This Instant Pot Murgh Makhani (aka Instant Pot Butter Chicken) is a creamy and flavorful curry based on the Indian restaurant favorite.
One of the first dishes that comes to mind, there’s just something about the rich and buttery sauce that is perfect atop of basmati rice.
A sprinkle of cilantro makes it pop, in both flavor and presentation.
And it goes so well with all of your favorite Indian curries, whether saucy or a drier sabzi style.
It’s a great first dish to make for someone who’s new to Indian food.
Although it is quite flavorful, especially when you include the marinade, it’s not over the top spicy.
This is especially true when you omit the Kashmiri chili which we recommend doing for kids.
You can marinate the chicken or you can skip it, the results are still very good with plain diced chicken.
But if you have time to prepare the marinade and wait, it is definitely worth it in terms of flavor and overall satisfaction of the dish.
This recipe uses some ingredient variations, such as labneh and sour cream, to reduce the calories and fat when compared to butter.
Although they are not traditional ingredients, we find the labneh and sour cream provide a similar texture, still extremely satisfying while lower in fat and calories than butter and heavy cream.
This is especially since we love to enjoy this butter chicken so often as a regular in our dinner rotation. Our kids love it too (when we reduce the spice level for them).
We have some butter in it, but not as much as is typically used.
But you can’t tell, and it’s funny because I actually kept asking,
Did you add more butter to this?
I thought a little extra might have gone in when I wasn’t looking. 😉
But it turns out, there hadn’t been any extra butter added than is written in our recipe card.
We love this recipe for the flavor, ease of preparation, as well as for the many dishes that can be made with leftovers, such as butter chicken pita pizza, butter chicken quesadilla appetizer and butter chicken poutine.
Content in this Post
- Murgh Makhani Marinade Ingredients
- Instant Pot Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) Ingredients
- How To Make Instant Pot Murgh Makhani (Instant Pot Butter Chicken)
- STEP One: Marinate Chicken
- STEP Two: Stir Fry Aromatics
- STEP Three: Add Tomato Sauce, Spices and Chicken
- STEP Four: Cook Chicken
- STEP 5: Finish the Sauce
- STEP 6: Return Butter Chicken To Sauce
- What To Serve With Instant Pot Murgh Makhani (Instant Pot Butter Chicken)
- Best Uses For Leftover Instant Pot Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
- Storage Tips For Instant Pot Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
- You’ll Also Love
Murgh Makhani Marinade Ingredients
As mentioned, you can make the Instant Pot Murgh Makhani with marinated chicken, if you have time to prepare it and wait.
If you know in advance you’ll be making this dish, it’s definitely worth doing. The marinade consists of common ingredients shown below.
- Yogurt — use Dahi, a tangy yogurt curd, Greek yogurt or homemade Instant Pot thick and creamy yogurt. *Keep in mind you’ll need to plan in advance for the homemade yogurt it takes eight hours to make (it’s easy and the Instant Pot takes care of most of the work for you). However, it is nice to have a large batch of homemade yogurt that is perfect in so many recipes, including breakfasts!
- Olive Oil — cold pressed extra virgin olive oil
- Ginger — a fresh piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- Garlic — fresh garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- Cumin — ground
- Coriander — ground
- Salt — ground pink salt
Shown below are the ingredients needed to make the Instant Pot Butter Chicken, with the marinated chicken in the center of the pic.
Although, if you don’t have time to marinade, just use the raw chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces, without the marinade.
*If you decide not to marinate the chicken, then begin at Step 5 in the recipe card and use plain chicken in Step 7.
The rest of the steps are the same in the case of marinating or not.
Instant Pot Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken) Ingredients
- Chicken — boneless, skinless, chicken thighs or breasts, although chicken thighs will be more tender and juicy. You can choose to marinate or use plain chicken.
- Tomato Sauce — we use a tomato and garlic sauce, with thick tomatoes in it, you can sub passata or canned San Marzano tomatoes with a little tomato paste.
- Onions — dice onions, yellow, white or red.
- Labneh — a rich and creamy yogurt cheese that tastes similar in flavor and texture to cream cheese.
- Dahi or Sour Cream — use full fat, not low fat or light. Dahi is a tangy yogurt curd available at Indian grocery stores and well stocked aisles at your local grocery.
- Butter — we use a quarter cup of butter, divided. First there’s an eighth cup used to sauté ingredients at the beginning. Then, at the end of cooking, we add the other eight cup to the sauce.
- Ginger — a fresh piece, about an inch, peeled and grated, about one tablespoon or so.
- Garlic — fresh cloves, peeled.
- Dry Spices:
- Garam Masala — a common prepared mix if Indian spices that can be homemade or store bought.
- Cumin — ground
- Turmeric — ground
- Smoked Paprika — ground
- Chili Powder — Kashmiri chili pepper, use a small amount to keep it mild enough. *Omit if serving to children.
- Fenugreek — also called methi, use fenugreek leaves, not the powder.
- Salt — pink salt, ground
How To Make Instant Pot Murgh Makhani (Instant Pot Butter Chicken)
STEP One: Marinate Chicken
The first step is to make the marinade. Place marinade ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
Put the chicken cubes into the marinade. Cover and let sit in the fridge for at least fifteen minutes, ideally longer, until ready to use. Anywhere from an hour to overnight.
STEP Two: Stir Fry Aromatics
Heat Instant Pot in Saute mode. Add half of the butter (one eighth cup), as well as the diced onions, minced garlic and ginger. Stir fry a minute or two.
