Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala — Make this Indian favorite at home in 30 minutes in your pressure cooker, or make it in your slow cooker!! Juicy chicken is coated with an ultra FLAVORFUL creamy sauce! You don’t need to go to a restaurant because this EASY recipe tastes BETTER!!
Easy Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe
I think chicken tikka masala is one of the most popular recipes I see in Indian restaurants or in the ethnic section of the freezer section of my grocery store.
With this easy recipe you won’t need either the Indian restaurant or the frozen dinner. Whew. And it tastes better than either, I promise.
The chicken is juicy, moist, and tender with a richly developed flavor profile thanks to warming spices like garam masala, cumin, coriander, ginger, smoked paprika, and more. The sauce is fragrant, creamy, and I want it on everything.
I made the recipe using the new Crock-Pot® Express Crock Multi Cooker. It combines the functions of a pressure cooker, slow cooker, steamer, sauté/browning, along with 8 built-in preset buttons that effortlessly cook a variety of great tasting meals. You can choose whatever function you need with the touch of a button.
The new Crock-Pot® Express Crock Multi Cooker can help prepare meals fast, which is perfect for busy schedules and hectic weeknights.
Because now with the option to pressure cook –as well as slow cook –the meals you love from the Crock-Pot® brand can be ready up to 70% faster than traditional cooking, so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with friends and family.
One of the reasons I tend not to use my traditional slow cookers as much is because I don’t enjoy the step of dirtying a pan to sauté things on the stovetop (but you just have to if you want to develop rich flavor or to sear anything). And then after transferring everything to the Crock-Pot, waiting around for many hours isn’t my favorite. Patience is not my virtue.
With the Crock-Pot® Express Crock Multi Cooker, all the challenges are solved! <— Love this.
If you haven’t already, you’re going to want to jump on the pressure cooking bandwagon and this new multi cooker is going to be your new BFF.
What’s in Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala?
To make the marinade and the chicken tikka masala sauce, you’ll need:
- Chicken breasts
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Olive oil
- Lemon juice
- Sweet Vidalia onion
- Unsalted butter
- Tomato sauce
- Heavy cream (or half and half)
- Fresh cilantro
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Add the tikka masala marinade and chicken breasts to a zip-top bag and allow chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 to 2 hours.
Once the chicken has had time to marinate, sauté the onions and garlic in the Crock-Pot® Express Crock Multi Cooker before adding the marinated chicken.
After sautéing, I added the sauce ingredients, and switched over to pressure cooking mode for 10 minutes, finished it with half-and-half, and this impressive-tasting dish was ready in no time.
Can I Make Chicken Tikka Masala in a Slow Cooker?
Yes! If you’re not in a rush, you can use the slow cooker mode rather than the pressure cooking mode, and let things simmer away for hours like you would with a traditional slow cooker. I’ve given detailed instructions on making slow cooker chicken tikka masala in the recipe card below.
Can I Freeze Chicken Tikka Masala?
I don’t recommend freezing leftovers of this Instant Pot tikka masala since the sauce contains so much dairy. I worry it’d split once frozen and have a grainy texture upon being thawed.
Tips for Making Pressure Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
This is a very saucy dish, which we love. However, if you prefer less sauce, you can halve the amount of butter and/or cream and use 1.50 pounds of chicken.
A few readers have asked if they can substitute the cream in the chicken tikka masala sauce. If you can’t have dairy, you may get similar results using full-fat canned coconut milk. Or, look for a dairy-free half and half at your grocery store.
Leftovers of this Instant Pot chicken tikka masala will keep up to 4 days in the fridge.
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Pressure Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
Make this Indian favorite at home in 30 minutes in your pressure cooker, or make it in your slow cooker!! Better than a restaurant!
- about 1.25 to 1.50 pounds boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 6 ounces plain Greek yogurt (I use 0% fat)
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced or finely pressed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- one small sweet Vidalia onion, diced small
- 1/4 cup (half of 1 stick) unsalted butter
- 4 to 5 cloves garlic, minced or finely pressed
- one 15-ounce can tomato sauce or tomato puree
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 2 teaspoons ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or regular paprika)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional an to taste
- 1/2 cup cream or half-and-half (use a dairy-free milk if desired)
- about 1/4 cup finely minced fresh cilantro, divided for garnishing
- naan, basmati rice, etc. for serving, if desired
- Add all ingredients to a gallon-sized ziptop bag, seal, squish contents around to distribute evenly, and allow chicken to marinate in the fridge for at least 1 to 2 hours (overnight is ideal).
- Turn Crock-Pot® Express Crock Multi Cooker to brown and sauté mode, add the onion, and cook until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes; stir intermittently.
