Instant Pot Butter Chicken

You know and love our Paleo Butter Chicken:  it's easy, it's paleo-ized, and it's DAMN GOOD.  Now, new and improved, you can enjoy your favorite dinner (and omelette with the leftovers) in a fraction of the time with this Instant Pot butter chicken.  By the way, above is a video of my first time with an Instant Pot.

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Saving Time with Instant Pot Butter Chicken

Since this is all about saving time and getting incredible food into you fast, I'm gonna keep this short, and get you straight into the recipe.  BUT, before I do, I need to tell you two things.

First:  This Instant Pot DUO60 7-in-1 pressure cooker+ is amazing (you can read our Instant Pot review here).  

Second:  We have partnered with Instant Pot to bring The Primal Desire tribe (yes, that means you) a discount when purchasing the Instant Pot.

Discount on Instant Pot

So.  When I make my original paleo butter chicken, simmering a Costco-sized pack worth of chicken can take 45-60 minutes (over an hour with prep).  But using the Instant Pot took only 8 minutes to cook the chicken!  And using the Instant Pot requires very little “hands-on” time!  Here's the full breakdown of time:

  • Prep time = 15 minutes (Most of that is cutting the chicken, but if you choose to use whole pieces, just add some more time in the pressure cooker.)
  • Active cooking time = 8 minutes (Heating pot and sauteing onions.)
  • Instant Pot (pressure cooker) time = 17 min (9 minutes to bring to pressure, 8 minutes to cook, and a quick release.)

OK, one more thing:  I decided to name my Instant Pot “Maximus”, 'cause he kicks ass!

Pressure Cooker Butter Chicken Recipe Perfected

Scrapped version of pressure cooker butter chicken recipe
My original recipe had some issues coming to pressure, but this “new and improved” version of the Instant Pot Butter Chicken is even better!

Bowl of paleo butter chicken

Instant Pot Butter Chicken

  • Author: Raj -
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 17 min (8 min active cooking, 9 min coming to pressure)
  • Total Time: 32 min
  • Yield: 2-3 lbs of chicken
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Indian


You know and love our original Paleo Butter Chicken: it's easy, paleo-ized, and DAMN GOOD. Now make Instant Pot Butter Chicken FAST!


  • 2-3 lbs (family pack) boneless skinless chicken thighs (cut into bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 Tbsp ghee
  • 1 1/2 large onions (chopped)
  • 2 1/2 – 3 1/3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder or 2 Tbsp fresh garlic (minced)
  • 2 tsp ginger powder or 2 Tbsp fresh ginger (grated)
  • 2 heaping tsp turmeric
  • 2 heaping tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups stewed or canned tomatoes and the liquid
  • 370 ml tomato paste
  • 2 400ml cans coconut milk (*NOT the coconut drink – see link* – Allow these to separate – DO NOT shake. Best if left in the fridge overnight)
  • 2 heaping tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 cup sliced almond
  • 1/2 cup cilantro


  1. If your pressure cooker has a sauté setting (as does the Instant Pot), use it to melt ghee.
  2. Add 2 tsp salt and onions. Cook until onions are soft and translucent (you can cover with a lid to speed this process.
  3. Add in garlic, ginger, turmeric, paprika and cayenne. Mix in and cook until fragrant.
  4. Add canned tomatoes and the watery portion of coconut milk, mixing thoroughly with spices (getting all of the spices stuck to the bottom off the pan).
  5. Add chicken and stir well.
  6. Assuming you've selected to use bite-sized pieces of chicken, the time to cook the chicken will be fast: 8-10 minutes depending on the pressure your cooker uses. With the Instant Pot it took 8 minutes of pressurized cooking time on the Manual-High mode.
  7. Once cooked, use the quick release of pressure, stir in coconut cream, tomato paste, garam masala and most of the cilantro. Add more salt if needed.
  8. Top with sliced almonds and garnish with more cilantro.


Don't forget to make cumin riced cauliflower to go with this, and use leftovers in the Butter Chicken Omelette.

You know and love our original: it's easy, paleo-ized, and DAMN GOOD. Now make Pressure Cooker Butter Chicken FAST!
You know and love our original: it's easy, paleo-ized, and DAMN GOOD. Now make Pressure Cooker Butter Chicken FAST!

Please Share This Recipe


About the Author:

I’m trained as a pharmacist, but my passion lies in changing people’s mental and physical health through amazing food… and laughter. I’ll laugh at my own jokes even if you don’t. I love food. Lust may be a more appropriate word. Prepare to get your Paleo-induced drool-on!


  1. Kari Guastella December 7, 2015 at 4:16 pm - Reply

    This looks really good! Wishing I had a pressure cooker!

  2. michelespring2014 December 9, 2015 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    So excited about this recipe! I just got an Instapot over Black Friday and haven’t used it yet, but think that will change very shortly because I love me some Butter Chicken!!

    • Raj December 9, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      Thanks Michele!
      Definitely cook the spices longer than I did in the video (got distracted being filming the recipe for the first time).
      Let us know how it goes! Look how excited I am! So many exclamation marks!!!! Hahaha

    • michelespring2014 December 10, 2015 at 7:15 pm

      Made it tonight and it was excellent! This will definitely be going into our regular rotation. Yay!

    • Raj December 10, 2015 at 8:12 pm

      Yay! Glad to hear!

