Say hello to your new favorite weeknight dinner! Instant Pot Tikka Masala using chicken breast or thighs, bathed in the most fragrant Indian coconut curry sauce.  Serve with Naan, over basmati rice, or, for a low-carb version, serve over a bowl of baby spinach! This can also be made on the stovetop! A fast and easy weeknight dinner that is bursting with flavor!

Instant Pot Tikka Masala, made with chicken

Good morning friends! Here’s another quick and easy Indian-inspired weeknight dinner that can be made in an Instant Pot or on the stovetop!  Instant Pot Tikka Masala! This version is made with coconut milk instead of yogurt to keep it dairy-free.

Make this with chicken breast or thighs-  or keep it vegan and substitute chickpeas and veggies. Either way, I know you will love it.

This recipe is all about the sauce – so fragrant and flavorful it will leave you wanting to mop up every precious drop. It’s so addicting!

What to serve with Tikka Masala? 

Naan bread works well or keep it simple with a bowl of fluffy basmati rice, or a bed of baby spinach – a delicious, low-carb option.

Instant Pot Tikka Masala, made with chicken or kept VEGAN with coconut milk, chickpeas and veggies. Serve over basmati rice, or, for a low-carb, paleo version, serve it over a bowl of baby spinach! #paleo #healthy #tikkamasala #weeknightdinner #instantpottikkamasala #instantpot #chickentikkamasala #vegetariantikkamasala #vegan #instantpotchicken #instantpotchickenrecipes #keto

Here is the vegan version of the Instant Pot Tikka Masala, with chickpeas and veggies, which only takes 5 minutes of pressure cooking time! And, of course, feel free to cook it on the stovetop.

I love both versions of this Instant Pot Tikka Masala!

You could even add some veggies to the chicken version, but I would add them after you release the pressure, on the sauté function, because they cook so quickly!

 

Instant Pot Tikka Masala, made with chicken and coconut milk

The flavorful Tikka Masala Sauce is made with coconut milk instead of yogurt or cream.

Instant Pot Tikka Masala, made with chicken or kept VEGAN with coconut milk, chickpeas and veggies. Serve over basmati rice, or, for a low-carb, paleo version, serve it over a bowl of baby spinach! #paleo #healthy #tikkamasala #weeknightdinner #instantpottikkamasala #instantpot #chickentikkamasala #vegetariantikkamasala #vegan #instantpotchicken #instantpotchickenrecipes #keto

A cozy weeknight dinner, Tikka Masala is perfect for the cool nights of fall. AND oh yes, the leftovers are divine, so pack some up for midweek lunches!

This could also be part of your Sunday meal prep! It tastes better and better as the flavors have a chance to meld.

Instant Pot Tikka Masala, made with chicken or kept VEGAN with coconut milk, chickpeas and veggies. Serve over basmati rice, or, for a low-carb, paleo version, serve it over a bowl of baby spinach! #paleo #healthy #tikkamasala #weeknightdinner #instantpottikkamasala #instantpot #chickentikkamasala #vegetariantikkamasala #vegan #instantpotchicken #instantpotchickenrecipes #keto

Give this Instant Pot Tikka Masala a try this week – and let me know what you think in the comments below.

xoxo

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Instant Pot Tikka Masala, made with chicken or kept VEGAN with coconut milk, chickpeas and veggies. Serve over basmati rice, or, for a low-carb, paleo version, serve it over a bowl of baby spinach! #paleo #healthy #tikkamasala #weeknightdinner #instantpottikkamasala #instantpot #chickentikkamasala #vegetariantikkamasala #vegan #instantpotchicken #instantpotchickenrecipes #keto

Instant Pot Tikka Masala (Vegan Adaptable!)

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: Main, Paleo, Vegan, Weeknight meal
  • Method: Instant Pot, Stove top
  • Cuisine: Indian

Description

Instant Pot Tikka Masala using chicken breast or thighs, bathed in the most fragrant Indian coconut curry sauce. A fast and easy weeknight dinner! Vegan Adaptable-see notes!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 pounds chicken breast or thighs, cut into 1-2 inch cubes ( sprinkled with 1 teaspoon salt and pepper)  or see notes for vegan version.
  • 2 tablespoons ghee ( or olive oil, coconut oil)
  • 2 fat shallots, diced ( or sub 1 onion)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 46 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely minced ( or use paste)
  • 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds or use ½ teaspoon ground (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds (optional, but good!)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves ( this really elevates the dish, but if you don’t have use 2 bay leaves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala spice (or make your own)
  • ½1 teaspoon cayenne ( more to taste)
  • 1  1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons sugar (or alternative sweetener like honey or agave)
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 14 ounce can coconut milk, divided (do not use “lite” coconut milk  -it will result in a very thin, soup-like consistency, the thicker the better).

