Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala: Tender chunks of chicken enveloped in a creamy flavorful, spiced, tomato and cream sauce, served over rice cooked in the same pot. An easy pressure cooker meal.
One of my favorite parts of Indian cuisine is the smell. I love to be able to take in the aroma of spiced air. The scents are almost as tantalizing as the flavors. As a lover of curries, butter chickens, and spiced, flavorful foods, I was excited to try making chicken tikka masala in the Instant Pot pressure cooker because I knew it could help speed up the process of developing complex flavors, and making those rich spices pop.
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
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If you do not have an Instant Pot yet, it is time to get one! It is awesome and easy to use, and easy to clean. I love it. But if you do not have one, don’t worry, I have included stove top directions below as well.
Let’s talk about Tikka Masala for a second:
No matter what Indian restaurant you go into, you are sure to find a Tikka Masala on the menu. It is traditionally composed of tender chunks of chicken enveloped in a creamy spiced tomato sauce, and served over rice and with naan.
I have had a lot of chicken tikka masala in my day, and they are all a little different. Some are more like a butter chicken (this is my favorite butter chicken recipe of all time), some have richer garam masala flavor, some taste more like curry. The thing is they are all good for their own reasons.
When I was in Scotland I had a tikka masala I could not get enough of. But it was a little sweeter than my friend liked. This Tikka Masala is just the way I like chicken tikka masala. But you might like it with more cumin, for example, or with a thicker sauce.
Someone once asked me why when they make the recipes they find on Pinterest they just don’t quite taste like the local restaurant’s version of the same food. I thought about it for a bit and explained how even using the same recipe people can get different results because of the brands of products they use, the equipment they cook with, etc.
It really got me thinking, and it also made me nervous. What if my Chicken Tikka Masala is not what this or that person expects? What if they want more garlic/ginger/tumeric/coriander/garam masala/cumin?
Then I realized that there was no way to please everyone, and that I just had to make it the way I like it. And that is what I did. And let me tell you, it pleased everyone in my house. And I was thrilled with having only one messy pot to clean up after cooking it. And loved how simple it was in the Instant Pot to get the flavors I wanted in a quick time frame.
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala Tips
- Marinate that chicken. The spiced yogurt sauce is going to impart a lot of flavor to the dish, so be sure to give it time to do so.
- Deglaze the pot. If after sautéing the chicken in your instant pot liner, you do not deglaze the bottom of the pan by adding some liquid and scraping off the browned bits with a wooden spoon, the pot will read “burn” and not come to pressure. Do not skip this step.
- Use your senses, and taste and adjust. The best thing you can do as a cook is use your five senses in cooking. Look at the consistency, if you want it thicker, then simmer it longer. Sniff the air, does it smell appetizing to you. Look at it, is it the color you expect? Taste it, does it need more salt/cumin/coriander/garlic/etc.? Follow the recipe, but don’t be afraid to make it your own so you enjoy every last bite.
- Check out this Guide to Cooking with an Instant Pot to avoid common mistakes.
- Wash your inner sealing ring as soon as it is done cooking. Indian food has a lot of spices, and those spices are going to seep into that ring and it will smell. Soak it in some warm soapy water, run an empty pot with some vinegar, lemon, and water with the ring, or set it out in the sun to help rid it of the smell so it does not transfer to other foods. I also recommend purchasing a second sealing ring so you have one for savory dishes and one for sweet, and possibly a third for dishes like yogurt and cheesecake that easily absorb other flavors. This set of three sealing rings can be found on Amazon.
Other Favorite Instant Pot Recipes
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