This Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala is an absolute party of flavors! It’s one of those meals you just automatically slow down and enjoy because it is so insanely good! Combine it with a dollop of Indian Raita and you are gonna be head over heels for this dish!
I’m having a writers block kind of moment here. Where to even begin with a meal that has solidified it’s spot on my list of “Top 5 Last Meal Options“? You have one of those lists right?
I totally feel prepared for a future Prime Time TV interview when they ask me, “So Marci, if you knew you were about to eat your last meal on earth, what would you pick?”
“Well Mr. World Famous Interviewer, I would pick Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala and I want it served with a side of Roasted Curry Cauliflower, bright green peas, chewy turmeric rice, crunchy roasted peanuts, and most importantly, with a huge dollop of tangy, refreshing Indian Raita. Bonus points for toasty warm Naan that I can dunk and bathe in this glorious, rich, flavorful Masala sauce.”
I know it’s my job around here to bring you my favorite recipes, and I won’t ever post recipes that don’t wow me, but this Tikka Masala is just on a whole other level! It will never ever lose it’s spot in my list of FAVORITE favorites.
No matter what you think of Indian food (cough cough, mother and little sis) just put that aside for now and make this Chicken Tikka Masala! I promise, promise, you will not regret it!
I must mention here that my daughter desperately wanted a recipe named after her since her younger brother got the recipe Beebo Bites named after him. So in our home, this dish is officially known as Chicken TK Masala (TK being my daughters nickname). Cute, right?!
A few tips for ultimate success:
Make the Raita a couple days ahead of time. It’s magical what happens to the flavor of it with a little chill time. I had to beg the owner of a local Indian restaurant for the secrets of her amazing Raita. If you like Tzatziki Sauce, you will LOVE Raita. Raita is basically an Indian yogurt condiment with plenty of salt and other warm spices for flavor and shredded cucumbers and carrots for an amazingly cool sauce, perfect for pairing with spice loaded Indian food. It is DR-EEEEEEEAMY!
If you have a second pressure cooker, start Brown Rice cooking while you prep the Tikka Masala. I didn’t measure exactly, but for this recipe I added a shake or 2 of turmeric, curry powder, garlic powder, and cumin. For this particular picture I used leftover rice from my freezer that I doctored up with spices.
The roasted cauliflower isn’t a must here if you want to make it more simple. But honestly, this curry punched cauliflower is AMAZING and you can roast it while your chicken cooks, so I say DO IT! I could eat an entire head of this cauliflower.
I love to use store-bought whole grain naan for this recipe. Throw it under the oven broiler for a few minutes to warm and toast it or even break it into smaller pieces and literally toast it up in the toaster. Your really don’t even need rice if you’ve got plenty of naan, in my opinion.
I highly suggest marinating the chicken overnight. It really adds a lot of flavor to the entire dish. But if you failed to plan ahead, a couple hours will still taste awesome.
Now go get this on your dinner menu! And whatever you do, DO NOT nix the Raita. This is my new favorite condiment and want you to fall in love with it too!
Tools used to make Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Instant Pot or
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Pressure Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala with Cooling Raita
This is alive and strong with flavor with a perfect cooling Raita to balance it all out. This is my favorite make -at- home Indian food recipe I have ever had!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes plus overnight marinade
- Cook Time: 7 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 servings
For the Marinade
- 1 cup plain yogurt (greek or regular)
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips (could substitute with chicken tenders)
For the Sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 teaspoons ground cumin
- 3 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 15 ounce can lite coconut milk
- Optional for serving: cilantro, cooked peas, chopped roasted peanuts or cashews, brown rice, whole grain naan
For the Roasted Curry Cauliflower (Optional)
- 1 head of cauliflower cut into florets
- 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (enough to coat the cauliflower well)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
For the Raita – best if made a day or 2 in advance
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1/4 cup shredded carrots
- 1/4 cup shredded cucumber, drained and excess liquid squeezed out
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- In a medium size food storage container, add yogurt, zest and juice of 1 lemon, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and salt and whisk until smooth. Add chicken and toss in the marinade until completely covered. Seal the bowl with a lid and let chicken marinate over night (can marinate less time, but the flavor is better overnight).
- Prepare the Raita by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Season to taste and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Flavor gets even better over time so make it a day or 2 ahead of time if possible.
- After the chicken has marinated, select saute on the pressure cooker and add butter. When melted, add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add cumin, paprika, and salt and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Hit cancel on the pressure cooker and add tomato sauce and coconut milk and whisk to combine. Add yogurt coated chicken to the pot (you want to have lots of the yogurt marinade still on the chicken). Be sure and scatter the chicken around the pot so they aren’t all stuck together in a clump.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 7 minutes.
- Optional: Prepare the Roasted Curry Cauliflower – Preheat oven to 450° F. Toss cauliflower, oil, salt, curry powder, and paprika together on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven until nicely browned, about 15 minutes.
- When pressure cooking is complete use a natural release. If in a hurry, use a 10 minute natural release and then release any remaining pressure.
- Optional if you want a thicker sauce : Remove chicken to a plate and set aside. Combine 1 tablespoon of cool water with 1 tablespoon cornstarch. Select saute on the pressure cooker and when the sauce is bubbling, add the cornstarch slurry and whisk until it thickens, 1-2 minutes. Unplug the pressure cooker and add chicken back to the pot.
- To serve, ladle the Chicken Tikka Masala into a bowl and add roasted cauliflower and other desired toppings such as peas, steamed broccoli or asparagus, brown rice, roasted nuts, a sprinkle of cilantro, and/or toasted naan. Top with a big dollop of Raita and enjoy!
- I haven’t tried it, but I wouldn’t suggest freezing this chicken in the marinade in advance. Yogurt can become grainy and flaky after it’s frozen and I worry that it will ruin the smooth sauce. However I do believe the finished product will freeze nicely, but we’ve never had leftovers for me to try this either! I’ll update here when I try it.
- Raita is a common Indian condiment somewhat similar to the Greek tzatziki sauce. This Tikka Masala is amazing even without it, but it adds an amazing extra element of cooling flavor and texture.
- Nutrition facts are only for the chicken, marinade, and sauce. The rest of the facts will vary with toppings.