      Btw, we love seeing photos on social media. Tag us @theprimaldesire

  3. Kristin December 9, 2015 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    I have tried many butter chicken recipes, but never found one worth making again. This one is an exception. This is delicious, and quick in the pressure cooker!

    • Raj December 9, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks Kristin!
      High praise! Thank you!

  4. Alyssa December 10, 2015 at 11:29 am - Reply

    I just put it in my Instant Pot! Can’t wait to taste it! Just wanted to make sure, quick release after 8 minutes high pressure, right? And 370 mL tomato paste is two 6 ounce cans, correct?

    • Raj December 10, 2015 at 1:33 pm

      Ah man, I hope it’s not too late to answer this…

      Yes, quick release after 8 minutes. 370ml is a touch more than 2 of the lil 6oz cans, but pretty close. Likely close enough.

    • Charu Kapoor Deshpande February 6, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      Manual high pressure for 8 minutes then QR correct ?

    • Raj February 6, 2017 at 7:13 pm


    • Charu Kapoor Deshpande February 6, 2017 at 8:42 pm

      I took an Emmersion blender to the sauce before adding chicken 🙂 made it thick velvety smooth! Delish ! Thanks for sharing and responding so quickly 🙂

    • Raj February 6, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      You’re welcome! Glad you liked it!

  5. Karen Borter December 22, 2015 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Just wanted to pipe in … it never came to pressure for me, just began counting down. I noticed you don’t have any liquid in the recipe and the coconut milk and tomato paste were not liquid enough to get it to come to pressure so I had to add water. Is that just missing from the ingredients? Or did I do something wrong? Had some scorching on the bottom too. It was still delicious though! Just was wondering on those couple points.

    • Raj December 22, 2015 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks Karen. I had added that note below the recipe (maybe I should add it to the recipe itself) as it seems to depend on the thickness or the tomato paste/coconut milk you use. The last time I used a different tomato paste than before and ran into the same problem. Added 1/4 cup of vegetable stock and that seemed to help.
      But no you weren’t missing an ingredient from the original recipe. Thanks for letting me know!

      Merry Christmas!

    • karensjustsayin December 23, 2015 at 8:45 am

      Oh! Okay yeah that bit didn’t print off with the recipe when I printed it 😉 I will be making this again so will add some liquid.

    • Raj December 23, 2015 at 9:53 am

      Oh! Didn’t think about the printing. I will put it in the recipe. Let me know how it goes Karen.

    • Vanni December 31, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Raj Any good substitutes for ghee?

    • Raj January 1, 2016 at 6:12 pm

      Coconut oil would be fine Vanni. Makes it a little sweeter of course, and you may need some more salt.

    • Vanni January 30, 2016 at 9:57 pm

      Hi Raj! I was not able to get this to pressure either the first time. The flavor is so good I tried it again. This time I only used one can of tomato paste and a can of diced tomatoes instead with no additional water. It did not come to pressure still until I opened it up and stirred it. The bottom of the pan had burnt slightly. Once I scraped this off it and added 3 oz of water it came to pressure. I hope this helps!

    • Raj February 1, 2016 at 7:25 pm


      First mission upon returning from Cuba was to remedy this issue. After spending the weekend trying different things (3rd time was the charm), it is now even better than before!

      Let me know how it goes now.

    • Raj February 1, 2016 at 7:29 pm


      This has been haunting me (even on vacation). It’s now better than before and should work without issue.

      Let me know how this goes now!

  6. Meryl January 1, 2016 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    I just got an instant pot & I’m thinking about making this. How much liquid should I have in total? How will I know if I need to add the water or stock?

    • Raj January 1, 2016 at 6:17 pm

      The truth is I don’t have an answer for you. I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I ran into this problem myself. I’m thinking about trying to cook it without the tomato paste, or with half the tomato paste, and then adding it in after it’s cooked. But I don’t know how the coconut milk will do on it’s own.
      It worked so well the first few times with the ingredients I had, who knew this was going to be a problem? Never fear, I will not rest until I have an answer…

    • Raj February 1, 2016 at 7:34 pm


      I have corrected the problems, this should work without issue (I have a ton of butter chicken in my place right now!).

  7. Hana January 2, 2016 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    I was so excited to make this, I didn’t read all the directions all the way and added the garam masala with all the spices in the beginning. You think it would be ok? Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    • Holley January 2, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      It will have a strong curry flavor, maybe a bit over-powering, but if you love curry it should be okay!

  8. Jolaine January 17, 2016 at 10:16 pm - Reply

    I have had the same problem with it not coming to pressure. So far I have added over a cup of stock and it’s still not reaching pressure. The chicken is cooked now but it’s strange that it’s not reaching full pressure.

    • Raj February 1, 2016 at 7:39 pm


      This should now work without all that extra liquid which would result in a soupy end product. It’s perfect now!

  9. Jenn January 21, 2016 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Day 1 with my new pressure cooker and this was my first recipe. I didn’t have tomato paste and used some canned diced tomatoes instead. I was a little nervous, but it came out to be a wonderful dish! So full of flavor! Thanks so much!

    • Raj February 1, 2016 at 7:41 pm


      You totally nailed it with the canned tomatoes! I’ve adjusted the recipe as there were a lot of issues with coming to pressure in the Instant Pot. I recommend adding the tomato paste as well to give it that nice thick sauce in the end.


