Instant Pot Chicken Curry

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This rich and flavorful Instant Pot chicken curry has all the traditional curry spices mixed with coconut milk and tender chicken. It can be made in just thirty minutes and is the perfect easy recipe for chilly nights.

Chicken curry and rice

The focus of this chicken recipe, as with most Indian recipes, is on the spices. Simple ingredients are cooked together with the perfect mix of spices to make it flavorful, hearty, and delicious.

This curry chicken Instant Pot recipe is so simple that you likely have everything in your cupboards already. You can also make this recipe your own by adding a few favorite vegetables like mushrooms, zucchini, and peppers.

Lindsay Howerton-Hastings says: 5 stars NOTHING better than a delicious fast curry in the winter! Can’t wait to make this again, it was delicious.

» Also try Instant Pot Japanese Curry.

Ingredients You Need

The spices are important for this recipe. You want to use a fresh curry and garam masala so they are bursting with flavor. You also need to make sure to salt the curry well enough to bring out the flavors. Chicken Curry alone without salt will fall flat.

Ingredients for Instant Pot Chicken Curry
  • Spices – You’ll need a few classic curry spices, including cumin seeds, cloves, garam masala, salt, chilies (optional), and curry powder. You can get a mild, medium, or hot curry powder, depending on if you want a spicy chicken curry.
  • Ghee or butter – Ghee is the traditional choice here, but if you don’t have any in your cupboard, butter is a great alternative.
  • Garlic & Ginger – These versatile vegetables will add complex flavors to your dish and shouldn’t be skipped. You could also use a powdered form, but fresh is always best.
  • Chicken thighs – Using the thigh is best for richness and flavor, but chicken breasts or boned chicken work too.
  • Chopped tomatoes – Canned tomatoes are perfect. You can also cut fresh tomatoes, but that will take a little extra time and effort.
  • Coconut milk – Full-fat coconut milk adds a crucial creaminess, with a touch of the calming coconut taste that suits this pressure cooker curry so well.
  • Cilantro – Also known as coriander, this herb is the perfect garnish for most Indian curries.

Equipment Needed

  • Instant Pot – I use a 6-quart Instant Pot Plus to make all of my recipes. If you’re using an 8-quart pot, you will need to adjust the amount of liquid accordingly, as it requires more than the 6 quart to build steam.

Helpful Tips

  • I’ll slip this in here just one more time because it’s so important. Salt is what really brings out the great flavors in the curry. If your curry doesn’t quite taste the way you expect, it probably doesn’t have enough salt. Add more and taste again until you’re satisfied with the flavor.
  • If the curry isn’t thick enough, continue cooking down on saute mode until thickened, or add a cornstarch slurry to the pot until thickened.
  • Curry powder can be quite hot. Be sure to purchase the level of heat you’re comfortable with. You can also increase the heat by adding chopped green chilis.

How to Make This Chicken Thigh Curry

Step 1: Heat spices on sauté mode

Turn on sauté mode on your Instant Pot. When it’s hot, add the ghee, cumin seeds, and onions. Sauté for 5-7 minutes. If onions begin to burn, either turn the sauté mode to low (if available) or add a little more ghee.

Add the chicken pieces and saute it together with the onions for about 3 minutes.

Cooking chicken in the Instant Pot

Turn off sauté mode and add ginger, cloves, garlic, garam masala, curry powder, tomatoes, and water.

Cooked chicken curry

Step 2: Pressure cook

Lock the Instant Pot lid and set the vent to sealing. Press the Pressure Cook button and set it to 5 minutes. When done, allow the pressure to release naturally, then remove the lid.

Step 3: Add coconut milk

Turn on sauté mode again and stir in the coconut milk. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until heated through. You can then turn off the Instant Pot, and add salt and additional curry powder, if necessary. Serve over basmati rice.

Chicken curry and rice

Additional Serving Information

If you like a richer tasting sauce, add 1 tablespoon of butter at the end of cooking. You can also cook with butter instead of ghee, if you want.

