Indulge in the comforting and rich flavors of butter chicken, also known as murg makhani, with my easy and convenient Instant Pot recipe. This classic Indian dish features tender chicken in a creamy, mildly spiced tomato-based sauce that will tantalize your taste buds. With my recipe, you can enjoy all the traditional flavors and textures of this dish in under 30 minutes.
What is butter chicken?
Butter chicken is widely renowned as one of the world's most popular curries and probably the most ordered chicken dish in any Indian restaurant. This Instant Pot butter chicken is one of the easiest to prepare. The hearty and comforting curry is bursting with flavor, making it a delight for the senses.
Also known as murgh makhani in India, it originated in the Punjab region in the mid-20th century. It has since become a popular dish in Indian restaurants around the world. If you're looking for an easy and mild Indian curry recipe, then this chicken makhani is perfect for you and can be enjoyed by the whole family. It's also a great option for those following a keto diet and pairs well with cauliflower rice.
Instant Pot butter chicken is a delicious and easy-to-make version of the classic Indian dish. The Instant Pot electric pressure cooker makes it a quick and convenient way to enjoy this flavorful dish without spending as much time in the kitchen. Once you try this simple and delicious Instant Pot butter chicken recipe, you will never want to order take-out butter chicken again.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Tender and flavorful chicken: The Instant Pot pressure cooking method ensures that the chicken is cooked perfectly and retains its natural juices, resulting in tender and juicy chicken.
- Balances flavor and taste: This tried and tested one pot recipe gives you the perfect balance of taste with a mild sweetness from cream and sugar, tanginess from the tomatoes, a mild level of spiciness from the spices, and buttery richness.
- Quick and convenient: This Instant Pot butter chicken recipe has all the traditional flavors and textures of the dish but with the added convenience and speed of pressure cooking. Using the Instant Pot creates a rich and flavorful dish in a fraction of the time it would take to cook it on the stove.
Chicken: Use skinless, boneless chicken thighs.
Butter: As the name suggests, this curry is cooked in butter.
Cream: Heavy cream adds richness to the curry. You may replace it with half and half.
Spices: The spices used are ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, chili powder (or cayenne), and garam masala.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Step 1: Heat one tablespoon of butter and add the fresh ginger and garlic paste. Saute for one minute (image 1).
Step 2: Add the tomato puree/passata, ground cumin, ground coriander, chili powder, ground turmeric, salt, and sugar. Add ½ cup of water and deglaze the bottom of the pot to avoid burn notice (images 2 and 3).
Step 3: Next, add the boneless, skinless chicken thighs (image 4).
Step 4: Mix well. Secure the IP lid and put the vent in the sealing position. Set it to 'Poultry' mode on high pressure for 5 minutes (images 5 and 6).
Step 5: Do a quick pressure release. Set the Instant Pot to saute mode (image 7).
Step 6: Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter along with garam masala and cream (image 8).
Step 7: Mix well and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes until the rich sauce thickens. Add fresh cilantro and mix well (images 9 and 10).
To make murg makhani masala on a stovetop:
- Take a heavy bottom pan and heat one tablespoon of butter.
- Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for one minute.
- Next, add tomato puree, ground cumin, ground coriander, turmeric, chili powder, sugar, and salt.
- Saute for 5-7 minutes until the spices are cooked.
- Add the chicken pieces.
- Add one cup of water and mix well.
- Cover and simmer on low heat for 12-15 minutes or until the chicken is well cooked. Make sure there is enough liquid as you cook the chicken.
- Add the remaining ingredients - cream, garam masala, and 2 tablespoons of butter.
- Simmer for 6-7 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat and top with cilantro.
Before adding the tomato puree, it is important to saute ginger garlic paste in butter. This helps remove the raw smell of garlic and adds flavor to the curry.
The authentic makhani chicken recipe does not use onions. The sauce of this curry is made with tomatoes only.
I like to use store-bought tomato puree (or passata) as it adds a nice color to the curry. If you use homemade tomato puree, add a small amount of tomato paste to get a deep color in the curry sauce.
I highly recommend using chicken thigh pieces as the chicken breasts tend to overcook quickly and become rubbery and chewy.
You can substitute cream with half and half or coconut milk. Also, add the cream only after pressure cooking. If we add it before, it may split.
Serving butter chicken
Accompany with bread: Fresh and warm homemade naan bread is a classic choice to accompany butter chicken curry. Its soft texture is perfect for dipping into the flavorful sauce.
Add a side of salad or raita: A side salad like kachumber or onion raita can add freshness and crunch to the meal. Alternatively, slice cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions and place them on a wide plate. Sprinkle salt and lemon juice and serve.
Papadums or Poppadoms: These thin and crispy Indian crackers are a popular side dish. They can be enjoyed on their own or used to scoop up the creamy curry sauce for an added crunch.
Pair with a refreshing drink: A refreshing drink like sweet lassi or mango lassi can complement the spicy flavors of chicken tikka masala. Why not try this elegant chai martini cocktail for parties and gatherings?
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Storing butter chicken
To store butter chicken, allow it to cool to room temperature, then transfer it to an airtight container. Refrigerate for 3-4 days or freeze for longer storage, up to 3 months. When reheating, gently warm on the stovetop or in the microwave, adding a splash of water or milk if needed to prevent drying out.
No. The butter chicken sauce is made without onions and uses tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and spices. It is milder and creamier when compared to tikka masala.
Yes, it truly is. However, it is more popular outside of India than within India.
To make dairy-free butter chicken, substitute dairy ingredients with non-dairy alternatives: use cooking oil instead of butter; replace cream with coconut milk or coconut cream for the sauce.
To make butter chicken in a slow cooker, combine chicken, tomato sauce, onion, garlic, ginger, spices, and butter. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours until chicken is tender. Stir in cream and garam masala, let it cook for an additional 30 minutes.
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Butter Chicken / Murg Makhani
- Set the Instant Pot in saute mode and add one tablespoon of butter.
- Once it heats, add the ginger and garlic paste. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add the tomato puree/passata, ground cumin, ground coriander, chili powder, ground turmeric, salt, and sugar. Mix well and saute for 2 minutes.
- Add ½ cup water and deglaze the pot.
- Add the chicken and mix well.
- Secure the IP lid and set it to 'Poultry' mode for 5 minutes.
- Do a quick release of pressure.
- Set the Instant Pot to saute mode. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter along with garam masala and cream.
- Mix well and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes until the sauce thickens.
- Add chopped cilantro and mix well.
- Serve warm with naan or basmati rice.