This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala comes together quickly, but is packed with flavor, making it the perfect weeknight meal! We’ll also show you how to meal prep it for your freezer, so you have dinner on hand whenever you need it.
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Chicken Tikka Masala remains one of the most popular recipes from my first cook book, and for good reason! The combination of the warm Indian spices, bright acidity from the tomatoes and lime juice, and creaminess from the added coconut milk have me returning to this dish again and again. Today though, we’ve simplified this Instant Pot chicken tikka masala to make it an even easier weeknight dinner that can also be prepped in advance for your freezer!
Tikka Masala Instant Pot Ingredients
Here’s everything you’ll need for this easy Instant Pot dinner:
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – to start, you’ll need about a tablespoon of ghee or extra-virgin olive oil to saute your onions, garlic, and ginger in.
- Onion – 1 diced yellow onion adds a really delicious depth of flavor to the dish.
- Garlic – along with the onion, 3 cloves of minced garlic go a long way in adding flavor to the dish.
- Ginger – one more aromatic: 1 tablespoon of grated ginger.
- Tomato Paste – 2 tablespoons of tomato paste provides a really rich punch of tomato flavor to the tikka masala.
- Tomato Sauce – to add volume and some more tomato-y goodness, 14 ounces of tomato sauce gets tossed in the Instant Pot too.
- Spices and Seasonings – to bring the really delicious, classic flavors of tikka masala, you’ll need 1 tablespoon of garam masala, 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder, a ½ teaspoon of ground coriander, a ½ teaspoon of ground cumin, a ½ teaspoon of fine sea salt, ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
- Chicken – to add some protein to the dish, you’ll need 2 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes.
- Full-Fat Yogurt – 1 cup of full-fat plain yogurt (use an equal amount of coconut milk for dairy-free) will really up the creamy factor!
- Lime Juice – 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice (the juice from about 1 lime) adds a touch of brightness and acidity to the finished dish.
- Rice – serve your tikka masala over white rice or cauliflower rice — whichever you prefer!
- Cilantro – a sprinkle of fresh chopped cilantro finishes each serving off beautifully!
- Jalapeno – if you like a kick of spice like we do, top your bowl with fresh sliced jalapeno.
How to Make Chicken Tikka Masala
Here’s how you’ll bring this dish together:
- Saute the onion, garlic, and ginger – set the Instant Pot to saute mode and add the ghee. Once melted, add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened.
- Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce, and spices – add the tomato paste and tomato sauce to the pot and whisk to combine, then stir in the garam masala, turmeric powder, coriander, cumin, sea salt, and red pepper flakes.
- Add the chicken to the Instant Pot, seal, and cook – add the chicken to the pot, stir to combine, then seal the lid and set to cook for 18 minutes.
- Stir in the yogurt and lime juice – once the timer goes off, release the pressure and remove the lid, and stir in the yogurt and lime juice.
- Garnish and serve – serve over white rice, garnished with the cilantro and jalapeno.
Storing and Reheating Chicken Tikka Masala
Store your leftover Chicken Tikka Masala in an airtight container in the refrigerator, and reheat either in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop!
Frequently Asked Questions
Absolutely! If you don’t have an Instant Pot, use your slow cooker! To do this, saute the onion, garlic, and ginger in a pan on the stovetop first, and once finished, add the sauteed aromatics to the slow cooker along with the tomato paste, tomato sauce, spices, and chicken, and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours. Once the time is up, stir in the yogurt and lime juice, garnish, and serve!
These dishes are actually really similar! The main differences here are that Butter Chicken tends to be much creamier than Tikka Masala, and Tikka Masala has a slightly stronger tomato flavor than Butter Chicken.
If you’re serving your Tikka Masala with rice, it really doesn’t *need* anything else to go along with it. If you’re looking for a veggie addition, though, steamed broccoli would be great!
Instant Pot Tikka Masala Recipe
- 1 tablespoon ghee or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 14 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup full-fat yogurt use an equal amount of coconut milk for dairy-free
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice about 1 lime
- White rice or cauliflower rice for serving
- Fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
- Fresh sliced jalapeno for garnish
- Set the Instant Pot to saute mode and add the ghee. Once melted, add the onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened.
- Add the tomato paste and tomato sauce to the pot and whisk to combine, then stir in the garam masala, turmeric powder, coriander, cumin, sea salt, and red pepper flakes.
- Add the chicken to the pot, stir to combine, then seal the lid and set to cook for 18 minutes.
- Once the timer goes off, release the pressure and remove the lid. Stir in the yogurt and lime juice.
- Serve over white rice, garnished with the cilantro and jalapeno.