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holding a bowl of chicken tikka masala and rice

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

This ultimate Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala is the homemade version you've been dreaming of... bold and richly flavored, yet SO easy to make!
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Servings 4 servings
Calories 424


  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2-3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion - minced
  • 1 serrano pepper - seeded and minced
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground tumeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1-2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger - grated
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth - divided
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce
  • 3/4 cup whole-fat plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro - minced


  • Season chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Add vegetable oil to Instant Pot and select "Saute". When hot, add chicken and cook for a 2-3 minutes per side each side, until well browned. You don't want to overcrowd the pot, so you may need to do this in batches.
  • Remove chicken to cutting board and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  • Add onion, serrano, tomato paste, garam masala, tumeric, smoked paprika, cumin and sugar to Instant Pot. Cook 3-4 minutes, until onion is soft and slightly browned at the edges.
  • Stir in garlic and ginger and cook another 30 seconds or so. Add 1/4 cup chicken broth to scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pot. Browned bits on the bottom can result in a BURN notice from the Instant Pot.
  • Return chicken pieces to the pot, along with tomato sauce and remaining 1/4 cup chicken broth. Stir slightly.
  • Close lid securely and make sure the valve is set to "sealing". Select "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" and adjust the +/- button until it reads 8 minutes.
  • When finished cooking, carefully turn the valve to "venting" for a quick pressure release. When the steam has all escaped, and the pin has dropped, remove the lid.
  • Use a slotted spoon to remove chicken to a plate and cover to keep warm. Select "Saute".
  • Add yogurt to a small mixing bowl. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the sauce from the Instant Pot and slowly pour it to the yogurt, while whisking quickly. This tempers the yogurt so it doesn't curdle.
  • Stir the yogurt mixture into the Instant Pot and let simmer for several minutes, until thickened to your liking.
  • Return chicken to the pot, along with minced cilantro. Stir and serve hot.


  1. For a quicker version, you can skip steps 1 and 2.  Just cut the chicken thighs into bite sized pieces when they're raw, and add them to the pot in step 5.  Add an extra minute or two to the pressure cooking time.
  2. For a thicker sauce, in a small bowl, whisk together 2 Tbsp cornstarch and 2 Tbsp water until smooth.  Stir into the sauce in step 10 and simmer until thickened.
Author Amanda B.
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