  10. Leslie January 29, 2016 at 7:22 am - Reply

    Hello Raj. Thank you for sharing this recipe. I did double it (we have a large family) and I added 1/2 cup water. . . never came to pressure. After 4 sessions of 8 minutes, i tossed it into large french roaster on cook top. The bottom of the IP was scorched. I did not exceed the fill line. The seasoning was PEREFECT and delectable! I really would like to figure out the cause of not coming to pressure so that we can make again. I wanted to thank you for sharing this and ask you to persevere in finding the perfect ratio so that it can be an IP wonder meal!

    • Raj January 30, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Jolaine and Leslie,

      Thank you for writing. I am sorry that this has not worked out as well as it should, and that I haven’t been around to address this. Just so you know, I was thinking about it a lot until I actually got to Cuba, but now that I’m back, I am brain-storming solutions. Today’s trial was a fail, but I have a plan for tomorrow.

      Believe me, I will keep working on this until it’s remedied (I’m not happy with the “add water” option as it just results in a soupy finished product). Stay tuned!

    • Jolaine February 1, 2016 at 9:52 pm

      Hey Raj! Thanks so much for taking the time to perfect this! I will be making this week for sure:)

    • Raj February 1, 2016 at 7:44 pm


      It’s perfect now! Totally IP-friendly, and tastes even better than before!

      Thanks for your patience!

    • karensjustsayin February 2, 2016 at 9:20 am

      Ah I see what you did there! Adding the other / thick stuff after it’s cooked! Nice. I will for sure be trying this again. And can I just say, I am jealous of your trip to Cuba!

    • Raj February 2, 2016 at 9:38 am

      Thanks Karen.
      Yes you can. But if it helps, there wasn’t much beach time as it rained almost the entire time!

  11. knotyourhooker February 17, 2016 at 10:49 pm - Reply

    Hi, this looks like an awesome recipe. Just a question, how large are the cans of coconut milk? In Australia we have small and large cans.

    • Raj February 17, 2016 at 11:44 pm


      400ml cans, Knotty.

  12. Cindy Means March 12, 2016 at 3:29 pm - Reply

    Hi, I just made the recipe, exactly, to the T, as it was written. I ended up having to drain off 6 cup of liquid once it was finished. It was butter chicken soup. I saved the extra liquid in one quart jar and one pint, for the freezer. I am not going to try and make this in the Instant Pot again. Also, I wish had added the ginger and garlic to saute with the onion. Even with the spice saute, they were still crunchy after adding chicken and Pressure cooking 8 minutes.
    Butter Chicken is supposed to have a thick sauce and I don’t think Pressure cooking it is very compatible. Honestly, it would have cooked just as fast on the stove top. All the saute work in the small bottomed IP would have gone faster in my large chef skillet. But I always admire anyone willing to try new things.

    • Raj March 14, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      Hi Cindy,

      Too bad it didn’t work out for you. Of course I automatically wondered if your chicken was frozen or how thin you coconut milk was, but you sound pretty set against any suggestions. In my early trials I was having the same problem, but those issues are corrected.

      Thanks for the feedback. If you want a non-IP butter chicken, the original recipe is superior: here.

  13. Justin March 15, 2016 at 9:40 am - Reply

    I made this a couple days ago in my IP. The flavor was wonderful! It was very, very soupy though… I used the “new” version of the recipe. Do you have any other suggestions for things I can try for a thicker sauce? I was going to add some arrow root flour as a thickening agent, but wife didn’t want to risk ruining the great flavor so we ate it as-is. Just had the leftovers today for lunch, and even better than day 1! I don’t have a lot of experience with the IP but I did notice that it took a long while to come to pressure… Maybe 20+ mins or so? Would draining the liquid from tomatoes help, or would it then be too dry to pressurize?

    Thanks for the great recipe! Look forward to enjoying it again!

    • Raj March 16, 2016 at 11:33 am

      I emailed you about this, let me know if any of those suggestions worked (reducing tomato liquid, thickening with arrowroot at the end if needed, etc). Soupy is no good, and you’re the first to tell me that’s how it turned out. Thanks for letting me know about your experience! We’ll figure it out buddy!

    • Malissa July 16, 2016 at 6:41 pm

      I just got an IP and this was the first recipe I tried in it. The chicken turned out perfect but like the person above, the sauce was very thin and tasted a bit watery. I followed the recipe to a T. Since you mentioned Aroy-D coconut cream I used one can of that (had hardly any watery part) and one can of Aroy-D coconut milk (almost all watery, not much thick part). I’m wondering if I use 2 cans of the coconut cream next time if that’d help. I just worry it won’t come to pressure. And I used stewed tomatoes with all their juice so maybe drain a bit of the juice or get crushed tomatoes instead. What do you think? It took about 10 min to come to pressure.

    • Holley July 17, 2016 at 10:44 am

      I think the 10 min seems normal, crushed tomatoes would help make it a little thicker. I always use the thicker full fat coconut milk in this recipe. How did it taste?

  14. Seek March 26, 2016 at 4:46 pm - Reply

    I made this tonight. Un.freaking.believably.DELISH. So, SOO good. Thank you!!

    • Raj March 26, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      Seek! You have no idea how great it is to get messages like yours. Thank you for taking the time to drop us a line!

