I still missing eating out and meeting friends out for lunch to try new places, but my family’s safety comes first. Chicken Tikka Masala is one of my favorite dishes to order out. I tried an Instapot version and have to say it tasted just like the restaurants do. It was easy to make and didn’t take a ton of ingredients I didn’t have on hand. Highly recommend serving it with basmati rice and naan to complete the experience.

Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
(Adapted from Little Spice Jar)

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1 ½ pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs), cut into 1 inch cubes
½ cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, grated or minced
1 teaspoon EACH: grated ginger (or paste) AND garam masala
¼ teaspoon ground white pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (15-ounce) can tomato puree (or passata)
1 ½ teaspoon grated ginger (or paste)
8 cloves garlic, grated or minced
2 teaspoons dried fenugreek leaves
1 teaspoon EACH: ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika AND garam masala (see notes for garam masala)
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
¼ – ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup heavy cream
cooked basmati rice + naan + chopped cilantro, for serving

MARINATE THE CHICKEN: In a medium bowl, whisk together the yogurt, lemon juice, ginger paste, garlic paste, ground white pepper, 1 teaspoon salt, and garam masala.

Add the diced chicken and mix; set aside for at least 20 minutes. If you’ve got time, I suggest covering with plastic wrap and let it hang out in the refrigerator for 1-10 hours.

SAUTE: Select the sauté mode on your instant pot when it’s hot, add the oil followed by the marinated chicken (along with the marinade) and let sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring so nothing sticks to the bottom.

PRESSURE COOK: Add all of the remaining ingredients for the sauce (except the cream) along with ½ teaspoon salt and stir everything well. Cover with the lid, make sure it is set to ‘seal’ and let cook on manual high pressure for 9 minutes. Use the quick release lever to release the steam as soon as the timer goes off.

FINISH: Hit the sauté button and drizzle in the cream; stir to combine. When the tikka masala reaches a gentle simmer. Turn off and serve warm with naan and cooked rice topped with chopped cilantro.

For the garam masala in the gravy or tikka masala portion of the recipe, you’ll need 1-2 teaspoons based on the type of garam masala you used. For authentic Indian brands, you’ll want to start with 1 – 1 ½ teaspoon, for all other brands, I suggest using 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons.

Keep in mind that you can always adjust with additional garam masala at the end if it isn’t spicy enough for you!

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