Easy Indian Butter Chicken recipe cooked in 30 minutes. Cubes of chicken breast marinated in garlic and spices – cooked in a rich and creamy butter chicken masala. With only a dash of butter and less cream – it’s a lightened version but with oodles of flavour! Learn how to make restaurant style butter chicken in minutes – in your instant pot.

bowl of indian butter chicken on a black tray with white rice on the side and a decorative shawl - flat lay

We’re celebrating Eid this week with my finger-lickin’ good butter chicken (aka murgh makhani) – served with jeera-infused (cumin) Basmati rice. It was a request from Mr. D – what he calls as a “festive delight.” You could, of course, throw in chunks of butter just before garnishing, but I love the fact that it’s not over the top heavy.

I recently bought an Instant Pot (finally!) and have to say it made the whole experience ridiculously easy. I did, however, learn the importance of having all the ingredients on-hand as the cooking action is fast and furious 🙂

bowl of indian butter chicken garnished with cilantro - perspective shot

How to Make Butter Chicken – Instant Pot Version

step by step preparation shots of how to make Indian butter chicken recipe in the instant pot

I like to think of cooking this dish in six easy steps:

Step 1: Marinate the chicken (Image 1)

Step 2: Saute the onions in butter (Image 2)

Step 3: Add the marinated chicken (Image 3)

Step 4: Follow with tomato passata and spices (Image 4)

Step 5: Pressure cook the chicken in your Instant Pot (Image 5) At this stage, I could put my feet up, but instead, I prep the rice

Step 6: Finish with cream and garnish ingredients (Image 6)

Easy right?

Desi~licious Top Tips

  • Cut the chicken into small cubes, so it cooks faster.
  • Marinate the chicken overnight – if you can. It adds heaps of flavour.
  • Have the ingredients on-hand as the cooking action is super fast. You don’t want to be fumbling – on the hunt for spices.
  • Use Kashmiri red chilli powder, which lends a beautiful red hue to the dish.
  •  If you find there is too much liquid after you pressure cook the chicken, switch back to “saute” mode (after you open the Instant Pot) to dry out some of the liquid – before adding the cream.
  • Make sure the Instant Pot is switched off BEFORE adding the cream. The heat will make the sauce too runny, which we don’t want. The goal is to create a creamy thick consistency.
  • Use fresh cilantro and fenugreek to create a fragrant butter chicken recipe.

Butter Chicken vs Tikka Masala

Though this butter chicken looks similar to tikka masala, they are somewhat distinct. Butter chicken is milder, and dairy-heavy (cream, butter, yogurt), and tikka masala is typically tomato-based – with more heat. Traditionally, tikka masala cooks in a tandoor (traditional clay oven) and oozes smoky flavours. 

The butter chicken sauce is everything when we talk about an authentic murgh makhani recipe. The coriander powder, cumin and garam masala lend luscious aromatic tones to this dish. I actually think the flavours intensify with time. Absolutely delicious!

Is Butter Chicken Keto?

Yes, this recipe is low carb and, therefore, keto. Chicken is low in carbohydrates and high in protein, and I did make some tweaks – like not adding sugar. Honestly, it tastes grand and is the perfect classic recipe to pull off for that “special” occasion.  

One serving of my easy butter chicken provides:

  • 5 grams of carbohydrates
  • 32 grams of protein
  • 270 calories

Depending on what you serve it with, it will affect your total carb intake. 

bowl of indian butter chicken on a black tray with white rice in the background and small spice containers arranged around - perspective shot

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What’s your favourite dish to serve on special occasions? Have you tried my butter chicken recipe before? Leave me a comment below!

If you try this recipe, would love to hear from you! Leave a comment, rate it, or share a photo and hashtag with #desiliciousrd on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Can’t wait to see your photos.

Desi~liciously Yours, Shahzadi

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Get the Recipe:

Indian Butter Chicken Recipe (Instant Pot)

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Yield: 8 people
Easy Indian Butter Chicken recipe cooked in 30 minutes. Cubes of chicken breast marinated in garlic and spices – cooked in a rich and creamy butter chicken masala. With only a dash of butter and less cream – it's packed with flavour! Learn how to make restaurant style butter chicken in minutes – in your instant pot.

Ingredients
 

Chicken Marinade

  • 2.5 lbs chicken breast, Four extra large chicken breasts, skinless, cut in small cubes
  • 5 garlic, large cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp chilli powder, red, use Kashmiri style for intense red colour. Adjust to taste
  • tsp salt, sea salt

Butter Chicken Masala

  • 1 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • 1 onion, large, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomato passata, thick couli-style
  • 2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 tbsp coriander powder, whole seeds blended into a powder
  • cup cream, 35% fat
  • ½ tsp salt, sea salt

Garnish

  • 1 cup cilantro, packed cup, fresh, washed, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fenugreek leaves, dried. This is optional
  • 1 tsp garam masala

Equipment

  • Instant Pot

Instructions
 

Chicken Marinade

  • In a large bowl, add chicken, garlic, chilli, 1½ tsp of salt and turmeric. Mix well, ensuring the cubes are coated with the spice mix. Place in the fridge and marinate for at least 10 minutes (ideally longer for added flavour). Meanwhile, wash, prep and gather the remaining ingredients.

Butter Chicken Masala

  • Set your Instant Pot to the saute setting. Add butter and once melted, stir in the onions. Saute for a few minutes.
  • Add the chicken, stir and cook for a minute before adding tomatoes, coriander and cumin. Place the lid and close your instant pot. Cancel the saute setting and select the "meat" setting and set the time to 2 minutes.
  • Let the Instant Pot release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Release the remaining pressure, and open the lid. Turn off your Instant Pot.
  • Stir in the cream, and add the remaining ½ tsp salt. Garnish with cilantro, garam masala and dried fenugreek (methi) leaves. Remove the cooked butter chicken dish into a container because the heat from the Instant Pot will cause the sauce to become thin and runny. Serve with rice, roti, naan, or quinoa.

Notes

  • Cut the chicken into small cubes, so it cooks faster.
  • Marinate the chicken overnight – if you can. It adds heaps of flavour.
  • Have the ingredients on-hand as the cooking action is super fast. You don’t want to be fumbling – on the hunt for spices.
  • Use Kashmiri red chilli powder, which lends a beautiful red hue to the dish.
  •  If you find there is too much liquid after you pressure cook the chicken, switch back to “saute” mode (after you open the Instant Pot) to dry out some of the liquid – before adding the cream.
  • Make sure the Instant Pot is switched off BEFORE adding the cream. The heat will make the sauce too runny, which we don’t want. The goal is to create a creamy thick consistency.
  • Use fresh cilantro and fenugreek to create a fragrant butter chicken recipe.

Nutrition Information:

Calories: 270kcal (14%)Carbohydrates: 5g (2%)Protein: 32g (64%)Fat: 13g (20%)Saturated Fat: 6g (30%)Cholesterol: 122mg (41%)Sodium: 798mg (33%)Potassium: 764mg (22%)Fiber: 2g (8%)Sugar: 2g (2%)Vitamin A: 593IU (12%)Vitamin C: 4mg (5%)Calcium: 46mg (5%)Iron: 1mg (6%)

Keep in mind that the nutritional values provided are approximations and suggestions. This nutrition facts table cannot account for your individual needs. Your body — including your hunger and satiety cues — change daily. It’s perfectly fine to eat more or less on different days. Instead of letting food guilt take over, consider mindful eating.

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Cuisine: Desi, ethnic, Indian
Course: Main
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