  15. farah April 20, 2016 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    The butter chicken turned out amazing! Everyone loved it! I probably will take the praise for this… Just for a few more days until i tell everyone the “secret” to my secret recepie. Lol. I never used coconut milk in a butter chicken before and I was a bit skeptical to try it out! But it was great! Cant wait to try out other dishes on here! 🙂 Thanks Raj!

    • Raj April 20, 2016 at 10:08 pm

      Glad it was a hit!

  16. Lou April 24, 2016 at 12:44 am - Reply

    Made this last night in the Instant Pot, it was really good! I didn’t add the coconut water just some normal water and in the end I stirred in coconut cream, yum!

  17. Debbie April 25, 2016 at 4:58 pm - Reply

    I don’t comment enough about great food but I had to about this dish. I just got my Instant Pot and this was my second meal in it. We love Thai and Indian food and this was amazing. Perfect even for our 13 year old. I have some challenging allergies and this worked wonderful. Tree Nuts, Peanuts, Shellfish, Dairy and Soy allergies make some recipes out of reach for me. We will have this again soon.
    thank you!

    • Raj April 25, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      Hey Debbie,

      So glad to hear you loved it! And that it works for your needs! I have the same love for Indian and Thai food. BTW, Holley and I continue to add more Instant Pot recipes to the website all the time

  18. Angela Scott April 28, 2016 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    Ah man! I was so confused by the directions because they weren’t like your video so I made it how you did in the video. Now my pot won’t come to pressure and after reading all the comments I see why! 🙁

  19. Angela Scott April 28, 2016 at 5:57 pm - Reply

    Ugh! I even scrolled past that big giant X that I just noticed! lol

    • Raj April 29, 2016 at 1:22 am

      Ugh… I’m sorry. I was actually thinking about the video today an how I need to make a note about the changes…. I’ll do that in the morning.

  20. Maria May 10, 2016 at 6:08 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for the recipe!! It was absolutely fantastic and everyone loved it. The only substitution I made was using 1 can of Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream in place of 1 of the cans of coconut milk to give it a bit more body and a few shakes from my real lemon shaker 🙂

    • Raj May 10, 2016 at 12:24 pm

      That is confusing isn’t it… The brand I use, Aroy-D says “coconut milk” but it is often referred to as “coconut cream” to differentiate from the coconut milk drink. I added a link to help with the confusion. You made the right call.

      Maria, what is this real lemon shaker you mentioned?

  21. Candice August 1, 2016 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Hi Raj,

    Planning to make butter chicken in the next few days, but had a few questions after watching your video:

    1) After you tossed the chicken in the pot and put the lid on, it looked like you still had it on the Sautee setting. Can you confirm?

    2) If I don’t have the chicken in bite size pieces, how long would I cook it for?

    3) Also, in reading several comments, it looks like it turned out soupy for some. How do I prevent this from happening?

    4) In your video, you added the coconut milk and/or cream after adding the chicken. But in the actual recipe, you say to add in the coconut cream, tomato paste, and garam masala after it’d done cooking. Which should I follow?

    Sorry for all the questions. I’m an IP newbie. Thanks.

    • Raj August 1, 2016 at 3:26 pm

      Hi Candice,

      Thanks for checking. Follow the instructions in the typed recipe: as you can see I had updated the recipe written here.

      1) No, once the chicken is in and the lid is closed I used the manual mode.

      2) According to the Instant Pot website, cooking time for chicken drumsticks, legs and thighs is 10-15 min.

      3) The coconut milk that is used should be that from the can (click the link in the ingredients list to see the actual one that I use). By allowing it to separate and first pouring in the thin liquid part, the InstantPot can come to pressure, and then adding the thick creamy part in at the end adds to thickening the sauce.

      4) That was an important change to allow the IP to come to pressure. Again, follow the instructions in the typed recipe.

      I hope that helps!

  22. Rachel August 6, 2016 at 9:22 pm - Reply

    Hi there, I made this and it was yummy. As I don’t care for the texture of pre-cut chicken thighs, could I use already shredded chicken and add it in after the sauce cooks? Or is an integral part of the recipe the ‘juices’ that the chicken releases into its sauce? I was thinking I could add broth back in, too, since I plan to use the meat from cooking a whole chix to make broth, so I’ll have both shredded chicken and broth available in excess. What do you think? Thanks for the recipe!

    • Raj August 7, 2016 at 10:21 pm

      Hi Rachel,
      Uh, yeah, I don’t see why not. I mean yeah, the meat juices definitely add to it, but if you’ve got a texture issue. I don’t quite understand your brother question, but I would base that decision on how thick the sauce is in the end (I don’t think you’ll want to add it).
      Let me know how it goes.

  23. Hélène September 19, 2016 at 7:35 am - Reply

    So butter chicken is a misnomer as even the ghee is just a Tbsp in the recipe. Im kinda wondering…
    I saw one recipe where they used 2 sticks of butter and a can of coconut milk for about 5lb of boneless thighs.
    Then again, Paleo mite not jive with butter? Is that considered milk?
    Also, Ive never made chicken with a sauce in the IP that wasnt SOUP. I tried PIP too and all the water under bowl just rose up to the lid and rained down into the bowl. I can imagine this would end up soup too. I will try it on the stove. I only do chicken in the IP now when I want broth and some boiled meat for a dish or salad. Oh well, the IP cant do everything!

