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.
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.
Mushrooms, zucchini, and peppers can easily be added if you want to pack the meal with veggies. However, if you’re looking for a quick 30-minute recipe, the original is best.
Ingredients You Need for Instant Pot Curry Chicken
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. Curry along without salt will fall flat.
- 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.
How to Make This Chicken Thigh Curry
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 tablespoon of water.
Add the chicken pieces and cook together with the onion for about 3 minutes.
Turn off sauté mode and add ginger, 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 it 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. You can then turn off the Instant Pot, and add salt and additional curry powder, if necessary. Serve over basmati 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.
One of the most popular ways to eat a curry is with roti. This way, you’ll scoop and dip the roti into the curry – absolutely delicious!
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. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.
Tips for Making the Best Curry
- 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.
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Instant Pot Chicken Curry
- 1 tablespoon ghee or butter
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 8 cloves
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs chopped into bite sized pieces
- 2 teaspoons garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons ginger minced
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 can finely chopped tomatoes 14.5 ounces
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- Cilantro for garnish
- Chili optional and to taste
- 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, 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.
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Laura spends a lot of her time cooking and creating recipes to share. She loves traveling and learning about new foods around the world to bring into her own recipes at home.