Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

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Quick and easy Chicken Tikka Masala made in the Instant Pot. This dish is packed with flavor with tender chicken breast in creamy curry coconut sauce that tastes just like your favorite Indaint takeout.

301 CAL 13g CARBS 11g FAT 35g PROTEIN
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This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala couldn't be any easier to make. Not only is it a healthy dinner meal, but this recipe is also Whole30 and Paleo-friendly! Not to mention, cooking the chicken tikka masala in the instant will have your meal ready in under 30 minutes.

It's funny how much I love Indian food these days when honestly it is something I had never even tried until about five years ago.

Growing up in a tiny town in New England, we didn't have a ton of options when it came to food. There were a couple of pizza stops, one Chinese restaurant, and a couple of doughnut shops. That was pretty much it!

And even when we ventured to the bigger cities nearby, there still were not a lot of diverse choices. So Indian food was something I just never had.

Then, while visiting a friend in Chicago a few years back, we were having a lazy Sunday and she suggested we ordered Indian food. I have been hooked ever since. Between the slow-cooked curries, heavily spiced grilled dishes, amazing vegetarian options, and all the Naan - it's just too good to pass up

I'm just sad I waited this long to start making Indian inspired recipes myself.

Using The Instant Pot To Make Chicken Tikka Masala

Lately, I have been experimenting with my new love + best friend, the Instant Pot. It's an electric pressure cooker that also doubles as a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, and more. It's amazing and I'm confident enough to admit- I am hooked.

I get to make dishes that normally take hours to cook in under 30 minutes? Sold!

That brings me to today's recipe - Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala. It's the perfect healthy Indian dish to make at home and comes out perfect in the Instant Pot. It starts with a mix of onion, garlic, and ginger sauteed in coconut oil with all kinds of spices. From there, tomatoes and chicken are added to create a delicious, flavor-packed chicken. Then, everything is finished with creamy, rich coconut milk and cilantro.

So good!

Ingredients For Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

To make this dish at home yourself, here is the list of ingredients you will need:

  • Boneless skinless chicken breast
  • Coconut oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Garam masala
  • Paprika
  • Fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • Coconut milk
  • Cilantro

Please note: To get all of the measurements for the ingredients along with the full set of instructions, please scroll down to the recipe card at the bottom of this post!

Side Dish Ideas For Chicken Tikka Masala

When serving chicken tikka masala, I find it to be best served with a simple side dish like some white or brown steamed rice. The main dish is already rich and packed with so many flavors, you don't want to take away from that. That's why I think a side of plain rice would be best! The rice mixes together with the masala sauce and soaks it up so nothing is left behind.

If you are trying to be a bit more health-conscious, you could also use another whole grain like quinoa.

Looking for a low carb option? Serve this chicken dish with a side of cauliflower rice or spaghetti squash!

If you are wanting something a little more creative, here are some more ideas:

  • If you want to serve this Indian dish with just veggies, I have found that a quick roasted or steamed broccoli pairs really nicely. You can also make some of these!
  • For those who love noodles, I recommend serving this dish with some plain rice noodles to mix in.
  • If you really want to go all out, scoop up some baba ganoush with some fresh garlic naan bread.

Tikka Masala Recipe Ideas and Tips

Try to follow these recipe tips to make sure that the dish comes out perfect every single time you make it!

  • If you are trying to incorporate more veggies into your dinner, try making this version of chicken tikka masala with cauliflower. It's essentially the same recipe except you can only add in half of the chicken and substitute cauliflower for the other half.
  • Need a vegetarian option? Make chickpea tikka masala with cauliflower instead! It's all the same spice flavors you love from chicken tikka masala but without the chicken and using chickpeas and cauliflower instead. So yum- you won't even miss the chicken!

Frequently Asked Questions About Instant Pot Tikka Masala

Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers…

What is the difference between butter chicken and chicken tikka masala? Isn't it the same?

No, not really. While they may have similar ingredients and might look the same, the flavor in these dishes is a bit different.

Butter chicken has a much richer, creamier flavor profile than tikka masala. You'll find that comes from the yogurt, milk, butter, and half and half. Tikka masala has more of a tomato base (thanks to the fire-roasted tomatoes) and less of a creamy profile.

Do I have to use chicken breast for this Instant Pot tikka masala?

No, you don't! You can easily sub this out and use chicken thighs instead. Just make sure to grab some chicken thighs that are boneless and skinless.

More Indian Inspired Recipes

The Recipe
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Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala

301 CAL 13g CARBS 11g FAT 35g PROTEIN
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  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger, grated
  • 2 tbsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 28 oz canned fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup canned coconut milk (or light for 2 SP/60 calories less)
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

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Turn the Instant Pot on Saute mode. Add the coconut oil and let melt. Once melted add the onion, garlic, ginger, garam masala, paprika, and salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes until onions have softened. Turn off the Saute mode. Add the tomatoes and scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Stir in the chicken.


Close the Instant Pot and choose "Poultry" or 15 minutes. Let cook and let the pressure naturally release.


Carefully open and stir in the coconut milk. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed, adding more curry powder, salt, etc. Stir in the cilantro or use it as a garnish.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 3/4-1 cup
Amount Per Serving
Calories 301
Calories from Fat 89
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 7g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 74mg
Sodium 1215mg
Total Carbohydrate 13g
Dietary Fiber 4g
Sugars 5g
Protein 35g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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