjust the red chili powder to taste. You can use paprika if you dont have Kashmiri Red Chili powder. 
Thickness of the final curry: This is a homestyle indian chicken curry, which is typically not a thick sauce as you always get in restaurants. If you want to thicken the curry, you can add cashew paste, cashew butter, coconut milk, or heavy cream. 
Created: This recipe was created in a 6qt Instant Pot DUO60 Multi-use Programmable Pressure Cooker.


Calories: 268kcalCarbohydrates: 8gProtein: 25gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 765mgPotassium: 633mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 730IUVitamin C: 17.7mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 1.2mg

Additional Info

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

If you are looking for more chicken recipes, check out Chicken Korma, Keema Matar, Chicken ChettinadSaag Chicken and the famous Butter Chicken.  Like goat meat, check out our Mutton Curry recipe.

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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4.88 from 542 votes (410 ratings without comment)

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Recipe Rating


  1. I have cooked this today. I used coconut oil and a little olive oil. The rest of the recipe and quantity similar. I used one Jalapenos. It came out good and just right amount of spice as I like it a little more on the spicey side vs bland.

  2. Hello! I have made this recipe many times in the instant pot and it’s always perfect! B it right now we don’t have an instant pot. How should I adapt the cooking time to do in regular stove top pot? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Phoebe – You can follow the same method on the stovetop. In place of pressure cooking, cover with a lid and cook for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through. Stir in between at regular intervals.

      1. I love this recipe and plan to double this in my 6qt. two questions
        1. can this recipe be doubled in a 6qt?
        2. do I change cook time when doubling the recipe?

  3. Turned out great. I used coconut oil and did add coconut milk when it was done. Whole family loved it. Thank you for posting

  4. If I use whole spices in a recipe like this, do I remove them at some point – or do you just avoid them as you’re eating?

    Also, if I were to make this with the make-ahead onion-tomato bhuna masala, would I just add any spices that weren’t included in that other recipe, and then add in the chicken?

    1. Hi Rich – You are right, we just avoid the whole spices while eating. However if do not like that, you can use a spice pouch and add the whole spices to it. Then remove the spice piouch after pressure cooking is done.
      I would suggest to add the spices mentioned in this curry as is, because I add very less spices in the bhuna masala recipe. Hope you enjoy the chicken curry!

  5. Absolutely loved this recipe! It’s been a hit in our house since. Even used it for a dinner party with friends. Remember to be heavy handed with spices, etc if you are multiplying the recipe. Thank you for sharing!! 🙂

  6. wow… amazing. easy to follow and whole family loved it. thank you so much for this recipe. I will be doing this more often from now on.

  7. Incredibly authentic and easy! I used chicken tenderloins cut into 1 inch pieces. My only regret is that I should have triple the recipe!

  8. Hi, I made the curry step by step but as soon as the pin came up, I got the food burn notice so cancelled it and let it sit for 5 mins and took all pressure out after 5. Why would that happen, any suggestions?

    1. Hi Ekta – Sorry to hear that happened. Before you close the pot, make sure to deglaze anything stuck to the bottom of the pot. Typically 1/3 cup water is enough as chicken also releases liquid as it cooks. But you can increase the amount of liquid to 1/2 cup if you got a burn message. Hope that helps!