Dairy-Free Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
This Instant Pot chicken tikka masala is made with boneless chicken thighs cooked in a tomato base, with lots of spices and coconut milk. You can serve this with garlic naan or basmati rice on the side. Cauliflower rice would work too to keep it low carb!
Like chicken pulao, this mild curry is a beginner dish if you’re new to Indian food. It’s said to originate in the UK, very similar to butter chicken. Vegetables are not typically added but I love the addition of cauliflower and peas. My husband and oldest daughter Karina love it with both rice and garlic naan which I buy frozen at Trader Joe’s.
Why You’ll Love This Instant Pot Tikka Masala
Here are a few reasons to get excited about this Instant Pot chicken tikka masala recipe.
- Quick and easy. This Instant Pot speeds up the cooking process on this dish, turning it into a dinner you can prepare in just 30 minutes.
- A great introduction to Indian cuisine. If you’ve never tried Indian food before, this the perfect place to start.
- Dairy-free. Not all tikka masala recipes are dairy free as some contain yogurt but I opted for full-fat coconut milk instead, to keep this dish dairy-free.
What Is Tikka Masala?
Chicken tikka masala is a popular Indian curry. It’s made with a creamy orange sauce, typically made out of yogurt or coconut milk, and traditional Indian spices like garam masala. It’s rich, savory, and perfectly spiced, though not “spicy”.
Chicken tikka masala is made with chicken thighs, ghee, diced tomatoes, and a few other ingredients and spices. See the recipe card below for measurements.
- Chicken – I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Breasts would also work, though they’ll have a little less flavor.
- Ghee – You can also use butter or coconut oil.
- Aromatics – Garlic, onion, and ginger root infuse flavor throughout the dish.
- Spices – Tikka masala is seasoned with coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, cayenne pepper, and cardamom.
- Diced tomatoes – Drain before using.
- Cauliflower & peas – I add these two veggies for extra nutrients, plus flavor and texture in the dish.
- Coconut milk – Be sure to grab full-fat canned coconut milk, not cream of coconut or another substitute.
- Cilantro leaves – For a garnish when serving.
How To Make Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala
Chicken tikka masala in the Instant Pot makes a flavorful, easy dinner for any night of the week.
- Cook the aromatics. Press the saute button. Cook the onion, garlic, ginger, and spices (from coriander to cardamom) in butter until the onion is soft and the spices are fragrant.
- Add the sauce and chicken. Blend the tomatoes until smooth, season the chicken with salt, add the remaining salt to the pot, and pressure cook on high for 15 minutes.
- Add the veggies. Quick release then add the cauliflower and peas. Cook for 2 more minutes on high pressure.
- Serve. Quick release, stir in the coconut milk, and enjoy. Garnish with cilantro if desired.
Can I Make This Healthy Tikka Masala on the Stovetop?
Absolutely. If you don’t have a pressure cooker, you can make this chicken tikka masala on the stovetop. Just follow the directions as normal and double the cook time.
Here are a few frequently asked questions about this Instant Pot chicken tikka masala recipe.
Yes! You could easily make this whole30 or paleo by eliminating the peas and serving this with cauliflower rice.
The two are similar but butter chicken contains, well, more butter. Additionally, the flavor of butter chicken is much more mild and sweet than tikka masala.
Chicken tikka masala contains a lot of different spices so it’s spiced in that way but it is not “spicy” as in “hot”.
I like to serve my Instant Pot tikka masala over steamed basmati rice. Naan is also usually served alongside this dish, to soak up every last bit of the delightful curry sauce.
If you need a low carb option, simply swap the white rice for cauliflower rice.
- Fridge. Leftover Instant Pot chicken tikka masala can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer. Leftovers can also be transferred to an airtight container and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating.
- Reheat. Reheat leftover on the stovetop, stirring occasionally. Individual servings can also be reheated in the microwave.
More Instant Pot Chicken Recipes To Try
- Instant Pot Chicken Taco Chili
- Easy Salsa Shredded Chicken
- Chicken Chipotle Burrito Bowls
- Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore
Instant Pot Chicken Tikka Masala with Cauliflower and Peas
- 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cubed
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 tablespoon ghee, butter or coconut oil for df
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated ginger root
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 cups cauliflower florets
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, for serving
- Season chicken with 1 teaspoon salt.
- Press saute button and melt the butter, add onion, garlic, ginger and 6 spices (from coriander to cardamom) and saute until the vegetables are soft and the spices are fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the tomatoes and use an immersion to blend until smooth (or blend in the blender), add the chicken, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir, cook high pressure 15 minutes.
- Quick release, add the cauliflower and peas and cook 2 minutes on high pressure.
- Quick release, stir in coconut milk and serve garnished with cilantro.