Quick and Delicious: Instant Pot Butter Chicken for Busy Weeknights

Written by: Yahya Lala



Time to read 8 min


Life can get hectic, and when you have a busy schedule, finding time to cook a flavorful and satisfying meal can be a challenge. However, with the help of the Instant Pot, you can create a delicious and comforting dish like Butter Chicken in a fraction of the time it would take using traditional cooking methods. This blog post will explore how to make Quick and Delicious Instant Pot Butter Chicken, perfect for those busy weeknights when you want a hearty meal without spending hours in the kitchen. This recipe will become a family favorite with its rich flavors and tender chicken.

Understanding Instant Pot Cooking

The Instant Pot has revolutionized how we cook, providing a convenient and efficient meal preparation method. Here, we will delve into the basics of Instant Pot cooking, highlighting its benefits and explaining how it works.

1) Multi-functionality:

One of the critical advantages of the Instant Pot is its multi-functionality. It combines several kitchen appliances, serving as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer, sauté pan, and more. This versatility allows for a wide range of cooking options and simplifies the cooking process by eliminating the need for multiple appliances.

2) Pressure Cooking:

The Instant Pot's most notable feature is its pressure-cooking function. Pressure cooking involves cooking food under high pressure, significantly reducing cooking time. By trapping steam and increasing the pressure inside the pot, the boiling point of water rises, resulting in faster cooking times and tenderizing tough cuts of meat. The pressure cooking feature is especially beneficial for busy individuals who want to prepare flavorful meals in a fraction of the time.

3) Retaining Flavors and Nutrients:

The Instant Pot excels at retaining flavors and nutrients in food. The sealed environment of the pot prevents moisture and flavors from escaping, resulting in more concentrated and flavorful dishes. Additionally, the shorter cooking times help preserve ingredients' natural colors, textures, and nutrients, ensuring that your meals are both delicious and nutritious.

4) Safer Cooking:

The Instant Pot's built-in safety features make it a reliable and secure cooking appliance. It has mechanisms to regulate pressure and temperature, preventing dangerous situations. The lid locks securely during cooking, and the pressure is released in a controlled manner. These safety measures provide peace of mind, allowing users to focus on preparing meals without worrying about potential accidents.

5) Convenience and Time Savings:

One of the Instant Pot's most significant advantages is its convenience. Its programmable settings and pre-set cooking modes take the guesswork out of cooking. Set the desired cooking time and let the Instant Pot do the rest. Additionally, the ability to cook various ingredients together, such as meat and vegetables, saves time and minimizes cleanup.

6) Recipe Adaptability:

The Instant Pot is versatile and can accommodate many recipes. The Instant Pot can handle everything from soups and stews to rice dishes, curries, and even desserts. Countless recipes are available specifically tailored for the Instant Pot, making it easy to find inspiration and try new dishes.

Understanding Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Gathering Ingredients for Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Before embarking on your Instant Pot Butter Chicken cooking adventure, gathering all the necessary ingredients is essential. Having everything prepared and within reach can streamline the cooking process and ensure a smooth and efficient cooking experience.

Here's a breakdown of the ingredients you'll need for Quick and Delicious Instant Pot Butter Chicken:

1) Chicken:

Begin by obtaining boneless, skinless chicken thighs, which are ideal for this recipe. Chicken thighs are known for their tenderness and ability to withstand pressure cooking without becoming dry. Aim for approximately 1.5 pounds of chicken, which can be easily cut into bite-sized pieces.

2) Yogurt:

Plain yogurt serves as the base for the marinade and adds a creamy and tangy element to the dish. Opt for unsweetened plain yogurt, which will balance the flavors without overpowering them.

3) Butter:

Adding unsalted butter brings richness and depth to the Butter Chicken. It helps create a luscious sauce that coats the chicken beautifully.

4) Onion, Garlic, and Ginger:

These aromatic ingredients are fundamental to Indian cuisine and infuse the Instant Pot Butter Chicken with delightful flavors. Finely chop one onion, mince four garlic cloves, and grate approximately one tablespoon of fresh ginger.

5) Spices:

A medley of aromatic spices gives the Butter Chicken its distinctive taste. You'll need ground cumin, coriander, turmeric powder, paprika, garam masala, and salt. These spices combine to create a complex and well-balanced flavor profile.

6) Tomato Puree:

Tomato puree acts as the base of the sauce and provides a tangy and slightly sweet undertone. Use one cup of tomato puree to achieve the desired consistency and flavor.Heavy Cream:

Include one cup to add a luxurious creaminess to the dish. It blends with the spices and tomato puree, creating a velvety and indulgent sauce.

7) Fresh Cilantro:

Finally, gather some fresh cilantro for garnishment. The vibrant green leaves of cilantro provide a new and herbaceous touch, enhancing the overall presentation and flavor.

By ensuring you have all these ingredients readily available, you can breeze through the cooking process and achieve a delectable and flavorful Instant Pot Butter Chicken. Prepare your workstation with these ingredients, and let the cooking adventure begin!

