Medically reviewed by Shahzadi Devje, Registered Dietitian (RD) & Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE)
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.
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 🙂
How to Make Butter Chicken - Instant Pot Version
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)
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.
More Indian Food Recipes You Might Like:
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.
Hungry for more?
Subscribe to my newsletter for free recipes, nutrition tips and all the latest updates.
Indian Butter Chicken Recipe (Instant Pot) | Desi Food Recipes
- 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
- 1½ 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
- ⅔ cup cream 35% fat
- ½ tsp salt sea salt
- 1 cup cilantro packed cup, fresh, washed, finely chopped
- 1 tsp fenugreek leaves dried. This is optional
- 1 tsp garam masala
- In a large bowl, add chicken, garlic, chilli 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.
- 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, ½ tsp salt and 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.
Please note the nutritional analysis values are estimates and suggestions. This nutrition facts table does not know your life - your body, including your hunger and satiety cues, change daily. It's okay to eat more or less. Say no to food guilt and instead embrace mindful eating.
Shahzadi is an award-winning registered dietitian (RD) regulated by the College of Dietitians of Ontario and certified diabetes educator (CDE), approved by the Canadian Diabetes Educator Certification Board. A YouTuber and notorious foodie, she's dedicated to helping you end your cooking wars, transform your health, and be the best version of yourself! Shahzadi is an on-air nutrition expert for CTV Your Morning and a regular contributor for Global News and other national media outlets.