STEP Three: Add Tomato Sauce, Spices and Chicken
Pour in the tomato sauce and spices. Give it a good stir to mix it up and also check that there are no stuck bits on the bottom of the Instant Pot. Loosen any with a wooden spoon or a spatula to ensure you won’t get a BURN message.
Place the chicken (marinaded or not, it’s up to you) into the sauce. Stir the chicken in with the sauce.
STEP Four: Cook Chicken
Fasten the lid, set the Instant Pot pressure valve to SEALING and set timer to HIGH for 7 minutes. After the seven minutes are up, you can move the pressure valve to VENTING, to quick release the pressure.
When the pressure pin is all the way down, open the lid.
STEP 5: Finish the Sauce
Remove the chicken from the Instant Pot. Place in a bowl and set aside until you have finished making the sauce.
Try and separate the tomatoes as much as possible, but don’t worry if a few are in there with the chicken, it’s no problem.
Use a handheld immersion blender to puree the sauce. Alternatively, you can transfer the sauce to a blender or food processor to puree.
Add in the rest of the butter (one eight of a cup), labneh and Dahi or sour cream. Whisk it until the sauce is smooth.
STEP 6: Return Butter Chicken To Sauce
Add the cooked chicken back into the Instant Pot with the sauce.
Mix the chicken into the sauce. Serve with basmati rice. Enjoy!
What To Serve With Instant Pot Murgh Makhani (Instant Pot Butter Chicken)
- Instant Pot Basmati Rice
- Shrimp Tikka Masala
- Instant Pot Eggplant and Bell Pepper Curry
- Instant Pot Mango Chicken Curry
- Instant Pot Chana Masala Chickpeas Stew
- Instant Pot Chana Dal With Spinach
- Bhindi Masala Okra Curry
- Easy Cucumber Raita or Lemon Dill Raita
Best Uses For Leftover Instant Pot Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
Another fabulous dish to try is butter chicken poutine. All you need to do is top air fryer french fries with some butter chicken and sprinkle on some cheese curds.
When we have leftover butter chicken, we usually make another Instant Pot curry the next day, to have a more complete meal.
It’s super easy to toss ingredients into the Instant Pot again, and the result is a delicious dish that complements the butter chicken.
Usually, the batch of basmati rice is large enough to also have leftovers for the next day.
Storage Tips For Instant Pot Murgh Makhani (Butter Chicken)
Store cooked Murgh Makhani in the refrigerator for up to three days in an air tight container.
If you’d like to freeze leftovers, you can keep them for up to three months in a freezer safe container.
You’ll Also Love
Instant Pot Murgh Makhani
For The Butter Chicken Marinade
- ½ Cup Yogurt
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- ½ teaspoon Ginger
- ½ teaspoon Garlic
- ½ teaspoon Cumin
- ½ teaspoon Coriander
- ½ teaspoon Salt
Make the Instant Pot Murgh Makhani
- ¼ Cup Butter, divided
- 1½ pounds Chicken Thighs, raw, boneless and skinless cut in smaller cubes, bite size. Sub chicken breast. Can be made with or without the marinade (just add the chicken cubes in plain, in Step 7).
- 1 Cup Tomato Sauce
- ½ Cup Onion, diced
- 3 cloves Garlic, fresh, minced
- 2 teaspoons Ginger, fresh, minced
- ¼ teaspoon Chili Powder, Kashmiri chili, optional
- 2 teaspoons Garam Masala
- 1 teaspoon Cumin
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1½ teaspoons Fenugreek Leaves, dried
- 1½ teaspoons Turmeric
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ Cup Labneh
- ¼ Cup Dahi, sub sour cream
Make The Murgh Makhani Butter Chicken Marinade
- Pour butter chicken marinade ingredients into a large bowl.
- Mix well.
- Cut chicken thighs into bite sized pieces. Add them to a bowl with the marinade or a Ziplock back with the marinade.
- Ensure the chicken is coated well in the marinade. Cover bowl or seal bag and place chicken with marinade in the fridge until ready to use. Allow chicken to marinate for at least fifteen minutes and ideally an hour or longer, up to 8 hours or overnight.
- In saute mode, heat half of the butter (1/8 cup) and add onions, garlic and ginger to the Instant Pot. Stir fry for a minute or two. *Add a bit of water (one or two tablespoons) to deglaze, if necessary. Ensure there are no stuck bits on the bottom of the Instant Pot so you won't get a burn message while cooking.
- Add tomato sauce and spices.
- Give it a stir and double check the bottom with a wooden spoon or a spatula to ensure there are no stuck bits. You will have to loosen them if so, to avoid the burn message. Add in the marinated (or plain) chicken pieces.
- Stir to combine the marinated chicken with the sauce. Fasten the lid, turn pressure valve to SEALING and set the Instant Pot to HIGH pressure for 7 minutes. Once the time is up, quick release the pressure by turning the pressure valve knob to VENTING.
- Remove the cooked chicken and set aside.
- Optionally, you can puree the butter chicken sauce with an immersion blender or you can transfer to a blender or food processor.
- Whisk in the remaining butter (⅛ cup), labneh and dahi or sour cream. Ensure the sauce is smooth.
- Return the chicken to the butter chicken sauce and give it a good stir. Serve with basmati rice.
The above nutritional values are estimates and should only be used as a guide. If you are following a specific diet or have dietary restrictions, please use your preferred nutritional calculator. If you have a food allergy please ensure that none of the listed ingredients are part of your restrictions. As well, always use a food thermometer to ensure safe cooking temperature of the food items.