This easy Instant Pot butter chicken takes just minutes prep work and results in amazing butter chicken that the whole family will love!
This easy butter chicken is so delicious. If you’ve never made it – you definitely need to try this recipe ASAP.
I’ll be the first to admit that it’s likely not an authentic recipe. I’ve made some changes to make it easy.
But it is delicious. So authentic or not, I will be making this easy Instant Pot butter chicken over and over again.
You should too.
It’s as easy as tossing some chicken in the Instant Pot, whisking together some broth, tomato paste, and spices, and pressure cooking for 10 minutes.
You can even start with frozen chicken breasts or thighs, so you don’t even have to remember to defrost.
So easy, so tasty.
What can I use instead of cream in butter chicken?
I typically make this with heavy cream (35% whipping cream). But I have substituted half and half cream when that’s what I had and it works very well.
I’ve also made this butter chicken with milk instead of cream and it was still delicious.
If you substitute half and half or milk for the heavy cream, the sauce won’t be as rich, and with milk it will be a bit thinner, but it will still taste fantastic.
So use what you have on hand – it will be delicious with any of those options.
Is butter chicken meant to be spicy?
Butter chicken should be full of flavour, but it isn’t supposed to be super spicy.
This easy butter chicken recipe is not spicy, my kids love it and they are not spicy food fans. But my husband likes it spicy, so he will sprinkle some crushed red peppers or cayenne pepper on his.
Go with your preference though, and increase the amount of crushed red peppers in the sauce if you prefer your butter chicken with a bit of heat!
How to make Instant Pot Butter Chicken:
You can make this with fresh or frozen chicken breasts or chicken thighs. The cook time is based on the chicken pieces being frozen separately – if your chicken pieces are frozen together, the cook time will be longer.
I usually add 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red peppers for flavour, but it doesn’t make the sauce spicy. If you want a little heat in your sauce you can increase this amount.
Leftover butter chicken will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
Place the chicken breasts or chicken thighs in the pot of the Instant Pot.
In a bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the chicken broth, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, onion powder, garam masala, chili powder, cardamom, coriander, crushed red peppers, salt, and pepper.
Pour the sauce over top of the chicken in the Instant Pot.
Put the lid on the Instant Pot and turn it to the locked position. Make sure the vent is in the sealing position.
Press the pressure cook button and adjust the time to 10 minutes for fresh chicken, or 15 minutes for frozen chicken. The Instant Pot will come to pressure and then start counting down the time.
When the cook time is complete, quick release the pressure. When the pressure is completely released, remove the lid from the Instant Pot.
Take the chicken out of the Instant Pot and shred it with two forks, or chop it up. It should be falling apart and very easy to shred - if it’s not, return it to the Instant Pot and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Press the saute button on the Instant Pot and stir in the butter.
Whisk together the cream and the corn starch and stir this mixture into the sauce in the Instant Pot.
Return the chicken to the Instant Pot and continue to cook, stirring, with the “saute” function until the sauce has thickened slightly. It will thicken more as it cools.
Serve the chicken and sauce over hot, cooked rice, garnished with chopped cilantro if you like.
Leftovers will keep well in the fridge for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
The chicken can be fresh or frozen for this recipe, the cook time just increases for frozen chicken. The frozen chicken cook time is based on the pieces of chicken being frozen individually, if your chicken is in one big lump you will want to do a 10 minute cook time, break them all apart and then do another 10-15 minute cook time (time depends on whether they are still frozen at all). The chicken should be falling apart and easy to shred after cooking, if it’s not, cook for another 3-5 minutes at high pressure. The pot will come to pressure faster the second time.
The heavy cream can be replaced by half and half cream or even milk if you like. The sauce won’t be quite as rich with either replacement, and it is a bit thinner if you use milk, but is still delicious if it’s all you have on hand.
I usually use 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red peppers so it adds some flavour but doesn’t make it spicy. You can increase this amount if you want some heat in the sauce.