- Add the butter, garlic, and cook until butter has melted and garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute; stirring nearly constantly.
- Add the chicken (fish it out of the marinating bag, and discard the bag with the marinade and the marinating mixture), tomato sauce, garam masala, coriander, cumin, smoked paprika, ginger, salt, pepper, optional cayenne, cover, lock the lid, and set to pressure cook mode by touching the meat/poultry button on the top lefthand corner. Make sure the steam valve is set to lock on the top/backside of the machine. It will take about 10 minutes for it to 'preheat' into the pressure cooking mode and when it has preheated, '15 minutes' will appear on the screen. You don't need all 15 minutes of pressure cooking time. Stop cooking after 10 minutes has elapsed by pressing the stop button.
- Allow pressure to naturally release for 10 minutes, then flick the steam valve with a utensil (the steam that escapes is hot) and remove the lid.
- Alternatively, rather than pressure cooking you can use the slow cooker mode and cook for about 4 hours on low or about 2 hours on high, or until chicken is cooked through and sauce is as thickened as desired.
- After the lid is open, set to brown and sauté mode, add the cream, stir to combine, and cook for about 2 minutes or until sauce is warmed through.
- Optionally, allow sauce to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes to reduce and thicken in volume. Taste sauce to check for flavor balance and if desired make any necessary tweaks, i.e. more pepper, salt, cayenne, etc. to taste.
- Portion chicken and sauce into bowls (use a slotted spoon if desired because there is a lot of sauce), evenly garnish with cilantro, and serve with naan, basmati rice, etc. or as desired.
- Step 5 in the directions discusses using either pressure cooking or slow cooking.
- This is a very saucy dish which we love. However, if you prefer less sauce, you can halve the amount of butter and/or cream and use 1.50 pounds of chicken.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 612Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 1730mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 5gSugar: 12gProtein: 53g
More Easy Chicken Dinners:
Indian Butter Chicken – An EASY, ONE-POT recipe for a classic Indian favorite!! Juicy, BUTTERY chicken simmered in a CREAMY tomato-based sauce! Next time you’re craving Indian food, you can make it yourself in 30 minutes!!
Yellow Chicken Coconut Curry (Chicken Korma) — An EASY Indian recipe you can make at home in 25 minutes that tastes like it’s from a restaurant!! Chicken, cashews, and spices are simmered in coconut milk for the WIN!!
Sheet Pan Curry Chicken and Vegetables – An EASY Indian-inspired meal that’s ready in 30 minutes, made on ONE pan, and great for meal prep or busy weeknights!! There’s so much CURRY FLAVOR in every bite!!
Grilled Tandoori Chicken — Recreate this Indian favorite QUICKLY and EASILY at home! If you’re looking for a new spin on grilled chicken, this is THE recipe to try. It’s super juicy, flavorful, and you’ll LOVE IT!!
Green Thai Chicken Coconut Curry — An EASY, one-skillet green curry that’s ready in 20 minutes and tastes BETTER than from a Thai restaurant!! It’s healthy comfort food that tastes AMAZING!!
Cauliflower, Chickpea, and Chicken Coconut Curry – An EASY, one-skillet curry that’s ready in 20 minutes and tastes BETTER than a restaurant!! The Thai-inspired coconut milk broth makes this healthy comfort food taste AMAZING!!
Post is brought to you by the Crock-Pot® Slow Cooker brand. The recipe, images, text, and opinions expressed are my own.
I’m making this recipe this evening and am still confused as to add the marinade or toss it out and fish the chicken out of it
Once you’re ready to put the chicken into the pressure cooker, you fish it out of the marinade bag and then discard the marinade. All the other ingredients in the recipe for ‘sauce’ are what creates the sauce.
It does not get any better then this. This is the best recipe for chicken tikka masala. I almost gave up trying to find a recipe that worked. I am glad I did not. The ingredients are perfect.
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad that you love it and think it’s perfect!
I’ve made this recipie about 6 times. It’s awesome!!! I use authentic garaham masala from the indian store. I also take the chicken out at the end while the sauce is simmering for another 7 mins in saute mode so I can thicken it up. TASTES delish!!!
Thanks for the five star review and I’m glad you love this recipe and that’s a good tip about taking the chicken out at the end so you can thicken up the sauce!
This has been my “go to” chicken tikka masala recipe for quite a few months now, it never disappoints and everyone LOVES it. I usually ended up doubling or tripling the recipe because it’s always requested when we have guests for dinner :) marinading the chicken overnight is definitely key in making this recipe absolutely amazing! Thanks for this awesome winner of a dish!
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad this has been your go to chicken tikka masala recipe and that everyone loves it!