    • Hélène September 19, 2016 at 7:38 am

      Its amazing how much liquid you get from 1c water and 3-4lbs bonein thighs! I can easily cook 1 1/2c brown rice in the liquid.

    • Holley September 27, 2016 at 6:22 pm

      It must be grocery store chicken! Or previously frozen? You will get some good broth from bone in chicken making that rice (not paleo but great if you can tolerate it) super nutritious!

    • Holley September 27, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      HI! So… 1) Ghee is clarified butter, butter without the milk solids, as neither of us have dairy allergies, butter if you can tolerate it is just fine!
      2) It is called “Butter chicken” because it is a gravy with spices and thick cream or butter. Origins are thought to be from Delhi, Punjabi cuisine. There is some debate it seems, but ghee and coconut cream seem to still make a delicious rich and creamy dish.
      3) Raj made and remade this recipe and then revised it again to get the right texture, but you are absolutely right if you prefer to do it the old fashioned way we have a recipe for that too! 🙂 Butter chicken

      Let us know how it goes!!

  24. Britt October 26, 2016 at 9:16 am - Reply

    I’m so looking forward to trying your Paleo Butter Chicken in the Instant Pot. However, I’m always scared that a dish will end up too spicy for our sensitive tastebuds. When asked at Indian restaurants how spicy we’d like our dish on a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the spiciest, we ask for a 0 or .5 ;). Do you have suggestions on how I should adjust the spice quantities to make sure the dish turns out palatable for us?

    • Raj October 26, 2016 at 10:46 am

      Hey Britt,
      Good question, and a fair one since I ask for a 7 out of 5…. This is not a spicy dish, but I would recommend that you try it without the cayenne to start. That should be OK for you, but please let me know how it goes.

  25. Jessica October 29, 2016 at 8:43 pm - Reply

    Just made this and it was amazing, thanks so much for the great recipe! Seriously, I love Indian food and this was better than what I’ve had in many restaurants and definitely the best curry I have made myself. I was also worried it would be too soupy, but adding the tomato paste and coconut cream at the end really thickened the sauce up perfectly. It did make an abundance of delicious sauce (way more than I needed for 2lbs of chicken) so next time I will definitely do it with 3lbs. In my opinion fresh garlic and ginger make all difference. Thanks again!

    • Raj October 30, 2016 at 6:27 am

      I’m so glad to hear that! Thanks for the feedback! And happy Halloween!

    • Kaci Ferguson December 14, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      Same here, might do 4-5 lbs next time so there’s plenty of chicken along with sauce for leftovers because it was phenomenal! Better than our favorite local Indian restaurant. I did add 1/2 tsp corn starch at the end to thicken but I think that was due to my mistake of adding one can of paste instead of two. So, so good!

    • Raj December 14, 2016 at 9:56 pm

      Yeah, always make the family pack of chicken! And well played.
      Thanks for letting us know that you liked it!

  26. k mitchell November 30, 2016 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    This was a last minute meal choice, because I had everything except the coconut milk, chicken and tomato paste. I ended up making this with a center cut pork loin roast cut into bite sized pieces, and half and half as replacements. i was worried about the pork making it a terrible combination. I threw in an extra can of diced tomatoes, and though it added more liquid than I would have liked, the entire thing came out wonderfully. The pork was tender but cooked through, and the garam masala addition at the end? Perfect! Thanks!

    • Raj December 1, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Thanks Katelynn,

      I’m glad your version worked out and that we could provide the framework. I think pork generally will fit in as a chicken sub in most cases. I would have been worried about the amount of fluid as well, but I’m glad it worked out!

  27. Beata December 2, 2016 at 7:38 am - Reply

    Just purchased Instant Pot and had to try this recipe first. I also had some trouble with it coming to pressure. I thought there was something wrong with my pot, till I started reading all the reviews. So I was happy that it cooked to perfection during second take ….it’s delicious….I added a bit more black pepper and some more garam masala….but the recipe is a keeper ….absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing:)

    • Raj December 2, 2016 at 8:16 am

      Glad to hear it worked out and is on the rotation Beata. And congrats on the new purchase! Life-changer.

  28. Susan December 5, 2016 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Curious about the coconut milk… you say not to shake it. Are you adding just the thick cream or the liquid-y part, or both?

    • Raj December 5, 2016 at 9:41 am

      The watery part is added before cooking. The thick creamy part is added in afterwards to thicken the sauce.

    • Susan December 7, 2016 at 6:43 am

      Thanks so much – the dish was really good. Will definitely make again!

    • Raj December 7, 2016 at 8:38 am

      Glad to hear you liked it!

  29. Sara December 13, 2016 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    This was delicious! To make it kosher I swapped the ghee for coconut oil (the kind that is caked and can melt – not liquid!). I also added a whole can of Trader Joe’s light coconut milk and then at the end used a whole can of Trader Joe’s coconut cream. My kids loved this and my husband said it was better than any meat he’d had at an Indian restaurant! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Raj December 13, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Sweet! High praise. Glad the whole family liked it!

    • Hélène December 14, 2016 at 4:42 pm

      Do you not add the coconut cream also to cook it becuz it would burn like dairy cream?

