Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

Heather Dessinger

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Bowl of Instant Pot tikka masala with basmati rice

From my front porch I can slip on my flip flops and walk to waterfront restaurants serving gluten-free eats like hummus with veggies, smoothie bowls and kombucha in less than five minutes. If I’m willing to drive a bit I can order a grass-fed burger or pick up paleo donuts.

I’m so happy that wholesome ingredients are becoming easier to find on grocery store shelves and restaurant menus, but in my little town some choices are still pretty limited. Indian food has been a favorite date night meal ever since my husband and I were newlyweds, but there isn’t a local place that makes it with carefully sourced, real-food ingredients.

Actually, scratch that. There isn’t an Indian restaurant, period.

While I don’t have a traditional tandoor oven for cooking chicken tikka, I do have an Instant Pot. And with this delicious, easy recipe, that’s all I need. We’re talking tender marinated chicken folded into a creamy curry sauce made with aromatic spices like garam masala, diced tomatoes, fresh ginger and more. The flavor is rich but not overly spicy. Even my littlest who doesn’t like hot foods adores this recipe.

I usually serve our tikka masala with basmati rice or cauliflower rice, but you can use this gluten-free flatbread in place of naan bread, too.

Overhead view of chicken tikka masala with basmati rice.
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4.75 from 8 votes

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe

This easy recipe folds tender marinated chicken into a rich, aromatic, creamy curry sauce made with garam masala, diced tomatoes, fresh ginger and more.
Course Dinner
Cuisine Indian
Keyword gluten-free, dairy optional
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 minutes
Marinating time 2 hours
Servings 12
Calories 293kcal
Author Heather Dessinger


Chicken Tikka (Marinated Chicken)

Curry Sauce


Marinating The Chicken

  • Add chicken tikka ingredients to a medium bowl and mix thoroughly. Cover with a moist towel and place in the fridge to marinate. I usually marinate mine for 2 hours, but 30 minutes to 24 hours will work. Tip: If you have time, measure out the spices you’ll need for the curry sauce and set them aside. I put all mine in the same container since they all go in together.

Making The Tikka Masala

  • When you’re ready to prepare your meal, turn on your Instant Pot, set it to sauté, and add in the avocado oil.
  • When the Instant Pot has warmed up, it’s time to start the curry sauce. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, garam masala, coriander, cumin, chili powder, turmeric and salt. Sauté for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Turn off the sauté setting. Pour 3/4 cup of water into the pot (with the onion mixture) and use a wooden spoon or spatula to deglaze the bottom. In other words, scrape up any browned bits. If you don’t, there’s a good chance your Instant Pot will give you a “burn notice” error during pressure cooking.
  • After you’ve deglazed the pot, add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and chicken including all of the yogurt marinade. Stir until everything is well combined.
  • Lock the lid in place and set the valve to the "sealing" position. Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes.
  • After the cooking time has been reached, allow the pressure to naturally release. If you’re in a rush, you can use the quick release method, too. I use a long-handled spoon to move the release valve so that I’m able keep my hand far away from the steam. When the float valve drops, carefully unlock and remove the lid.
  • Set the Instant Pot to sauté and stir in cream. The sauté setting will help with the next step, which is thickening the sauce.
  • Make a slurry of 5 tablespoons arrowroot powder mixed in 4-5 tablespoons of water and pour the mixture into the pot. Stir well and then continue stirring frequently until it thickens – the process should take a couple of minutes. Serve with gluten-free flatbread or over basmati rice or cauliflower rice.


Time estimate does not include the time needed for the Instant Pot to pressurize and depressurize. 
Nutrition facts are estimates. Calculations included chicken breast and heavy cream. 
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Calories: 293kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 739mg | Potassium: 683mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 644IU | Vitamin C: 10mg | Calcium: 77mg | Iron: 1mg

More Instant Pot Recipes To Try

Quick Instant Pot Taco Meat – This flavorful Instant Pot taco meat can be quickly made with frozen ground beef – no thawing needed! It’s easy, kid approved, and perfect for busy weeknights.

Instant Pot Chicken Soup – This recipe for belly-warming instant pot chicken soup was declared one of the most satisfying and flavorful ever by my husband, and it’s so easy to make!

Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork – Infused with honey chipotle BBQ sauce, this tender pulled pork is simple and delicious.

Whole “Roast” Chicken – This pressure cooker whole chicken yields juicy, flavorful white meat, fully-cooked dark meat, and with just five minutes under the broiler you can still get the crispy, golden brown outside, too.

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world. 

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Recipe Rating

5 thoughts on “Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    My heart…I love tikka masala and have learned to trust your recipes just as written. I’ll be making this for sure. Don’t know how you figure out how-to for so many things of interest, but I’m a faithful follower.