Vegan Version:

  • 1 can chickpeas, drained
  • 23 cups potatoes, cut into larger 1 inch cubes ( or cauliflower florets)
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
  • 2 cups peas ( either fresh peas or frozen peas, or snap peas, or a combo – add at the end. )

Instructions

Turn instant pot pressure cooker to Saute function.

Cut chicken into cubes and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon each, salt and pepper and set aside.

Saute shallot, garlic and ginger in oil until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Add whole spices ( cumin, fennel and mustard) and the chicken, and add a little color to the chicken, about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices  and remaining spices and salt and sugar. Add 1/2 cup broth, and scrape all the brown bits -to prevent the burn error. Add 1/2 cup of the liquid part of the coconut milk, saving the thick cream for the end. Give a stir.

Set the Instant Pot -if using chicken breast, to pressure cook on high for 7 minutes (9 minutes for chicken thighs) and manually release (throw a kitchen towel over the steam spout). Open the pot.

Turn instant pot back to saute function, and reduce the liquid by half. (At this point you could toss in some quick-cooking veggies- frozen peas, snow peas, bell pepper, baby spinach, etc.) Stir in the remaining coconut cream.

Adjust salt and spice level to your liking. Feel free to add more garam masala to taste, or cayenne if you need a kick of heat. If serving over rice, I like to “up” the salt a bit as the rice will soak it up.

As usual, with pressure-cooked meats, this will taste much better after the chicken has time to soak up the flavor.

If making the VEGAN VERSION – Saute shallot, garlic and ginger in oil until fragrant. Add all the spices, sauce 1-2 more minutes, letting them toast. Add the tomatoes and coconut milk. Add the sugar and salt. Add the drained chickpeas, potatoes  (or cauliflower) and red bell peppers, and give a good stir. Pressure cook on high for only  5 minutes! Manually release to keep veggies from getting too soft. Set Instant Pot to “saute” function, add peas and let them cook five minutes. As the sauce cools, it will thicken.


Notes

If cooking chicken version on the stove top, heat oil in a large Dutch Oven. Saute onion, garlic and ginger in oil, until fragrant, about 2 minutes, over medium heat.  Brown the chicken lightly, sauting and stirring for a few minutes. Add all the spices to the chicken, cook for 1-2 minutes. Add tomatoes and coconut milk. Give a good stir and add the salt and sugar. Simmer gently on medium heat until chicken is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.

If cooking Vegan Version on the stove top, heat oil in a large Dutch Oven. Saute onion, garlic and ginger in oil, until fragrant, about 2 minutes, over medium heat. Add all the spices and lightly toast. Add tomatoes and coconut milk. Stir and salt and sugar. Add the drained chickpeas and potatoes. Simmer gently on medium heat uncovered, until potatoes are tender, about 1o minutes, then add bell pepper and peas. Simmer 5 more minutes.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: using chicken breast ( 6 ounce servings)
  • Calories: 310
  • Sugar: 3.9 g
  • Sodium: 665 mg
  • Fat: 18.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 11.9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 8.7 g
  • Fiber: 1.8 g
  • Protein: 27.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 82.7 mg

Keywords: Instant pot tikka masala, chicken tikka masala recipe, vegan tikka masala, vegetarain taikka masala, instant pot chicken tikka masala, chicken tikka, chicken tikka masala, vegan tikka masala recipe

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Comments

  1. This is a simple and flavorful Tikka Masala. I’ve tried various recipes & this one is the best for my family. I use breast meat & it’s always moist. Just love it.

  2. This is a delicious recipe that I’ve successfully made in a larger instant pot. Recently I decided to try to half the meal and cook in a smaller IP. I also got the burn warning. Should I put more liquid in? I’m new to coming and I’m not sure how to tweak it!

    1. Hi Jen! I wonder if halving it caused the burn error? Yes, it may need more liquid. You can always cook it off after.

    1. Yes, Joanne, I think so, but I don’t have any specifics to offer you.

  3. We love masala, so a recipe that also allows us to make it in an instant pot, fantastic. I’ve made this twice now and its been brilliant both times. The last time I made the vegan version and also added cooked tofu. Served over brown rice. Just as good the second day. Many thanks for sharing all of your incredible recipes. Any time we are stuck for a recipe we just log onto your site and guaranteed it will be delicious.

    1. Awww… thanks so much for your kind words David. ❤️ Very appreciated and so happy you enjoyed this recipe!

  4. My husband tried this dish at an authentic Indian restaurant. He looooved it so much that I did research into it. My husband, and his entire family (including one that’s not crazy about curry) demolish this dish. I have to make 2 pots now when I fix this. Do you recommend any changes for diabetic people before I make my next pot? I make this about once a month now…

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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