    • Raj December 14, 2016 at 9:59 pm


      I don’t think that’s an issue. The reason for not adding at the beginning is because of pressure issues. The reason it needs to be added in at the end is to thicken the sauce.

  30. Amber H December 22, 2016 at 8:40 am - Reply

    I made this the other night and it came out amazing! We both agreed the flavones were fantastic – best butter chicken recipe I’ve ever made at home!

    Out of curiosity, have you ever put the leftovers in the freezer? We have a lot left and I’d love to save it for another night. Thanks!

    • Raj December 22, 2016 at 9:12 am

      That’s great to hear Amber. Yes, freeze leftovers! All good.

      Merry Christmas!

    • Amber H December 24, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      Thanks! 🙂

  31. Elaine Brodzinski January 1, 2017 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    I really want to make the butter chicken. After all the tweaks, is the recipe at top of this link the latest and greatest? Thanks for all the work at perfecting it…

    • Raj January 1, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      The recipe that you see above (not the crossed out one) is indeed the updated one. There are many questions in the comments of people needing clarification on different things, but the instructions above are correct!

      Enjoy Elaine!

  32. Michelle January 2, 2017 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    Made this in our Instant Pot tonight – SOOOO delicious! We’ll def be making it again – thanks for the great recipe!!

  33. Bets January 2, 2017 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Hands down the BEST butter chicken recipe I’ve ever tried. Thank you for all the effort to make it absolutely perfect.

  34. Stephanie January 2, 2017 at 7:09 pm - Reply

    What kind of coconut milk should I use, i.e. brand? I made a different recipe the other day and used Goya and it was bitter and horrible! Noticed it didn’t have but 2g of sugar in it… want to get this right!!!

    • Raj January 2, 2017 at 11:01 pm

      Hey Stephanie,

      I use Aroy-D (link in ingredients). It’s pretty widely available and should be easy enough to find. Amazing how different brands can be, eh?

  35. Stephanie January 2, 2017 at 11:47 pm - Reply

    Ok, one more… how spicy is this? My husband, for some reason, likes his pretty mild, I will try and serve this to my kids too…on a scale of 1-10, 10 being extremely spicy.

    • Raj January 3, 2017 at 8:14 am

      Good morning Stephanie,

      I don’t think of butter chicken as eine a spicy dish either. All flavor baby!

      I would guesstimate it at 3-4/10. If you’re really scared, try it without the cayenne the first time, but it shouldn’t be a problem unless he finds even black pepper to be too spicy for him.

      One more thing: this is not as sweet as many butter chicken dishes that you’ll find in restaurants. But, especially if your tastes have changed as a result of eating paleo (ie. You’re more sensitive to sweetness), you won’t be left wanting the extra sweetness.


  36. Alison January 5, 2017 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Hi! I’m a little confused on the coconut milk/cream thing in the ingredient list. Am I supposed to use coconut milk or coconut cream or does it matter?

    • Raj January 5, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      Coconut milk. Not the drinking stuff out of a carton, that’s too watery. Canned coconut milk. See link in the ingredient list.

  37. Sheri January 8, 2017 at 7:50 am - Reply

    I’d like to make this but am thinking about substituting the canned/stewed tomatoes with the same amount of chicken stock or bone broth, just a personal preference. What are your thoughts on this swap?

    • Raj January 8, 2017 at 10:18 am

      Hi Sheri,
      Tomatoes is pretty vital to the flavor of butter chicken, so taking out thone tomatoes will likely completely change the flavor and balance. That said, I bet it still tastes good, just less like butter chicken and more of a curry chicken.
      If you try it, please let us know what you think.

  38. Michelle January 8, 2017 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I do not own a pressure cooker so I’m hoping this can be made in a crockpot/slow cooker with similar results. Any suggestions/recommendations?

  39. Sky January 10, 2017 at 12:53 pm - Reply

    Why is the picture of the butter chicken soup in red sauce but yours was not?

    • Raj January 10, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Lighting. It’s all the same Sky. The stuff in the video was red too.

    • marie January 22, 2017 at 7:13 am

      Thank you! Im about to make this right now in my new pressure cooker!

      I’ll be back

    • Raj January 22, 2017 at 8:32 am

      Sounds good. See you then!

  40. Monica January 15, 2017 at 9:56 am - Reply

    Thank you, i’ll be trying this in my new Instant pot duo 8l tonight! Can i ask why you put salt in at the beginning with the onions. Am just wondering if i am missing a trick. Mx

    • Holley January 16, 2017 at 10:48 am

      Hi Monica, Raj is away so I will answer, the salt does help sweat the onions a bit making them more caramelized, and Raj enjoys a well-salted dish. How did it go?

  41. Tanya January 17, 2017 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Made this tonight! It was so good – loved the video made it easy to follow and hard to mess up! I only had three chicken breast so I halfed the tomato and coconut milk and it came out perfect. Will keep this recipe – Thanks!

    • Raj January 17, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      I’m glad the new video was helpful Tanya. Thanks for letting us know!

  42. Grace January 18, 2017 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    I’ll add another glowing review, my 6 year old daughter who is very picky asked for seconds! Quick question, I only had about 1.5 lbs of chicken so halved the recipe but still cooked it at 8 min. It seemed fine but us halving the recipe OK and should I have lessened the cooking time as well?

    • Raj January 19, 2017 at 6:51 am

      That’s great to hear Grace.