If you want to make this dish vegetarian, cook the recipe without the chicken and add any veggies you want at the end of cooking. The veggies will only need a few minutes with the Instant Pot on saute mode to soften.

You can serve this delicious chicken curry over rice, like basmati rice. Jasmine rice is a great alternative. Or you can serve it over cauliflower rice for a low-carb alternative. The rice can be cooked in the Instant Pot at the same time as the curry using the pot-in-pot method.

Why Use An Instant Pot?

The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. If you don’t have one, check out our guide on which one to buy. Also see our guide to How to Use an Instant Pot and the many accessories you can buy for it.

Instant Pot Duo Plus
Chicken curry and rice

Pressure Cooker Chicken Curry

It’s possible to cook this chicken curry in the traditional pressure cooker. You will follow all of the first steps, but saute your ingredients in the stove top pressure cooker pot. Secure the pressure cooker’s lid and ensure the pressure valve is set to the “Sealing” position, similar to the Instant Pot’s sealing setting.

Increase the heat to high and bring the pressure cooker up to pressure. Once the pressure indicator signals that full pressure has been reached, reduce the heat to the lowest setting that maintains pressure.

Cooking times under pressure for stovetop models are generally shorter due to their higher operating pressure, so reduce the recommended Instant Pot time by about 10%. This recipe calls for 5 minutes under pressure, so cook for only 4 minutes in the pressure cooker.

Other Chicken Recipes to Try

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Chicken curry and rice

Instant Pot Chicken Curry

This rich and flavorful Instant Pot chicken curry has all the traditional curry spices mixed with coconut milk and tender chicken.

Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot

4.84 from 12 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Pressurize Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 Servings
Calories 298 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 1 tablespoon (14 g) ghee or butter
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) cumin seeds
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 8 (8) cloves
  • 1 pound (454 g) boneless skinless chicken thighs chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 2 teaspoons (6 g) garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons (4 g) ginger minced
  • 1 teaspoon (3 g) garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon (2 g) curry powder
  • 1 (1) can finely chopped tomatoes 14.5 ounces
  • 1/4 cup (59.15 ml) water
  • 1 cup (237 ml) full-fat coconut milk
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • Chili optional and to taste

Instructions
 

  • Turn on sauté mode. When hot, add the ghee, cumin seeds, and onions. Sauté for 5-7 minutes. If onions begin to burn, either turn saute mode to low, if available, or add a tablespoon of water. Add the chicken pieces and brown them for about 3 minutes.
  • Turn off sauté mode. Add ginger, cloves, garlic, garam masala, curry powder, tomatoes and water.
  • Lock the Instant Pot lid and set the vent to sealing. Press the pressure cook button and set to 5 minutes. When done, allow the pressure to release naturally, then remove the lid.
  • Turn on sauté mode again and stir in the coconut milk. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until heated through.
  • Turn off the Instant Pot. Add salt and additional curry powder, if necessary. Serve over basmati rice.

Notes

  • Salt is what really brings out the great flavors in the curry. If your curry doesn’t quite taste the way you expect, it probably doesn’t have enough salt. Add more and taste again until you’re satisfied with the flavor.
  • If the curry isn’t thick enough, continue cooking down on saute mode until thickened, or add a cornstarch slurry to the pot until thickened.
  • Curry powder can be quite hot. Be sure to purchase the level of heat you’re comfortable with. You can also increase the heat by adding chopped green chilis.

Nutrition

Calories: 298kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 24gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 139mgPotassium: 547mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 383IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 44mgIron: 3mg
Keyword Chicken, Rice, Tomatoes
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6 thoughts on “Instant Pot Chicken Curry

  1. Lindsay Howerton-Hastings says:

    5 stars
    NOTHING better than a delicious fast curry in the winter! Can’t wait to make this again, it was delicious.

    • Angela Morris says:

      Hi Dan, sorry for the confusion. I have updated the recipe. You would add the cloves after you turn off sauté mode and add all the other spices. I hope you enjoy!

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