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Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

30 minutes. Cook
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Chicken Tikka Masala, a beloved dish that tantalizes the taste buds with its rich and complex flavors, has become a global sensation. This delectable concoction of succulent chicken pieces bathed in a creamy tomato-based sauce has its roots in the Indian subcontinent but has captured the hearts and palates of food lovers worldwide. In this article, we will embark on a culinary adventure and explore the art of preparing this iconic dish using the convenience of an Instant Pot. From the ingredients you’ll need to step-by-step preparation, we’ve got you covered for a mouthwatering experience that’s sure to impress.

Historical Context: The origins of Chicken Tikka Masala are a subject of culinary debate, with claims of its creation ranging from India to the United Kingdom. Some believe it was born in the kitchens of Indian restaurants in Britain, while others trace its roots to the Punjab region of India. Regardless of its exact origin, it has become a symbol of the melding of diverse cuisines and cultures, showcasing the universal appeal of Indian flavors. The Instant Pot, a versatile kitchen appliance, provides a quick and efficient way to recreate this dish, preserving its authenticity and taste.


1. Marinating the Chicken:

  • In a mixing bowl, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, ground cumin, ground coriander, paprika, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and salt.
  • Add the chicken pieces to the marinade and coat them evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or ideally, marinate overnight for maximum flavor infusion.

2. Sautéing Onions and Spices:

  • Set your Instant Pot to “Sauté” mode and heat the vegetable oil.
  • Add the finely chopped onion and sauté until it turns translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Stir in the minced garlic and ginger, cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the tomato paste, garam masala, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, paprika, and chili powder. Cook, stirring constantly, for 1-2 minutes to toast the spices.

3. Pressure Cooking:

  • Switch off the “Sauté” mode and add the marinated chicken pieces to the Instant Pot with the sautéed mixture. Stir well to combine.
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Close the Instant Pot lid, set the valve to “Sealing,” and select the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” mode. Cook on high pressure for 8 minutes.
  • Once the cooking cycle is complete, allow for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure.

4. Finishing Touches:

  • Open the Instant Pot and stir in the heavy cream. If you prefer a smoother texture, you can use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until it’s silky and uniform.
  • Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding more salt or spices if desired.

5. Serving:

  • Ladle the luscious Chicken Tikka Masala onto serving plates.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves for a burst of color and flavor.
  • Serve hot, accompanied by steamed rice or warm naan bread, allowing the delicious aromas and flavors to transport you to the vibrant streets of India.

Conclusion: The journey to prepare Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala has taken us through the rich history and diverse flavors of this iconic dish. By harnessing the power of the Instant Pot, we’ve unlocked a convenient way to recreate the magic in our own kitchens. Whether you’re sharing it with family or impressing guests, this recipe promises an authentic taste experience that pays homage to the cultural fusion of Indian cuisine. Enjoy the symphony of spices and creamy textures, and let this culinary masterpiece become a part of your home cooking repertoire.


prep time
45 minutes.
cooking time
30 minutes.
total time
45 minutes.


  • Instant Pot or pressure cooker

  • Mixing bowls

  • Whisk

  • Cutting board

  • Knife

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Wooden spoon

  • Immersion blender (optional)

  • Serving plates


  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces

  • 1 cup plain yogurt

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (adjust to your spice preference)

  • Salt to taste

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 large onion, finely chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced

  • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon garam masala

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (adjust to your spice preference)

  • 1 cup heavy cream

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

  • Cooked rice or naan bread, for serving


Marinate chicken in yogurt and spices.
Sauté onions, garlic, and spices.
Pressure cook with tomatoes.
Finish with cream, garnish, and serve.
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