      The same cooking time for half is probably still perfect. Since you did it is feel like you should be answering based on your experience.

      Thanks for letting us know how it went!

    • Holley January 19, 2017 at 8:59 pm

      Hi Grace I have made this recipe with less chicken, the cook time stays the same, but the time it takes to get to pressure will be faster! 🙂

  43. SLM January 25, 2017 at 9:20 am - Reply

    I just made this recipe it, wow, it is delicious! And so, so easy. Thanks for the recipe. Last time I made butter chicken, it was so complicated, I vowed never to make it again. Not so with this recipe. I did cheat and use a bag of frozen chopped onions (thawed in the microwave and then drained). I also added extra cayenne because I like the spice. Other than that, I followed the directions and the results are fabulous.

    • Raj January 25, 2017 at 9:56 am

      Thanks SLM! So glad to hear you loved it.

      …frozen onions? That you buy or that you prepped yourself?

    • SLM January 29, 2017 at 4:49 pm

      That I bought. It’s just a bag of chopped “recipe helper” onions in the frozen veggie section. I like my cheats 🙂

    • Raj January 30, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      I had no idea that this was a thing. Also, I’ve never thought about freezing chopped onions before.

  44. sheree March 14, 2017 at 12:11 pm - Reply

    Just made this and loved it! My first time making the cauliflower rice which I loved. It was a little too hot for me though. Should I try only using 1/2 the cayenne pepper next time? Not sure it if is the cayenne pepper or ginger that was hot (not good at deciphering spices). I used fresh ginger. Thanks!

    • Raj March 14, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Hey Sheree,
      You must be quite sensitive to spice. Yeah the cayenne would bring the little bit of heat to the dish. Cutting that down should make it tamer for you. Glad you liked it!

  45. Deanna April 1, 2017 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    This was my first recipe that I tried in my new Instant Pot. This is an amazing butter chicken recipe!!! It’s as good, and in some ways better, than my favourite restaurant butter chicken. I have finally found a homemade recipe that I will make again! I had almost given up on homemade!

    For those that have wondered about how spicy it is, I made it with no cayenne (since our six year old and two year old would be having some) and left everything else the same. It is not hot at all, just perfectly flavoured.

    A few suggestions for the recipe writing… it didn’t say in the recipe to use the manual setting for 8 minutes. This being the first time I was using my pot, I ended up using poultry just to keep things going! Also, it would be helpful in the recipe to have the size of cans of the coconut milk I’ve just been reading the posts so I saw the correct size).

    I misread the recipe (I thought I saw 170 and not 370 mL!) for the tomato paste, so I only put in one can. I also only put in one can of coconut milk because I was unsure of the can size. When I opened the can, there was no liquid (I found out a few minutes later it was all at the bottom!) so I added a bit of chicken broth. It wasn’t soupy, but wasn’t super thick either, about the same as what I have had in the restaurant. I used four chicken thighs, and there was no issues with coming to pressure.

    Thanks again for all of your work on this recipe! Looking forward to the next time we have it!

    • Raj April 2, 2017 at 6:20 pm


      What a great review Deanna! And I’m excited that your faith has been restored in a home-made version.

      Thank you for the suggestions, I will update those tomorrow. I do have a link to the actual products that I used (and at the time, I thought there was only one size of each of those cans available – small town grocery store limitations I guess).

      Thanks again for taking the time for the review and feedback!

  46. Rodney April 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    As a guy with limited dishes, this was a super find. I absolutely love Indian curries and there are zero Indian restaurants in my town. This was hands down as good as the restaurant’s version. Thank you so much and keep these a coming!

    • Raj April 9, 2017 at 6:33 pm


      Yes sir. Will do! We’ve got lots more for you!

      No Indian restaurants in town?!? Good thing you found this! We’ve got a lot of other flavorful paleo recipes on the site – maybe not as many “traditional” dishes. Check out the Curried Pumpkin and Apple with Raisins.

  47. Judy April 15, 2017 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    Please forgive the odd question. how do you suggest adapting the recipe when I have leftover, cooked chicken?

    • Raj April 17, 2017 at 2:06 pm

      Hi Judy,

      Great question! In theory, (if you’re warming it up in the sous vide) you would be setting the same desired temperature. This would be a slow way to re-heat your food, but it wouldn’t over-cook the already cooked food. You would only need to heat until the internal temperature hit the desired temperature – no need to continue to break down the collagens etc with extra time at this point. And again, you’d probably need to grill the outsides for a crispy texture. Why do you ask?

    • Judy April 17, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      Thanks Raj!! I have littles and need to get dinner served quickly after work so I often have precooked chicken ready 🙂 I love this dish and want to expand their taste experiences.

    • Raj April 17, 2017 at 10:31 pm

      OMG! Judy, I made a mistake here. I didn’t realize that you were commenting on the Butter Chicken. (We just had a ton of comments on the Sous Vide for Dummies post and I thought that’s what you were talking about as well)

      Well Judy, I would recommend that you make this in advance and then freeze in individual serving sizes (I have frozen and reheated this dish multiple times and it’s great). I’m not really sure what to say about cooking with pre-cooked chicken. I would probably recommend making the sauce on it’s own and mixing the chicken in with it. It’s not going to be the same, but closest you can get.

      Sorry about the confusion haha!

