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You CAN enjoy rich and creamy Chicken Tikka Masala on a busy weeknight. All you need is less than 35 minutes and an Instant Pot.
- Sautéing onion, garlic, ginger and aromatics right in the Instant Pot before adding chicken develops that deep signature flavors.
- And using chicken thighs instead of white meat allows us to skip the lengthy marinating process without missing out on flavor.
Easy Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 jalapeno, seeded and sliced thin
- 4 garlic cloves, pressed (or ½ tablespoon minced garlic)
- 2- inch ginger, freshly grated (or 1 tablespoon ginger paste)
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 (28oz) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 ½ lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes
- ¼ cup plain yogurt
- Cooked rice
- Naan bread
- Fresh cilantro, optional
- Set the Instant Pot to sauté and melt butter and coconut oil in the pot.
- Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add jalapeno, garlic, ginger, garam masala and salt and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
- Add chicken and stir to combine everything.
- Pour crushed tomatoes and stir well.
- Cover and set the Instant Pot to Manual. Cook for 6 minutes at high pressure. (Note: It took about 15 minutes for my Instant Pot to come to pressure.)
- Do a quick release and carefully open the lid.
- Stir in yogurt and serve over cooked rice and with naan bread. If desired, sprinkle some fresh cilantro.
Speedy Tips for Maximum Flavor in this Easy Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala:
- Instant Pot is our main secret weapon. Everything comes together in ONE POT from sautéing to pressure cooking the most deliciously silky creamy curry sauce.
- I highly recommend using chicken thighs in this recipe for the most tender and succulent meat in the dish. Because we’re using dark meat in this chicken tikka masala recipe, we can skip the lengthy marinating step without missing out on flavors. (Main reason for marinating chicken in spiced yogurt is infuse the flavors and tenderize the meat.) I’ve tested with chicken breast, and it wasn’t as satisfying.
- Spices and aromatics in this recipe are essential part of the dish, obviously. But you don’t need to hunt down hard-to-find ingredients, or mile-long list of spices. I purchased this brand of garam masala on Amazon, and it doesn’t disappoint. To develop the deep flavors we’re sautéing onion, garlic, ginger and spices before adding chicken. It’s a crucial step and you’ll understand it once you get a sniff of warm aromatics coming out of your Instant Pot.
- If you’re sensitive to spicy food, you may skip jalapeño, or you can remove all the seeds and the ribs inside and it won’t be too spicy. As is, this recipe makes pretty mild curry sauce. Even my 2-year-old son loves it.
- Serve this chicken tikka masala over rice and with plenty of naan bread to soak up that delicious sauce.