Archana Mundhe's Instant Pot Butter Chicken

October 12, 2018

Test Kitchen-Approved

Author Notes: 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. Photograph copyright © 2018 by Colin Price.

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.

Food52 Review: Featured in: 9 Instant Pot Indian Recipes for Rich, Comforting Flavor Fast.The Editors

Serves: 4 to 6
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 25 min


Butter chicken

  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, halved and patted dry
  • 1 cup canned tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chile powder or another mild red chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/2 cup canned coconut cream (see Note)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro


  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
In This Recipe


  1. Select the high Sauté setting on the Instant Pot and heat the ghee. Add the onion and cook until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot. Add the chicken, tomato puree, water, ginger, garlic, chile powder, salt, garam masala, and turmeric and stir to combine.
  2. To make the rice: In a 1 1/2-quart stainless-steel bowl that will fit in the Instant Pot, stir together the rice, water, and salt. Place a tall steam rack in the pot, making sure its legs are resting on the bottom. Place the bowl of rice on the rack.
  3. Secure the lid and set the Pressure Release to Sealing. Select the Pressure Cook or Manual setting and set the cooking time for 5 minutes at high pressure.
  4. Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes, then move the Pressure Release to Venting to release any remaining steam. Open the pot. Using heat-resistant mitts, place the bowl of rice on a trivet and remove the tall steam rack. Add to the pot the coconut cream, tomato paste, fenugreek, and sugar and stir to combine. Select the high Sauté setting and cook until the curry comes to a boil and is heated through, about 2 minutes. Press the Cancel button to turn off the Instant Pot.
  5. Spoon the rice onto plates and ladle the curry over the top. Sprinkle with the cilantro and serve.
  6. Note: 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. 

More Great Recipes:
Indian|Chicken|Pressure Cook|Instant Pot|Weeknight Cooking|Dinner

Reviews (6) Questions (3)

6 Reviews

Tina F. December 15, 2018
Made this and it was amazing! Agree more chicken. Can you substitute breast for thighs?
Arom C. December 6, 2018
can you recommend a tall steam rack size to hold the rice? i'm assuming the steam rack included with purchase is too short.
Brigitte H. December 7, 2018
I hv the same question Arom
Lynn October 23, 2018
So amazingly delicious! Used Fenugreek powder, 2t, as that is what I had. Other than that, made recipe to a T. Hubby raved and raved!!! Will be making this one over and over again. Only thing I will change is adding more chicken. This made alot of sauce....Yay!
Shital L. October 15, 2018
OMG I LOVE this recipe and Archana's blog. This recipe is a staple in our home and definitely the most requested by my young children. It has all the authentic Panjabi restaurant flavor minus the excess oil and heavy cream. For any new Instant Pot users I highly recommend having all the ingredients prepped and ready to go - Its that FAST! I recently had the honor of testing her recipes along with 14 other testers (fans) for her new book and all I can say is WOW. Please keep more amazing recipes like this coming!
George R. October 19, 2018
Thanks for the great review... I made this for my kids, loved it.<br />Instapot makes it easy for me to cook for the kids !