Introduction: Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my all-time favorite quick and easy meals to make during winter time in Michigan. The heat with the spices does a great job with warming you up from the inside. My personal favorite way to make it is actually in the Instant Pot! By the time you have the chicken done marinating this recipe only takes about 30 minutes until you can enjoy it.

Disclaimer: This recipe does require you to have an Instant Pot, but I will help you along the way in case you are still new at using it.

Step 1: List of Ingredients

For the ingredients, I'm going to break it down into two main sections: The Marinade and The Sauce.

1. The Marinade:

  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 2, chopped into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 cup plain 2% fat greek yogurt (7 ounces)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Step 2: Ingredients Continued

2. The Sauce

  • 15 ounces canned tomato sauce or puree
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne (This is for a milder taste, add more or less to suit your taste)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream (added after pressure cooking)

Step 3: Instructions; Preparing the Marinade

To start off, we're going to prepare the marinade for the chicken. The marination is the most time-consuming part of this recipe but preparing it is super simple to do.

  • Combine all of the ingredients for the marinade into a medium-sized bowl, as shown above in the picture. I suggest mixing the yogurt, lemon juice, and seasonings together first before adding the chicken. Try to ensure that every piece of chicken is covered well by the yogurt marinade.
  • Cover the bowl and set in the refrigerator for one hour.

While the chicken is resting, we can continue onto the next step: Preparing the sauce.

Step 4: Instructions; Preparing the Sauce

To make the sauce you will want a small bowl to mix the ingredients together.

  • Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce into a small bowl. We will use this in a later step.
  • Leave the heavy whipping cream out of this mixture, as it will be added later on.

Step 5: Browning the Chicken

  • Select the saute button on your Instant Pot for the "normal" heat level. When the screen reads "Hot" you can continue.
  • Add the chicken and any excess marinade to your Instant Pot. Be careful of any splattering that may occur.
  • Brown the chicken on all sides, this usually takes about five minutes.
  • After the chicken is browned, press the cancel button on the front of your Instant Pot. The screen will read "OFF".
  • Do not remove anything from the pot yet.


  1. It is okay for there to be liquid coming out from the yogurt marinade when cooking, this will just add to the sauce.
  2. You are not cooking the chicken all the way through in this step, this is just to brown the outside of it.

Step 6: Pressure Cooking

  • Add the bowl with the sauce into the instant pot now. Be sure to leave the whipping cream out for this entire step, or else you could compromise the sauce.
  • Select the Pressure Cook button on your Instant Pot until the high pressure indicator is illuminated. Use the plus (+) and minus (-) buttons on your Instant Pot to change the time to 10 Minutes.
  • Lock the lid and ensure that the pressure release valve is set to seal.


  1. The timer won't actually start until it reaches high pressure. This is intentional.
  2. Be sure to keep body parts clear of the pressure release valve and the steam float. The steam float will be locked in the up position when high pressure is achieved, but steam will release beforehand.

Step 7: Thickening the Sauce

When the pressure cooking sequence is completed, open the pressure release valve. I use a long spoon to ensure that I don't burn myself, and I suggest you do the same. After the pressure is released, the steam float valve will lower and you can open up your Instant Pot.

  • For this part of the process, press the saute button on your Instant Pot again. The added heat will help thicken the sauce.
  • Pour the heavy whipping cream into your Instant Pot. Stir it so that it is evenly mixed.
  • Let simmer, while stirring and scraping the bottom occasionally. After a few minutes, or whenever you feel that it is thick enough to your liking, press the cancel button on your Instant Pot to turn it off.

Step 8: Enjoy!

As they say in the movie industry, that's a wrap!

Enjoy your Chicken Tikka Masala by itself, with rice, or some naan. (Or both if you're like me.) You can use some cilantro as a garnish as well.