By Nellie Palmer

The Instant Pot or pressure cooker prevails again with this incredible chicken tikka masala.  This recipe is quick to make, and it’s perfect after a long day when you don’t want to work too hard in the kitchen but still want something tasty.

What Is Chicken Tikka Masala?

• A true chicken tikka masala has the yogurt marinated chicken cooked in a wood or charcoal fired tandoor until the meat is thoroughly charred.  Since we’re doing this in the Instant Pot, to achieve that char flavor, use your grill to grill the meat until it’s charred, which should happen fairly quickly because of the yogurt marinade.

• If garam masala isn’t available you can substitute it for one part cumin and 1/4 part allspice.


Chicken Tikka

  • 2 lb skinless and boneless chicken breast
  • 1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsps freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp salt

Curry Sauce

  • 3 tbsps peanut oil
  • 2 large onion chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp ginger minced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsps garam masala
  • 2 tsps ground coriander
  • 2 tsps ground cumin
  • 2 tsps chili powder
  • 14 oz fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups pureed tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
  • 2 tbsps ghee
  • 3 tbsps fresh chopped cilantro 


  1. Combine all the chicken tikka ingredients together in a large bowl and mix thoroughly so that each piece of chicken is fully coated in the yogurt mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 48 hours.
  2. On a hot grill, char chicken on both sides without cooking through.  Remove from grill and save remaining marinade.  Turn your Instant Pot to the saute setting. (See your manufacturer’s guide for detailed instructions on how to use your Instant Pot.)
  3. Add the peanut oil, onion, garlic, ginger, turmeric, garam masala, coriander, cumin and chili powder. Stir and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion softens. 
  4. Add the fire roasted tomatoes, tomato sauce and stir.  Add the chicken, including all the yogurt marinade and stir. 
  5. Close the lid (follow the manufacturer’s guide for instructions on how to close the instant pot lid). Set the Instant Pot to the poultry setting and set the timer to 5 minutes.
  6. Once the Instant Pot cycle is complete, wait until the natural release cycle is complete, about 10 minutes. Follow the manufacturer’s guide for quick release. Carefully unlock and remove the lid from the Instant Pot.
  7. Add the half and half, salt and butter and give it a good stir. The butter is added to smooth the sauce.
  8. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm over cooked rice with naan or roti.

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