This Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala is super flavorful, warm and creamy, perfect to satisfy those curry cravings. Marinated salmon steamed along with tikka masala sauce in the pressure cooker. Serve over basmati rice or enjoy with naan for a scrumptious dinner!

Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala served over basmati rice
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Reprinted with permission from The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook, copyright © 2018 by Archana Mundhe. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

Since using the instant pot, I have shared lots of chicken and lentils/beans dishes, including this Chicken Tikka Masala. I shared this delicious Coconut Shrimp Curry, but I have been wanting to share more fish curry recipes on the blog.

When my friend Archana Mundhe’s new cookbook The Essential Indian Instant Pot released and she offered me to review and share a recipe with you all, I wanted to share this delicious Salmon Tikka Masala recipe from her book. It is finger licking good, and hopefully gives you an idea of the tried and tested easy recipes in the book.

The book is absolutely gorgeous with 75 Indian classic recipes including a variety of breakfast, chicken, lamb and vegetarian curry’s, dal’s, soups and sweet treats. The book is wonderfully photographed and will be a great resource for Indian cooking with the instant pot. It has detailed instructions with each recipe, so is perfect for novice or expert instant pot cooks. I highly recommend it, do check it out!

Back to the Salmon Tikka masala, this Indian fish curry made in the flavorful tikka masala sauce is perfect to satisfy those Indian curry cravings. We loved the curry, including my very picky daughter gobbled it up.

Can you cook fish in an instant pot?

Of course yes! The fear that most have is that instant pot will overcook the fish. The trick is to use larger pieces and steam the fish with the pot-in-pot method in the instant pot.

Pressure cooked fish is –

√ So tender and full of flavor

√ Cooks quickly without any monitoring

√ Can be cooked along with the curry or steamed vegetable at once for a full meal.

√ The biggie…no fish smell in the house.

How to make Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala Curry?

Let’s go through how to make this easy Salmon Tikka Masala in the Pressure Cooker. Before you start, gather the ingredients. Making a curry is so much easier if you have all the ingredients ready at hand.

Marinate the fish

The first step in a tikka masala recipe is to marinate the fish. This is the main difference from a Makhani (or Butter Masala) recipe where marinating is not required.

We will marinate the fish in ginger, garlic, lemon juice and spices. Marinate in a steel or oven safe glass bowl that you can use for pot-in-pot cooking. Here is the link to the pot-in-pot container I use.

How to buy salmon?

I always prefer to buy wild-caught Alaskan salmon. Farmed salmon can be exposed to more chemicals than the wild-caught variety. Typically, wild salmon have fewer calories, saturated fat and vitamins A and D than farmed salmon but contain more protein. For this fish curry, I bought fresh wild caught salmon from Whole Foods.

Salmon marinated to make Salmon Tikka Masala

Make the Tikka Masala Sauce

Now we will start making the curry. Start with sautéing the onions, then add the tomato puree and spices.

Can I use fresh tomatoes for the tikka masala sauce?

Yes, one can of tomato puree is about 5-6 tomatoes. You can blend the tomatoes to a puree consistency and use them for this tikka masala sauce.

Pressure Cook the Curry with pot-in-pot salmon

Now place a trivet and the steel bowl with marinated salmon in the pot. You will need to use a tall trivet, so the steel bowl does not sink into the curry.

Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala - Step 3 Place marinated salmon pot-in-pot

How do you steam fish in an instant pot?

The above picture shows how you can steam fish with the pot-in-pot method in the instant pot. I used marinated fish, but just fish with salt and pepper would work too.

How long to pressure cook salmon?

With the pot-in-pot method, 3-4 minutes at high pressure works perfectly to cook salmon in the instant pot.

Finishing touches

After the pressure cooking is done, quick release the pressure. Carefully remove the steel bowl and trivet. I use these tongs to remove the hot bowl and trivet. Oven mitts will work too.

Stir in the heavy cream and dried fenugreek leaves. Then carefully pick the pieces of salmon and add them to the curry. Gently stir and cover them in the sauce. Don’t forget to add any leftover liquid from the bowl in which you cooked the fish to the curry.

Salmon Tikka Masala is ready. While serving, garnish with cilantro. Enjoy with naan (we prefer garlic naan) and cumin rice.

Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala with the cookbook

Pro-tips for making the perfect Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala:

√ Do not skip marinating the salmon. It lets the fish soak in the flavor of the spices and cooking in it making it much more delicious.

√ You can make this curry with other fish fillets too.

√ To make this dairy free, you can use coconut milk in place of heavy cream.

√ Enjoy this fish tikka masala with steamed basmati rice or cumin rice (my preference) or with naan. Drizzle some lemon juice when serving.

I hope you try this recipe and don’t forget to check out the wonderful book The Essential Indian Instant Pot.

4.94 from 31 votes

Instant Pot Salmon Tikka Masala Recipe {Pressure Cooker}

Tikka masala combines two iconic Indian dishes: makhani and tandoori. It is essentially tandoori-spiced meat in a makhani sauce. And it turns out that making it in the Instant Pot is so much easier and just as tasty as making it on the stove. Salmon holds up to the layers of spice and retains its shape in the sauce. A splash of heavy cream rounds out this sharp and spicy curry.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6


For the marinade

For the curry


To make the marinade:

  • In a stainless-steel bowl that will fit in the Instant Pot, combine the lemon juice, ginger, garlic, chili powder, garam masala, turmeric, and salt and stir to mix.
  • Add the salmon to the marinade and turn to evenly coat with the spices. Set aside.