Gathering Ingredients for Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Cooking Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it's time to dive into the cooking process and create Quick and Delicious Instant Pot Butter Chicken. Follow these step-by-step instructions to prepare a flavorful and tender dish that's perfect for busy weeknights:

  1. Start by turning on your Instant Pot and selecting the "Sauté" function. Adjust the heat level to "Normal" or "Medium" if your Instant Pot allows it. This will heat the pot and prepare it for cooking.
  2. Add three tablespoons of unsalted butter to the Instant Pot and let it melt. The butter will infuse the dish with richness and flavor.
  3. Once the butter has melted, add the finely chopped onion, minced garlic, and grated ginger to the pot. Sauté these aromatic ingredients until the onions become translucent and aromatic. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
  4. Prepare the marinade while the onions, garlic, and ginger are sautéing. In a separate bowl, combine one cup of plain yogurt with two teaspoons of ground cumin, two teaspoons of ground coriander, one teaspoon of turmeric powder, one teaspoon of paprika, one teaspoon of garam masala, and one teaspoon of salt. Mix well to form a smooth paste.
  5. Add the chicken pieces to the Instant Pot, ensuring they are evenly distributed. Pour the yogurt spice mixture over the chicken, coating each piece thoroughly. Stir well to ensure the chicken is fully covered with the marinade.
  6. Next, add one cup of tomato puree to the Instant Pot, stirring it into the chicken and spices. The tomato puree adds tanginess and richness to the dish, complementing the other flavors.
  7. Once all the ingredients are combined, it's time to pressure cook the Butter Chicken. Close the Instant Pot lid securely and ensure the pressure valve is set to the sealing position. Cancel the "Sauté" function and select the "Pressure Cook" or "Manual" function, depending on your Instant Pot model. Set the cooking time to 8 minutes on high pressure.
  8. After setting the cooking time, the Instant Pot will take a few moments to come to pressure. Once it reaches the desired pressure, the timer will begin to count down.
  9. Once the cooking time is complete, allow for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes. This means letting the Instant Pot sit undisturbed for 10 minutes after the cooking time has finished. Afterward, perform a quick pressure release by carefully turning the pressure valve to the venting position, using a long spoon or towel to avoid direct contact with the steam.
  10. With the pressure released, open the Instant Pot lid, and stir in one cup of heavy cream. The cream will add a velvety texture and richness to the Butter Chicken. Stir well to incorporate the cream into the dish.
  11. To further enhance the flavors, select the "Sauté" function again and let the Butter Chicken simmer for 2-3 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. This step melts the flavors, and the sauce slightly thickens.
  12. Once the Butter Chicken reaches your desired consistency, please turn off the Instant Pot and rest for a few minutes. This will intensify the flavors, and the chicken will absorb the sauce.
  13. The Instant Pot Butter Chicken is served over steamed basmati rice or warm naan bread. Garnish with fresh cilantro for freshness and a pop of color.

Enjoy your Quick and Delicious Instant Pot Butter Chicken—a flavorful and satisfying meal that can be prepared quickly!

Cooking Instant Pot Butter Chicken

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Tips and Variations for Instant Pot Butter Chicken

To elevate your Instant Pot Butter Chicken even further and tailor it to your preferences, consider the following tips and variations:

1) Customizing the Spice Level:

Adjust the spice level to suit your taste. If you prefer a milder Butter Chicken, reduce the garam masala or omit the chili powder. Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or finely chopped green chilies for a spicier version.

2) Adding Vegetables:

While traditional Butter Chicken doesn't typically include vegetables, you can enhance the dish's nutritional value by incorporating them. Add diced bell peppers, peas, or spinach during the sautéing stage for an extra burst of color, texture, and nutrients.

3) Using Different Meats:

While chicken is the most commonly used protein in Butter Chicken, you can experiment with other meats. Try using boneless skinless chicken breasts, bone-in chicken pieces, or succulent boneless lamb or beef pieces. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the protein you choose.

4) Dairy-Free Version:

If you're lactose intolerant or prefer a dairy-free option, you can substitute the heavy cream with coconut or cashew. These alternatives will lend the dish a creamy texture and richness while keeping it dairy-free.

5) Marinating the Chicken Overnight:

Marinate the chicken in the yogurt and spice mixture overnight for an even more intense flavor. This will allow the flavors to penetrate the chicken, resulting in a more flavorful and tender dish.

6) Garnish Ideas:

While cilantro is the traditional garnish for Butter Chicken, feel free to get creative with additional garnishes. Try sprinkling toasted almond slivers, chopped fresh mint leaves, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice for added freshness and complexity.

Remember, cooking is a creative process, and these tips and variations provide opportunities for personalization and experimentation. Feel free to adapt the recipe to suit your preferences and dietary needs, and have fun exploring different flavors and textures in your Instant Pot Butter Chicken creation.

Tips for Instant Pot Butter Chicken


With the Instant Pot, creating a flavorful and satisfying meal like Butter Chicken on a busy weeknight has never been easier. In this blog post, we explored how to make Quick and Delicious Instant Pot Butter Chicken, perfect for when you're short on time but still want a homemade meal. By leveraging the Instant Pot's pressure cooking function, we reduced the cooking time significantly without compromising on taste and tenderness. Remember, you can constantly adjust the spice levels and ingredients according to your preferences, making it a versatile dish for the whole family to enjoy. So, the next time you crave a comforting and quick meal, reach for your Instant Pot and whip up this delightful Butter Chicken recipe.

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