Instant Pot Butter Chicken

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recipe by Archana Mundhe

  • Time icon
    Total Time
  • Serves icon
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based on 4 ratings

Butter chicken, also known as chicken makhani, is more like a treat than an entrée—and quite possibly the most popular dish at any Indian restaurant. This heavenly, creamy curry highlights the robust flavors of Kashmiri chile, dried fenugreek leaves, and garam masala. Served with classic basmati rice and naan, this dish evokes excitement on any menu. Garam masala literally translates to “warm spice mix,” and it is the quintessential Indian spice blend. It gives warmth and depth to dishes and pairs perfectly with red or green chile for a hearty, aromatic flavor. Every region (and family) across India has its own version. My mom’s recipe calls for twenty-one whole roasted spices, some of which are hard to find, and it takes days to make. Here is a simplified version with a similar authentic flavor. The unsweetened coconut cream used in the recipe (not to be confused with the sweetened coconut cream used primarily in cocktails) can be found canned in grocery stores. It can be replaced with the cream from a can of regular full-fat coconut milk. Put the can of coconut milk in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours or in the freezer for 5 minutes to separate the cream from the water, then open the can and scoop off the cream from the top of the coconut water.

Inspired by:

recipe updated Jun 8, 2020


  • Yellow onion icon
    Yellow onion
    1 (140g)
  • Chicken thigh icon
    Chicken thigh
  • Garlic icon
    1 tbsp (8g)
  • Ginger icon
    1 tbsp (5g)
  • Ghee icon
    2 tbsp (28g)
  • Tomato purée icon
    Tomato purée
    1 cup (240ml)
  • Water icon
    2 cups (480ml)
  • Kashmiri chili powder icon
    Kashmiri chili powder
    2 tsp (5g)
  • Kosher salt icon
    Kosher salt
    3 tsp (8g)
  • Garam masala icon
    Garam masala
    1 tsp (2g)
  • Ground turmeric icon
    Ground turmeric
    about ½ tsp (1g)
  • Basmati rice icon
    Basmati rice
    1 cup (197g)
  • Coconut cream icon
    Coconut cream
    about ½ cup (156g)
  • Tomato paste icon
    Tomato paste
    2 tbsp (33g)
  • Sugar icon
    2 tsp (8g)
  • Fenugreek leaves icon
    Fenugreek leaves
    2 tbsp (30g)
  • Cilantro icon
    about ½ cup (14g)


  • kCook icon Cooling rack
  • kCook icon Instant Pot
  • kCook icon Plate
  • kCook icon Inner pot
  • kCook icon Rack
  • kCook icon Stainless steel bowl

Step preview

  1. Add ghee to the inner pot
  2. Pre-heat until hot - Sauté, More
  3. Add yellow onion to the inner pot
  4. Cook until translucent - approx 4 min
  5. Cancel - Sauté
  6. Then stir chicken thighs, tomato purée, water, garlic, ginger, kashmiri chili powder, kosher salt, garam masala and ground turmeric into the inner pot
  7. Place a clean tall rack in the inner pot
  8. Mix basmati rice, water and kosher salt into a clean stainless steel bowl
  9. Place your Instant Pot
  10. Close and lock the lid and turn the steam release handle to Sealing
  11. Pressure cook - Manual, High, 5 min
  12. Cancel - Keep warm
  13. Natural release - 5 min
  14. Quick release
  15. Remove
  16. Let cool on cooling rack
  17. Remove rack
  18. Stir coconut cream, tomato paste, sugar and fenugreek leaves into the inner pot
  19. Heat - Sauté, More
  20. Cook until boiling - approx 2 min
  21. Cancel - Sauté
  22. Spoon rice into 6 plates
  23. Ladle curry onto rice
  24. Sprinkle with cilantro
  25. Serve
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