To make the curry:

  • Select the high Sauté setting and heat the oil. Add the onion and salt and sauté until the onion turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Cover the pot with a glass lid (or other nonlocking lid that fits) to speed up the process. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute. Add the tomato puree, chili powder, turmeric, and garam masala. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Pour in the water and stir well with a wooden spoon, nudging loose any browned bits from the pot bottom.
  • Place a tall steam rack in the pot, making sure all of its legs are resting firmly on the bottom. Place the bowl of salmon on the rack.
  • Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 4 minutes at high pressure.
  • Perform a quick release by moving the Pressure Release to Venting. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Open the pot and, wearing heat-resistant mitts, remove the bowl of salmon to a trivet and remove the rack.
  • Stir the heavy cream into the curry, then crush the fenugreek leaves with the palms of your hands to release the aromas and stir them in as well. Select the high Sauté setting and carefully add the salmon to the curry, turning it to evenly coat. Cook until the curry comes to a gentle boil and is heated through, 2 to 3 minutes. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot.
  • Spoon the curry onto plates and serve the rice, naan, and lemon wedges alongside.


Make it dairy free: Use coconut milk in place of heavy cream in this curry. 
Serving: Serve with naan and/or basmati rice. 
Created: This recipe was created in a 6qt Instant Pot DUO60 Multi-use Pressure Cooker.
Reprinted with permission from The Essential Indian Instant Pot Cookbook, copyright © 2018 by Archana Mundhe. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.


Calories: 329kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 24gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 103mgSodium: 884mgPotassium: 924mgFiber: 2gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 1310IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 56mgIron: 2.5mg

Additional Info

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

If you like this recipe, check out other popular Indian Curry recipes:

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. Meeta –
    I just love your Instant Pot recipes. I’m a huge fan of Indian cuisine and just started using the Instant Pot. Since you’ve provided Instant Pot recipes of Indian cuisine it’s a double win.

    Thank you for doing this.

  2. Hi Meeta,

    I once had the best fish curry in a restaurant in Goa and for many years I was looking for the recipe or that dish on the menu of any other restaurant but couldn’t find it till I stumbled upon this page! This is hands down the best fish curry in the world 😀 I have made it twice till now and every single time I love it more.
    Thank you very much for this recipe! <3

    1. Hi Neha – To replace heavy cream with coconut milk, use the same amount as mentioned in the recipe. Hope you enjoy it!

  3. Hi there! Great recipe! I was just wondering two things. First of all, if you leave the lid on or off for the steamer that holds the salmon before you close the instant pot lid to pressure cook? And secondly, if you have both of the 2 compartments that come with the steamer in the link as well as a trivet; or if you just have 1 pot from the link plus the trivet. Thanks!!

    1. Hello Mia – Great questions. I did not put the lid on for the salmon bowl. For this recipe, I just used 1 container and the trivet. If you have any steel or oven-safe glass container, you can use along with a tall trivet for this recipe. Hope you enjoy the curry!

  4. If we wanted to make the salmon in the oven, how long would you suggest baking the salmon for? I tried cooking in PIP, but it still had a very strong fishy smell after added to the curry.

  5. Hi, I’ve just got my instant pot and I’d like to know is there a way I can do the rice in the pot at the same time as the salmon and curry? 😁

    1. Hi Kim – You potentially could, but would need 2-level pot-in-pot containers. You would have to use white rice in this case. Hope you enjoy the curry!

  6. The first time I made this recipe, it was flawless… The best thing I have ever made in. a instant pot. Ever since then, I have attempted it three times and every time my instant pot burns and the recipe is lost. I am so frustrated… Please help

    1. Hi Jason – So sorry to hear you got a burn with the recipe. Here are some suggestions to avoid the burn. After sautéing the onions, press cancel. Then add the spices and water. You can increase the water to 1/2 cup. Stir well and make sure to deglaze the pot after adding water. Now add tomato puree, but don’t stir it. Then follow the recipe as is. I would love to hear how it works out if you try again.

  7. can you please state what we can do if we don’t have the steam rack? I’m guessing don’t use instant pot at all then, but please let me know what alternative you suggest for making this, since I really do want to try this marinade out!

    1. Hi Mars – Sorry for the late response. You can cook the marinated salmon in some oil in a stovetop pan and then add it after the sauce is pressure cooked. Another thing you could do is, after getting all the sauce ingredients ready, place the salmon on top of the sauce. Do not stir. Then pressure cook on low pressure for 3 minutes. Hope you enjoy the salmon curry!

  8. Hi, thank you for the recipe. I tried the recipe and it turned out perfectly well! I was going to try again but I am out of canned tomato purée. Would it go well with home made tomato purée?

    1. I just used 1 cup of tomato puree made by using a grinder and 4 tomatoes. It was still perfect!

    2. Hi Srinivas – Glad you enjoyed the salmon tikka masala. It will work well with homemade tomato puree, however the color of the curry might not be as bright.