Hi – I have an instant pot do I just set the pressure cooking for 10mjn? Thanks
I would say yes as a guess but I don’t have one (I have the Crockpot version) so I cannot say for sure. I bet if you Google it though there will be good info.
Yes! I make this in the instant pot and it’s 10 mins high pressure, then natural release ten mins, then I take the chicken out and let the sauce thicken up on sauté mode for like 6 mins
Thanks for the 5 star review and glad you were able to make it in your Instant Pot and thanks for sharing what you did.
What would you suggest as a dairy free alternative to half and half? Coconut milk?
Coconut milk could work, as well as cashew or almond. You’ll have to experiment based on flavor and your personal preferences.
I actually found a lactose free half and half at Whole Foods so I’m going to give that a try! Thank you
This is such a fantastic orange colour and all those spices sound so delicious. I need to give this a try!
Do you cook it on high pressure or low pressure?
With this machine, there is only one pressure cooking setting and you just use that.
I love this recipe and turned out fantastic! I only wish mine turned out like yours, with the bright orange color. Mine turned out more brown in coloring. Why is there this?
Can’t say why the color was different – everyone’s ingredients differ but glad you loved the flavor!
I was wondering if I made this would taste good with shrimp or fish? Just wondering if I could put it in for less time or would it matter in a pressure cooker/crockpot? Thank you!
It would probably be good with either but you would need to cook for much, much less time and play around with things.
Thank you! I will definitely try this ?
I love Chicken Masala and chickpeas. I would totally make this but I would add some potatoes.
Love that you’ve adapted this for a slow cooker! Thank you for this recipe!
You’re welcome and enjoy!
Living as I do, half way up a Spanish mountain range, it is difficult to get spice mixes like Garam Masala.
I am doubly lucky though…… Firstly, I am surrounded by vineyards with their seasonal North African workers. They bring many basic spices with them. Secondly I like to make almost everything from base ingredients, shunning most pre-prepared mixes, sauces and similar.
I am not sure any of your readers find themselves in a similar situation, but I though I would include my recipe for Garam Masala spice mix:
Gently dry-fry the following seeds until they start to release their aroma. Empty into a mortar (or electric spice grinder)
4 tbsps coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 ½ tsps black cumin seeds (shahjeera)
¾ tsp cloves
¾ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp crushed bay leaves
1 ½ tsps dry ginger
And the seeds from:
4 large pods of badi elaichi / black cardamom
hey girl- this looks so yummy!
Thank you so much!
I love Chicken Tikka Masala and have been looking for a crockpot with the browning/sautéing feature. Not sure I can let go of the traditional crockpot just yet though!
You will love the new one because you can do it all in one AND it takes a fraction of the time! Major wins across the board!
How can I pin this recipe?
This is a hovering Pin button on the top left hand corner of every photo – put your cursor over that area.
I love my current crock pot but the pressure cooker option would be a big plus for those days when I need dinner ready fast! And I love being able to brown meat in The same pot I’m cooking in- less to clean up!! Can’t wait to try this recipe! Thank you!!
Yes! The browning all in one, less cleanup, it’s seriously the biggest selling point for me! I love that about it! If you try this recipe, LMK!
We just got a crock pot and looking for ideas. Tikka masala has such a distinct rich flavor… after reading this ingredient list, I understand why. Thanks for the recipe!
You’re going to love this!
You seem to have left out the part where you add the chicken to the pot. Do you brown the chicken first after it’s marinaded? Thanks!
You add it in step 4. Enjoy!
Along with all the marinade?
The marinade is on the gloppy/sticky side because of the Greek yogurt and much/most of it is going to stick to the plastic bag. You could squeeze it out if you’re so inclined; or not. Either way there is plenty of sauce in this dish.
Wow, this looks like quite the appliance. I don’t mind the time factor with crockpots–I find it comes in handy at times to start something cooking early in the day and come home later to a cooked meal–but I agree with you, browning/searing meat prior to cooking it is a pain. The recipe looks great!
You’d love the ease of this new one! The brown and sear feature is so awesome!
I love the spices used in Indian cooking so this sauce sounds wonderful to me (and I like saucy food too). The multI function crockpot sounds pretty awesome, especially being able to brown n and saute in it.
This was so good! The spices, the sauce, and being able to brown/sautee in one is great. I think you’d love this dish!
I have been so anxious to try this and we did totally love it!! The sauce is fantastic and I will make it again. I can’t believe what a time saver this multi function crockpot is–I am using it regularly and everything comes out perfectly.
I am so glad you are loving your new machine! I lovvvvved the sauce on this chicken. I could literally eat it by the spoonful :) Glad you loved it and will make it again! LMK what other recipes you’re trying with your new machine!