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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.


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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


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!


Units 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 1/2 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)
  • 1/21 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. )


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.


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.


  • 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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  1. I ended up adding a can of tomato sauce cause I kept getting the “food burn” thing pop up and no steam was building when on pressure cool. Also ended up doing a second cycle of 5 mins cause the potatoes weren’t cooked after the first. Delicious tho.

    1. I bet that would taste great here- but I have never tried pressure cooking paneer- would it hold up I wonder?

  2. Fabulous! So easy and delicious. Whenever I have to saute, I just use my Dutch Ove (my IP is super sensitive and will always give me a burn warning if I saute first – just makes my life too complicated!). This dish is wonderful in the dutch oven. I used Trader Joe’s Coconut Milk or Coconut Cream (one of the only brands that does not have added gums, which I like). I used canned organic tomatoes and a little extra canned organic tomato sauce, and it worked great! I went with chickpeas, potatoes, and peas, and we will have this over rice tonight and jar up the rest for leftovers. Thank you again, Sylvia! We always look to you for what to have for dinner (I am making your chicken + grapes and rosemary and your black pepper tofu the next two nights!)

  3. Quick question about the Black Mustard Seeds….did you incorporate that into the recipe as-is? Or did you use a powdered form?

        1. Sorry, I’m just seeing this. I’ve never tried the black powdered form??? I thinkn I would just leave it out this time!

  4. We made this tonight and followed the recipe to the T. The flavor was phenomenal, but like other posters mentioned… it did come out much more ”brothy” and a lot less ”saucy”. We let it sit to thicken and it did not do so. We would definitely make it again, but would be open to suggestion on how to get it more creamy and saucy. I considered doing a slurry, but didn’t want to dampen any of the wonderful and intense flavor…

  5. This was good. Even my kids who can be a bit picky liked it. In the process of cooking I realized that I forgot to pick up turmeric so I added curry powder instead. The only issues I found were that the sauce was very thin even after reducing it so I ended up adding in a cornstarch slurry to thicken it. The other thing I noticed was that my sauce was much more yellow than the typical orangey-reddish color of other versions. Mine didn’t have the same color as the picture and I wondered what I might have done differently other than the substitution of the turmeric. Could that have been it? Regardless it was a good recipe that we will likely make again.

  6. Very good – my husband said this recipe is a keeper – added thinly sliced carrots and snow peas for color – love your recipes – thanks for sharing.

  7. I make this recipe all the time and love it, but it looks like it has been modified a bit. Did you used to add in more garam masala? I thought I had saved the original recipe but I did not!

  8. So quick and easy, with the perfect blend of spices. I appreciate how often you offer adaptations for vegan, GF, Keto, etc. This veggie version is delicious.

  9. If I make the vegan version, do I choose one item from the list or do all that’s in the list? I’ve never made anything like this before. I thought I’d try it for my visiting vegetarian daughter. Thanks!

  10. I made the vegan version, followed the ingredients to a T, and it was delicious. However, I had issues with my Instant Pot repeatedly giving me a “burn” message before it was able to get up to pressure & ended up having to cook it on the stovetop after the third time it gave me the message. I wonder if this would have been avoided if I’d not sauteed the onion/garlic/ginger mixture in the Instant Pot…maybe too much heat? Wonder if this ever happens to you. Thanks for the recipe!

    1. This just happened to me too! I ended up adding some water and cooking a little longer because the potatoes weren’t done. But it was super good.

  11. I love this recipe and have made it before but can’t remember if I used a 14 oz can of tomatoes or 28 oz. Which do you recommend? Don’t comment much but love your blog and recipes. It’s my go to resource and I’ve had great success with everything I’ve tried.

  12. Very easy and quick – even on stove top, delicious complex flavors. I made it with chicken, chickpeas, cauliflower and sweet potato. Will definitely keep this one in the recipe rotation!

  13. Made this stovetop with tofu. Hella good. Just got an instant pot and I will christen it with the IP version of this recipe tonight!

  14. Hi Sylvia I love your website and have made many of your recipes always with success and everyone loves. Just wondering if cooking chicken version on stove top when to add cut up vegetables and how long to cook?

    1. It depends on the veggies. Potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, may need 10 -12 simmering time ( depending on how big you cut them) other veggies like bell pepper will cook faster.

  15. I have made this recipe & it was delicious. Made enough to freeze some for future meals. Definitely a keeper.

  16. This was perfect. The right amount of spices without anything dominating the sauce. My picky-to-anything-cooked-by-mom 7 yr old declared this to be her new favorite. And my 9mo old was happily working on rice until I gave her some with a little sauce on top. She shoved the plain rice to the side and grabbed at the stuff with the sauce. I can’t wait for leftovers for lunch today. I just got an instant pot to help with weeknight meals, and can’t wait to try more of your recipes.

  17. Wow, looks yummy and healthy. Keep it on. We try your recipes at home.
    I did few recipes pls check and comment.

  18. Tried this almost as wriiten (used canned tomato sauce instead of tomatoes and its paste) and yummmm!!! Will definitely make again.

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