  48. Tammy Wilson August 20, 2017 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    Pretty new to the Instant Pot and this was one of the first recipes I wanted to try it sounded so good. We both love Indian and Thai food. I’ve tried making some Indian dishes in the past, but nothing we tried a second time. We were not disappointed with your recipe! It has great flavor and will be one we will be using again for sure. Thank you!

    We did have a little issue. I’m not sure how long it cooked as it started beeping and had a message about high temp and to check it. I’m assuming it reached pressure as there was a lot when I released it. The chicken seemed done so I just finished added the final ingredients and we ate it. It took me a while to get things ready after I started cooking the onions, so I may have overlooked them. I might have been a little short on the tomatoes and was short on the chicken and used breast instead of thighs. (Had more chicken, but it was on the bone and I didn’t have it ready in time so decided to skip it). Will try again and will be sure to prep everything before starting and have the correct amounts etc. Thanks!!!!

    • Raj August 25, 2017 at 8:07 pm

      Glad you liked it Tammy! I have never had the High Temp warning come up, and not sure what causes that. Interestingly, I just read in the Instant Pot Ultra manual that there is such a warning. I didn’t realize that could be an issue….

  49. Eileen September 11, 2017 at 9:29 am - Reply

    I made this recipe last night and it is fantastic! I’m new to the Instant Pot and love curries so this was perfect for me. Thanks for the informative video and great recipe! I’ll be sharing!

    • Raj September 12, 2017 at 9:06 am

      Thanks Eileen!
      And thanks for the shares!

  50. alexandra lucar September 25, 2017 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    hi guys…i just watched your video and am armed with my new instapot and ingredients to make this dish for my punjabi husband! quick question – my bone-in chicken is frozen, can i still make it in the pressure cooker? and if so, how many more minutes would you suggest? cheers!

    • Raj September 25, 2017 at 3:47 pm

      Congratulations on the new Instant Pot Alexandra!
      Yes you can use frozen thighs, but how much more time and how that’s going to affect the thickness of the sauce in the end, I can’t confirm.
      I found some instructions on which looks like you may want to increase the time to 30 min.
      Let us know how it goes and what you do to get there.

  51. Marie December 16, 2017 at 9:13 pm - Reply


    Made this tonight to demo how awesome the IP is for friends who are gluten/dairy free.

    In the end, it came out fine, but it never completely came to pressure. 22 mins it tried to pressurize. It reached some point when it started to count down … but the pin never reached full pressure point and no pressure to release the pressure.

    It’s a bummer it didn’t work perfectly even though we did have a wonderful meal!

    Also, the recipe doesn’t specify quick or natural release… had to scan the post to find it, which added to my nervousness! 🙂

    • Raj December 17, 2017 at 4:25 pm

      Ahh Marie,

      I’m so sorry it didn’t work out this time. I had this issue with the original version of the recipe and the reason was that the creamy part of the coconut milk and the tomato paste interfered with the amount of available liquid to bring the pot to pressure. Which is why I tell you to add those after cooking.

      There still needs to be at least a cup of liquid which should be available from the tomatoes and clear part of the coconut milk.
      If not, then add a little chicken broth. This happened to me a few days ago vecause the coconut cans I had didn’t separate. Don’t add too much extra liquid or the end result will be soupy.

      I hope this helps. Let me know how it goes. And I’ll update the instructions about the release- thanks for letting me know.

  52. Courtney January 8, 2018 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    I just made it and even though I accidentally added the tomato paste before I started the pressure cook and had to add water it turned out super yummy!!

  53. Anita Singh January 17, 2018 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Hi-if I don’t have enough coconut milk can you substitute with heavy cream? Or regular milk?

    • Raj January 17, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Hi Anita!

      Ha! It’s not very often that we’re asked about substituting WITH dairy. Yes, use heavy cream, not milk.

      Add it at the end to thicken the sauce.

    • Anita January 17, 2018 at 3:31 pm

      Lol- thanks. I ended up using one can of coconut cream and just a splash of cream at the end and it was perfect!

    • Raj January 17, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      Thanks for sharing with us how it went! Glad it worked 🙂

  54. Jessica Miller February 20, 2018 at 11:56 am - Reply

    This is a regular in our supper rotation now. I usually double it for plenty of left overs! 🙂 Yum!

    • Raj February 23, 2018 at 5:56 pm

      You double THIS recipe?? Awesome. I already use the Costco chicken pack. Do you have the larger IP?

  55. Lauryn April 12, 2018 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    WOW! I just made this for the first time and it is unbelievable! I halved the recipe as it’s just me and it still turned out perfectly. I can’t wait to make this again! Thank you!

    • Raj April 12, 2018 at 2:29 pm

      Lauryn, it freezes well. I make this size for myself with leftovers, but I always end up giving some away ’cause everyone loves it.

  56. Amanda June 5, 2018 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    I’m not sure where I went wrong but mine came out very, very tomato-y. It reminds me of a tomato soup with an Indian flare. I keep re-reading the recipe because I thought I misread the recipe and used too much tomato but I followed it pretty accurately. I’ve only had butter chicken once before, is it usually very tomato heavy?

    • Raj June 5, 2018 at 9:54 pm

      Hi Amanda,

      Typically not super tomato-y, no. Can you tell me what you used for tomatoes/paste (amounts and brands), as well as coconut?

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