Recipes: Instant Pot Butter Chicken (GF, DF)

Several ingredients in a pan
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I have never been to India, but so far this country and culture has greatly enriched my food journey. Every dish I try, I truly enjoy! I’m so grateful for India’s influence in our country’s food culture.

My husband loves Indian food. He requests it every year on his birthday. Over the years I’ve gotten used to making Butter Chicken or Tikka Masala weekly or bi-weekly. The kids like it, too. It took a while, though, believe me. Some special bowls and extra pieces of naan were enough of a draw for them, and after several opportunities, they took to the other parts of the meal, like the chicken and samosas *which I do not make myself.

This is an easy-ish recipe on a comforting end-of-winter night. It’s meal that makes you relish the benefits of winter, before its bittersweet goodbye. One of the few benefits of cold weather is cozying up inside with a hot meal with warm spices.
If you want to offset the warmth and spice of this meal, set out a bowl of frozen mangos on a table. At the end of the meal, they will thaw and are a sweet conclusion to this dish. Kids love them. Here’s the recipe:

Instant Pot Butter Chicken (Gluten-Free, Dairy Free) with Crockpot or Stovetop options


  • 1 T sea salt
  • 2 lbs chicken breast, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1 T ginger
  • 1 T garlic
  • ¼ coconut milk
  • 1 t sea salt
  • 3-4 T ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 T minced garlic
  • 1 T cumin
  • ½ T turmeric
  • 1 ½ T garam masala
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 T tomato paste
  • 1 28 oz. can pureed or crushed tomatoes
  • ¼ c heavy cream or coconut milk
    Serve warm with rice, cilantro, and naan.


1. Salt chicken with 1 T sea salt and marinate in coconut milk, ginger, and garlic for up to one day in the refrigerator.
2. When ready to cook, set Instant Pot to the “Sauté,” and melt 1 T of ghee in the pot. Once the ghee is melted, slightly brown the chicken on each side, 2-3 minutes.
3. Melt the next T of ghee and repeat with the next batch of chicken. Keep browning chicken until all of chicken is slightly browned.
4. Put another T of ghee into the pot, and saute onions, 5 minutes.
5. Once onions are slightly translucent, add tomato paste, cumin, garam masala and turmeric. Cook for 2 minutes. Add more ghee if mixture is too dry.
6. Add garlic and cook one minute (do not let garlic burn).
7. Pour in pureed tomatoes and stir.
8. Turn off the Instant Pot and transfer all chicken to Instant Pot.
9. Close Instant Pot, making sure it is sealed correctly. Turn vent nob to “Seal.”
10. Press “Poultry” and let the Instant Pot do it’s work! It should take 25 minutes of cooking time. You can either naturally release or vent it manually.
11. Stir in heavy cream or coconut milk.

To cook in a slow cooker:

Perform steps 1-7 in a wide shallow pan on the stovetop, than transfer all contents to a slow cooker. Cook on low, four hours.

To cook on stovetop:

Perform steps 1-7 in a wide shallow pan, then add chicken to pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer partially covered for 20 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked.

One more thing…

Did you know that there are a ton of fair-trade businesses that offer a peek into Indian art and culture? Check out these sites to browse all products made in India:

One World Fair Trade

SETU: The Bridge to Artisans