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Instant Pot Butter Chicken Recipe

Posted November 12, 2018 by Stephanie

Last Thursday we celebrated Diwali, the Festival of Lights, at the Uber office down in Santa Monica. It was our first ever Diwali celebration and it was so nice to see such cultural inclusiveness. Uber is really stepping it up with their initiative to celebrate cultural diversity with their ERGs – employee resource groups. It’s so important in a workplace to have not just support but celebration and Uber’s Asian Heritage ERG really highlights how much they care about intersectionality within their company. It was so fun to see how Uber is mostly young people from diverse cultural and ethnic heritages who are all supportive and caring of each other.

instant pot butter chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

instant pot butter chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

instant pot butter chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

The Asian Heritage ERG threw a Diwali party, complete with loads of flickering lights, henna, bhangra dancers, and food of course. The two bhangra dancers were absolutely awesome – they did a high energy performance to a mix of hip hop then taught everyone some basic bhangra steps. I was too shy to go up but the Uber employees rushed to the floor and I was seriously impressed by how enthusiastic and coordinated they were.

Instead of dancing, I was busy getting some mehndi done and stuffing my face with food. Uber Eats delivered samosas and mango lassis and and naan and paneer and butter chicken from a local Indian restaurant. Everything was amazing but I kept going back for the butter chicken: it was so savory and saucey and perfect with rice and lots of naan for soaking up that tomato-y buttery sauce.

instant pot butter chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

instant pot butter chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

instant pot butter chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Butter chicken is one of those dishes that holds a special spot in my heart. It was one of our go-to dishes when we first started dating. I wasn’t much of a cook back then but we both had a love of Indian food and when we wanted to stay in and play house, we would buy jarred butter chicken sauce and heat up some chicken and naan and have a cute night in of “cooking” even though it was more like heating up.

instant pot butter chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

To be honest, I haven’t made butter chicken since those early days, but after the Diwali celebration, I was inspired and wanted to throw it back and make a quick and easy butter chicken. I did a quick google search and of course, Instant Pot butter chicken came up. I went out for some chicken thighs and thirty minutes later, Mike and I were eating some seriously deliciously sauce chicken, surrounded by tons of candles because if there’s one thing I learned, butter chicken tastes better by the flickering of candlelight.

instant pot butter chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Candlelight, and lights in general are at the heart of Diwali, which is the celebration of the victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance. I can’t think of anything better to celebrate.

instant pot butter chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

instant pot butter chicken recipe | www.iamafoodblog.com

Urvashi Pitre’s Instant Pot Butter Chicken
serves 4

  • 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 5 or 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

via The New Yorker

Add the tomatoes, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne, paprika, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, cumin, and salt in the Instant Pot. Stir throughly and nestle the chicken in.

Put the lid on and set the pressure to high for 10 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then depressurize. When done, carefully open the lid and remove the chicken.

Use an immersion blender and blend the sauce until smooth. Alternately, carefully transfer to a blender and blend until smooth.

When the sauce is smooth, let cool slightly for 3-5 minutes then stir in the butter, cream, the last teaspoon of garam masala. The sauce should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

Roughly chop the chicken then add back into the sauce. Set the Instant Pot to sauté on low, letting the chicken heat through. Top with the cilantro and enjoy with basmati and naan!

This post was sponsored by Uber who asked us to come and enjoy a party on their dime. All opinions are our own. Thanks for supporting I am a Food Blog!


  1. What a wonderful celebration – looks like everyone had a great time!

    Rebecca | http://www.peppermintdolly.com

  2. Sheila Louise says:

    I absolutely love butter chicken!! However I do like it spicy!! I order it at our Cowboys Restaurant in Airdrie!! I have one to eat and order one to go!!! I’ll definitely try this recipe!!! Can hardly wait!! Ummm!!

  3. Kat says:

    5 stars
    This is by far the best butter chicken recipe I have ever made. It’s simple and flavourful and is east enough for a weeknight meal. It’s also easy to double and I’ve tried many alternatives to the cream, all are delicious.

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